Monday, March 15, 2010

KJ's Guidelines for Discovering Good Restaurants

Eating out, particularly when on vacation, can be something of a project especially when trying to avoid restaurants that are at best mediocre. My parents started observing restaurants & general trends that point toward great food, & thanks to a lot of business travel, I've been able to add some of my own observations.


  • The best restaurants with best prices are typically in strip malls.
  • I prefer the restaurants where you order at the counter & they bring it out.
  • An open or semi-open kitchen is a good sign they are making your food fresh.
  • It's a good sign if Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai people are eating in the restaurant.
  • As much as possible, 0rder according to the nationality of the owners. For example, at a Vietnamese restaurant, you have a much better chance of a great meal when ordering pho versus ordering sweet & sour chicken.
  • Unmatching silverware is an excellent sign that your food will be good.
Mediterranean/Greek/Middle Eastern
  • These restaurants are also often in strip malls.
  • Look for restaurants that have a food mart attached. This often indicates that those particular cultures will not only shop there but eat there as well.
  • In my experience, many of the great restaurants have TVs showing Arabic music videos, Al Jazeera, or something similar.
  • For the most authentic food, look for restaurants that have a primarily male wait staff.
  • If the salsa isn't tasty, the food probably won't be tasty. Get a margarita pronto!
  • Avoid restaurants that use self-promoting awards as their only form of interior decorating.
  • If the parking lot is full of Cadillacs & Lincoln Towncars, the food will most likely be either traditional or Italian fare.
  • Approach seafood specials with caution since sometimes it indicates the kitchen is trying to get rid of rather old fish.
  • Unless you want an extended, possibly frustrating meal, avoid sit-down restaurants with "Help Wanted" signs.

No comments:

Post a Comment