There are three main facets to the typical restaurant experience: ambience, or the overall feeling of the place; food (obviously); and services.
A good restaurant gets all three scores on a reasonably consistent basis. Sometimes, of course, certain aspects of a place are so pleasing that its flaws can be overlooked. If the food is exquisite, you might forgive a certain understated decor, or if the view is gorgeous, that over-the-top lamb chop might not seem like such a tragedy. (These are the best restaurants in the world right now.)
And of course, even a really good restaurant that usually ticks all the boxes can sometimes go down. Although in such cases the management or staff usually do whatever can be done to make things better.
Still, going out to a restaurant for the first time, even one with good reviews, can be a lucky proposition. You won’t know how good (or bad) the food is until your first bites – but certain aspects of ambiance and service (and food clues gleaned from the nature of the menu) may provide warning signs- runners that you are probably not going to have a pleasant experience.
Click here for 16 signs you’re eating at a bad restaurant
What to do when these signs are apparent? If it’s logistically and socially possible, leave. Say you’re sorry; making up an excuse about the babysitter; just get out. If that’s not possible (you’re embarrassed to make a scene; you’re someone else’s guest), take advantage of it by ordering as little as possible and avoiding potential hot spots (seafood per se -called “fresh”, too complicated dishes). Then eat only what you want, pay the check, and get out of there as soon as you can. You can always stop for a pizza on the way back. (If you’re lucky, you might be near one of the the best pizzerias in each state.)
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