The 5 questions you want to ask before choosing a restaurant

Picking a restaurant is often like a high stake gamble. Pick the wrong one and your date will leave, the deal with your client is gone, etc.  How can you make sure to have a good experience? Not everybody received the same education. In France, we discuss that a lot and we have our secrets. Let's reveal them.

How many options you have on the menu? The fewer the merrier.

It might be counter-intuitive for some of you but it is one of the most reliable criteria: look at how many options you have on the card, you want to have as few as possible.

Why? Because giving clients choice is always at the expense of something else: price, quality, hygiene or all of them at the same time. Think about it for one second: for offering you more options the chief has to store more types of ingredients, that takes space, management, that costs money. It is harder to keep every ingredient fresh. They have to skip steps in the preparation, for instance by buying already made stuff that they microwave. They have to be able to serve you dozens of options at any time and randomly. Let's say you have 10 orders, if all of them are the same you can just focus on one recipe. Therefore you save energy time to think about important other steps in cooking: add the final herbs, prepare an extra salad, not forgetting to adjust the seasoning, keep plates warm, clean your hands...
The summarising algorithm

One of the best restaurants I had in my city in France had only 3 mains as a choice that were a selection from the day, depending on arrival of the market. And at the end of the day, the chef would offer you only one or two options because one of the ingredients was missing: it is an excellent sign. Best chefs always look for the optimal, fresh ingredients even if it means skipping one option for the client.

Where is it? The most hidden, the best!

We have a saying in France: the best restaurant is always behind the church. Which means out of the main locations. Do you want to pay for your food or for the rent of the restaurant? If the restaurant is on the main square it is more likely to have a high rent than if it is located in a hidden non-central place. And this rent has to be paid ultimately by... the client. Also, a restaurant that is discrete and hard to find has to be good to survive because there is very little chance that tourist will come randomly at their place. That is also why my blog exists: I want to promote restaurants that are not necessarily known because they are hidden or out of the main streets.

Do people look happy inside? Did they finish their plate?

If there is a window, have a look inside (but don't get creepy!). Have people finished their plate? Also, how do they look like? Happy and cheerful? Or serious and annoyed? Food has proven influence on our mood. Do you feel a positive vibe going on in the restaurant?

Who recommanded you this restaurant? Know if they have the same liking as you and know why they like a restaurant.

In terms of restaurants, not all recommendations are good to take. That's why the internet is not good recommendation provider in my opinion. Besides from fraudulent comments, the main thing is: you don't know who wrote the comment, they might value features that you do not value in a food experience: some care about originality, sophistication, authenticity, ambience, when others care about quantity, price, hygiene, service... none of those features is less valuable than another, but if you do not value the same thing as your critics think twice before going to one of their recommendation.

Who are you with?

Let's not be a food-nazy for once. If you are going to a restaurant, you are here to enjoy with someone else right? Then check with the other person which feature they value. Ask them what is their favourite restaurant and why. Then you are more likely to pick the best option for you both.


Disclaimer: of course those questions are just a probability thing. Yes you will oppose me this one restaurant on the main square of your city that has an excellent reputation, but hey! if you are on this blog you probably agree with the food advice here right?

Here is the prototypical portrait of the restaurant you want to go for:

It was hard to find it, this restaurant is in the middle of nowhere between two houses, no shops around, google maps do not even know it. And honestly, their website is terrible because they prefer spending time and money on serving you the best food than paying an agency for some marketing. Inside you surprised one of the clients licking their plate while they thought no one was observing.

Here the prototypical portrait of the restaurant you will NOT go for:

It is a restaurant on Stora torget or Kungsgatan, there you can choose between 40 mains and 20 starters, it serves you both pizzas and sushies. Inside people look like they are back from a funeral, and every couples are about to divorce. The plates are only half empty when the staff remove them. You got this restaurant recommanded by Linda, Magnus or any of those colleagues that you do not share the tastes in general and that bring lunch boxes that are clearly not appealing to you.



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