8/27/2012 12:51:00 PM

10 Telltale Signs of a Good Restaurant

Amuse bouche = you're in the right place
A few months back, we called out the telltale signs of a bad restaurant, but now it's time to explore the flipside - besides the obvious (tasty food, excellent service) are there telltale signs that you're dining in a good restaurant? We're talking about those small but meaningful details that set a good restaurant apart from a bad one. We asked our super users as well as our Google+ followers for their feedback on the issue and were met with a glut of responses. Check out the top 10 signs of a good restaurant in the slideshow below. And as always, let us know what you'd add to this list in the comments.

43 comments :

  1. Expensive soap or napkin folding have never helped me enjoy a dinner experience...completely useless. On the other hand, warm break and butter definitely get your palate going!

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  2. These would only hold true for fine cuisine restaurants.

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  3. How the hell does this mean a restaurant is good? All these mean is that he restaurant is expensive. God, what a moronic article.

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    1. i HEARTEDLY agree! when was the last time these zagat critics spents less than 20$ for two people on INCREDIBLE food? Sorry, Zagat, MOST people cannot spend more than $50 per person as you would spend on these types of places

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    2. Absolutely!! Man, Zagat is really lacking in content lately, and in the ability to judge truly good food from ritzy digs. I've had well-folded napkins that couldn't stand up to dishes from some of our local food trucks!

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    3. No, I'll tell you what's "moronic": mis-reading an article, and attacking it using a straw-man argument. This article concerns itself with describing signs (another word for indications) of a good restaurant. The writer points out (multiple times) that diners can only infer that the restaurant's attention to detail will carry over into their food quality.

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    4. Anonymous1 is illiterate; what would he/she know about restaurants?

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  4. Zagat Lists 10 Signs a Restaurant Is Good. We Think It's 10 Signs They'll Rip You Off
    http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2012/08/zagat_10_signs_good_restaurant.php

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  5. I absolutely, positively NEVER want my server to TOUCH my napkin - ANYWHERE. It is NOT something they need to do. I will touch my napkin with my own hands.

    This is a practice that needs to be completely eliminated in restaurants. Do the servers wash their hands every time they touch someone's napkin? No, I'm sure they don't. So they pick up customer A's napkin, pick up the germs from that person's mouth, then go on to touch customer B's napkin, picking up more germs, etc, etc. We might as well be sharing our water glasses and cutlery.

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    1. And just who do you think put put your napkin and cutlery on the table in the first place, little elves and fairies? I know of no restaurant on the planet that guarantees the tableware is untouched by human hands. No, wait. Scratch that. Maybe MacDonald's does.

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    2. Exactly -- only when it's wrapped in plastic is it untouched by human hands!

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  6. This is the most ridiculous list I can think of. It should be called "10 Signs A Restaurant Could be Spending More on Ingredients" or "10 Signs Your Being Fooled by Appearances" -- I am huge on the feel of a place, and on great effortless service - but you'd think that - hey! - maybe the food tasting amazing would at least rate a bullet point.

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  7. Good lord, what a stupid list. What sort of idiots sent in these suggestions? Refolding my napkin? Designer ice? Please. And the absolute most idiotic one: All lowercase menus. Like that means something. Warm bread and spreadable butter are both very nice and they are points in a restaurant's favor, but not a guarantee.

    The only point I'd agree with wholeheartedly is the last one. They're in the business of serving you delicious food. If it displeases you they need to try again. The rest is all expensive window-dressing.

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  8. Who writes this crap?! Really, tell tale sign of a good restaurant is a folded napkin and new silverware??!! FANCY DESIGNER ICE???!!! Come on really? who the hell eats like this on a regular basis?

    This article was bunk

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  9. One would be hard pressed to find a list that was more, what's the word I'm looking for?......Wrong, laughable, mmmm stupid, so off point the writer should be prohibited from ever touching pen, paper, pencil or keypad ever again and forced to read Jackie Collins novels until the time of his demise and then buried with said books. And what demographic of google+ was this asked of? OCD wealth management bankers? I want to feed everyone involved with this article $10.00 worth of Taco Bell and lock them in a small room with no ventilation for two days.

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  10. If anyone believes this article, I have a bridge to sell them.

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  11. Pretentious, idiotic bullshit.

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  12. Reading the comments above I see some people cannot even spell. I think if a place would do these things, then they might also check there food more closely.

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  13. A bit odd but worth commenting, another dish if unhappy no question, coupled with something extremely fast so as the guest is not sitting with an empty plate.
    Amuse is mandatory, warm bread and butter if requested but doesn't really showcase any talent and at 100 calories per slice with butter maybe not the best claim to fame for a great restaurant.

    Flatware replaced after each course, mandatory again. Coat check as well, unless it is a huge restaurant, coat tags are a bit impersonal.
    ICE, FOLDED NAPKINS AND DESIGNER SOAP NOT WARRANTED IN MY OPINION, HOWEVER REAL CLOTH TOWELS IN THE WASHROOM AND REAL LINEN MANDATORY. IMHO

    Shane
    Painters Hall Bistro
    YOU ARE WHERE YOU EAT!

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  14. The comments are far superior to the article. Must agree that for the most part these are ridiculous.

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  15. A menu in lower case suggests that the owner, manager, or menu writer does not know the rules for proper capitalization. Minus 10 points.

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  16. The lower-case typed menu is a silly affectation; the coat check and fresh silverware are de rigueur; any food should be at the appropriate temperature (bread warm, butter cool); amuse-bouches and petits fours (or other bite-sized sweets) are the mark of a restaurant with ambitious goals. I can put my own napkin in my lap, thank you.

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  17. Menu in lowercase.

    Hmmmmm. That one was on your Most Annoying Trends list.

    LOL

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  18. So when did the trolls take over the world, anyway?

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  19. Warm bread & butter, nice. BUT ABOVE ALL (including the entire ludicrous list) is the quality of the bread itself. It takes only one thing to judge a restaurant. Good restaurants serve good bread!

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  20. With a couple of exceptions, e.g. warm bread, daily menu, these are more like the signs of an extremely expensive restaurant. I can find exceptional meals, good service, and a nice atmosphere at many different places that probably aren't nearly as costly, and as long as the restroom's clean, I don't care what kind of soap they use. To whom is this article directed at--Wall Street executives and their ilk?

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  21. Yet more Kelly Dobkin nonsense. One of the dumbest things posted here, and that's saying something.

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  22. A CLEAN, well kept bathroom is VERY important. A nice dining room coupled with a disgusting restroom is a BIG red flag for me! I have seen it more than once. Makes me start to question the kitchen sanitation. Expensive soap? Oft times known as "buy once and refill fancy dispenser with cheap product from the gocery store". What does perceived expenditure have to do with food quality? NOTHING.

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  23. Designer Ice and Lowercase Lettering are detailed as signs that you are in a "Good Restaurant", and yet they are also 2 of the top "Most Annoying Restaurant Trends"

    Pick a side guys and stop just throwing ideas against the wall.

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  24. A cheese course is offered and the cheese is served at room temperature.

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  25. Here's my telltale sign, the presence or absence of hot tap water in the bathroom. If cold, or worse, no water comes out of the hot tap, I won't be back. If an establishment feels the need to shave a marginal amount off their heating bill, who knows how they'll skimp on the food in ways you won't see and couldn't even imagine!

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  26. Number 7 and 10 are the only ones that really make a lot of sense. The others are not necessary or what would make a good dinner.

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  27. Last time I checked, this was Zagat, not "Man vs Food". Yes, it is pretentious to a lot of us, especially if you're on a tight budget, but then again, you would be surprised at the many people who would get upset if restaurants do NOT do these things. Next time I win lotto and plan on buying Belize, I'll check this out again! :)

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  28. This was one of the most stupid things I read online in a long time, and I read some doozies. This was supposed to be informative? I want the five minutes I wasted reading this back! What morons did they ask to come up with such an asinine list? FAIL!!

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  29. Kelly Dobkin is polishing the brass on the titanic. Zagat's style is old-hat, passé, dated, hob-nobbery.

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  30. Good grief! Some people are fixated on the most minor things! The only two I agree with are the spreadable butter and warm bread -- even better is GOOD-TASTING BREAD!

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  31. This is a joke right?

    Almost none of these is the sign of a "good restaurant". They are signs of a pretentious restaurant concerned about appearances.

    Let's pick them apart one by one:
    Napkin Folding - Nothing to do with quality of food. Non-hygienic as others have mentioned. Disruptive to those remaining at the table.
    Expensive Soap - There is a big gap between "rusty dispenser with pink soap" and "designer soap". Personally I prefer when they have hands free soap dispenser, Towel dispenser and faucet so that I'm not touching the germy spots other people have touched.
    Designer Ice - Really? Does it get my drink colder? Does it enhance the quality of the alcohol or mixers? Does it do anything but raise the price?
    Coat Check - Ok. I use them when they are there. Not sure it enhances the quality of the food but I'll agree it does make for a more "upscale" atmosphere.
    Butter - I'll give them this one. It shows some attention to detail. Even better is when the butter is not just plain but there are some "extras" herbed butter, honey butter etc.
    Silverware - I'll give them this one also. Always annoying to me when I'm handed back the fork, etc that I used for my appetizer to reuse with my next course.
    Warm Bread - I also enjoy this. (Note the bread and butter are actually about the food...)
    Menu is lower case - Pretentious, stupid and shows they care about being "hip and trendy" not about serving good food. How about replacing with "Innovative specials that change regularly"
    Amuse Bouche - Can take it or leave it.
    Server offers another dish - Ok. Any good restaurant should do that.

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  32. A restaurant that uses a crumb brush is a good tell tale sign.

    (Don't flame the author, just add your ideas to the conversation.)

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  33. Truly silly list that mostly only tells you how pretentious a restaurant is. Little to no focus on the food! That's dumb. How about how good the sauces and soups are? How decent is the bread (as opposed to its temperature!)? How are you greeted and seated? How long does it take to get to your table and to actually be waited on and served, and is that service friendly, supportive and informative? How much "value" do you actually get for your money? Are the food components cleanly done and fresh? Be real instead of such a list that tells you very little about how good a restaurant really is.

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  34. And I would add offering a black napkin when the guest is wearing dark pants/skirt. The lint from a white napkin is so annoying!

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