If the restaurant does not look clean, the kitchen is probably worse. Skip it. If you cannot smell the food cooking, they are going to serve you leftovers or something that is not fresh. Skip it. If there are no people sitting at the tables, the food is probably bad, the service is terrible, the restaurant is expensive, or there is some reason why the local residents avoid it. You should too.
Other factors in choosing a restaurant:
- Price range – Good food should not break the bank. You should enjoy the food without having to regret the expense. Sometimes you can try restaurants at a discount by getting special deals through groupon.com or livingsocial.com, but make sure that the restaurant has good reviews.
- Variety – If you go with other people, the menu should offer a variety of dishes to satisfy the taste of all the guests.
- Value – Some restaurants have servings that are so small that they do not satisfy your hunger. You probably will not go back to those places. Other restaurants give you so much food that you cannot possibly eat all your serving. Don’t hesitate to ask for a carry out container for your leftovers if the food was good.
- Parking – Before you can eat, you have to get there. Make sure that there is parking space for your car close by. If necessary, call the restaurant and ask where you can park and whether they validate parking. You may also want to know if they have valet parking.
- Reservations – Don’t forget to make reservations if they are required. Call ahead to find out, specially if you are planning to dine out during a holiday or a weekend when the restaurants are more crowded.
- Special requests – Is the restaurant staff responsive to special requests? Find out if you can order low-salt dishes, no MSG, vegetarian, etc. This is important if you or one of your party has allergies or special dietary needs.