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Jul 27, 2005 04:17 PM

rate a place?

  • p

So what do you look for when rating a restaurant?

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    1. re: Rico Pan

      I would usually give the above answer, except that I've had very good meals completely spoiled by out-of-control children whom nobody seemed to know how to handle, by mariachis bawling inches from my left elbow, by waiters dripping with attitude and waitresses who prepared for the day's labors by bathing in Shalimar.

      I have also had deeply enjoyable meals with only adequate food, such as last Saturday's meal at an Italian joint in Pasadena. The waitress kept forgetting little things we'd agreed on, like bringing my salad WITH my main dish or the Sweet'n'Low for my wife's tea, but she was very pleasant and accommodating. The kitchen sent out a plate of spaghetti instead of the linguini I'd specified, and it bore signs of having been nuked. My wife's pizza was an inch deep in a puttanesca sauce, which had been salted excessively BEFORE the anchovies had gone on...etcetera etcetera. But the room was clean and pleasant, the music was all Frank and Ella and Satchmo, playing at a conversation-friendly level, and the tab was well within reason. We agreed that for all the missteps we'd had a really good time, and will certainly return.

      1. re: Will Owen

        I think I would be the opposite. I'd give a restaurant with good food but bad atmosphere (for whatever reason) several chances before writing them off, but no matter how pleasant the experience, I hardly ever go back to places where the food is nuked, and too salty. But, I'm lucky to live where I have many, many options, so I never have to make this kind of decision.

    2. ambience - is it too dark/bright?; is it too hot/cool?; is it clean/dirty (especially the kitchen, if visible, the restrooms, and the eating surfaces)?; is there music/television, if so is it loud/quiet enough?; are there unruly patrons (kids &/ adults)?; does the decor reflect the owner/staff (i prefer a place that says something about the people who work there as opposed to an austere decor or a corporate decreed decor)?.

      attentiveness - do they listen when i order (for example, at breakfast i usually order a glass of oj to arrive with the meal, often they bring it right out)?; do they keep an eye on my needs?; do they act when other patrons are being unruly?; does the waitstaff hover around too much?.

      quality (the biggie) - do they use good ingredients?; is the food good?; is the service good?.

      value - is it worth what they're trying to charge me? this is often the killer for me. i'm a pretty good cook and can make most things nearly as well (often better since i'm focused on food for 2 instead of dozens to hundreds) as the vast majority of the pros. therefore, as price climbs the food had better be exceptional.

      i very rarely recommend places that will set you back more than $25 per person (excluding alcohol). i've eaten at a few very expensive places, and never found the food to deserve the money (not that they weren't good, just not that good). unlike a poster below, the food always trumps it for me. i won't recommend a place based on other factors if the food isn't good

      6 Replies
      1. re: mark

        Out of curiosity - whre are you based? In major cities $25 is very hard to acheive.

        1. re: ccc

          Hi CCC - I'll try this again. I think the operative word here is "value." For example, here in the Detroit area (Novi) is a little bistro called Diamond Jim Brady's. It's comfortable, friendly, great service staff and decent wine list. Mary Brady is a world class chef (has the medals to prove it.) The entres rarly exceed $23 and are exceptional. There are many very lovely and expensive places in the area but I always feel a little guilty for spending so much extra money for foo-foo. I can recommend Jim's to anyone without qualification to ambiance, service or quality. I rank a place like that 4 star.


          1. re: Sony Bob

            thanks for the rec. i'll be in detroit in september & will try to check it out.

            1. re: mark

              No prob - BTW, don't knock Ashville. After crossing over hwy 40 from Knoxville in fog and rainstorms, Ashville looked like the most beautiful place on earth!

              1. re: Sony Bob

                oh no, i don't knock it. anything i say is with affection (except about the local government). my only real complaint about asheville is the lack of winter. i grew up in detroit and miss the snow.

          2. re: ccc

            i live in asheville, nc. if you haven't been, it's rather cosmopolitan for a podunk mountain town. it's not as cheap as one might think either. for what you get for your money, western north carolina has a fairly high cost of living (comparable to most good-size cities, but not the behemoths like ny & la).

            to clarify, when i say $25 per person, i'm talking the entree; apps, dessert, drinks, etc. will push it up (although at my favorite restaurants you get the whole shebang for under $25 - and it's yummy!).