How to suggest another restaurant?
I'm meeting up with an old friend for dinner while I'm temporarily living in SF for the next few months. My original suggestion to meet in Napa, halfway for both of us plus several good restaurant possibilities. But she said she was happy to drive all the way to SF.
We've had a quick back and forth e-mail exchange regarding the restaurant. I told her I enjoyed good food and don't mind the type of cuisine and asked about her preferences. I guess we have different ideas of what constitutes good food as her response was to suggest we meet at an asian grocery store/shopping plaza in Richmond and eat inside there.
I'll be honest, I hate that idea. I was looking forward to an evening of catching up with my friend in a nice restaurant serving good food. Instead, I've now got this mental image of us sitting on some plastic chairs eating with plastic utensils as we're surrounded by hordes of Asian grocery shoppers.
My friend's e-mail ended with "What do you think?" So unless this asian grocery store plaza has an amazing restaurant (SF CHers could enlighten me here?), I need advice on how I should reply so I can suggest someplace else without offending her/implying that her suggestion is rubbish.
maybe the food plaza suits her budget? Or she doesn't know anywhere else in that area and it's a good landmark for her.
She's asked for your opinion so give it! - but with a solid suggestion.
You told her you don't mind the type of cuisine, which essentially let her pick, and probably gave the impression that you are ok going just about anywhere. If you had something in mind, that really was your time to suggest it.
You probably shouldn't dismiss her idea based solely on what you think the place might be like, you have no idea at this point. You could just ask about the busy atmosphere from the viewpoint of wanting to catch up (aka being able to hear and not be overly distracted).
The more you discuss and go back and forth on this though, you're making it more about the food / restaurant than you are about catching up with an old friend, which is really the point.
a few thoughts in no particular order:
a) the best way to say anything to a friend is honestly and directly.
b) why do you assume her suggestion is rubbish, without having experienced the place first? maybe the food is amazing.
c) what matters more, your friend or the food?
d)it seems you left it entirely in her hands with no suggestions. if you had opinions they should have been stated at the outset
You'll be able to talk and catch up without a bunch of formalities in the ordering, table decor or pressure of expense.
You may also find a good place for snacks and groceries while living there temporarily.
Do you have time before your dinner outing to go and check out the place she suggested? Or is it imminent? That's what I'd do.