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Are you more prone to suggest a fine dining restaurant as opposed to cheap/diry?

I have noticed that when someone (esp a close friend) is asking about suggestions for good eats in my city, I generally think about higher-end restaurants. I then over-correct and end up not recommending anything at all. Meanwhile, on a regular basis I will eat-at/take-out from absolutely ghetto and shady establishment.

Has anyone done the same? And also, is it in one's best interests to only recommend restaurants with *amazing* food and *great* service. Esp if you know the person and might lose credibility?

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  1. I think the best thing to do is ask what people are looking for. Best in town/worth the price vs best value/very casual. No need to guess.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      I ask want kind of restaurant people are looking for. If we are going together I ask what cuisine they are in the mood for (because inevitably where I live there are few choices once you narrow by cuisine).

    2. Cheap/good value does not equate w/ dirty, shady, sketchy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: HDinCentralME

        Oh for sure, I agree that the two do not go hand-in-hand.

      2. I am prone to recommending dives because that is what I like, but I try to figure out the interests of the person asking for the recommendation ... I know people that I would never recommend a dive to, and others who would be aghast if I recommended fine dining.

        1. I have to agree with the other posters, to recomend a restaurant you need some personal preference.... Everyone has different ideas of "fine dining" and "dives"... Unfortunatly I do not recomend a lot of my go to places , because they are not always customer friendly... I tend to lean towards the "finer dinning" options for recs

          1. If I'm being asked for advice, then it's a friend or family member who is asking. Hopefully, I know what they might like and can my recc in that direction.

            No point me recommending the city's finest to folk who wouldnt want to pay that amount of money. No point me recommending any of the city's "ethnic" places to the father-in-law who is a very plain eater. Etc.

            1. You suggest what fits for the person's preference. I have close friends who absolutely prefer inexpensive ethnic restaurants.

              I'm also not sure why you'd equate inexpensive with dirty. There is no correlation.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jase

                To clarify I meant cheap OR dirty. Didn't mean to imply that the two always go hand-in-hand

                1. re: raebmv

                  I'd never suggest a dirty restaurant regardless of price point.

              2. I try to recommend places that I think the person would like. Agree with Harters that there's no point recommending Masa to somebody who won't pay more than $20 for dinner. If I don't know their preferences, I then ask.

                I see this on the boards sometimes --some posters get overzealous about their favorite places that they neglect to read what the OP is looking for.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Miss Needle

                  they neglect to read what the OP is looking for.
                  here? on Chowhound? NEVER.

                  as you and others do, i recommend something that fits as many of their preferred criteria as they can offer me.

                  though if it's appropriate and i think they'd be receptive, i occasionally steer them toward something other than what they've asked for, e.g. friends from NY ask for Italian or steakhouse recs -- they have so many excellent options for that back home, i try to turn them onto something they can't really get there, like modern Californian, Mexican seafood, or someplace like Animal.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Ha! There's this poster who loves to recommend his favorite Chinatown dive to posters looking for an upscale Asian restaurant or to those looking for a trendy restaurant experience for teenage girls. This place has fluorescent lighting and uses plastic bags as tablecloths -- hardly the places that I think the OPs are looking for. It's funny because I think he loves those places so much that his blinders are on and oblivious to the criteria.

                    Totally agree about steering posters toward other options if appropriate. When I've traveled, I've been guided very nicely by some posters into dining to some unexpected restaurants.

                2. I generally do the same thing.

                  High ends are fine, but my favorite type of food is street food. If someone asks for a recommendation, I usually take it that they want a good experience and/or it's for a special occasion. So, I can't suggest the places I try out (not only because of the type, but because places I try are usually disasters).

                  In general, personal reviews/recommendations for exquisite places are fine, but they're a bit silly. I mean, you don't need me to tell you that places like Per Se and WD~50 are places that you should take a look at. They're great, but my interests like more in finding that great hole in the wall.

                  1. When I have guests coming from out of town I first ask what type of cuisine. Usually I will try to give a high end/ mid range option as well as a cheap option. And then let them decide.

                    Since I don't tend to eat out at high end restaurants, if I want to recomment a restaurant that I have first hand knowledge of it will usually be a mid range or cheap restaurant.

                    1. I try to find out

                      1) where the person is from. No sense in recommending what you think is great bbq to someone from Texas hill country

                      2) what they are interested in. If someone shows no openness in going a millimeter out of their way, or they have nothing to wear but jeans, or they woudln't consider a dive, no sense in suggesting it.

                      However, even given that I will always encourage them to explore and try something new to stretch their boundaries. That's my nature. It's like giving a gift: you want to please the person and match their tastes, but you'd like it to be from you and to express the giver as well.

                      1. Well, my recs. normally ARE to the higher-end restaurants, whether in Phoenix, or elsewhere, but that is where we normally dine. If the person inquiring has a price-point, then I will try to step down a bit, and meet that price range.

                        When in London, Rome, Paris, New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, heck, just fill in the blank, my dining will have been at higher-end spots, so that will be what I know.

                        Though we spend a ton of time in Hawai`i, when the post is "budget-minded," etc., I refrain from commenting, as I seldom have a useful rec. That is just the way it is.

                        It's a bit like suggesting a wine. "What are you having?" translated to "what do you like?" "What is your price range?" "Are there any particular favorites that you can share? Maybe I can then pick something similar in _____." That sort of thing.

                        If someone says that they want "cheap eats" in London, I just take a pass.


                        1. I'm not prone to do either.
                          I recommend them on my experience of food taste service atmosphere price is last, inexpensive or expensive.
                          I'm the first to recommend *ug*st but it's very high priced.
                          I warn first.