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How important are online menus to you?

I'm wondering when you look at online menus? Whenever you pick a new restaurant? When planning a trip? To pre-plan a nice night out?

Personally I search for specific menu items when I have a craving for something specific, but what about you?

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  1. I mostly look at online menus to meal plan at home and "reverse engineer" dishes I like. I bookmark them and plan my meals for the week.
    Otherwise, I sometimes look at them when trip planning, but not so much for what I would order, but for the cost of the different tasting menu options.
    Many really terrific restaurants don't update the menus often enough and on more than a few occasions, I have been surprised.

    1. I check out the menus regularly to see if the restaurant fits our budget, our dietary needs, serves alcohol, etc. I often decide against a restaurant if I can't preview their menu online.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ola

        While I have made several "leaps of faith," I am with you.

        If we arrive late, and only have so many choices, I live with it, but if we arrive early, then I search for menus, that fit our tastes, to the best of my abilities.

        Hunt

      2. I read them all the time. The way some people read sports scores or stock prices, I read online menus. Just to see what's out there.

        7 Replies
        1. re: small h

          Any particular sites or do you just go to the reataurants' home pages?

          1. re: jgradieoakes

            The restaurant's website is my first stop. If there are no prices listed, I'll also check Menupages. Are you doing research for an article or a business?

          2. re: small h

            HAHAHA!!! I thought I was the only one who did this. I am obsessed! You can tell how stressed out I am by the number of menus I read. :)

            UGH this was supposed to be in response to small h.

            1. re: justme123

              Not only do I survey menus, but the wine lists, as well. Now, I know that vintages might change, and even availability will disappear, a wine list will give me a good idea about the restaurant's commitment to wine with their food.

              As we often host dinners abroad, I always want to see a wine list, with a menu, and when it's on a Web site, so much the better. Sometimes, however, I have to get a PDF, to make the choices.

              Hunt

            2. re: small h

              Ha! I thouight I was the only one that did that, small h.

              1. re: EWSflash

                There are a lot of reasons for it. It's a good way to procrastinate, obviously, and I'm always grateful for options in that area. It keeps me abreast of menu trends. It gives me ideas for things to cook at home that I might not have come up with otherwise. And it's a way to live vicariously through those whose wallets are fatter than mine (and whose hips are skinnier).

                1. re: small h

                  LOL- I agree completely, small h- sometimes you can make that dish at home, but mostly it relieves Menu Shock, where one can't decide for being left out on the best dish. I admit it's dumb, but I dont' get to dine out much and I like to do some research when possible.

            3. Because I have a couple of dietary restrictions I really appreciate online menus. Its so much easier to find out what my choices are ahead of time and not have it be any kind of issue while my order is being taken.

              1 Reply
              1. re: weezieduzzit

                Same here. Between dietary restrictions and being picky, I like to have an idea of what's available ahead of time. If they don't have exactly the same item that's on the website, there will usually be something close enough to make me happy.

              2. I like to see them as a reference, but many restaurants around here are seasonal, and don't always update. It's not a huge thing, mildly irritating.

                I like them to either order delivery, or to try a new restaurant.