Everyone loves treating themselves to a good meal without having to prepare it every once in a while. Chances are that you already have a favorite restaurant that you visit on a regular basis, but if you want to try out some new place, you can easily avoid disappointment if you know what to look after in a restaurant.

When you go to a restaurant, you are looking for several things:

  • Ambience

  • Service

  • Food

  • Location

We are going to say a few words about every single one of those, so that you can get better oriented when you are checking out a particular establishment.


Yes, we know that food is important but if you were looking just to avoid the cooking and have something tasty for dinner, you would have gone for takeout, right? So, the ambience of the restaurant is indeed one of the top factors that determine whether you are going to visit the place a second time, or stay at it at all now. Now, whether you are in a Michelin Star establishment or your local diner, there are rules that need to be followed so that the patrons of the place feel comfortable and can thoroughly enjoy their experience:

  1. The tables should not be too close to each other, because personal space is always important

  2. The hygiene standards that are being followed at the place should be high and this should be clear from the moment you enter

  3. Music and other entertainment should complement the dining experience, not overtake it: you would want to be able to have a conversation with your company, right?

  4. The decoration of the restaurant should fit its profile and, preferably, not be too demanding on the eye

If those four simple principles are being followed, chances are that you have found yourself in a very nice place.

The service

Another very important thing when it comes to nice restaurants is the service you get. After all, it is an inseparable part of the whole experience. Classier places tend to have hosts who greet you at the door and lead you to your table, and also several waiters specializing in different things – one will recommend you a good bottle of wine, other will tell you about the menu and suggest a meal best fitted to your tastes if necessary. But even if you are not at such a place, but rather a cheaper, more down-to-earth restaurant, you still should expect some level of good attitude from the people serving your food. Just remember that politeness is a two-way street. If you want your waiter to smile and be nice to talk to, you should be too. And do not forget to compensate the person for their hard work making your meal enjoyable with a suitable tip. Most people working on such positions in the service industry make only minimal wage and depend largely on tips to make a decent living. That actually stimulates them further to do their job well, when you come to think of it.

Table: Restaurant guides around the world



Rating system

Method for rating

Michelin Guide


1 to 3 stars

Professional inspectors

Gault Millau


1 to 20 points

Local agents

Automobile Association


1 to 5 rosettes

Professional inspectors

Gambero Rosso

Italy and San Marino

1 to 3 forks

Local agents

Forbes Travel Guide

United States

1 to 5 stars

Industry professionals and consumers


United States

1 to 30 points

Public reviews

Kingfisher Explocity Food Guide



Professional inspectors

The food

Now, there is no point in telling you that even if you have the best table and the best waiter in the world, you are unlikely to be left with a good impression of a certain restaurant if the food you are being served does not measure up to your expectations. This could be quite tricky, because as you know very well, everyone has different tastes and preferences. A vegetarian is quite unlikely to give a high rating to a steak house, much like a person who has lactose intolerance would feel at home at the Cheesecake Factory for example. But if you get yourself acquainted with the menu in advance – nowadays most good restaurants have websites where you can easily do that from home – you will most definitely be able to assess whether or not you should try out this particular place. And once you have actually tasted the food that is being served there, you will be in a position to decide whether or not you will be coming back to that same place again.

Location, location, location

Food, service and atmosphere are more or less easy to assess on some objective level. While the last factor that we have mentioned, the location of the place in question, is purely subjective. Naturally, it should be located in a good neighborhood that has plenty of options to travel to, or to be at a walking distance from your home or work in order for you to thoroughly enjoy your dining experience on a regular basis there.

But when you come to think of it, a good restaurant is a good restaurant no matter whether it is in Philadelphia, New York or Barcelona. It all comes down to the way you have come to find it, and whether you will be grabbing a bite while you are travelling or looking for the best place for your regular Friday night out. So, no matter what corner of the world the restaurant is, what is important for it in terms of location is that it is easy to find and in a pleasant neighborhood that you feel safe venturing into.

And while we are on this particular subject, in case you ever find yourself in Fishtown in Philadelphia, why not check out our own fine restaurant – Mad Rex?

A good restaurant is a mix of atmosphere, service and foodCaption: A good restaurant is a mix of atmosphere, service and food

Good food is vital to the good restaurant experience

Caption: Good food is vital to the good restaurant experience

Quality service is always a must

Caption: Quality service is always a must