What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU?

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emhahn
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2003/06/09 14:12:16 (permalink)

What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU?

If you were going to list the things that make a great dining experience, what would you list?
Because I am a long time pro in the business, I have my own criteria. But for those of you who enjoy eating out often, what makes the event memorable?
Just curious.....
Eric
[url]www.RestaurantEdge.com[/url]
#1

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    RubyRose
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 14:27:55 (permalink)
    #1 the actual taste of the food

    #2 a clean restroom
    #2
    scbuzz
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 15:09:53 (permalink)
    #1 Great tasting, freshly prepared food !

    #2 Nice atmosphere

    #3 Great Service

    #4 Clean restrooms are nice too !

    #3
    Bushie
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 15:18:59 (permalink)
    Waitresses that call you, "Hon".
    #4
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 15:26:28 (permalink)
    Food so good it makes my eyes roll back in my head, great service, and a setting where I don't feel jammed in, and hurried, like I'm a guest and not an annoyance in the staff's social time.
    #5
    Michael Stern
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 15:43:32 (permalink)
    Passion in the restaurant; a sense of purpose and joy in making and serving food. That usually adds up to something good to eat, but even if it doesn't, it's always fundamental to great dining. That, and a comfortable chair.
    #6
    EdSails
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 15:54:09 (permalink)
    Staff that makes you feel like a regular-----even if you aren't.
    #7
    ocdreamr
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 15:57:04 (permalink)
    Bushie
    Your a Baltmoreon at heart!! All true Baltimore waitresses call you "Hon"!!
    First requirement - Good service because if the service is bad, even if the food is great, it can put a bad edge on everthing.
    Second requirement - Well prepared food - don't try to give me something you don't know how to make. I'd rather go to a place that does one thing and does it well (that little hot dog stand down the road) Then someplace that offers a menu the size of "War & Peace" and can't fix any of it passibly.
    Third requirement - I go with Michael on this - a confortable seat. Maybe uncomfortable seating is designed to cause rapid turnover but it also prevents me from returning.
    Fourth requirement - I go with the clean rest rooms & make them easily accessible. Nothing worse than having to hike up or down 2 or 3 flights of stairs to use the rest room!
    #8
    chezkatie
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 16:23:28 (permalink)
    Something servered to me that makes me think "Wow-----this is about the best I have ever eaten.". s server that does not look down their nose at me and really seems to be enjoying their job, and most of all...........the feeling that people really care that you have chosen to dine at this particular place and take pride in what they have to offer!
    #9
    mayor al
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 16:25:27 (permalink)
    I agree with ALL of the above, but Micheal's comment strikes home to me. These comments are designed around a sit-down 'special night out' type of dinner, but can be applied in varying degrees to any dinner.
    I want to be comfortable and feel welcome, so the atmosphere and furnishings should be appropriate for my comfort. Greetings should be 'genuine' as opposed to the pasted on "I'm ur server thing". There is a fine line between a friendly greeting and sitting down with me like we are old friends to discuss my order (OutBack Style).
    I don't want to be concerned with my personal health or safety. Can we park in a safe area, Is the place clean, including utensils and rest rooms.
    I want Timely,friendly service. Timing between courses is important. If something is not satisfactory does the server volunteer to make things right or do you have to call on other staff?
    Does the place serve Food that is prepared with care and pride. I want hot food served hot, and Cold food served cold. Dining is a combination of the senses that culminates in a happy experience. If the noise level is so high that I can't hear my steak sizzling, I am missing out on part of that experience. Does it LOOK good as well as taste good?
    If I am a first-time visitor to the establishment having the 'rules of the house' or any special information presented as if they cared that I understood what was going on without being 'food-snobs'.
    Having verbal descriptions after entree items can help if one is unfamiliar with some of the dishes available... but the constant need to put numbers in as part of the description , while informative, begins to make a menu look like a stock quote. I don't care if my chops are 8oz each, tell me if they are 'petite or huge' that will be sufficient.
    If the place is a family restaurant are their appropriate activities for small children (coloring books etc) to divert their attention from inappropriate behavior?
    Does the staff handle special requests well? (birthday cakes, etc) (no siinging please).
    Was the bill presented in a timely, and accurate fashion?
    Will I go away from this dinner looking forward to returning soon?
    NOW, don't apply any of these criteria to a visit to Arthur Bryant's or your fav Dog-Stand. But when the time comes for a relaxing Dining Experience, to me, these are the things that matters.
    I'll even give you an example... The Claudia Sander's Chicken Place in Shelbyville, KY. The chicken is good, some of the other choices are better...but what makes it great is the relaxing, clean, comfortable friendly experience that adds up to a really nice dining experience
    #10
    Sundancer7
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 16:35:15 (permalink)
    Defining a great dining experience is like trying to define what good service is. I have always defined good service a a combination of everything. Anything negatively detracts. My position regarding a great dining experience would be:

    1: Super clean from the kitchen, the front, restrooms
    2: Employee appearance
    3: Attitude of restaurant
    4; Quality of taste
    5: Wait persons attentiveness
    6: Presentation
    7: Value

    8: My attitude. This is a variable that is hard to define. If I am in some sort of rotten mood, sometimes I tend to be over critical.

    The above can apply to any eating establishment regardless of their price range.
    I cannot eat nor will I eat in any place that is not a stickler for cleanliness. I can understand a temporary mess left by a messy customer, but you can tell if it has been cleaned before the incident.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #11
    CheeseWit
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 16:37:15 (permalink)
    Friendly, competent staff; food done with a passion; comfortable atmosphere; a feeling that I received good value for my money; an easy to read menu or no menu at all (a menu sign or blackboard).
    #12
    jpatweb
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2003/06/09 16:51:47 (permalink)
    Food that doesn't make me think I would have been better off eating at home.
    #13
    carlton pierre
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/23 17:43:14 (permalink)
    Something unusual, an interesting conversation of sorts with the waiter/waitress or a member of the staff. Interesting decor. Not hokey like an Applebees or Chili's, but something genuine, photos, or something of local color. The rest, good food, good service, etc., should be taken for granted, don't you think?

    carl reitz
    #14
    tiki
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/24 06:58:30 (permalink)
    i want to be served good food by folks that WANT to serve good food ,in place that makes me feel comfortable eating there! Seems pretty simple but for some reason it dosent happen alot!
    #15
    tmiles
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/25 12:46:21 (permalink)
    All of that is important, but I think that the company is most important. Without friends and family, I would just as soon stay home or go to McDonalds.
    #16
    varelas
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/25 13:41:56 (permalink)
    Good food AND good friends.
    #17
    renfrew
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/25 13:50:43 (permalink)
    in addition to all that was mentioned, a place that actually knows what to charge. So many places gouge you on things that dont need to.
    #18
    tmiles
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/25 15:35:04 (permalink)
    To add to renfrews very good point about "things we don't need". We are all used to the little tent displays advertising desert/drinks etc that take up too much room on an already small table in the chain restaurants. One of my favorite restaurants has removed the white tablecloths and put in colored tablecloths with those plexiglass covers. It is ok to to move downscale, but the prices have stayed the same and they now put a bottle of mineral water on each table. It is in the way, and if you break the seal, you pay.
    #19
    hungovergourmet
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/25 19:54:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tmiles

    All of that is important, but I think that the company is most important. Without friends and family, I would just as soon stay home or go to McDonalds.


    I'm surprised that everybody was focused on the food and surroundings and things like the restrooms! I'm in complete agreement with tmiles... the company is tops for me. If I'm sharing it with folks whose company I enjoy it doesn't matter how good or bad the food is.
    #20
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/25 21:14:44 (permalink)
    In order for a dining experience to be memorable for me my wife's presence was required. She died in 1998 and I'll never have another memorable dining experience.
    #21
    max4951
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/10/30 21:41:51 (permalink)
    Unfortunately some of the most memorable dining experiences I've ever had have been because they were monumentally bad. Some of the worst have been in "exclusive" places in Dallas and Houston. Most were bad not because of the food but because of the waitstaff being unconserned when there were problems or just plain harder to find than Jimmy Hoffa.
    That's why I prize the time I get to spend at The Silver Flame (a steak house) in Tulsa Oklahoma. Great food, good selection, attentive waiters, great atmosphere (Have I given the impression I like the place?)Even the piano bar in the evening is fun.
    #22
    jjs
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/18 23:36:48 (permalink)
    Please just give me some REAL food! A polite waitress and I'm happy. Oh, but I only have one old hangup left...a 'real' napkin! I don't have to have a real tablecloth but please a real napkin! Come to think of it...maybe I should start carrying my own. jennifer
    #23
    Bushie
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/18 23:46:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jjs

    Oh, but I only have one old hangup left...a 'real' napkin! I don't have to have a real tablecloth but please a real napkin!

    But it must be a cotton or linen napkin! Those nylon rags that many restaurants offer are COMPLETELY worthless.
    #24
    lleechef
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/19 01:53:16 (permalink)
    1. Fabulous food. (Doesn't matter what kind)

    2. Fabulous service.

    3. Decent wine or beer or libation of choice.

    #25
    WeRoadTravel
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/19 06:46:56 (permalink)
    #1 The history and atmosphere

    #2 Great tasting, freshly prepared food !

    #3 Talking to the locals
    #26
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/19 11:00:30 (permalink)
    I am with almost everybody else on this one. I travel alot and atmosphere is nothing compared to sincere service and great food.

    Honestly, the sincere service can make up for less-than-great food.

    Even at one of my favorite no-service place Peco's Pit in Seattle, the big smile from the lady who takes your money adds to the experience.
    #27
    rwschemquest
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/29 15:16:58 (permalink)
    For me, (in the following order):

    1. The place HAS to be clean and look clean.

    2. The food needs to taste really good and not like something I can make at home or find in a frozen entree.

    3. REAL no smoking area -- or better yet, no smoking building

    4. Quiet so you can actually talk if you are with anyone.

    5. Since I travel and eat alone a LOT, I like some light and a place to spread out the newspaper or magazine when I eat (sometimes even when I am with someone).

    6. Can't rush me.

    7. Good service without the waiter or waitress being a pest.

    8. I am gonna get a lot of heat for this one, but I much prefer to NOT have gay wait persons (I was at least partially politically correct).

    quote:
    Originally posted by emhahn

    If you were going to list the things that make a great dining experience, what would you list?
    Because I am a long time pro in the business, I have my own criteria. But for those of you who enjoy eating out often, what makes the event memorable?
    Just curious.....
    Eric
    [url]www.RestaurantEdge.com[/url]
    #28
    Cakes
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/29 15:47:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rwschemquest


    8. I am gonna get a lot of heat for this one, but I much prefer to NOT have gay wait persons (I was at least partially politically correct).


    Do you ask?

    Cakes
    #29
    Bill B.
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    RE: What Makes A Memorable Dining Experience for YOU? 2004/11/29 16:00:25 (permalink)
    This calls for Justice Stewart's Razor: I can't define it, but I know a great Roadfood joint when I eat at one.

    But here are a couple of criteria: First, it will not be pretentious. The emphasis will be on food, not on surroundings. Second, once I've eaten there, I will find myself making detours to go back!
    #30
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