Everyone has one of those days when you want to go to a restaurant, eat a good meal, and unwind in a relaxing environment. I have those days often because I love a good excuse to eat out!
Simple things make my experience superb.
I’m not talking about good food. We all know delicious food is a must. I’m talking about the ambiance, the energy, or the good ole vibe of the place.
Whatever you call it, it’s almost as important as the food if not equally important.
What’s one of the first things you notice entering a restaurant? Me? I notice how many people are in the waiting area.
Then, I peek into the dining area and scope out the size of the crowd and the available tables. If I see a booth in the corner, you’d better believe I’m requesting it!
I don’t want to eat at a restaurant where I can hear the conversation at the next table.
Where I sit is crucial to my enjoyment of a meal. Yes, I’m one of “those” people. I don’t like to be sitting in the middle of the restaurant surrounded by tables full of people. If certain restaurants wouldn’t cram the tables so close together, it wouldn’t be so bad.
I am not the only one who feels that way. I’ve overheard many customers request to be seated elsewhere when seated right on top of another table. I understand the servers may have to walk an extra few feet to get to me but I tip well.
I ate at a so-called “Mexican” restaurant in Pittsburgh. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking. But I’ll explore Mexican food (or lack there of) in northern states another day.
I’ll never forget…while reading the menu of mashed potato stuffed taquitos and other items I’d never heard of, the music of Journey was playing loudly throughout the place.
I love Steve Perry and can sing along with most of his songs. But something about Journey playing while at a “Mexican” restaurant (and calling it “Mexican” is highly debatable), didn’t feel right.
People want to feel transported when eating food from a different culture. I want to hear Frank Sinatra while eating Italian, country music while eating BBQ, and Tejano music while eating Mexican food!
Stepping into a spot with the right tunes playing is a huge step in the right direction.
I don’t want to eat at a restaurant where I have to yell across my table to be heard.
There are instances where this would be OK. One would be if I were dining out with my kids. In which case, I’d know better than to expect a relaxing dining experience. Noise cancels out the kids, right?!
At a relaxing dinner with my husband, I like it quiet, but not too quiet.
I prefer to stay away from places with concrete floors and 50-foot ceilings, too. I enjoy an echo-free zone.
On gorgeous days, I love to sit outside and dine al fresco!
A restaurant with patio dining on a sunny day sets it apart from a restaurant without. Sipping a frozen cocktail under a dusty lampshade isn’t as therapeutic as sipping it outdoors under an umbrella, is it?
Sometimes if I’m lucky, I find dog-friendly patios. Huge plus! I feel guilty leaving my pup at home on pretty days so it’s nice to have the option to bring her.
Another wonderful extra is a view.
Ah! A room with a view. It can be a view of an atrium full of flowers, a window facing a sparkling lake, or an aquarium full of colorful fish. I would opt to sit by all of these. As a matter of fact, I ate at a restaurant last weekend and opted to wait longer to have a table by the window overlooking the choppy waves of the bay.
I know these things might not always be an option. In which case, the décor of the restaurant is runner up. Warm colors on the walls, neutral lighting overhead, and overall cleanliness can be almost be as effective as a nice view.
When asked what people enjoy most about dining out, many answered they enjoy being able to eat food they can’t particularly cook themselves. Can’t make a crispy chicken fried steak? Dine out and enjoy one. Have trouble making a creamy Alfredo sauce from scratch? Dine out and indulge!
Yes, food is always going to be the star of the show. But a close second is the ambiance and overall energy of a restaurant. If the food is good but the atmosphere isn’t, I’ll head over to a spot with the same quality of food and a better vibe. I could even argue, in some cases ambiance might come first. I want my money to be well spent and I want to enjoy my experience.
Because dining out is an experience we all want to enjoy.