With today’s resources on the internet, there is no shortage of ways to find local restaurants. Review websites, restaurant critics, and foodie blogs are everywhere these days, and even a restaurant’s Facebook page can give you a good idea of others’ opinions. In most large cities, like New York, L.A., or London, there are so many options that it could potentially complicate things if you’re out with a group. One person is in the mood for burritos, another wants curry, and somebody else might want a traditional Sunday roast dinner.
However, there are ways to determine which restaurants are good restaurants for everyone without it ending in bloodshed (or, at least, some very harsh words). If you’re out with friends and trying to avoid the inevitable argument over where to eat, here are some ways to find the best option of all restaurants in the area.
- Determine a budget: It’s no secret that dining out can be pricey. In London, for example, the average meal will cost £37.35, and just a visit to the pub is at least £10.88 per person. While it’s good to ask your dinner companions how much they’re willing to spend, sometimes it’s all about intuition. For instance, if you know one of your mates just lost his job, he probably won’t have the money to dine at a restaurant with Michelin stars. However, if the occasion is to celebrate a birthday, a new job, or another milestone, then it’s safe to assume that most guests will be able to spend a bit more on their meals. When in doubt, however, just ask.
- Check online reviews: Even though you have to take an online review with a grain of salt, a general consensus can still help you determine the quality of an establishment. If you see a lot of one- and two-star reviews on Yelp, or if a quick Google search pulls up several customer complaints, it may be best to look elsewhere. And remember: even good restaurants can sometimes have bad reviews, so it’s not uncommon to see people flock to the internet to air their grievances, no matter how minor. Focus on looking at the good reviews, too, to get a balanced idea of what you’re in for.
- Select a diverse menu: If you know that the members of your group have different food preferences, or if there’s anyone with a food allergy, you’ll want to ensure that there are enough menu items to please everyone. However, don’t get too hung up on choosing a restaurant with everything; some people won’t be 100% satisfied no matter what you do. Remind yourself that it’s about the experience of getting everyone together, too — and a delicious meal at a great restaurant is like the icing on the cake.
Still unsure how to find good restaurants in your area? Ask for recommendations from others. Most people are quick to tell others about their favorite places to eat. In large cities like London, people dine out an average of four times a week, so even if you don’t know any foodies, you’ll know someone who can recommend a good restaurant.
How do you choose a great place for a meal when you go out? Tell us in the comments section. More research here.