Fine dining Photo: Thinkstock
Do some research
It would be nice to think that these days it’s possible for you to go to any city suburb or small town and be guaranteed good, fresh food. Sadly, despite a growing interest in food and significant increase in the number of high-quality restaurants, taking pot luck remains a risky business. From time to time you are still likely to encounter frozen food, sloppily prepared and presented with a limp salad garnish.
But there are excellent restaurants out there and the chances are that you’re within striking distance, but you’ll have to track them down. The best source of information will be a reliable friend or acquaintance who likes good food. If you are going to a part of the country where you don’t know anyone, consult a good guide book.
If you’re staying in a hotel, ask the reception staff for advice, but be wary of places run by their relatives or friends.
Get a second opinion
If you’re trying to book a restaurant for a special occasion, such as a birthday or a major anniversary, it’s worth digging a little deeper. Once you have a shortlist, take a look at a few restaurant web sites. Most sites should give you the information you require, including sample menus and possibly a view of the dining area. If you have the time, it might be worth an exploratory visit, maybe for lunch, which is likely to be cheaper than dinner but should give you an idea of whether the place meets your requirements.
Know when to keep it simple
If you find yourself in a restaurant that doesn’t entirely inspire you with confidence – perhaps there are coffee stains on the menu, or a smell of cooking fat pervades the room, or the staff look bored – then it’s best to keep your order simple. Don’t go for the ‘fish special’ or anything too complex. Stick to plain, straightforward dishes instead.
If you are in a pizza restaurant, order the pizza; it’s likely to be a better bet than the token pasta dish.
Learn what’s in season
Given the fact that supermarkets have a range of soft summer berries on their shelves all year, it’s not surprising that many people
are confused about seasonality. You may have also wondered why even local strawberries seem to be in the shops earlier than when you were younger. It’s not just global warming, but because growers are increasingly using polytunnels to extend the seasons. When a food is truly in season, it’s likely to have a fuller flavour and will also be at its cheapest. In-season home-grown food is also better for the environment as it hasn’t had to be shipped halfway around the world. If you get to know when locally grown fruit and vegetables are likely to be on the menu, you’ll find it easier to spot dishes that must be based on frozen or imported produce, so you can avoid them. Checking what looks good at your greengrocer will help you to identify what’s in season when, and to make sure
you enjoy food that is at its freshest and tastiest when you eat out.
Be wary of fancy language
Do not be drawn to a place that describes its food as ‘nestling in’ or ‘resting on a bed of’ and don’t be impressed by its use of adjectives – as in ‘simply stunning sardines’. Top chefs tend to prefer brief descriptions and the best restaurants generally let the food do the talking.
Post A Comment
Comments are published and responded to (if required) on a weekly basis. For queries or comments about our Sweepstakes and product purchases from our online store, please call Customer Service on 0800 400 060 or email email@example.com. Comments containing personal or inappropriate material may be modified or removed at our discretion.
Where would you love to travel this year?