How Do You Select A Restaurant?

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If you think about it, going to a new restaurant, is sort of like going on a blind date. Depending on whether or not it’s a set-up by a mutual friend, you may or may not know anything about your date. Similar to a new restaurant, depending on if it’s a recommendation, you may or may not know anything about the restaurant.

So like blind dates, when it comes to my food, I also don’t like ‘surprises’! What’s even worse about new restaurants is that you are agreeing to pay for food BEFORE you have tasted it, so it could go either way! As soon as you step foot inside a restaurant, they’ve got you.

Before visiting a restaurant for the first time, I like to read reviews and if they have one, check out their website, view their online menu, etc. Two sites that I’ve found helpful for reviews, specific to my city, are Urbanspoon (Toronto) and Restaurantica.

I find Urbanspoon has more updates with new reviews, restaurants, and is quick to remove restaurants that have since closed.  HOWEVER, the site is well moderated and is also quick to remove reviews that contain “unfair” comments that the restaurant cannot defend.  For example, I’ve reported a ladybug, strand of hair in my food, and have written about a server who was playing with her ponytail, all true, but all those reviews were promptly removed, shortly after they were posted.

On the other hand, Restaurantica is slower with their updates, corrections, and basically a free-for-all in terms of what is posted.  (Here is where I can repost my ladybug, hair, and tales of rude customer service! 😉

A couple of things worth mentioning is to be aware of potentially ‘fake’ reviews created by restaurant owners and competition alike.  (A tip-off is if a reviewer only has 1 review that is vague, short, and mainly negative – possibly mentioning the name of another place that is much better.)  Also keep in mind that everyone’s taste will vary, so take comments with a grain of salt – unless a joint has a 0% rating!

Both websites are free and all you have to do is register.  I’m not into apps, but apparently Urbanspoon has one that chooses a restaurant for you, slot machine style, depending on where you are!

(I’ve never used Yelp myself, but that’s another site worth checkin’ out.)

Through both websites, I’ve discovered soo many new restaurants within my city as it can be a daunting task to find a good meal!

11 responses to “How Do You Select A Restaurant?”

  1. Sally says:

    What recommendations do you have near the ACC?


  2. dealsniffer says:

    sorry but I want to say that you pay for any food before you buy it in a grocery store or restaurant. why make it sound like it is something unique to restaurants? just my opinion though. You also pay for movies before seeing them and other services as well. no offence but just something that really bothered me about your post is all.

  3. dealsniffer says:

    sorry one last thing I forgot to mention-they don’t have you once you step foot into a restaurant. You can leave if you want before ordering food. I have gone to a restaurant and took a look at the menu and said thanks but no thanks-the prices were way higher than they used to be(hadn’t been there in awhile) and the music was super loud that they had playing. You can always leave-you are not stuck there once you step foot in a restaurant.

  4. maple_bling says:

    Hmmn, you have some points dealsniffer but when I go to a movie i’m not laying down at least $100 per viewing. When I go out to dinner thats what I’m most likely going to spend that much with my partner. Big difference when your paying ahead.

  5. Sarah says:

    Hahahah good old modern toilet restaurant! We went to one last year and it was such an experience! Your drinks come in cups shaped like urinals, and your food either in a bathtub or toilet! LOL

  6. sam says:

    where is the modern toilet restaurant located in toronot?

  7. Christina says:

    Yelp is actually a really good place for reviews. As well as

  8. dealsniffer says:

    maple bling it must be nice to be able to spend that much for one meal. I couldn’t even afford to pay that kind of money for my whole family to eat out. So I guess I would not know the luxury of putting down that kind of money for a meal. sorry but most normal places have meals for 10-15.00 a meal which is the same as a movie ticket. also my point wasn’t how much you put down for a meal but that you still pay before hand. you pay before hand for many services. if you are putting down that kind of money for a meal then it is your choice to do so. but for most people who don’t have so much money, the cost between dinner and a movie isn’t that different.

  9. cindy says:

    Also, when you go to a grocery store you get to see the food before you buy it (even though you may not know exactly how it tastes) – and many movie theatres have policies where you can get a refund if you leave within the first certain number of minutes. Usually it’s the first 15-30 minutes or so.

    Restaurants you can also leave after you’ve sat down… but because you’re dealing directly with one waiter/waitress it can be a little more awkward 😉 especially if you’re at a small place where you have the owner serving you! I’ve had that experience once. I’m glad we stayed because the food was really good and worth the bit of a premium 🙂 – but we didn’t know that would be the case.

  10. Sally says:

    Sure you can leave, but I’ve been to some pretty nice restaurants that looked good and the food was not up to par. If I had researched it first I might of not went there. When my husband and I go out for a nice dinner were going to spend around the $100 mark. He doesn’t drink alcohol, but I’ll have a glass of wine, we’ll split an appetizer, entress are generally around the $30 each mark then we may or may not have dessert. Even places like the Keg our bill runs around $100. So to me it’s different then grabbing something small at a grocery store or going to the movies. It’s dissapointing when you drop that kind of money on a meal and it was horrible. You can’t tell if a restaurants food is going to be up to par by viewing a menu.

    I guess $100 is ridiculous to some but when your going to an upscale restaurant thats nothing. We don’t do this weekly or anything, maybe half a dozen times a year though.

  11. Laura says:

    I think the main difference between the movie outing and a restaurant outing, is that a movie is the same each time you see it. It will have the same start, middle and end no matter where or when you see it. For most good restaurants, there are a variety of chefs and sous-chefs and ingredients will vary according to season and supplier. I know many people who will only eat at certain restaurants on certain nights because the head chef is the one cooking. You might pay the same price two nights but find the quality and presentation of food to be quite different.
    Also, a lot of restaurants I go to have changing menus based on what the chef would like to make and what ingredients are available. Some dishes may not be as good as others.

    When I look at restaurants, I look at consistency of reviews, reputation of the head chef or owner, and style of dining. I usually use urban spoon or chow, depending where I am.


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