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2 min read

Lighter Notes

Is good food a sure sign of a good restaurant?

A travel writer offers an assessment of relevance everywhere, including Guernsey

Guernsey Seafront

A rhetorical question, surely?  How can any aspiring restaurant be good without good food?  Well, here’s my take on it, after years of travel visiting many such establishments, good and bad.  Keep in mind, we’re talking about establishments with serious business ambition here, not fast-food “greasy spoons”.  For such a restaurant to be good, what I seek – indeed must have – is the following simple set of requirements, and in this order:

— Someone to notice our arrival and guide us to a table

— The prompt provision of a menu (including a wine menu), and unprompted provision of water

— An invitation to order a drink

— Advice that any unrequested pre-meal bites (fresh bread with oil and balsamic vinegar, for example) are or are not part of a cover charge

— Timely recognition that we are ready to order our food

— No excessive pouring of wine, especially not to empty the bottle prematurely and ask if we’d like another

— Hot food if it supposed to be hot and – if you please – on hot plates

— No clearing of plates before everyone at the table has finished their main course

— A polite delay between finishing a main course and inquiring about a dessert

— No clearing of dessert plates before everyone has finished

— A polite delay before inquiring about tea or coffee

— A discreet and preferably unprompted production of the bill

— A clear statement on the bill regarding service charges and gratuities

— A readiness to take payment as soon as the customer has dug out his credit card

It may well be that, after patronising a restaurant which offers good food, I will proclaim this feature to my friends.  But if the service falls short on all these other counts, I am unlikely to say it is a good restaurant.  And yes, if the food is not good, any failures on the service front are going to undermine it altogether.

Note, I have not mentioned price…but when you look at the list, it is surprising how simple are the things that one will pay up for in a restaurant.

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