Something totally awesomesauce happened, like you got a raise or your best friend got engaged or, heck, you just scored a really good deal on a bottle of your favorite Italian red. So, like any good foodie, you decide to go out to eat to celebrate! And not just anywhere, somewhere fun—and fancy.
But how can you be sure that you’re picking the best spot? Or that, once you get there, you don’t pick the one taste-dud on the menu? For those reasons (and more!), we thought we’d share a few of these tips from Lucy Taylor, head of restaurant relations at OpenTable, the leading site for restaurant reservations in the U.K. She shares her top tips on how to ensure that you make the most of your dining experience.
Oh, and be sure to read them in an English accent. Or pretend Hugh Grant is reading them to you. They’re even better that way!
Restaurant Tips: How to Make the Most of That Fancy Dinner Out
1. Eat at a less popular time to bag a table. If you have always wanted to eat at that exclusive restaurant but have never been able to get a reservation, why not to make a booking at a time that is less in demand, such as dinner before 6 p.m., brunch or lunch?
2. Don’t be afraid to make a special request. If you want to impress during your meal and make it a memorable experience, don’t be afraid to put in a special request upon booking. Are you celebrating? Tell the restaurant. Do you want that table by the window? Well, why not go ahead and ask? It is, however, important to arrive on time and be polite and well-mannered at all times as first impressions do count.
3. Check for special offers. Look out for special offers and money-off vouchers, which will allow your money to stretch further when eating out. The toptable mobile site and app available for iPhone, iPad and android, allows you to see a list of all restaurants that have special offers available within close vicinity of your current location. The time of day and week that you go out can also have an impact on how much you spend, with some restaurants offering mid-week or early-bird specials.
4. Try something you wouldn’t try at home. When dining out, try dishes that you wouldn’t be able to make yourself at home. Instead of a pasta dish, try delicacies such as sashimi or monkfish and try desserts such as chocolate fondant or crème brulee to ensure a truly memorable (and tasty!) experience.
5. Always read the reviews. If you are venturing somewhere a bit more lavish for that special meal, always ensure that you read up on the restaurant first to ensure that you are happy with your choice, that it works for your budget and that you like the menu it offers. Nothing worse than spending too much on a meal that’s not so great! (And if you’re in the U.K., check out toptable.co.uk, which features reviews that are written by people who have actually visited and eaten at the restaurants.)
What others tips would you add to this list? And what’s the best celebration dinner you’ve had out? What made it so darn deliciously special? —Jenn