6 Restaurant Hacks to Get the Most out of Your Next Meal Out

We're all a little out of practice when visiting restaurants, thanks to Covid, so maybe we need some hacks to help us get the most out of our next meal out. You can make any meal at any restaurant just a little bit better with the following hacks.

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The Answer is Always "Yes"

Restaurant critics suggest that the answer to "Have you dined with us before?" should always be "Yes", that way you'll be saved from hearing whatever prescribed spiel the waiter's been told to tell all new customers. And when you're asked how your meal should be prepared, always answer, "However the chef suggests." Why make the chef attempt anything other than the dish they usually prepare?

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Eat at the Bar

Have you ever eaten at the bar of a restaurant? That seems pretty odd to most of us, but that's what restaurant critics do, and they have a very good reason for doing it. Of course, it's a lot easier. It's also quicker than waiting for a table, particularly if you're dining alone. But none of those are the main reasons you should eat at the bar. You get better service at the bar. Someone's generally in front of you, and they often want you away from the bar. You don't need to eat a full meal at the bar either, and there's little pressure to order food as long as you have a drink in your hand.


If you're eating alone or on a relaxed occasion, why not dine when others aren't? Do you need to be part of the scum for seats and food and drink? Why not dine early? Off-peak, dining's a little like eating at the bar. There's very little waiting time with either approach, and there's no expectation that you should have a full meal. You'll find the service more relaxed. Your waiter will answer questions and leave you for longer to choose your dishes. Overall, it's a more leisurely experience than dining at lunchtime or in the evening.

The Good Stuff

Most of us dine out on a budget. If you're rich, you'll be watching the calories rather than the pennies. You won't want a supermarket level experience either way. That starts with the breadbasket. Don't accept flavourless packaged rolls. You need chef-prepared bread. The charcuterie board is another place you have to be aware of. A collection of house-cured meats is worth dipping into your wallet for, but mass-produced meats need to be avoided. To enjoy your meal out, ask what's prepared on the premises.

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The Menu

You need to translate most menus. Even those in English are full of ad-speak. You even get this sort of language when you buy ready salted crisps are "lightly sea salted". On a menu, the language is maximised to draw your attention. It disguises fish and chips or a burger with fries, so they sound a bit more exotic. The layout of the menu's essential too. Your eyes are drawn to certain dishes that help the restaurant maximise profit. To get around this, you could seek recommendations before you go, or you could walk in and sit down with a clear idea of what you want to eat before you lay eyes on the menu.


It's undercooked or overpriced or just bland because we eat so much of it, but chicken shouldn't be avoided. A chef needs real culinary skills to change the average bird into a decent dish. Even a roast chicken is worth considering. It's something we've all eaten many times before, but if cooked to perfection, the crispy golden skin and juicy meat make for the perfect meal.

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