10 Things That Make for a Great Dining Experience

Take it from restaurant guru Monti Carlo: These bare-minimum hospitality practices set the stage for diners to enjoy a pleasant meal at any eatery.

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1: A Welcoming Staff from the Very Beginning

Here's what I love about hosts that greet you with a withering look: nothing. Being greeted with a genuine smile sets the stage for your entire experience.

2: Consistent, Frequent Service

Optimists aren't the only ones who see their water glass half full. You do too, throughout your entire meal if you're dining in a restaurant that takes greatness seriously. 

3: Careful Attention to All Details

Spots are for leopards and crumbs are for birds. Attention to detail and a clean, spotless table are a must, especially when it comes to glassware, silverware and dishware.

4: An Appropriate Noise Level

It makes me so happy when I don't have to shout at my partner in dine for him or her to hear me over the "ambiance." (Unless my dining companion eats the last bread roll without sharing, which brings me to No. 5...) 

5: Exciting Pre-Dinner Nibbles

When the meal starts with warm, fresh artisanal bread with an amazing olive oil or a beautiful compound butter that's been left at room temperature so it melts with just one look ... sigh. This is my moment of dining room zen.

6: Knowledgeable Servers

If I want an hour of no one having any answers, I can just watch the news. A well-informed staff that knows the menu inside and out, and can guide me through my choices, tells me I'm in for something good.

7: Relaxed Yet Efficient Service

Obviously the food should be #WONDERFUL, but it should also be well-timed. Meals should arrive in courses so the table never looks like a trough. The courses should also be complete. There's nothing worse than having to wait for your fellow diner's plate of food to make it to the table while yours sits right in front of you. It's enough to throw me into an existential crisis: #ShouldIWait?! #DoIStartWithoutThem?! #WasMyExRight?! #AmISelfish?! 

8: A Staff That Takes Responsibility

I don't want to feel like I'm in a bad relationship if something is wrong with my food. Mistakes happen, but a great server doesn't give a laundry list of excuses or push blame; she apologizes and fixes it ASAP.

9: Time to Eat a Meal in Peace

Ice Cube famously said: "Today was a great day. I didn't even have to use my AK." That's exactly how I feel when I don't have to shoo away a busser every few minutes. #YesIAmStillWorkingOnIt #SHEESH

10: Tidy Restrooms

You know that wave of relief that washes over you when your Tinder date actually looks like his picture? That's how it should feel when you open up the bathroom door at a fine establishment. #SoFreshAndSoCleanClean

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