What practical pearls of wisdom have you unearthed from eating out?

First things first: “Don’t fill up on bread, even if it’s really good,” says travelmad478, a lesson learned from hard experience. “If the bread’s good, the food will be good too, and then you’ll be sorry you don’t have room for it.”

If great bread signals that the entire menu will be well-prepared, the same can’t be said about fried chicken. “Don’t expect good sides at a fried chicken place or a barbecue place. If the chicken or barbecue are good, the rest will be filler,” says sueatmo. Additionally, “don’t order pasta at a steak house; don’t order steak at a pasta house,” says sueatmo.

Bada Bing suggests avoiding restaurants near tourist destinations: “[W]hen traveling, I never eat at a place where a central/prominent location probably accounts for much of the customer traffic. The food is generally dismal, overpriced, or both.”

Motosport loves diners but has learned a lesson about ordering from their giant menus. “Some diners have menus thicker than Bibles. They try to cover all the bases from burgers to surf and turf,” says Motosport. “In a diner K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid). Don’t order anything exotic. If you order a lobster tail someone from the kitchen staff will climb into the freezer and root around until they find the lobster tail that has been sitting there for 4 years.”

And jlhinwa has a fix for menu indecision: “If I am spending too much time trying to decide what to order because I am not really hungry or just ridiculously indecisive, don’t order. Or order simply. The more time I spend trying to pick just the right thing when I am not in the mood, the more likely I am to end up frustrated. No sense in wasting the money and inflicting my indecision on others.”

Discuss: I learned my lessons…

See more articles