How to Define a Fine Dining Restaurant

the falls restaurant kenmare co kerry ireland
Credit: Sheen Falls Lodge

If you’re looking for a special food-related experience, your best bet would be to visit an upscale restaurant whose cooking can tickle even the finest and most shy of your tastebuds. Visiting an upscale restaurant can be as great and significant of an experience as an entire holiday, which is why it typically has a hefty price tag attached. For this reason, you don’t want to spend your money in a place that fails to deliver your sought-after experience.

So, what is it that truly defines a fine dining restaurant? Truth be told, there are many factors that come into play here and appearances can be deceiving. We curated this guide specifically for you, so that you’ll be able to confidently find a fine dining restaurant you’ll always remember.

Aesthetics & Atmosphere

alberto blasetti settimo restaurant
Settimo Restaurant Rooftop Terrace. Credit: Alberto Blasetti

As with any establishment, the aesthetics and atmosphere play a huge part in the overall experience. If you’re in a place that dazzles you or makes you comfortable, the food and drink magically tend to taste much better and you’ll be enjoying your stay much more.

However, these two terms are very broad on their own and they constitute many subparts. The first thing you’ll likely notice in this area is the name of the restaurant. Names have the ability to turn us away or immediately draw us inside. This is also why many restaurants and businesses in general use services like Domainify to get a catchy name that really sells what they’re all about.

Décor is also very important in this aspect. Does the interior of the restaurant have a coherent style? Is it antique, modern, or a fusion in-between? Make sure to notice whether there is an idea behind it all, or whether the furniture is just there to be there.

Lighting, smells, and music are some minor aspects for you to take a look at. They closely relate to the atmosphere area. What mood do they help to create, and most importantly, is it a mood you enjoy?

Menu Design

Now that you’ve verified the appearance of the restaurant is up to shape, you have to look at the food that is being served. However, we’re not getting to the taste just yet. We have to examine the menu. A menu that is thought out with a certain direction and which is thematically sound is a good sign. The importance of menu design must come to the forefront.

This means that the menu mustn’t be massive. If it is filled with innumerable kinds of dishes from around the world, something is wrong. It shows a lack of direction, and it also poses a challenge for the chefs. How can you specialize when you’re dealing with anything from A to Z? A lower quality of food is the result, and then it all falls to the ground.

Also notice what is being offered regarding drinks and dessert. Here it is especially important to familiarize yourself with the name of wines being sold. Plenty of apps online allows you to look them up, check their prices, how people generally liked them, and which food they complement well. If there is a clear match here between wine and food, that shows care and thought has gone into the selection. If you’re not much of a wine sampler to start with, fret not. Everyone can learn about wine, and it is worthwhile to do so.

Beware of the “Salt Bae Effect”

We mentioned in our introduction that appearances aren’t always everything. This is because a growing number of restaurants these days are presenting themselves as upscale and as places of fine dining without having any substance.

Do any of you remember an older meme about a Turkish chef famously titled “Salt Bae” due to his seemingly fancy way of adding salt to grilled meats? Today he is the owner of several restaurants.

Thanks to his fame, it is an incredibly expensive place that prides itself on serving meat glazed in edible gold. Such a steak can cost thousands of dollars, which would make you think this must be a very delicious cut of meat. However, the story is much different.

Plenty of guests who’ve visited the restaurant report of the meat being mediocre at best, and the gold is simply all flash. With low quality, flash for the show, and exorbitant prices that don’t match the experience offered, this all makes for an incredibly poor dining experience.

Watch out for restaurants that take this approach. You will not find what you’re looking for in the slightest.

Trained & Skilled Staff

Mimesi restaurant dining room florence
Mimesi Restaurant

All too often, people don’t appreciate the skill and training that goes into being a great waiter. It requires tact, the ability to keep your head cool, knowledge of food and drink, as well as treating guests well.

A true upscale restaurant will make sure that the staff of waiters they employ all have these necessary skills to guarantee that there’s magic between the kitchen and the tables themselves. Waiters are the outwards faces of the restaurant, and if they give off a vibe of professionalism you can lean back, and rest assured you’re in good hands and in for a great time.

Dress Code or No Dress Code?

man buttoning dress jacket

Finer establishments might sometimes require you to wear certain attire before entering the premises. This is often to maintain the atmosphere they’re going for, and for you as a guest it can also be a positive experience. How often do you get to go out in your suit or fine dress these days? Here is an occasion to do so.

Just remember that a dress-code is not always specified by the restaurant itself. It might simply be something they expect. So, try to gauge whether it’s necessary or not. In any case, dressing up nice never hurt anyone.

On the Road to a Great Experience

With all the tips and things to look out for in this guide, it should be quite easy for you to define and find an upscale restaurant that can give you a great experience to remember. All there’s left to say is enjoy your next fine dining restaurant experience!

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