Do not order the specials unless the restaurant has a good reputation as being a quality establishment. Most specials are just left overs thrown together into a dish to use them before they spoil. It is better to order a regular appetizer or entree.
Bring along some gifts for the host if you did not make reservations. Things like expensive candy bars or other small tokens could get you into the restaurant. This does not always work.
Many restaurants put a low-quality wine as the second least expensive one on the list. You should never order the second least expensive wine. Order the most inexpensive wine when on a budget unless you know exactly what you are doing.
If you do not have much time to sit in a restaurant or bar, then ask for the check as soon as you are done ordering. The server will be able to calculate your total right away. This lets you eat and pay without having to spend five minutes attempt to flag down your server later.
If you are dining on a budget, then avoid ordering inexpensive pasta dishes. It is almost always a better value to order a chicken or pork entree that has substantial ingredients. The only exception is if the restaurant specializes in pasta.
Always order wine by the bottle and not by the glass. Ordering by the glass is usually much more expensive. An added bonus is that you can take whatever is left in the bottle home with you later.
If you are planning to have more than one drink, then order two at once. This saves the server time and makes it easier for you to enjoy your drinks. Only do this the first or second time so that you do not order drinks you will not finish.
Most restaurants have a few unstable tables that can lead to spilled drinks or other accidents. You should bring along a book to deal with this problem. Put the book under the unstable table in order to stop it from moving while you eat.
If you suddenly discover that you are missing something at your table like silverware, then stop servers going into the kitchen. Ask them just before they go in the back. This will improve the chance your request will not be forgotten.
You want to approach new sushi bars carefully. Always start by ordering some simple tuna sashimi. This basic sashimi will give you a very accurate view of the quality of the fish and food at the sushi bar.
Act like a restaurant reviewer when making reservations over the phone in order to potentially get special treatment. Ask many questions about the hours, the property and anything else specific you can think of. This might make your dining experience more enjoyable.
If you suddenly realize you need or are missing one thing, then stop and assess whether you need anything else. Try to ask your server for everything you need all at once. This will save time and frustration.
You always want to eat in a clean restaurant in order to prevent problems like food poisoning. A simple way to quickly tell whether the restaurant is sanitary is to duck into the bathrooms. If the bathrooms are a mess, then you can assume the kitchen is not as clean as you would like.
Bring along some reading material when you decide to eat alone. Do not plan to use a laptop or talk on a cell phone the whole time. Consider bringing newspapers, magazines or books to ensure your privacy at the table.
Always be kind to the servers in the restaurant even if you do not like the food or are having other problems. Being rude to the servers will not make anything better. Be polite, kind and respectful.