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Eating out? Step by step guide on how to make your menu choice

Posted on 8th December 2010 in Gossip
Written by: Jen Dugdale

If you’re ever blinded by choice and simply stuck as to what to order when you dine out, The Telegraph offers some helpful tips to help you make your mind up!

A revolution in dining
Restaurants have changed dramatically over the last few years and now there’s much more choice out there. It can be baffling if you don’t know what you’re doing and have no idea what to order. The Telegraph reckons the key is to make the most of the experts around you…

The waiter knows best
When you go out to eat you can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice, particularly when you’re so used to rustling up whatever’s in the freezer at home. Some menus have endless lists of dishes, not to mention specials menus, kids menus, seasonal menus, etc. The bottom line is that if you’re confused, ask your waiter what’s what! Great restaurants will employ staff who know (or train staff to make sure they know) their menus inside out. If you know what food mood you’re in, why not ask if there’s something they’d recommend?

Making your selection
If you’re visiting a new restaurant, ask the waiter what the most popular dishes are and what foods suit particular moods/occasions. You can even ask what their favourite dish is, or what they think the chef is particularly good at making. Or you could just go for a dish that you know you’d like, and try something more ambitious next time you visit.

Eat what you want to eat
Don’t necessarily feel pressured to eat in the order the menu suggests. If you want a starter for a main or a dessert for a starter, then go for it! You should eat what satisfies your cravings and mood at the time. You could always try asking for a bigger portion size and convert those exciting starter menus into main courses too. Or if you’re not feeling too hungry, you can make your selection and save money as well!

Divide and rule
If you’re dining with a group of friends or family, sharing platters can be a godsend. Tapas restaurants are equally as good and that way you get to have a little of everything, rather than having to commit to one choice. The Telegraph’s top tip is to make sure you ask how many portions come in each starter (so you don’t get caught out when you’re in a group of four and there are only three morsels!)

Don’t settle for average
If you’re a veggie or have food allergies or intolerances (or even if you’re on a diet), remember that you shouldn’t have to settle for an average meal. Make sure you inform the waiter when you arrive and have a look at the options available to you before you commit to eating there. If it’s a good restaurant, you should be able to adjust dishes to make them suitable to you. Just be upfront from the start!