There are a number of issues that are generically included in restaurant reviews, and the quality of the review is sometimes contingent on the breadth of experience of the person writing the review and on that person's prior visits to the restaurant in question. This latter point is important because...
There are a number of issues that are generically included in restaurant reviews, and the quality of the review is sometimes contingent on the breadth of experience of the person writing the review and on that person's prior visits to the restaurant in question. This latter point is important because repeat visits to a particular restaurant may serve to enlighten the reader as to whether the restaurant has improved since the last review or, conversely, whether the quality of food, service, ambiance, etc., has gone downhill. Occasionally, a restaurant owner will solicit a return visit by a reviewer in an effort at getting an improved grade based upon changes that were implemented since the previous review was published. Replacing cook staff, for instance, or narrowing the scope of a previously expansive menu to fewer, more specialized items may result in the reviewer being singularly impressed by those changes. In general, however, a restaurant review focuses on the following main areas:
1. History: What is the history of the restaurant? Is it a new addition to downtown or to a particular neighborhood, or has it been around a while and attracted a steady clientele? Is the owner/manager/chef a transplant from another city or restaurant within the current city and why is he or she here now? Is it because he or she developed a reputation for quality cuisine?
2. Ambiance: How is the restaurant designed in terms of exterior architecture and interior arrangements? If the restaurant seeks to cater to families, is it a family-friendly design? If it seeks to cater to young, upwardly-mobile singles, does it reflect a certain level of sophistication? Is it tastefully adorned? Is it well-maintained? These are the types of details readers want when considering whether to give the restaurant a try. Does the location correlate to the desired clientele?
3. Food: Obviously, the quality and variety of food offered constitutes a major portion of any restaurant review. Are the options on the menu attractive? Do those options reflect details provided in #2; in effect, do the menu options cater sufficiently to the desired clientele? Calamari as an appetizer does not appeal to many children, but it does appeal to professionals having a business lunch. Is the quality and, sometimes, quantity of food served appetizing? If the food's not good, the ambiance and entertainment better be seriously good or nobody is going to come. How is the food served? Does the presentation bespeak attention to details like the visual aspect of food service? Upper-scale restaurants pay a great deal of attention to how the plate looks when placed before the customer. Flourishes may be a part of the effort at attracting a certain clientele.
4. Service: The quality of the service at a restaurant is an important consideration for most customers. Nobody likes to wait an inordinate amount of time for their wait staff to bring menus, to take orders, to bring the food, and to leave, retrieve, and leave the material associated with the financial transaction (i.e., leave the check, pick up the check with the customer's credit card, process the payment, and return the bill to the customer for signature). Efficiency of the restaurant's operation is a key draw for families needing to get children fed and home and for business people on a tight schedule. Is the staff polite and professional in its interactions with customers?
These are the main issues covered in restaurant reviews. Below are links to websites that provide additional information on how to structure a restaurant review.