Larry Martino

Weekdays 3:00pm - 8:00pm

We all have our favorite restaurants where we know the menu by heart. But when you are dining out at a restaurant you have never been to before, it is a very good idea to ask your server some questions. It will lead to a better meal and a better dining experience.

I love going out to eat and I love trying new restaurants and different types of cuisine. However, I rarely ask my server any questions. I’m not talking about “what types of salad dressings do you have” or “do you serve Coke or Pepsi?” I’m talking about asking questions which may lead to a better meal and dining experience.

I read an article recently written by a Hillary Dixler Canavan, who is the restaurant editor for Dining out at restaurants is part of her job, so I consider her a professional. Her advice about asking your server questions made a lot of sense to me, and I am going to try it the next time I dine at a restaurant I have never visited before.

Canavan’s article on this topic advises that you do not ask all five of these questions. Asking one or two is a much better strategy. There is no guarantee that asking questions will lead to a better meal or dining experience, but it is a good way to start. It will also give you a good idea on how new your server might be in the industry or at this restaurant. You may even get answers from your server which may make you want to leave this restaurant and head to another one. But, you never know until you ask.

Here are five questions you can choose from the next time you are dining out. Bon appetit!


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Larry Martino is the long-time Afternoon Drive personality on 96.3 KKLZ. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of Larry Martino and not necessarily those of Beasley Media Group, LLC.

  • 1) Do You Have A Favorite Dish On The Menu?

    Dining Out: ask server about favorite dish on menu

    If the server does not have a favorite dish, you can change up the question to find out if there is a dish the chef is excited about, or a recent staff tasting that got all the servers excited about a menu item. The idea is to find out what the folks who work and eat there know about their restaurant’s menu and dishes.

  • 2) Is There A Dish This Restaurant Is Known For?

    Dining Out: Chef's renowned dish

    I think this is the first question I will probably ask when using this strategy at a restaurant I have never visited before. You may as well enjoy the dish that most of the patrons are raving about and why they return to this dining establishment. You may just want to find out if there is an appetizer or dessert that the server feels every table must order.

  • 3) Is There Anything Else You Think We Should Order?

    Dining out: Menu suggestions

    This is a good question if you are part of a large group of diners. Sometimes there are menu items like vegetables or potatoes that patrons must order a la carte. In this case, it is a good idea to ask your server if they feel you have ordered enough food for the table or if you have missed some items that will leave your party feeling like they have missed out on something.

  • 4) Can You Tell Me More About This Variety Of Wine?

    Dining out: wine suggestions

    There is nothing like pairing the perfect wine or beer that goes well with the main course you have ordered. It really enhances the meal. I really do not know much about wine except that red wines usually pair well with red meat, and white wines usually pair well with chicken and seafood. Canavan advises in her article that you should not be afraid to ask your server, bartender, or sommelier, about a specific variety of wine, or which wines might be available by the glass.

  • 5) Would It Be Possible To Sit At That Table Instead?

    Dining out: ask for a better table

    I am always a little bashful about asking a hostess or server something like this, although I have had people in my dining party who have asked. However, Canavan advises that it is perfectly acceptable to politely ask for a different table. Just be ready to accept a “No” answer with grace. The restaurant may be fully booked that night with a seating plan that is set in stone.

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