Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ten Ways To Tell a Restaurant Will Suck Before You Take a Bite

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 11:35 AM

click to enlarge FOODRADARISON.jpg

Foodar -- the sixth sense for good restaurants -- is hard to explain, but if you have it, you know what it feels like.

Some tiny nondescript place in a strip mall inexplicably calls out to you, and it turns out to have amazing food. Or a place is crowded with happy-looking people, yet you just know it's going to suck.

But how do you know?

Intuition is often your unconscious mind processing information that, if you stopped and thought about it, would make perfect sense. Because I care so much about food, I've been trying to unravel the clues behind foodar for years. Here's what I've come up with.

click to enlarge A dish of fried shrimp doesn't require any fresh ingredients - JASON LAM
  • Jason Lam
  • A dish of fried shrimp doesn't require any fresh ingredients

10. It's ethnic food, but nobody of that ethnicity is eating there

You don't have to ask other diners if they're Korean or Japanese or Chinese, but if there isn't anybody who might be, get out of the tofu soup house.

click to enlarge I102c_th.jpg

9. Many diners are wearing t-shirts sporting the name of the town you're in

Restaurants for tourists don't have to be good, so usually they're not.

8. Miller Light paid for the menu

If you see big color pictures of mass-market beverages, assume your food will be made about the same way.

7. Seafood has a large section of the menu, but all of it is shrimp

Shrimp is almost never fresh. Restaurants that don't want to deal with fresh foods will choose it over fish every time.

6. Nobody's eating there when nearby restaurants are full

Sometimes price can be responsible for this, or a restaurant might be brand new (though in this town, that's an advantage). Bad restaurants usually don't get a lot of repeat business from neighbors.

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

About The Author

W. Blake Gray


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Fear FestEvil 2015
    Calibree Photography brings back photos from Fear FestEvil 2015 at Rockbar Theater in San Jose on Friday, April 11. Performances included freak shows, and bands: Ghoul, Orchid, and High On Fire.
  • Cherry Blossom Festival @ Japantown
    Beth LaBerge brings back photos from the 2015 Cherry Blossom Festival. Events continue next weekend including the parade on April 19.