Please wait, the site is loading...

Food

The experts' guide to eating out

by Helena Lang

The Zagat restaurant guides are some of our favourites when it comes to choosing where to eat in and around London. The reviews come from restaurant customers (rather than pernickety critics!) and give an honest reflection of the experience you can expect, whether you’re going to be queuing up for a burger at Pitt Cue Co in Soho or pushing the boat out at The Waterside Inn in Bray.

I caught up with founders of the guides, Tim and Nina Zagat, at the Duck and Waffle restaurant in London, where they were announcing the winners of their 2013 survey, to ask them for their top five tips on guaranteeing a great meal out.

The Duck and Waffle's signature dish, a fried duck egg with mustard maple syrup on a waffle

duck-and-waffle.jpg

Top tips:

1. ‘Think carefully about what it is you’re looking for,’ says Tim. ‘Do you love Italian food? Do you want somewhere romantic or somewhere the children can run amok? If you don’t give it much thought, you can’t blame the restaurant if the menu doesn’t appeal or the atmosphere isn’t right.’
2. ‘Read reviews,’ he adds. ‘Whether you buy a Zagat guide, get your information free at zagat.com or anywhere else, do your research.’
3. ‘Check out the menu before you go,’ says Nina. ‘Often people don’t and are shocked by the prices, or find there’s nothing they fancy. If the menu is a cuisine you don’t know or uses unfamiliar ingredients, do a bit of research first.’
4. ‘When choosing wine, tell the sommelier your budget and ask him to suggest the best one for that price. He buys the wine and knows the list, so his advice is best,’ says Tim.
5. ‘If you’re hosting a table with clients or for a family party, make sure you tell the restaurant in advance so that they seat you in the most appropriate place and run any queries by you. This is particularly important if you’re a woman, as many restaurants still assume a man is in charge,’ admits Tim.

What are your top tips when choosing where to eat out?

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years