In today’s culture, eating out has become somewhat a routine. We are used to eating at various restaurants, try all kinds of dishes and repeat. There’s nothing special about it, just the usual monotony of satisfying our need for food. But every so often, by chance or on purpose, we experience the joy of fine dining. So what does fine dining really mean? What makes a restaurant stand out from all the others that we have tried but that didn’t leave any impression on us?
Everything starts the minute you open the door, long before you get a chance to look at the menu. Once you’ve entered the restaurant the first thing you notice or, to better say, feel is the atmosphere of the place. It’s not about playing classical music or having lavish decorations, but about a sense of coherence in every detail, from the table setting to the lights, artwork, music and even the smell of the place. All the pieces have to come together to form a whole in a subtle manner. No restaurant should look like it’s trying too hard to impress with an in-your-face style. The “less is more” approach works best.
If the first impression is right, then you’re off to a great start. Service comes next. A fine dining restaurant must have highly-trained staff and beginners aren’t going to meet the standards. Making your customers feel welcomed and paying attention to their needs and preferences is crucial. The servers have to know how to greet clients, how to explain what’s in the menu and they also must be able to offer suggestions when asked.
Speaking about the menu, that’s another turning point of the adventure. Dealing with a menu that looks more like a dictionary is one way of losing your appetite. Even the most skilled of the servers can’t help you without turning the whole experience into a gastronomy lesson. What a fine dining restaurant should have is an interesting selection of dishes, long enough to feel like there are sufficient options and short enough to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
And finally, food! Food is not only meant to satisfy your hunger. When you’re famished even the tablecloth looks delicious. At a fine dining restaurant food is regarded as a work of art. From the ingredients that are used to the chef’s cooking technique and the way the dish is presented, everything plays an important role. Obviously, everything you eat must taste divine. There’s no place for ordinary comfort food. The dishes should have something to set them apart, a twist in the way they were created. The chef’s mark must be felt in every bite.
Ultimately, fine dining is not just about eating; it’s about the whole package. The entire process should have a special rhythm and flow like it was carefully orchestrated by someone invisible. The course of the events should run smoothly in the most natural way, leaving guests with the feeling of a unique experience.