Well, actually, I’ve not decided exactly what I’m going to eat yet. But I do know what I want – and don’t want – in a restaurant. And it applies whether that restaurant is part of a hotel, or not. It changes a bit – not a lot – according to the time of day, but let’s stick with dinner time.

I’d like to be greeted warmly and courteously when I arrive, and not left standing by the ‘Please Wait to be Seated’ sign for more than a few moments, if that.

I’d like to be shown to my table and have my chair – or, if necessary, the table – pulled out so I can easily seat myself.

I’d like a table that’s far enough away from others for me to have a private conversation, and for staff or customers who have to move between any two, to do so without bumping ny chair or my table.

If I am dining alone – and I often am, in my job – I would not like this to stop me having a window table; nor would I like it to result in my being seated close to the kitchen door or, worse, close to the route to and from the restrooms.

If I’m dining with others, I would like the table to be large enough for us all to have a full place setting – glasses and side plates included, rather than necessitating some items being moved to an nearby table so we can eat in comfort, and not have to keep our elbows tucked tightly to our sides throughout the meal.

I would like appropriate lighting, please, for the time of day and the occasion; it should be sufficient to read a menu and see the food on my plate – not on a par with my dentist’s surgery.

I would like the restaurant, however big, to be designed with intimacy in mind – and achieved. And I would also like the design, and choice of materials therein, to address the issue of accoustics. I want to be able to hear what my dinner companions, and the staff serving me, are saying – but not have to hear what everyone else in the room is talking about. I also do not want to hear clattering cutlery, dishes and glasses because every surface in sight deflects sound, and none absorbs it.

I’d like a clean table cloth and a napkin that isn’t made of paper, please. And I’d like the glassware, china and cutlery I’m given to be spotlessly, sparklingly clean. I’d like plates to be warm if hot food is served on them, and glasses to be chilled, unless they hold red wine, port, brandy, cognac or whisky.

I’d like to be offered water soon after I arrive, please – and to have the option of iced tap water if I wish.

I’d like to be asked which wine I would like after – not before – I’ve decided what I am going to eat. And speaking of wine, I’d like there to be more than one rosé to choose from. Please!

Okay? Now I’d like the menu please…

Pat Richardson

About Pat Richardson

I'm a writer and journalist specialising in travel, and now work on a freelance basis, after 16 years as Travel Editor on a weekly women's magazine. The job (and yes, it is the best in the world!) has taken me to nearly 70 countries and hundreds of cities; I've taken numerous cruises, stayed in countless hotels, criss-crossed much of Europe by train, flown with most major airlines and many smaller ones. is based on my personal passion for hotels that were not originally hotels. I'll be blogging about hotels, destinations and travelling - and how to get more from all three. I hope you'll join me.
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