View Full Version : Restaurants : how much importance do you give to ambiance & wine compared to food ?

10-02-12, 13:29
Restaurant rating can be done in different ways. The famous Michelin Red Guide attributes its stars and recommendations solely based on the food, but including and giving considerable weight to wine. Their criteria are:

Quality of the products
Mastery of flavour and cooking
"Personality" of the cuisine
Value for the money
Consistency between visits

A separate rating (forks and spoons) is given for the atmosphere and 'luxuriousness' of the place. I am not aware that the quality of service is taken into consideration for Michelin ratings, though terrible service would surely have a negative incidence.

Gault & Millau, the other leading French restaurant guide, base their rating only on the quality of the food as well, and comment on the ambiance, service and price separately.

Gambero Rosso (Red Shrimp), an Italian culinary magazine that also publish their restaurant and wine guides (for Italy) have an interesting way of attributing points. On a scale from 1 to 100, a score of 60 points is given for the food, 20 points for the wine list, 10 for the service, and the remaining 10 for the ambiance.

Personally, I would give more importance to the ambiance and décor, as much as 30 points, but only 10 points for wine* and also 10 for service. This is because the best food cannot be enjoyed properly in a place where one doesn't feel comfortable. Excessive noise especially, and tables too close from one another is a big turn off for me. That is the kind of factor that prevents me from returning to (or sometimes even entering) a restaurant, no matter how good was the food.

I would like to hear other opinions in that regard. Am I part of a minority in thinking that the atmosphere should be given more weight in restaurant ratings ?

* I like wine, but I don't drink much because I usually drive or want to keep a clear head for thinking. I could be perfectly satisfied eating out without drinking anything but still water.