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How clean is your kitchen?

-and other ways to choose a restaurant

When you’re away from home and eating out, just how do you find a good restaurant?

There are so many sources of recommendations these days, that it can be rather overwhelming.  Personally, I keep a list of recommendations on my phone  for places I think I’ll be likely to go as I come across them, say in the weekend papers, or maybe a personal recommendation.

Failing that, I use Tripadvisor (with an added pinch of salt) and Google for other recommendations and reviews.  There’s a bit of a knack to using Tripadvisor I think, and I reckon I’m getting better at it.  Sometimes the restaurants at the top of the list are there because they are cheap, not necessarily because they are good.  The other trick is not to spend too long studying the grades and reviews, or your holiday will be over and you’ll still be trying to decide!

Another aspect I’m sure everyone is keen to be aware of, is the cleanliness of a kitchen.  A dirty kitchen is my mother’s particular bête noire – give her the chance and she’d inspect every kitchen before she sits down.  Do the chef’s hands look clean, is the kitchen tidy, that kind of thing.  As a child I remember not even going into a hotel we had reserved at because the net curtains were dirty!

She’s 93 now and doesn’t eat out often, but I’m sure she’d approve of this latest tool I’ve discovered: an interactive cleanliness map of the UK (minus Scotland) showing cleanliness ratings as awarded by the Food Standards Authority (Scotland has a different inspection authority which is why it is missing from this map).  The red dots, by the way, are the ones to avoid.  To give it a go click here.

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