Dining out in Comfort and Quiet

Yes, Cafe Juanita excellent over so many years! We also go to the Met Grill a couple times of year - old school, the happy noise of conviviality and a damn good steak!

Google “purple table”. It’s a policy that a place near me in Massachusetts instituted a few years ago, which has spread to other states. Participating restaurants provide seating away from bustle and noise, and train their servers to be decorous and patient. The purpose is to cater to patrons with dementia, autism spectrum, ADHD, etc. But if you find a place that cares about serving special needs diners, it will likely be a place with low noise that doesn’t crowd or rush you.

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Generally I like the trend towards a more casual experience, but I also dislike loud places or overly dark rooms. I’m more forgiving if it’s loud because it’s crowded and there is a more open feel to the restaurant; I dislike music blasting while I eat. Unless I’m eating at a bar or lounge where music and dim light are expected, I like having a conversation and being able to read a menu.

I don’t miss the dress code restaurants though. I’m not a guy, but I find the need for a jacket or tie to be silly. And if your restaurant turns into a bar after 9pm, and people need to come in in club-wear…ugh! Hard pass.


Agreed, very annoying if the wait is compulsory and more than 10 minutes. Usually restaurants that are crowded and don’t accept reservations, going to skip that.

I’ve been known to go early if they don’t take reservations and I really want to go. We have a new place where I live that I love. It opened recently and is very small. Reservations for 6 or more only. If we want to go, we go early. This place, you can’t even really wait at the bar - that’s too crowded too. But early its so pleasant.


Yeah, usually this work, if one can. But sometimes, you can’t go to have dinner at 6 pm when you aren’t even hungry. LOL!

True dat, but if I know I’m going to do that I make sure I’m hungry!

We usually dine out at the ungodly hour of 5PM. I skip lunch on the weekends so I’m nice and hungry. It is nice and peaceful then. Sometimes we even have the restaurant to ourselves for a little while. The service isn’t as rushed, and I can even talk to the chef and staff at our regular restaurants.


That’s nice. Most places here, they open their doors at 7:30 pm. Once we arrived 15 minutes earlier than our reservation, they insisted they were not opened, they asked us to return at the right time. Luckily the service was professional and made us forgave this unpleasant part.

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That is pretty late to first open for dinner, and also very rude of them not to at least let you sit down, or wait inside the restaurant. They didn’t have to serve you until 7:30, but at least they could have let you come inside. I would never return to a restaurant with such poor customer service. There used to be a restaurant like that in NJ, that has since closed. They wouldn’t open their doors until exactly 5PM, even if it was snowing or raining outside. You had to wait out in the snow or rain.

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I checked my note again, actually it was 10 minutes early. The head server said he needed to change light bulbs and some other stuff.

There was another time, we arrived early in another restaurant, we were stopped at the door, not even allowed to go inside. Their answer, the restaurant was not yet opened.

I don’t know, husband feels fine with that, maybe culture?

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I see two overlapping issues in this discussion. One is fine dining and the other is noise.
We enjoy fine dining. It’s a night out on which we expect good food, good service, and pleasant surroundings.
Noise is a different issue. We have our favorite pedestrian Chinese, Indian, sushi, and new American places where we can actually hear each other. I really do NOT want “vibe” or “beat” or “excitement” when I am paying for someone else to cook for me. I want good food, reasonable service, and to be able to converse with my companions without yelling or passing notes. That’s just not okay.
I’m not shy about saying so either - we’ll leave. I’ll Yelp. I may be grumpy and curmudgeonly but I’m good at it.


Short answer is “yes”, although I really don’t like the phrase “fine dining”. I know what it isn’t but I’m never really sure what it is.

We have dinner out usually once a week and have twenty places that we visit more or less on rotation (albeit not slavishly). There’s a number of them that will almost certainly fit anyone’s definition of fine dining. One of them, a Michelin 1* place, opens its reservations on the first of the month for bookings three months hence. We have just spent an hour constantly redialling them before we got through.

We’ve also decided that, once a quarter, we will dine at a high end place somewhere in the UK. The intent is to keep us in touch with that level of cooking and, as it is bound to involve an overnight stay, will be a mini-break for us. We enjoyed the Quarter 1 meal in London, have a Quarter 2 meal in Edinburgh booked for next month. And, for Quarter 3, had planned to book a 2* place in Nottingham. They also open they also open their reservations on the first of the month. And we’ve spent another hour this morning trying to get through - but did eventually secure a table for July.