Do you trust restaurant websites?

How many times have you researched a restaurant website, then found your visit to the actual restaurant not quite as represented? They go to all this expense to build a website and rarely keep it up to date. Like those sneaky travel sites…

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I go to the website to see the menu and the prices. If there are no prices, it honestly annoys me quite a bit. There’s a new place here that doesn’t have prices. I want to know in advance what the range is going to be. And reading the menu lets me know how something is done. Overall I think most places do a very good job.

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I trust no one!! About 2 years ago I was leaving an appointment around 8pm, I had a hankering for a good steak at a fairly new restaurant I had started going to. Pulled out my phone to make sure the kitchen would still be open after my 1+ drive to get there, yep kitchen closes at 10pm on Mondays! Hooray!!!

I speed up the highway anxiously anticipating the juicy flavorful prime beef I am about to enjoy, filled with gleeful joy as I pull up at 9:15pm to a completely dark restaurant with a sing reading " Closed Monday’s". I double checked the web site, it clearly showed hours on Monday’s on their schedule, but they were closed.

Next day I called to complain and received a tempid “sorry about that”. :rage:


Just as a tip if you travel, never trust a restaurant website in Italy to have accurate information about hours/closing days/etc. Always call ahead. Many restaurants are reluctant to put their prices online (don’t ask me why, but in general Italian culture has much different attitudes about money + values, and talking about money/pricing). However, every Italian restaurant that has a paper menu will put a menu outside, or in the window or right inside the front door with accurate prices, so you can always know before you go in. Some places however just don’t have a menu, period, except a spoken menu – but those places are usually quite cheap.

A great many of the best restaurants in Italy have daily dishes that are market-based, and often that day’s best dishes aren’t even on the printed menu, let alone online.

Generally a website for a restaurant in Italy is good for seeing pictures of the owner’s family and the neighborhood, and reading “la storia” – the history of how the restaurant came into being. Most restaurants in Italy serve the local recipes, so most people going probably don’t need to see a menu online anyway.

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I use them to look at the menu . I’ll research what I would like before going . I’m terrible at making a quick decision at the table . What really fools me is the menu descriptions .

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How so?

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I have visions of the description . It’s not them it’s me .


I’d say France, or at least Paris, is the same.

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Could you post one as an example please? It would be interesting.

Coincidentally here’s a local menu that I just received via email.

Ok . Take for instance Forest Floor off that menu . When I think of a savory tart . Immediately what comes to mind is the Alsatian Tart Flambé . Puff pastry rolled out into a small pizza disc . The dough would be docked to prevent puffing . A small amount of crème fraiche would be spread over the dough topped with lightly cooked bacon and onions . I’m rambling , make this anyway for a treat . Cook in the oven , don’t know temp off hand .
I would imagine the Forest floor to be like this , whipped cheese onto the dough, whatever that is , topped with smoked mushroom and maybe a little onion relish spread on top . Sounds terrible . There you go .

So are you saying that when you study a menu that you try to imagine it to be how you want it to be rather than how it’s described? Not being argumentative.

Me neither . I’m packing at the moment headed for Shasta city and McCloud tomorrow .
How do you read the Forest Floor description ? I live in a world of tooth fairies and gumdrops when it comes to menus :sunglasses:

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I hate no prices on the website. I also hate when there are pictures of dishes that aren’t even on the menu. I see something I think I’d like and there is no such dish described.

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I rarely had this problem, but usually, I called before hand to make reservation, because the restaurants I went were usually small, no chance if you just turn up and get seated at all.

In France, check also the Facebook page for restaurants in France, it seems they are usually up to date.

I usually check several sources before deciding on a restaurant, especially if the website of the restaurant of the restaurant were dated a few years. Usually the price and menu are not to be trusted (At least in France).

Actually not my experience. In small town northern France (which is where I visit), menus go unchanged over many years. No sense of seasonality in the cooking - whereas, in the UK, I would reasonably expect similar bistro type places to be changing three or four times a year.

For example, in the last day or so, I’ve been looking at the menu at a place I’ve visited a number of times and plan to return to soon. The menu seems completely unchanged over the ten years or so I’ve been eating there.

That’s very nice to hear there are still some very good and honest place in spite of the difficult economic context and the perpetual raising of food price.

It’s difficult to find these type of restaurants in Paris, many bistro type starts modest, but with success, the price raise can be incredible, and even cancel the lunch formula and only have à la carte.

Of course, I’m only eating there once in every year or so, so not a problem to have the same thing. Their 29€ menu is a bargain. I’ll be having ficelle Picard, filet with a sauce Maroilles, cheese and dessert.