What is a "nice" restaurant?

I can’t speak for that location, but I’ve been to three different ones, and even though the ones in my area are all in shopping plazas (which, to your point, would suggest that it’s not a fancy place), they’re definitely more upscale than typical casual dining restaurants.

They position themselves as being particularly appropriate for romantic dinners or special occasions, in part because they design their restaurants so that each individual table or booth is pretty secluded – with high walls between booths, you usually don’t see, or hear, more than one or two other tables, at most, when you’re dining.

Also, it’s a long dining experience. If you get all three fondue courses (appetizer, entree, dessert), it’s about a two-hour dinner.

Gawd, me, too. I really want to sit down and have someone serve me dinner.

I get that. I live with my husband and adult daughter, and we take turns cooking. But i want a fancy meal from a nice restaurant, with lots of interesting bits and bobs. Sigh.

The last time I ate at a restaurant that wasn’t fast food was back in July. I think it met the definition of “nice.”

I had the Dover sole. She had the langoustine.

You might be shocked to find out there are different cultural practices around all kinds of things. It probably should not be much of a surprise to you when an American talking about nice restaurants takes an American centric viewpoint. I would say the more unusual thing would be thinking someone would be familiar with restaurant practices in every country on earth instead of mostly being familiar with their own.

I’m American, and I was surprised by the valet parking thing, too. That’s not something i expect at a nice restaurant. Most of the nice restaurants I’ve been to have either been in cities where the expectation is that customers arrive by cab, or in suburbs with ample easy parking.

While I might normally agree a restaurant over a 7-11 on spec probably isn’t nice…that image you linked to is probably an exception to the rule, for one that’s the nicest 7-11 I’ve ever seen, and the general upkeep of the building etc is nice.

There’s actually a lot of nice restaurants in shopping plazas to be honest, they’re kind of a logical place to have a restaurant if you are out of the urban center. In cities like NYC and Chicago where the urban centers are so huge and so historically built up with mass numbers of high quality restaurants, you probably don’t see it as much, but in a place like the DC Metro area there’s actually plenty of really nice restaurants in suburban shopping plazas. I’ve seen similar in Florida and a few cities in Texas I’ve been in, I suspect it’s more common in places that developed large and “nice” suburbs prior to the core city getting crazy built up.

In my experience, valet parking occurs where there is limited parking at the restaurant (and may be required by the city) so that the cars are being taken a couple of blocks away or where the parking is so limited that the cars have to be parked really tightly to fit.

It’s somewhat regional–note that when I mentioned valet parking I specifically said it was an:

Primarily because while not every nice restaurant has valet parking, I’ve never seen a restaurant I wouldn’t classify as nice that does have valet parking.

Some cursory google research suggests valet parking is most common in the Northeast, but I’ve noticed it was quite common in LA the last time I spent time there.

It’s not uncommon in Seattle for the very nice restaurants.

Like this one.

I’ve seen valet parking even at restaurants with their own parking lots -sometimes the valet parking is so that patrons don’t have to walk a few blocks between the restaurant and the car and other times it’s so cars can be parked so tightly they block others in, since valet will have the keys to the cars that are blocking other cars.

You THINK? The first and last time we were there I kept thinking “Do they think we don’t know how expensive a bowl of cheese is?”

I’ve eaten at amazing fondue places in Switzerland for a quarter of Melty Pot’s prices.

Valet parking is pretty much a hallmark of nice restaurants in Los Angeles.

Pre-COVID, I have regularly eaten at two restaurants, one on the west side and one just south of the airport that have valet parking…

Both are IHOPs

And those aren’t as expensive as some cities. We had an excellent upscale dinner at Salty’s (near Alki Beach, so we had a beautiful sunset view of the entire Seattle skyline). Great drinks, fresh king salmon and large filet mignons, it came out to about $45/person plus tip.

Our next upscale meal was in Manhattan… ouch.

Removed quoted Troll WE?

It depends. Victoria and Alberta’s at The Grand Floridian at Disney World does. I can’t think of any place here in Tucson that does. I work at a hotel with an upscale restaurant. Much of the year people are in shorts and tee-shirts.

I’ve been to the one in Pittsburgh. No complaints. They had an extensive wine list, and I’ve never known anyone who didn’t have a magnificent evening there. Unhurried multi course interactive meals are nice.

22 year old cheddar is going for $100/lb by me.

True, but it tickled me to see it listed too. While I’ve never been to the Fat Duck (no point - I don’t eat meat) I’ve been to a fair few very “nice” restaurants in London and none of them offer valet parking. It’s just not a thing in any part of Europe I’ve been to.

I agree with your general criteria, though. And it must be annoying that quite a lot of people are still acting as if “nice” means the food is good or you enjoy going there. I mean, there’s a cafe near me that’s famous as cafes go, with amazingly friendly staff and beautiful decor, and the food is genuinely a cut above, but it’s still a cafe that makes most of its money from full English breakfasts and you will only spend over a tenner if you order one of the humongous meals.

(Pellici’s, Bethnal Green if anyone’s curious https://epellicci.co.uk/).

And price isn’t necessarily a factor - Brasserie Zedel, the restaurant part not the upstairs cafe, is without a doubt “nice,” but most of the main courses are under £20.

(Menus | French Restaurant | Brasserie Zédel, Piccadilly)

Dress codes are extremely lax these days. Even at Claridge’s, say I’ve seen people in tracksuits. Most people dressed a little nicer than that, and some a lot nicer, but you won’t be turned away the door unless you’re actually semi-naked.

Yes, but Tacoma is a half-hour drive from my house and Switzerland isn’t. :slight_smile:

IIRC, the food itself only came to just over $200. The drinks, sales tax, and the tip (tipping 20% really adds up at that dollar amount) was what brought it up to $350.