Ex-Restaurant Critic Offers 11 Tips for Dining Out.

Possibly. Regional magazine monthly. I edited restaurant reviews and directories. My husband and I visited many restaurants on the company's dime while I planned, edited, and wrote cover stories on the best burgers, pizza, and brunches in town.

Restaurants are like books. Consider your needs before choosing a restaurant.
If you want to impress the in-laws, go somewhere with great service. Don't go to a busy pub for a quiet conversation.

1. Choose your restaurant 

Knowing what to expect at a new restaurant is easy. Fly safely.
Check Yelp and other apps for reviews before you go. This can help you decide which dishes not to miss.

2. Check reviews and online menus

Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve are sometimes called "amateur night" at restaurants, meaning they're packed with people who don't often eat out.
Servers say inexperienced diners may not tip well. "Amateur night" is harsh. Dissing those who want a special occasion every so often seems snobbish to me.

3. Stay away on Hallmark holidays

Social media can provide coupons and discounts from restaurants.
It's harder, yes. Why not enjoy restaurant deals?
"9 Ways to Save up to 50% on Your Next Restaurant Meal" has more money-saving tips.

4. Use deals and coupons

I give a new restaurant two months to get going once I'm no longer required to dine there.
Some critics believe that if a restaurant charges real money for food, it should be good from the start.

5. Give a new eatery time to hit its groove

If you love to dine out but find it expensive, try going for lunch instead of dinner.
At lunch, prices are cheaper, portions are smaller, and you may find specials not available at dinner.

6. Let’s do lunch (and not dinner)

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