If you enjoy Italian cuisine, you probably visit Italian restaurants at least a few times per month. Whether you’re a frequent patron or just a part-time visitor, here are five restaurant hacks that you need to learn to ensure your visit is absolutely satisfying every time.
1. Ask For A Wine Sample
If you’re having Italian for dinner, wine is almost a requirement. But when there are so many choices on a menu, some you may have never had before, it’s difficult to choose the best one without trying it first.
Many restaurants will allow their patrons to sample the wines before they choose a glass or bottle to purchase. Simply ask your server if you can have a wine sample before you decide, and you should be able to sample at least a couple of varieties.
Wine is not something you want to take a chance on. Some wines are dry, white and red wines are different; we could go on for days about the differences in wine varieties. The point is, try before you buy is always a smart practice for those items you’re unsure of.
2. Just Because Your Favorite Dish Isn’t On The Menu…
You sit down at an Italian restaurant, and for some strange reason, the menu doesn’t include chicken parmesan. This is an outrage, as it’s your absolute favorite Italian dish and the reason you wanted Italian tonight to begin with.
Instead of letting the lack of such a dish ruin the evening, all you have to do is request this dish from the server. The chef should have everything to make it, and the knowledge to do so if it was on the menu at one time.
In addition to possibly getting the dish you want, the renewed interest in an old favorite may even inspire the restaurant to bring it back for a limited time or permanently, depending on the level of interest among other patrons.
If it’s a dish that’s constantly being requested, the restaurant will be more likely to seriously consider bringing it back. You can help jumpstart the process by making your request. If the restaurant declines the request, simply let them know how important the dish is to you! You may inspire some changes in the menu.
3. Ask For Different Stuffing
If you love ravioli or stuffed manicotti noodles, you know that the stuffing is what really makes the dish. These noodles can be stuffed with just about anything, from veggies to ground meat to just cheese, or all three.
If you’re vegan or simply want to try a different stuffing, try asking your server to switch it up for you. As long as the restaurant isn’t serving pre-stuffed, frozen ravioli, this should be a simple task for the chef.
This great Henderson Italian restaurant Bottiglia, is one such that offers a level of customization to its dishes. Bottigilia utilizes fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients in their food and everything is made with care in their sophisticated kitchen. If you’re looking for authenticity, this is the place to go.
4. Ask For Extra Sauces Or Dressing
A good sauce is central to any great Italian dish, and what’s a salad without a fantastic dressing to spice it up? If the sauce is your favorite part of the dish, you don’t have to be confined to just the portion you’re served with.
In fact, most restaurants will honor a request for extra sauce or dressing at no extra cost to you (or at least they should). You can also try mixing sauces together. Let’s say you order the chicken alfredo, but you want red sauce as well. Ask your server to substitute half alfredo and half red sauce so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
5. Ask If The Restaurant Has An Email List
Who doesn’t enjoy coupons and discounts? Most modern restaurants, retail stores, and other establishments have some kind of email program in which they send out coupons and advertisements for special deals.
If you have a favorite Italian spot, the next time you visit ask if the restaurant collects emails for coupons. You might find that you get some really great coupons for free dishes, discounted favorites, or free sides.
Most email lists allow you to unsubscribe at any time, so there’s really no commitment if you sign up. The best part is, you’ll be on the inside of the best deals the restaurant has to offer, and never miss another special.
Some restaurants even send out post-visit surveys which you can fill out. Sometimes, they’ll offer coupons or even gift cards for your participation, or a chance to win sweepstakes. Either way, there’s really no downside to signing up, especially if you eat there often.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask!
If you’re unsatisfied with something or just unsure, don’t be afraid to ask your server for details or even ask for a manager. The best thing you can do when you’re not sure about a menu item or the price is to check with someone who can clarify things for you.
Remember that you can get wine samples, different stuffings, extra sauce, and much more at most restaurants simply by asking the server. If the restaurant simply can’t honor your request, you can always try again elsewhere. Don’t forget to ask about coupons and discount days!