Locating a Restaurant in USA

If you are hungry and do not find time to cook don't worry: there are many restaurants and fast food chains throughout USA. Some of the popular ones are Denny's (Open 24 hours), KFC, Burger King, Mc Donald's, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr., Sub-way, etc.
You will also find different cuisines in local restaurants: Mexican Restaurants, Italian Restaurants, Indian Restaurants, and Chinese Restaurants etc.

Tips for ordering food

  • Don't hesitate to ask and find out what is in the dish before you order.
  • At the restaurants, you won't get finger bowl. You can use paper napkins.
  • At the Indian restaurants, usually you can order "Thali" or "A La Carte". Both of them are served with some side dishes. Places with buffet are comparatively cheaper to Ala Carte. This is not an absolute rule and prices may vary.
  • At fast food joints and restaurants, you would be asked if the food is for "here" or "to go?. "Here" means that food will be served in the restaurant and "to go" means that food will be packed.
  • At most American restaurants, it is a custom to tip the server (not waiter). People tip a sum of 10% of the check (not bill).
  • At buffets, it is a custom to use a fresh plate for each next serving. Once you have finished eating, leave the plate on at the table itself and get a fresh plate for the next serving. The server will pick up the old plate.
  • At any Dine-in place, don't go and occupy any empty table yourself. Wait at the front desk and someone would assist you to get seated.
  • When you want a drink without ice, specify "No Ice" and not "Without Ice".
  • Are you a Vegetarian? Just be careful while ordering to specify "no meat" and do not use words like "without meat", "meat-less" as they don't understand these terms.
  • Some of the Indian Restaurants do not accept debit/credit cards, for example, in New York City there are many Indian restaurants that accept cash only. Do not be embarrassed to ask what credit cards are accepted at a restaurant. Normally you will find the names or signs of cards accepted at the front desk of a restaurant.
    • If you are ordering soup do mention that you want a vegetable stock and not the chicken stock in your soup. Most soups in American kitchen are prepared with chicken stock.
    • Some vegetables have different names in the USA. For example ladyfinger is called 'okra'. Similarly, brinjals are known as eggplants. Understanding the vegetable names will help you to know what you are ordering.
    • If you are confused about an item in the dish, ask if it is a vegetarian ingredient or not.

Tips for locating a restaurant

  • Ask your friends and family to suggest names of good local restaurants to you.
  • Normally all the malls have a food court with different food and coffee shops.
  • Search for restaurants on Google Maps. You can type keywords like Indian restaurant near xyz zip code or your address. Search the restaurant name on Yelp to look at reviews posted by other restaurant-goers.
  • For cars with built in GPS you can also check for Zagat ratings for a particular restaurant. If you have not installed Zagat on the GPS look for other sources of ratings on your GPS. Alternatively, if you have a smart phone like IPhone, Blackberry, Droid, etc you can quickly check restaurant locations and ratings anywhere. There are several apps available today that allow you to check for a specific kind of food joint.