Nothing compares to enjoying a steak dinner out on the town. When patrons visit their favorite establishment, there are a number of elements that have to come together in order for the meal to be truly satisfying, and for the overall experience to be positive. A satisfying dinner in a steakhouse that boasts quality service and an unbeatable atmosphere will ensure that good times are had by all — but how do you make sure of this, when you’re looking for a steakhouse?

Reading reviews is one way to separate the professionals from the amateurs. Here are some of the common traits of positive steakhouse reviews you should keep on eye out for next time you’re looking for a quality establishment in your area.

1. Helpful and friendly staff

Whether it’s the hosts who greet guest and seat them at a table or the waitstaff who help them make the right menu selections for their party, patrons get more out of a steakhouse experience when their interactions with staff are positive, upbeat, and informative. If a guest asks to be seated at a different table, or requests a modification to a dish he or she orders, the staff should always cheerful and accommodating. This adds greatly to the dining experience and often leads to a glowing review. Guests who don’t receive good service are likely to leave the restaurant or make plans to visit another establishment when they want a good steak.

2. Constant menu favorites

Many customers love to come in and order the same thing every single time. If their long-time favorite meal is not available, they are likely to complain. Paying attention to the customer’s feedback will make them more likely to return again, even if their favorite dish is no longer served. Furthermore, steakhouses who start by serving meals with high quality and fresh ingredients — only reduce the quality of their food later — do not receive positive feedback from guests. The best reviews are reserved for steakhouses who deliver a consistent level of quality and service.

3. Managing big crowds

A number of guests who leave positive steakhouse reviews comment that they were seated quickly with no waiting — in other words, their table was ready when they arrived. On the flip side, people often leave negative feedback for steakhouses who don’t seat guests in a timely manner. Knowing how to predict the business flow during certain times, and how to manage a full house without disenfranchising their guests, is an important trait of a first class steakhouse.

4. Full portions and quality throughout

Guests like to praise steakhouses who offer full, robust portions and good drinks. No part of the experience should be an afterthought, and no one should leave hungry. If they do, that steakhouse is likely to get a negative review.

5. Steaks done right

Preparing steaks to order — that is, to the specific level of doneness — is absolutely vital. This often shows in positive reviews. When the steak isn’t prepared right, it shows in the way people write about their experience. If a patron orders their steak ‘medium’ and is served a medium-rare or well-done steak, the chef has dropped the ball — pure and simple.

A high-class steakhouse without breaking the bank

When it comes to steakhouses, ‘high class’ doesn’t have to mean extremely expensive. Many steakhouses represent the best quality in their area, at prices that are relatively modest and enable patrons to splurge a bit more. If you want to make sure your steakhouse experience is on target, be on the lookout for positive reviews with all of the characteristics mentioned here.