What to Look For in a Steakhouse to Guarantee a Great Dining Experience

When dining out, one of the most popular food options is steak, regardless of whether it is a casual dinner or an extra special occasion.

But on top of the anticipation of sinking their teeth into a juicy steak, people are drawn to a wonderful overall steakhouse dining experience as well. Everyone is eager to bask in the cozy ambience, to treat themselves to excellent service by a knowledgeable staff, and to savor superb cuts of beef and other sumptuous dishes prepared exactly the way they want it.

However, not all steakhouses are created equal, so it’s crucial to identify which steakhouses qualify as the best in your location.

In the Middle East, for instance, there are plenty of dining establishments offering steaks, but not all of them deliver a superb experience. Luckily, experts share the crucial factors you should look at when choosing among the best steak restaurants in Abu Dhabi.

1. Quality of beef

There is no point in dining in a steakhouse if they don’t offer high-quality beef cuts. So before anything else, find out if the steak restaurant offers prime beef.

The main cuts served in steak restaurants are rib eye, T-bone, porterhouse, filet mignon, and New York strip. The rib eye is juicy and appetizing and has the most fat. T-bones have sections of tenderloin and the strip that is divided by the T-shaped bone. Porterhouse is a bigger version of the T-bone. The filet is a bit tender and has very little fat. And the NY strip is tender with a buttery taste and has less fat compared to the rib eye.

Moreover, the best steakhouses dry-age their beef so they can provide tender cuts and extraordinary flavor – something that their competitors can’t match. Items you should look for include Wagyu, John Stone beef, and Angus.

2. Preparation methods

The quality of the beef will be useless if the cut isn’t prepared properly. Steak preparation methods differ from one steakhouse to another, but the usual cooking methods include broiling, grilling, and searing. A well-prepared steak won’t need lots of seasoning aside from pepper and salt. Also, it must be cooked to your liking once it is served on your table.

Important Note: The degree of doneness of a steak depends on your own preference. The standard ones include well-done, medium-well, medium, medium-rare, and rare. But when it comes to prime meat, the ideal cooking temperature is medium-rare because this allows the meat to remain juicy and tender.

But if you want your steak to be prepared well-done, experts recommend ordering your steak medium and requesting for it to be served in a hot plate. This way, the heat from the plate will continue cooking your steak as you slice it, so it will not dry out.

3. Well-informed staff

Every staff in the steakhouse, including the newly hired ones, should be fully knowledgeable about their products. They should be able to answer any questions about the different cuts on the steak menu and even give you some recommendations for beverages and sides.

Nothing is more frustrating than a server who knows little about the menu and cannot converse well with customers.

4. Excellent Service

Service matters a lot, too. A great steakhouse experience is delivered by staff who are not just knowledgeable but also attentive and enthusiastic. In fact, the level of service can spell the difference between an enjoyable meal at a restaurant and a dull one.

For instance, servers should not make you feel rushed to finish your meal. Also, complete sets of plates and other dining utensils must be given at the same time. When you request for any additional cutlery or beverages, they should be at your service promptly (or better yet, they could observe your table, anticipate your needs and approach you with utensils or drink refills before you even ask for them).

In the event that they can’t address your request immediately, they should be polite in telling you so. But of course, you should interact with them with respect as well. 

5. Reasonable prices

It’s no secret that top-notch steaks are expensive. However, this does not mean that you should turn a blind eye on the prices. Before making reservations, aim to compare the menus from different steakhouses to make sure that prices are reasonable.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with splurging, provided that you are served what is perhaps the best steak meal you’ve ever had, and the superb dining experience is unmatched.

6. Welcoming ambience

Some steak restaurants offer classic leather booths and white tablecloths while others opt to go with modern decorations. In any case, there are some non-negotiables in terms of the dining ambience.

Choose a steakhouse where you can comfortably maintain an audible conversation at your table, even with the background noise, and where everything (the lighting, music, seating, table placement, decor, views, and temperature) works in harmony in encouraging you to indulge in your steak with gusto.

A steakhouse that gets winning marks on all these factors is your best choice. Remember that the key to having the best possible dining experience, regardless of whether you are looking for top-grade steaks or authentic Japanese cuisine, is to do your research before making reservations.


Jenene Bronwin Batts is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Saadiyat Beach Club. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives and all general guests’ enquiries for the company’s destinations, including KOI Restaurant & Lounge and Boa Steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.