Over 60% Of People Prefer To Visit This Style Of Restaurant

Whether it's a date night, a get-together with friends, or a family feast, Americans love a good night out at a restaurant. The best part about this type of meal, naturally, is that someone else is preparing it. Beyond that, however, the pleasures of the restaurant dining experience are apt to vary widely based on the style of restaurant one most prefers. If you value convenience above all else, for example, then you may favor fast food. If, on the other hand, you want to enjoy a romantic atmosphere or a multi-course, Michelin star-worthy culinary experience, then a fine dining restaurant is most definitely indicated.

All of which, of course, leads us inevitably to the real question: What is the style of restaurant that people most like to visit? So that's what we asked our Tasting Table readers, polling 515 respondents to determine what constitutes the popular taste on this topic. The survey results were overwhelmingly, and somewhat shockingly, conclusive. 

It was a landslide victory for the casual sit-down restaurant, which received 60.39% of the votes (or 311 responses). This type of restaurant typically specializes in friendly, unpretentious service with good food served in generous portions, whether it's American comfort food or internationally themed fare like Mexican or Italian cuisine. The casual sit-down restaurant is more formal than fast food, but not so formal as fine dining, where one might be expected to dress up for the occasion.

Fast food or fine dining?

The least favorite type of restaurant, at least according to our poll, was the cafe, which garnered the support of only 4.85% of our respondents (25 votes). Hey, we get it. This is more of a glorified coffee shop than the type of restaurant you'd like to visit on a night out. The fourth favorite of our five options, meanwhile, was the buffet, which received 9.71% (50 votes, double that of the cafe). Buffets certainly have their attractions. Not only can you choose your food, but very likely how much of it you wish to consume. Other aspects of the restaurant experience, however, like kitchen mastery and service, are less in evidence.

The second and third choices are very interesting, as what could be more diametrically opposed than fast food and fine dining? Fine dining prevailed, earning 14.37% (74 votes) compared with 10.68% (55 votes) for fast food. Fine dining certainly stands alone in terms of atmosphere, attention to detail, and the quality of kitchen and waitstaff. There are no chefs in fast food, and no maitre d's or sommeliers either. On the other hand, those with what Forbes terms a "fear of fine dining" may opt for convenience and affordability instead.

But the voters have spoken. The casual sit-down restaurant, in many respects the middle ground between fast food and fine dining was the runaway choice as American's favorite kind of restaurant.