Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Who on earth every told restaurants that photographs of the food they served, displayed next to their menus, would convince customers to come in and eat? The habit of photographing plates of cooked food and using them to lure in hungry travelers is something that is so common in the center of touristy cities and towns in Europe it’s hard to avoid seeing them.
Bad photographs of bad food, faded beyond any semblance of anything other than a plate of something you wouldn't feed to your dog.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
My advice to one and all has always been “If you see an image of food outside a restaurant, run the other way. Fast.”
But last week I was in Paros, an island in Greece, and realized that I had to make one big change to my rule: If you see a photograph of a plate of food, run the other way. But, if you see a painting of said food, walk right in.
Without exception, when we saw a restaurant that decided to lure people in with naively - but oh so cutely - painted images of food, that food always turned out to be pretty great.
My thinking is that any place that goes to the trouble of hiring someone to paint a sign - or better yet, doing it themselves - is also going to be paying attention to details in the kitchen. And usually, these were the restaurants that had either a vegetable garden out back, or a fishing boat out front.
Inevitably the food always reflected the same aesthetic that the signs did. Simple, straightforward and getting its point across in a deliciously pleasing way.
I’ll be talking about the food in the next few posts, don’t worry. But for now, a few of my favorite signs.