If you are eating with someone for the first time it is unlikely that you will know all of, or any, of their dietary needs. Are they vegetarian, vegan, fruit eaters, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Rastafarian, Sikh? Do they need food free of dairy products or gluten, low salt or fat, without nuts and suitable for diabetes sufferers?
Are you looking for somewhere new that is close by, in the country or the city centre? How do you intend to travel to and from the venue? Is there public transport, or satisfactory parking facilities?
If you are so lucky the meal might be funded out of and expenses claim, but they have limits and it is likely that your boss will not pay for a top priced meal because you did not realise that the eating place was three star Michelin. Set a budget.
Check that it is possible to make a reservation, and if there are any restrictions and limitations depending upon the number in your party. Do they expect some form of payment in advance, how is the booking confirmed by both you and them, by email? What are their cancellation terms both in terms of time and costs?
It is pointless ending up at a burger outlet if you want a romantic meal, and likewise sitting in a candlelit booth if you are with the bank manager. Although the latter might be a good idea if you are desperate for some financing! Does the menu change regularly or is it constant? Both of these options might be important for differing reasons such as, you like change or you want to rely on a particular item being available.
Friends, family or work associates might offer recommendations based upon experiences, good or bad. Search the Internet using your key words, however be aware that a Website will be set up by the organisation, so totally impartiality will not exist. Do not take too much notice of any “Independent Testimonials”, since probably the last thing that they will be is independent – the good ones could be set up by the proprietor and the bad ones people looking for a freebie. Review the food guides published by organisations with professional food inspectors, and are not reliant on comments from the public. Take note that in a year may eating places change ownership and style, so the guide might be out of date before it reaches the book store. Try to visit the premises to see if they are clean and look good and importantly have some customers.
Assuming that you now have details of your requirements and have short listed two or three eating places. Ring the outlets to check the response. How quickly is the phone answered, is the response polite, are all of your questions answered, do the staff appear to be knowledgeable. Complete the exercise with all the short listed outlets and make your decision. After the effort you will have put in, I hope that the new eating place lives up to your expectations.