It's a known fact that dining out is a luxury for most of us. With busy lives and ongoing inflation, Bay state residents are aware that going out to dinner is a treat. So it's important to know a spot is serving good quality food before you choose to splurge on a night out.

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But keep in mind, there are a trio of so-called "red flags" that you need to know about before making your final reservation. No doubt, Massachusetts serves some of the finest fare, but customers need to do their homework prior to arrival.

Couple ordering from a waitress in restaurant

At number one, be aware your night out is in jeopardy when the staff can't answer any important questions regarding their workplace regarding where the food is sourced from and what's fresh.

Beef steak on the grill with flames

Shawn Matijevich, is the lead chef of online culinary arts & food operations at the Institute of Culinary Education and a former executive chef of BLT prime as he sums up what to look out for:

"When the server can't explain where the beef they are buying is coming from, what grade it is, or they don't have knowledge of the different cuts on the menu, that's one of the biggest red flags there is," 

This is also added by Chef Erik Slater of Seward Brewery:

High definition Grilled sword fish Steaks
Getty Images/iStockphoto

"The same goes for seafood, where the waters it is sourced from and when it was caught are paramount. You should look for the origin of the fish,"

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Second, it doesn't matter if you are headed to a steakhouse, Italian restaurant, sandwich shop, barbecue spot, or sushi restaurant, if the atmosphere is busy, that translates into a good sign. Statistics show that you don't want to wait hours for a table but you also don't want to pick a spot that doesn't have a lot of customer turnover. For one, a crowd is the best endorsement for the restaurant's quality, and for another, a restaurant that doesn't move a lot of food is likely to compromise on its freshness. This is true of almost every restaurant, so consider yourself warned.

Fish and meat meals variety flat lay

And third, if a menu is full of over-the-top options, the restaurant is likely trying to make up for its lacking food quality. For example, if the menu has fresh tomatoes or bell peppers, it tells you that quality ingredients come second so be aware this option.

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BOTTOM LINE: Read an on-line review as to where you'll be heading while dining out. You will thank me for that, guaranteed!

(Some information obtained in this article, courtesy of the web site:

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