Finding a local restaurant is easy as long as you know where to go to find recommendations. Depending on the city and the access you have to technology, you’ll be surprised at how many great restaurants there are just waiting for you to find them.
One main go-to is Yelp.com. Yelp offers regular reviews from everyday patrons like yourself. There are reviews from people from all around the world who stop by the restaurant, so you’ll have candid reviews from locals and out-of-towners alike. The other great thing about Yelp is the star-rating system. You’ll have easy access to reviews just by seeing the star rating. If a restaurant has one or two stars, why go there if there’s another restaurant nearby with four to five stars? But do consider the full review to get the whole picture. The downside to these regular patron reviews is that a single bad experience might be an anomaly compared to other experiences. If a restaurant has only one bad review and it doesn’t seem to reasonable, consider other factors like location, ambience, menu and pricing.
If you’re staying at a hotel or hostel, always stop by the front desk and ask if there are recommendations for places to eat nearby. There’s nothing more reliable than a local’s tastes. The front desk might also have menus, pamphlets and phonebooks that have a list of restaurants and deals nearby. These will all be useful as long as you take advantage of them!
Recommendations from Friends
The gift of social media is that you can access tips and advice from friends from all over the place. A simple posting on Facebook with a question could lead to great crowdsourcing of information from friends who’ve visited the city you’re in. They’ll have great tips.
The excellent thing about Google Maps on your mobile device is its ability to locate where you are through its network and finding restaurants with online ratings immediately. If you have a mobile or tablet, consider downloading the Google Maps app to find restaurants with online star-ratings immediately.
Having a Goal
If you have a goal in mind as to what you want to eat, it’ll narrow down your options a great deal. For instance, if you want Mexican, you can focus spending your time on finding Mexican restaurants in your area. If you want French, Korean, Chinese, Turkish or Ethiopian, you can narrow down your search to those options just as easily.
Lookup What Your Town is Known For
Every city boasts its must-have foods. For instance, if you’re in New York, a pizza is a must. So is a falafel, bagel and hotdog. But since you know the main food items it boasts, consider having one of those as options. Given the close association of food and tourism, you can easily lookup what your local city is known for and go for those items during your next dining trip.
Talk to Locals
Locals will always be around no matter where you go. If you’re a tourist in a new city, don’t be afraid to chat it up the next time you go to a cash register for a transaction, or when you’re standing in line at a bus stop. People are more willing to chat than you’d expect. Ask if they recommend anything.
Magazines like TimeOut and newspapers like the New York Times have food reviews regularly. Keeping up with reading material on sources like these might give you an idea the next time you go through a certain location. Reading professionally written reviews would also give you an inkling as to what you should go for when you get there and what you might avoid. If you come across a restaurant review that you like, make note of it, and do a little online research so that the next time you visit that city, you know exactly where to go!
No matter where you go, there will always be a spot open to eat. People have to eat, right? The next restaurant you see just around the corner just might have the best meal ever. You never know. So if you step in, ask them what they’re famous for and consider having that as your meal. You might really enjoy it!