5 Tips for Finding the Best Restaurants While Traveling

Restaurant on the Pier. Santa Cruz, California, USA

Restaurant on the Pier. Santa Cruz, California, USA

One of the hardest things to me about traveling is finding nice places to eat near me.  If you are like me you don’t want to just take the safe choice and go with the old stand-by chain restaurant that can be found on every corner.  I want to enjoy some of the local eateries, try new things, maybe have some local cuisine.  But how do you know what is tasty and different and has the right ambiance?  I have spent countless hours wandering around looking at menus on the outside, many times not venturing inside because I could not make up my mind.  I found myself worried that if I try it I will regret it and if I don’t try it I will regret it.

Okay, I know what I was doing sounds pretty stupid, but stupid is as stupid does, right?  So I came across these 5 tips for finding a good restaurant while traveling and thought I would pass them along.  The article was originally posted on the Real Simple site.  I have tried some of these and I will tell you it beats walking (or driving) around and trying to guess what a place is like.  Just keep in mind what kind of place you need.  Do you need kid-friendly or are you solo or a couple and want to go high-end?  These tips can work for whatever your situation.

  1.  Look in the local publications.
    You can often times find restaurant reviews in the newspapers (have you read a newspaper lately?) and many times you can find local guidebooks or magazines at you hotel.
  2.  Where do the chef’s eat?
    Find out who some of the local chefs are.  You can often check Twitter or Facebook or even Pinterest amd Instagram.  Many chefs love to post about their dining experiences and who better to judge?  Try following some of them and see what they enjoy.
  3.  Check the blogosphere.
    Do you follow blogs by foodies?  There are many food blogs out there.  Find a few that match your tastes and you will probably find out their dining establishment choices.  You can also get tips from some of the television travel show hosts as they often seek out the authentic eateries.
  4. Don’t be afraid to check out national publications and websites.
    If you want the opinion of someone who is devoted to finding the best places to eat, look at the food and travel writers.  It’s is not only their livelihood but also their passion.  They have visited many places and only feature what they feel is worth visiting.
  5. See what the locals say.
    Find a safe place you know you will like and make friends with bartender, waiters, or chefs.  These people usually have the inside scoop on everything from the fanciest restaurants to cheap diners.

So if you like to eat good food during your travels, do some research before you leave.  But don’t be afraid to just stumble into something.  Many times a place not listed anywhere can be the best place around.  See what the locals are doing.  If it is busy and the food is looking good take a chance (and don’t have any regrets).  It’s great to go to that unexpected place and just say “Why not?”.  It can turn out to be what you remember most about your eating experiences (and if you are like us, you love to eat!).

Read the original article on Real Simple.