European way of life

How to find a good restaurant on travel ?

You’ve been walking down the streets for hours under the searing sun of the Roman summer… You’re hanging around at the Louvre like a zombie waiting for hypoglycemia… It’s suddenly too cold to feed the Dubliner pigeons of St Stephen’s green… The tension is rising between you and your travel compagnons… It’s completely out of the question to bear one more minute of shopping…

Well, it’s time to eat !

If you’re a foodie, you know how much of a headache choosing a restaurant can be when you travel. Whether you’d like to have lunch on the go, or dinner in a more sophisticated establishment, most of all you would like to enjoy each moment of your trip abroad.

Here are a few tips to limit the damage.

Be careful, there’s no foolproof method, it’s up to you to adapt all these pieces of advice to your situation !

Method 1 : follow blindly your guide book.

At your own risks ! It depends on your book.

  •  most of these guide books often give the same adresses, ranked by price.
  •   : you can stumble upon a restaurant closed for six months while you went through the whole town for this. Moreover these reviews written in a few lines often reflect only the author’s opinion.

Method 2 : the “TripAdvisor” method

If you have an Internet connexion at your accommodation, it can be useful to take a look to this kind of websites ranking hotels and restaurants. TripAdvisor is obviously the most famous of them.

  • [iconname=icon-plus-sign] :
    • you can limit your search results using several criterions (ranks, price…). You can also select just a few restaurants according to the type of cuisine (Italian, Japanese…). And when you get your list, you just have to browse through it selecting your favorite establishments.
    • you just have to weigh the pros and cons while reading all the reviews in order to make up your mind about one restaurant in particular.
    • it is possible to translate all the reviews into your language using Google Translate. But sometimes it’s gibberish, I admit it !
    • Look at the photos. It could be veeeery… Instructive.
  • [iconname=icon-minus-sign] :
    • you’ll quickly realize that all the reviews aren’t the same. Some give precise informations some others are vague (sometimes even some false review posted by the boss’ friends or the boss himself).
Useless review on TripAdvisor

Useless review on TripAdvisor

    • After spending a lot of time on TripAdvisor, you get confused ; for the same restaurant, you get conflicting reviews. Look also at the nationality of contributors and listen more to the natives who know the local food and the others establishments in town better.

Don’t spend the night evening on your iPad looking for the rare pearl locked up in your hotel room. Try the last method !

Method 3 : be adventurous !

  •   : if it works out, it’s always rewarding to have made the right choice ! Then you can share your discovers by word of mouth.
  •   : don’t wait to be on the verge of starvation to set out on a quest for a restaurant because you’ll always make a choice by default. So, it could be a good surprise but it could also be a disaster. The method 3 take a little more time !

    Eurofluence’s advices :

  1. Drop the restaurants which show you pictures of the courses outside : it reeks of a tourist trap.
  2. Likewise the restaurants with menus in twelve languages with their little flags especially because they’re often translated with a kind of Google Translate and full of mistakes. Well, that doesn’t help much if you have to order schickenporck or fich.
  3. Avoid touristy areas where the restaurateurs are often offering international meals : spaghetti bolognese, steak and French fries, chocolate cake… Take a look at the people on the terrace : tourist groups or natives alone / in couple / with the family ?
  4. Don’t trust too long menus. It’s often frozen food. Try to know the seasonal products. If someone offers you scallops, on 15th of August : be careful !
  5. Give preference to the little establishments and ask the natives. A Venetian restaurateur told me someday that he knew just five restaurants in Venice which had fresh products in the evening… But which ones ?! That, he did not tell me…

Use both methods 2 and 3 pay off. Don’t forget to browse blogs or magazines, you could also make some discoveries.

Be patient and don’t be too hard with yourself ; we can’t hit the jackpot every time, but we always learn from our mistakes !

And what about you ? What are your recommendations ? Share your experiences !

Good luck  Enjoy !

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