Whether you are travelling, have recently moved, or are simply looking to try something different to eat that is close to home, there are a few foolproof tricks designed to help you find the best restaurants in the area. Let’s get started.
Look for crowds of locals.
This is actually pretty obvious. When a restaurant is crowded with locals, you can almost always guarantee the food is great. However, be sure you aren’t simply looking at a crowd of travellers who appreciate a cheap meal. If a restaurant is filled completely with tourists, keep moving until you find one filled with people who are on their lunch break or heading home from work.
Check out smartphone apps and websites.
One of the best, and easiest, ways to find a good restaurant is by checking with Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, etc. Most people have no problem telling you exactly how they felt about their meal and their experience overall. Just be sure to consider how many reviews a restaurant has compared to its ranking.
Be sure to find a “Best of” guide that has been produced locally.
Today, many larger cities run a “Best of” issue annually, whether it is in in a local daily or weekly newspaper or a magazine that focuses on the particular city you are in. “Best of” guides tend to be voted on by locals, which means you will likely get insight into locally owned restaurants that may be off the beaten track or a simple hole in the wall that you would normally pass right by. If you can’t find a printed guide, look for archives online.
Do Entrepreneurs and Freelancers do any work there?
Good food and funky atmospheres attract hordes of self employed workers to spend their breakfasts and lunchtimes at great bars and restaurants. When you walk in do you see laptops open or professionals conducting business meetings? If you do it’s a good sign of popularity and a worthwhile establishment. UK firms like Meanwhile Creative Bristol offer studio and desk spaces as an alternative, but cafes, bars and restaurants are another popular route for todays business people.
Ask the people who know the streets best: cab drivers and cops.
There are two groups of people who know more about what is going on in a city than anyone else…cab drivers and cops. When you are looking for the best restaurant in the area, they are the ones to ask. If you are out shopping and looking for some place to grab a bite to eat nearby, ask employees in the store. They’ll know the best places to go in the area.
Turn to Zagat for help.
The Zagat website is broken down by city and gives you lists of the best places to eat based on what locals have to say. As an added bonus, there are a wide array of categories, such as best brunch, best burger, best cheap eats, and much, much more, that allow you to narrow down your choices based on what you are in the mood for.
Created by people who love to eat, Chowhound is designed to help other foodies find the best restaurants in a certain area. There are online communities, forums, where you can ask for suggestions instead of having to look through archived posts and conversations to find just the kind of restaurant you are looking for.
While finding the best restaurant to eat at will take a little bit of work on your part, the results will be well worth it.