Whether you like to plan your vacations months in advance or decide your daily activities on the go, most people agree that the restaurants you eat at can make or break a trip.
On their last trip to Italy, one traveler shared they were expected to be “wowed” by the food. It's Italy, after all. But even in a country where the food is incredible, it's easy to end up in a tourist trap.
But how do you find the best places to eat when you're traveling abroad? Research.
1. Google Maps
If you're looking for something spur-of-the-moment, check out what's around you on Google Maps. But make sure you also read the reviews. Sure, most people will only review if they have a bad experience but that's why you have to read between-the-lines.
2: Avoid Tacky Tourist Traps
When you're staying in a popular travel destination, the chances are high that you'll end up at a tourist trap when you're looking for a place to eat. Even though they're getting better at disguising themselves as a place to get authentic local cuisine, there are still ways to sort the tourist trap from the real thing.
On Reddit, user u/vincecarterskneecart said that if a restaurant's “menu is really long, there is a cheap/tacky interior, portions are large servings or the restaurant has some sort of “gimmick,” I would be somewhat apprehensive to eat there.”
They added that in Italy, tourist traps will let you order your pasta American-style, mixing pasta shapes with sauces. “It's generally not especially good,” they wrote.
3: This Wikipedia Hack
Or, you can use Wikipedia. According to u/mthmchris, you can go to Wikipedia and search for a country or city's food. “Alternatively, you can find articles or blogs or the like, but it must contain the name of the dish in the local language/script,” they added.”
From your research, find a dish you've never heard of people and search for the dish in Google Maps. If a restaurant has pictures, definitely check them out. They said that the best food spots are usually, “family-run with minimal renovation/decor or the like. This strategy worked wonders for me across various countries and locales.”
4: Restaurants with Plastic Chairs
As a seasoned traveler, u/rafikievergreed said to, “Choose the restos with plastic chairs.”
5: Find Popular Places Filled with Locals
When you're walking around somewhere new, pay attention to what restaurants are busy — especially if they're busy with locals.
u/NorthwestFeral adds that you'll find the best food outside of heavy tourist attraction areas. They recommend you walk down the High Street “and choose a place with lots of people in it, including locals, preferably not right in the middle of a tourist trap area. Just walk around and see what looks like a hot spot.”
6: Take Advantage of Food Tours
If you can't decide where to eat, let a tour guide do the deciding for you.
While they were in Tokyo, u/GaladDeDanann picked different neighborhoods they wanted to get to know and signed up. “I think I did like 7 different tours, and while on each one, I would try to get the guide's top three recommendations for places not on the tour itself.”
One traveler said they got their food recommendations while traveling from TikTok.
When looking for food recommendations, look no further than Reddit itself. User
u/slykido999 shared that they've often checked a city's subreddit when they're trying to pick somewhere to eat.
“I look through the specific country/city subreddits and usually, there is a thread already about the best restaurants to visit. I then compare that with google maps, and then I go from there!”
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more. She loves horror, history, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically. Her favorite pastimes include needle felting, gaming, and drawing.