How To Find The Best Vacation Restaurants Fast



There's nothing worse than starting the first day of a long-awaited vacation with a disappointing meal.

Where there are tourists, there's money to be made, and you can easily find yourself paralyzed by choice. Rather than sampling the best of the local delights, you may even find yourself turning to familiar chains just to make life easier.

That's a wasted opportunity, so what can you do to find the very best restaurants in town, very quickly, and get the most out of your latest adventure? In this article we've rounded up some of the tried and tested tips for finding the best food fast.

Plan ahead

It goes without saying that the more time you can spare for preparation ahead of the trip, the more time you'll get to enjoy your vacation itself - and the local food. Before you travel, see if there are any online publications dedicated to the local community. These are often a goldmine of local insider info that you may not find in official tourist guidance (where restaurants often pay to feature).

Follow the foodies

If you're travelling to a reasonably popular destination, there's almost certainly an Instagrammer or two who's dedicated to covering the local food scene. Search the platform for your destination, and scope out the biggest players in town. You can also search Google for Instagram accounts dedicated to the local cuisine.

Follow the accounts you like for a little while and jot down anything that grabs your attention. Don't forget to keep an eye on it while you're actually on vacation either. If there's a food and drink event taking place while you're in town you're certain to hear about it!

Get the local lowdown

If you're staying in a hotel, talk to the hotel staff about their own recommendations. What you really want to discover is where the locals eat out. These places typically offer some of the best food in town, without the high prices associated with more tourist-orientated establishments. Talk to everyone you fall into natural conversation with, from taxi drivers to cafe staff.

Focus on the local cuisine

Eating the local food is a crucial part of understanding the local culture and history. Try to find restaurants that offer cuisine that's local to the region, so you'll not just gain a great meal, but also add an extra culinary flavor to your experience. Restaurants with multilingual menus tend to focus their cuisine on international creature comforts, so that may be a warning sign.

Fold food into your itinerary

Did you know you can create and edit your own personal Google Map? While you're adding your places of interest to visit, make a note of the nearby restaurants you're curious about as well.


That way, while you're sightseeing, you can keep an eye on local restaurants and actually scope them out as you happen to pass. It may be that incredible food that looked great online isn't served in such a great-looking restaurant.

Options are everything

When planning your trip, try to have at least two restaurants in each local area that you think you might like to visit. If one of them looks disappointing on arrival, you won't waste a lot of time looking for an alternative, or settling for something mediocre. Better to have too many options, and an excuse to come back!

Be wary of online reviews

It's a fact of life that people are more motivated to make a complaint than they are to praise a positive experience. The same is true when it comes to the many popular online restaurant review sites. By all means be guided by these platforms when researching interesting options, but don't use them blindly. It's always worth digging a little deeper before making your shortlist.

Watch out for tourist traps

The closer a restaurant is to a significant area of tourist interest, the easier it is for the owners to acquire a steady flow of customers and cash. We're not saying you won't get a good meal in these spots, but restaurants a little further off the beaten path just can't get away with cutting corners. They need to provide an experience that justifies the extra inconvenience of reaching them.

Book the essentials in advance

If you've done your research, consulted local sources and only have a narrow window of time to visit a restaurant, get that booking made well in advance. Genuinely outstanding restaurants will always have a certain amount of custom pre-booked. If you're visiting at the weekend or during major holiday events, you don't want to miss out on the chance to take in one of your priority venues.

Choose your timing

If a restaurant catches your eye, but it's currently extremely busy or there's a queue, don't be afraid to find a staff member and ask if there's a typically quieter time to visit. The meals you enjoy abroad are important, of course, but you should avoid wasting too much time waiting in line if you can just juggle your eating schedule a little.

Travelling with children

A sure-fire way to ruin an otherwise great night out is to find yourself in a restaurant that would really rather not be seating your young children! If it seems formal, and the guests are predominantly adult couples and families, even the best food can be ruined by an awkward atmosphere. Better for everyone if you find somewhere more family-friendly.

John Bedford, founder & editor of Viva Flavor
Viva Flavor

This article was written by John Bedford, founder & editor of Viva Flavor. The site is dedicated to helping home cooks develop their love of food & drink.
 




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