The last thing I want to do when I’m hungry in a new city is research restaurants. I would much rather have a list ready when I land in the city with a few ideas of where to find the signature dishes. To me, one of the most important parts of a trip is exploring the the food scene of this new place! I love the experience of taking in the sites, smells and flavors of restaurants. If you’re planning a summer trip, here are five ways to discover restaurants to explore at your destination.
Search on Yelp and Trip Advisor
These sites are full of endless options for reviews of restaurants in specific areas or cuisines. I like using the filters for options like reservations, hours, price point, etc. Read the reviews to hear what the people say, but also take these with a grain of salt. Some people have very strong feelings, one way or another. You’ll be able to tell the general themes overall though and get good ideas for favorite dishes!
Favorite blog’s city guides
I tend to trust the reviews of a blogger or individual I’ve been following for a while more than a random person. I love reading the city guides and travel posts on The Everygirl (great variety), Gal Meets Glam (more fashion-oriented with stunning pictures) and What’s Gaby Cookin (food focused). If you know a blogger loves and lives in a city, check out their posts on their home favorites. Joy the Baker writes often about New Orleans, Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere has great LA guides and Camille Styles even has a bachelorette weekend guide to Austin.
Before you leave, search through a variety of the city hashtags on Instagram. You’ll see what other travelers and locals are eating and drinking. Generally you can insert any city into #__eats and find some ideas. (i/e: #PHXeats, #IndyEats, #LAeats) Also, many big cities have their own food accounts, so you can see which new restaurants and old favorites are highlighted there. Be careful of the black hole you can get sucked into as you continue searching!
When you arrive to the city, observe the signs, restaurants and people. Are there lines with tourists? Avoid those spots unless you’re dying to try the latest food trend. However, if the locals are lined up, then you know that’s a genuine spot to try. Don’t forget the tiny hole in the wall spots. One of my favorite spots in Charleston is this teeny tiny biscuit shop that you would practically walk by without noticing it’s even there.
Ask the locals…
Once you get to the city, ask the locals for recommendations, but ask both where people usually go and where they recommend. With these two questions, you can determine where everyone’s talking about in the city and if it’s really worth it to try. The locals are the ones who live and breath the city in everyday life. They’ll tell you the truth and help you get the best experience of the city.
Spending a little time with technology at your fingertips, you can find great restaurants to eat in a city before you take off. Even if you end up scratching those plans for a different restaurant that comes your way, at least you have some ideas in your back pocket. This ensures you’ll be leaving your vacation city full and happy!
Love food. Love self. Love life.