Looking for a perfect spot to eat sometimes isn’t as easy as it may seem.
If the fries are soggy, the steak is bland or your fish is overcooked, it can be easy to get discouraged. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to uncover a hidden gem in your own neighborhood or if you are traveling and want to make sure your meals aren’t a bummer.
By employing a few simple techniques, you can make sure you get the best tasting bang for your buck. These seven tips to find the best restaurant in town will leave you with a full stomach and happy countenance.
1. Use Google
The word “google” did, after all, become recognized by Merriam Webster in 2001. That’s because you can uncover a wealth of information just by typing in a few search queries into whatever your favorite search engine is. You might find out about a restaurant in your town you never knew existed, or the perfect place to walk over from your hotel on your next vacation.
2. Ask the Locals
Even if you are a local, pretend you are a visitor for a day and ask some strangers where the best places to eat are. Assuming there are no language barriers, ask some people until you start to see a trend. Usually there are a few coveted tables in town that will be mentioned again and again. This can be one of the best ways to find out about a restaurant that might not be a well-recognized chain, but that serves fresh and wholesome food that keeps anybody who knows the drive coming back again and again.
3. Consult a Traveling Guide
Those books that list all the local restaurants sometimes have handy ratings that can even tell you how much to expect to pay. Since these books can’t get republished every time a new restaurant opens up, they usually give the names of some well- established meccas where you can enjoy a great meal.
4. Read Reviews
Use Yelp or another well-used rating site to look up the restaurant you are considering. Keep in mind, when reading these, it is close to impossible for any restaurant to have perfect ratings all around. If you come across one or two bitter unsatisfied customers amid a wealth of compliments and almost incoherent ramblings about how great the food is, it is probably a good bet for you. If you see comment after comment about the cockroaches hiding out under the kitchen stove, then it would be a good time not to be adventurous.
5. Watch TV
This is a simple task for most of the world today, and if you know how to utilize your television time properly, you can give your taste buds a treat. Catch the specials on the Travel Channel or Food Network where the hosts visit different cities or parts of the world and sample the local cuisines. You just might see your own town on there, or perhaps even a city you will be visiting soon. Often on these shows you get a behind-the-scenes look at how the food is made, so you can approve or veto the decision to your convenience.
6. Reach Out to the World
If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, ask people where the best places to go are. You might get some surprising responses. If you don’t, go to a restaurant or food themed message board and ask the people there. You can ask a message board of locals or of “foodie elites,” and have the possibility of reaching many more people in a shorter amount of time than you would on foot.
7. Keep on Walking – and Smelling!
If you are in a new environment, walking down a street jam packed with stores and restaurants, the choices can seem overwhelming. If you are lucky, right as you pass the fifteenth storefront or so, you will get a whiff of something that smells like pure heaven. Don’t have any shame – hunt it down, and insist on it. Your nose can lead you to a great meal just as well as your other senses, and this can be one of the best discoveries at all because you feel that you can give yourself all the credit. That must mean a reward of ordering dessert.