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Travel and Food – How to Find Good Eats and Restaurants On the Go

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Closeup of woman holding and biting slice of pizza in Pisa

The great thing about traveling is the food. When you are globetrotting, you can experience a new culture and open your world to new flavors. Often, it’s easy to get lured into a tourist trap or chain restaurant that cheats you out of the local food experience. With these tips, Tourist Meets Traveler will help you find good eats and restaurants on the go.

Related: Universal Orlando’s Food Fare is Beyond Compare

Bright Lights and Flashy Signage

Avoid the places that are gleaming like beacons. The flashy draws are usually an indicator that you are about to enter a tourist trap. That may not always be the case, but generally speaking, if the decor is the draw, it’s a good sign that your food will be underwhelming.

Google It

If you find a restaurant you’d like to try or have a specific type of food you want to try – do a search utilizing review sites like Yelp. There are also plenty of blogs and sites that will give you the details on eateries. If you are having trouble finding a review on certain establishment in a small town, try doing a search in their local paper.

Long Lines

If a place has lines spilling out of the door – you are in the right place. Instead of joining the line, make a note of the restaurant and try and score reservations for another day. Your hotel concierge might be able to help you snag difficult-to-book spots if you find they are full. Also, try websites like Open Table.

Related: Eat Sushi Like a Pro – Food and Travel Tips

Stray From the Strips

In every city there is usually a strip of shops and restaurants that is the draw. Think of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago or Times Square in New York; great places, but packed with tourist traps. Stray off the strips to find havens where the locals eat to escape the mass-produced food a la Olive Garden. Ask a local – not your concierge – where to eat. Often, hotel staff get kickbacks for references, so find someone who doesn’t have a stake in where you eat.

What are your favorite tactics to score good eats when you travel? Let us know in the comment section below.

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19 Comments

  1. Michele says

    I don’t travel much anymore but when I did I almost always looked for places off the beaten track. Even in NYC if you walk a couple of blocks from Times Square there is a street called Restaurant Mile I rhink it is–at any rate–you can walk along and see the prices–VERY competitive! And then there are always the hot dog stands if you are really getting hungry and can’t find a place!

  2. Monica says

    Google is an amazing resource, isn’t it? I have always asked the locals, just striking up a conversation when I’m out & about in a new place had led me to some wonderful meals. One of the first things I do on checking into into the hotels is to check with the concierge but I make sure to have done my research first.

  3. Crystal says

    The dining is always a highlight of my traveling. I can eat a continental breakfast at home. Thanks for the suggestions on finding the best spots. I normally ask a local.

  4. Heather Johnson says

    I usually stumble upon the best restaurants while traveling by accident. We found a great little pizza place in NYC recently just by walking around and popping in.

  5. Maggie says

    If it’s a planned destination, I always check with the local CVBs to see what restaurants the locals eat at that are non chain. Those are usually the best way to sample local eats and to try new things!

  6. Valerie Robinson says

    I remember in the Bahamas coming across THE BEST little whole-in-the-wall restaurant! I have not found anything in the States with Caribbean food that compares.

  7. Debbie Denny says

    I love finding the off the beaten path for dining. All good ideas for finding good places to eat.

  8. Brianna says

    We usually stumble into places based on recommendations from locals. I find those that live in a certain area always know the best places to go.

  9. Jack Palmer says

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, “The great thing about traveling is the food.” My wife and I love to try and find the best places to eat every time we travel. We constantly try to find the best pizza place since we love it so much. I like how you explained that if we see long lines, we should try the place. That’s a good indication that it’s a good place to eat! We will have to try that this summer for our next vacation. Thanks for the tips!

  10. Emmy @ Club Thrifty says

    I think planning ahead is super important, especially when visiting a country where you don’t speak the native language. You’ll be less likely to fall for crummy tourist traps and instead eat at the places that are good enough that the locals eat there.

  11. Judy Wilson says

    Thanks for these tips for finding a good restaurant. There have been several times when my husband and I would want to go out to eat while we’re out of town. Looking for restaurants that have long lines seems like a great tip that we should use for finding places to eat that have good food. That would be a good indicator that a restaurant is popular, so we should start paying attention to that whenever we decide to leave town and find a new place to eat.

  12. Alise Harper says

    My husband and I are going on a road trip and want to find the best places to eat food. I like your comment about staying away from the strips and asking locals where is the best place to eat. I think is a good idea because normally the main strips have the normal commercialised restaurants and asking the locals where they eat helps us to find the best local food. Thanks for the great tips! I will definitely keep these in mind while on this trip.

  13. Skylar Williams says

    By far my favorite way to find a good place to eat, is by talking to the locals. The conversation is fun, plus they always know about the ‘holes in the wall’. The restaurant that’s a little smaller and hidden behind the bigger names. Those are the types of places I’m drawn to. The service is always great and the food is special. It’s as your advice states, stray away from the strips.

  14. Dave Anderson says

    I am planning a trip for this winter and I was looking for ways to find good restaurants in the new cities we will be visiting. I had not thought about looking for long lines to know a restaurant is good. But after reading the first thing i’m going to do when we get there is find the restaurants with lines going out the door. Thanks for your help!

  15. Deedee Lewis says

    I like the idea of asking a local for a good pizza restaurant while traveling. I had always heard that you should ask a hotel concierge about where to eat but it’s good to know that talking to the locals is the way to go. The only thing I would add is that you should be careful who you talk to so that you don’t find yourself in trouble, especially if you’re traveling alone.

  16. Maxine Wilson says

    I know this sounds silly, but the thing that stresses me out the most when traveling is finding somewhere to eat. We have a few trips coming up, so I thought I’d do some research to help me ease this stress of mine. I like what you said avoiding flashy signs, so that you can avoid tourist traps. When we are out and about, I’ll be sure to keep my eye out for smaller, more local places we can try.

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