Header Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Dorli Photography
While on the go, the average traveler might typically defer to a quick internet search to help guide them to the best food. But the problem with a keyword search is that it can only yield what’s already out there—and the restaurants that are most mentioned, aren’t always the restaurants that are most worth dining in. The last situation any traveler wants to get stuck in is an overpriced and under-impressive tourist trap meal. We've all had them—the ones that leave you full of dissatisfaction and a hefty case of eater's remorse.
And while Yelp reviews and message boards can be helpful in validating the quality of food in a restaurant you're already interested in, they don’t always help you find the restaurants you didn’t know you were looking for. You know, the places that the locals eat at. The places that help you expand your palette. The places that turn your trip into an experience. The places that make you want to fly back just for a chance to order the same meal twice. The places where you couldn’t help but take a blurry overhead wannabe-blogger photo because you didn’t know how else to act out your appreciation. Those are the kinds of meals you want to have when you’re traveling, and the best way to find them isn’t always intuitive.
The best resource you can have while traveling hungry is the instinct of a seasoned foodie or chef. We’ve pooled together some prime insights from a collection on exceptionally sharp members of the culinary elite—here’s how they find the best food while traveling in a new city, without any help from Yelp.
Jason Tesauro, Writer, Speaker, Sommelier
Courtesy of The Modern Gentleman
"When I'm in a new place, I look for three markers. One, I'm looking for things that I don't have back at home. I stick to ethnic [cuisine]. Two, I look for evidence that something fresh is happening. I look for handwritten signs with specials. I want to know that the place isn't overstocked with dry goods. I want to know that they're going with what they've recently hunted and gathered. I want to smell fresh bread being made. I want to see bikes and dogs tied up outside to show that people went out of their way to get there. Three, I'm looking for something that's off the main boulevard. I'm looking for a place that's putting more money into ingredients than rent on a flashy street. I'm ignoring what the convention bureau wants me to pay attention to!""