People ask me for suggestions on how I discover the best places to eat when I travel. I like looking for hidden gems in new cities, and I have some tips for you to get a delicious food experience during your next trip.
One of the first things I do is check online for food bloggers where I’ll be visiting to see what they recommend. Some of the things I look for on their blog:
- Tried and true restaurants that people recognize for their consistent and delicious meals.
- Where the hot spots are, or if there are any new restaurant openings.
- I’ll also ask for specific recommendations in the comment section.
Instagram and Twitter
Instagram and Twitter are great places to see what’s trending and even to ask questions. Search city names and see who the top accounts are in the city and what things look appealing to you.
When you comment in Instagram or tweet, add the city name as a hashtag, such as #newyork or #london. It will help residents and other visitors find your question and also give their ideas.
One great hashtag to use for both is #FoodieChats, and another one specific to Twitter is #TTOT (Travel Talk on Twitter). I’m new to Twitter so there may be more (I know, years behind)!
Check sites like Tripadvisor, OpenTable, Zomato and Yelp (there are lots, these are just a few examples) for the best restaurants in the areas you’re visiting. The data comes from reviews from people that have visited before. Check online for local food markets, farms, and any food festivals or tours that are happening at that time. You can also see if they have any cooking classes (more on all of these in the next section).
Make a list of places you’d like to visit, but leave room to explore. You don’t want to cling to your set list and miss something impressive you can find on your own once you get there.
What to explore when you’re there
Take a cooking class
One amazing way to experience local cuisine is to take a cooking class. From learning to make pasta in Italy, to stepping out of your comfort zone and learning new recipes, you can find cooking classes in many major cities. Book ahead of your trip to make sure there’s space.
Eat with someone who lives there
What better way to get an authentic food experience than from someone who lives in the area you’re visiting? There are a few websites that will pair travelers with residents for dinner in their home. Sites like EatWith or BonAppetour are great sources to check and see if anything like this is available in the city you’re visiting.
Check out a food market
Most places have a farmer’s market or artisan market. Check it out if it does. Not only will you get a chance to taste amazing food, but you can talk to vendors and other customers to find out their suggestions for restaurants and hidden gems. You may get recommendations for places that haven’t even been open long enough to have been discovered and written about online yet.
Visit a farm
Find out if there are any farms open to visitors where you’re traveling. Many places, even large cities like New York have farms or farm projects around. Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms connect visitors with organic farmers in different locations.
Check out an organized food tour or food festival
Many major cities have food tours or food festivals going on at points during the year. It’s a good way to get a taste of food from some great places around the city while walking and learning some history. Find one that has great reviews online; not all are worth the time or money.
Go grocery shopping
Grocery shop where residents buy food. If you’re staying in a place with a kitchen, pick up some food to cook one night for dinner.
These are some of my tips. Do you have any others?