Often people do not put much thought into where to find a good restaurant when eating out. People often have their favorite restaurants or their usual restaurants, and will continue to only go to those as it’s a safe choice. They know what they are getting, they are used to the menu, they are happy with the service, and they didn’t have to put any thought into it. But how does one go about broadening their options? If you don’t want to stick to the same two restaurants every week, try something new! Experiment with new cuisines! Perhaps try a dish or cuisine you have never tasted before. These experiences add excitement both to our lives and our taste buds!
So how can one go about finding new good restaurants to eat at?
Google – It is now ridiculously easy to find new restaurants thanks to using Google on your phone or on your computer. All you have to do is type (or speak with voice command), the area, town or street you are interested in and the word restaurant. You can even be more specific if you are looking for a specific type of restaurant such as: Indian, Thai or Vegan, Vegetarian. Google will show on a map all the restaurants suited to your terms in the area you are looking at.
Word of Mouth – This is an excellent way to find out what restaurant’s the locals prefer and why. You only need to be a little social to find the best local restaurants very quickly and easily. Ask residents on main streets where they prefer to dine, or ask shopkeepers which restaurants in the area are the most popular. Often staffs at pubs, clubs and especially hotels are used to being asked where the best places to dine in the area are, so give them a shot too.
Review Websites – There are many websites around now that review restaurants in your area for you. These can be professional bloggers or a collection of reviews from regular people who have eaten at the restaurant in question. Websites such as Zagat.com, urbanspoon.com, and dine.com are available for use, and have a huge collection of restaurants and reviews from cities all around the world. The website I’d probably go to first though would be Yelp.com. I find it pretty easy to navigate and there is often a large collection of reviews from regular people for restaurants in many of the areas I’m looking at. I also like how you can see very quickly if a restaurant has many high (4 or 5) or many low (1-2) star reviews from customers. I’m not saying it’s better than the other websites; I just have more experience with using it. Try a few of them out and see for yourself, which site you think is the most useful and best one for you.
Local Newspapers – Picking up the local newspaper in an area you are new to, can be a good source of information on the local businesses. Check out the lifestyle section or food columns to see if any restaurants have been reviewed recently and what kind of review they received. Also keep an eye out for ads from local restaurants that you do not know about. You may find a hidden gem of a restaurant, just off the main street, that you didn’t even know was there.
Local Magazines – Pick up free local magazines, or if you are in a main city you may find magazines you can buy which feature reviews and lists of good restaurants in the city.
Walk down Main Streets and Hubs – Have no idea what you want to eat? Go for a walk! Taking a stroll down the street, on your own or with a friend, is a great way to find new restaurants to dine at. Try the main streets or hub near where you live, or where you are currently staying. Or you could travel to well known suburbs and streets known for their many restaurants and cafes. This is quite a lovely way to spend an evening, if you have some extra time, to just stroll around looking at all the restaurants, shops and cafes in a hub or main street. The best part about finding a restaurant this way, is not only is it fun, you can also check out how busy a restaurant is. Is it popular? Can I get a table? And you can smell the food before you even go in! When I walk past a restaurant that smells delicious from outside and is obviously popular, I have confidence I am choosing a restaurant with good food.
If travelling, ask your hotel staff – When travelling, you are most likely new to the area and have absolutely no idea where the good restaurants are. Finding out where you should dine is far from impossible however. You can look up magazines or websites of course, but you can also ask the hotel staff where you are staying. The concierge and desk staff is usually very used to being asked questions about the area, especially where the best places are to eat, as everybody loves to dine out when travelling. They are trained and informed to answer your questions and usually very friendly too. They may have brochures or local maps also to help you find the place.
The Phone Book – Last, but not least, there is always the option of looking in the phone book for restaurants. Although there are no reviews of the restaurants in the phone book, you may see a restaurant you have always wanted to try, one a friend mentioned once that you forgot about, or one with your favorite cuisine. Or perhaps you will just see a restaurant very close to you and think why not give it a try. It is always a gamble trying new restaurants this way, but if you don’t have access to the internet, or are short on time, it is always an option, as long as you have a phone book of course.
Finding new good restaurants to eat at is a great idea as it brings variety to your cuisine as well as a new experience for you and your family and friends. It’s always fun to go somewhere new, so don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons and take the plunge to try a new place. Following the tips above you now have many ways in which you can find new restaurants and can make a good restaurant choice and increase the odds of finding a restaurant you will love. Then, instead of only having a couple of restaurants to choose from when dining out, you will have a whole bundle!