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Sep 11, 2003 06:54 PM

Places that it's tough to get a bad meal

  • l

I've been a few places in my life where getting a bad meal seems impossible, (and plenty more where you need every bit of help you can get.) Places that as long as you show a little common sense, render this board and other guides unnessecary. Tuscan countryside, Paris, Rome and actually, that's all. Can anyone else think of anywhere else that most places, as long as they aren't in an overly touristy area, and look like they'll be good are?


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  1. The Langhe region (around Alba) of the Piemonte in Italy is hard to beat. In fact, from Turin south to Cuneo it is hard to get a bad meal. While the region does attract a good number of culinary tourists (mostly Swiss & German) during white truffle season (November into January), the balance of the year is relatively quiet tourist-wise compared to most parts of Northern & Central Italy.

    1. Thailand. Kuala Lumpur (see my recent post). Istanbul.

      1. Brussels

        1. It's got to be Brussels. I've lived here for three years by now, and I can't remember more than one distinctly bad meal. I notice that wherever I go, it doesn't compare to what I'm used to. I've several friends from Paris who agree that the average is much higher here. So I'll come back with a report and explain more detail.

          The Basque country in Spain is another obvious place where it's hard to go wrong.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jonas
            world traveler

            The northern coast of Spain--particularly Galicia.

            1. re: Jonas

              We will be visiting Brussels this Sept. Can you recommend some places to go? Thanks!

            2. Cannot agree with Paris. It's perfectly possible to eat poorly there, same with the Basque region of Spain and Tuscany. I agree with Thailand and would add Singapore annd Hong Kong. You'd really have to be seeking out rubbish to eat badly in those places.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Tony Finch

                I disagree strongly with Hong Kong. Unless you head for the "destination" places, you'll encounter mediocre food at every turn, even from places with lines out the door.

                When I was working there on a stingy per diem, I often threw my hands up and went to places like Cafe de Coral for REALLY cheap lousy food to keep body and soul together, and saved my money for the gaming (not the dinner) tables of Macau.

                1. re: Gary Soup

                  To be honest I've never been to Hong Kong. I was repeating what a friend told me about it. He loved the food there, but maybe he just chose well and didn't get to the poor places.

                  1. re: Gary Soup

                    Really? I am surprised since most restaurants in HK that I have been to are decent. Granted, they might not be my all-time favourite but if you use some common sense, you will get above average food. The main reason is because of competition since there are thousands of restaurants in this town and if the place is not up to par, it won't last long. Even in the last few months, some of the traditional brand name restaurants have closed down. Which district of HK did you live in?

                    The other city that I think is easy to find good food is Tokyo. You can wander around the city, walk into a ramen store or a local restaurant and get decent food.

                    1. re: Gary Soup

                      I agree (with your disagreement) ... I can only think of a couple bad meals we had there over the course of two+ years (mostly in Happy Valley) and they were at sort of hip, "happening" places in the Hollywood Road area that placed coolness above cuisine (before SoHo really existed). Two years ago we ate stupendously for 4 days, and none of our meals were particularly high-end. Hong Kong is definately at the upper reaches of my "food destination" list.