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Sep 17, 2012 06:54 PM

Finding food and dining options when traveling?

When you travel to a new city, how do you find out about local food and dining spots (besides chowhound)? Are there websites you use, or mobile apps? Or, do you ask friends? I always find myself researching a new city when traveling, trying to find the best places to eat in that location--however, this can be time consuming and involves various social media and websites.

Thanks for any input.

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  1. I use Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google to find locally owned restaurants when we travel. DH and I take the scenic routes, and find the greatest little places in small towns and big cities.

    1. Look for the places that are full (and not necessarily with tourists). Sometimes you have to make a mental note and return later or the next day, but usually it is worth it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jill kibler

        A couple possible scenarios:

        Olive Gardens are always well patronized by locals. I guess that means it's a great place to eat?

        A local "Italian" restaurant is always mobbed by locals. So it must be a good place. But when one eats there one finds that there are vast amounts of cheese on almost everything...and one realizes that the folks in that part of the country simply love cheese with their food, any food.

        What then?

        1. When I don't have the time or haven't researched the place:
          1) Ask the hotel concierge.
          2) Just walk around or drive around and try something that looks appealing.
          3) Peek in the local rag. (local weekly rather than the local daily newspaper).

          2 Replies
          1. re: huiray

            Concierge can be risky, as they are more often than not paid by local spots for referrals.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Yes, I know that, but it'll do in a pinch so long as I remember not to expect the world's best food.

          2. I used to travel a lot for work. There are several strategies. When going to a new location, I would first use google maps to check the address of the client's location. Then use the "search nearby" feature to search for hotels and restaurants close by. That let's you know what's in your immediate area.

            If I was going to a major city and then I probably already had an idea of what restaurants I wanted to try in that city, but a lot of the places you end up at for business travel are in the suburbs.

            If I was going to an area that I didn't know very much about, I would search Chowhound, to see if anything was mentioned favorably. Then use google maps again to see if it was logistically possible to get there.

            The Yelp app for smartphones (iPhone) is great for actually locating a restaurant near you, since there is integration with the mapping feature. Whether or not you find Yelp reviews useful is another topic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pamf

              I use the search nearby feature as well, then look at the yelp and tripadvisor reviews (with a grain of salt) and check the restaurant website. If I see something promising, I'll search the restaurant name on the local/regional chowhound board, and post a message if needed.