My Restaurant Tips
Here are my restaurant tips. Enjoy food without destroying the budget: (The operative word here is local. Eating at restaurants on your travels is one of the best ways to experience the local culture on your vacations. You'll be able to find those secret local favorites that get their supplies from local organic markets and avoid large chain restaurants.)
- Restaurants are expensive and can really kill a travel budget.
- When I do go to a restaurant (and it's a shame not to; they can be fantastic.) I go at lunch time when the prices and portions are smaller.
- Follow the locals to their restaurants. Go where they go. Eat what they eat.
- Ask locals or hotel employees where the best restaurants are. Talk to an
to see what he can recommends.
- Similarly, don't go where the tourists go. Guide books can be useless on this point.
- I avoid places that cater to tourists and take credit cards. Signs and menus in English and not the local language are a minus. I usually take a walk and keep my eyes open for a place filled with locals happily munching away.
- Check the prices on menus posted near the front door and make your choice. Check your guidebook for other options. Or let your nose be your guide.
- Check the local paper or magazines for Restaurant Tips.
When you get to the Restaurant:
- Get out your phrase book, language translator, or iPhone to help you translate the menu. Get help from people seating around you (ask that open question, "What do you recommend?") or ask the waiter. Be adventurous. (I also had fun with a Chinese Menu when I was in China.)
- Try the "Specialty of the Day" and the house wine or beer. You can't go wrong. Be courageous.
- Have everyone in your group order something different and share in the bounty.
- Remember, meal times in Europe are slow times. Everything takes longer. Use the time to savor the meal, sip the wine, converse with your companions and new found strangers, relax and reflect on the day.
- If you find a great restaurant, go back. Frequent diners get special deals and meals. You get to know the owners and waiters. Ask questions, get answers. Loyalty pays. You become part of the family and become truly blessed.
- Remember local food, local wines, local beers, local delis, local cheeses, and local fruit. Repeat often.
- If you get tired of the local food, try Chinese or Italian restaurants. They serve food very similar to your home town tastes.
My Food Outside the Restaurant Tips include ways of saving big money while eating well on a trip. Picnics.
If you develop tummy problems, try to look on the bright side of life and refer to my page on Diarrhea.
Here are some important meal tips:
Go to the Page on Restaurant Tips
Picnics - Fun in the Sun
Six Great Food Adventures from Around the World
Translate a Menu
Fun with a Chinese Menu