How to Scope Out Local Restaurants While Traveling

The world is practically a foodie now. There are unique dishes and local gems around every corner and in every step of each country. However, being a foreigner and trying to find a good bite to eat, isn’t the easiest challenge. We don’t speak the language and companies are literally in cahoots with each other, banking off tourist’s uncertainty.

If you’re anything like me, then food is an important aspect of a great trip and a crucial part of getting to experience the culture. Basically, food brings people together! Along my travels I’ve constantly been asked “Emily, where did you FIND this place?” In a good way of course, or we might have a slight problem.

So here I am with some more travel tips, and this time we’re discussing my favorite ways to scope out the best local food!

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Yelp

I mean you knew this was coming right? Yelp is by far one of the best tools to use to check out the local food scene.  My favorite part about using Yelp is that people leave photos of their meals. So at least if you cannot pronounce that dish in Russian, you’ll know what it is before it gets to your table (nobody wants meat jelly).

Yelp is also extremely reliable with reviewers leaving details of price, ambiance, customer service, and food ‘yumminess’. You have to take reviews with a grain of salt though. Some people just go on Yelp to complain about the most trival of things. When using Yelp in another country, I prefer to pay extra attention to the reviews that are in that country’s language. That way you know it’s written by a local. Yelp will translate them for you now!

playa

A look at my saved restaurants for Playa Del Caremen

Tip: If you see a restaurant on Yelp that catches your eye but want even more photos, then open up Instagram and search it under places. You can find tons of good photos that way! If you’re also serious about the decor, Instagram is a great place to gain more insight. 

https://www.yelp.com/

TripAdvisor

If Yelp doesn’t quite do it for me, then I head over to TripAdvisor. When I visited Portugal years ago, Yelp wasn’t yet available for reviews in that country. You’ll find that in less popular countries Yelp can be hard to use, or you’ll find the pool of restaurants that have been reviewed is much smaller. If this happens, TripAdvisor won’t let you down.

Like Yelp, TripAdvisor boasts lots of reviews from travel fanatics and most often they are on point. You’ll notice a slightly older crowd using TripAdvisor and most reviewers will be serious travelers.

tripadvisor

A few of my saved coffee shops in Prague.

Tip: Do NOT be afraid to eat Italian food in Portugal, or American food in the Czech Republic. All countries have an array of restaurants and cuisines that can be very good. Imagine a Spaniard settling in Italy and opening a restaurant. It happens! And the food is probably good. I was quite surprised to find a tapas and wine bar as the best rated food in the Czech Republic on TripAdvisor. It was amazing. I had the most amazing burger in Poland as well! It would be absurd if Americans only ate American food (hotdogs and hamburgs every day anyone?), and Italians only ate Italian food. 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/

Instagram

Bloggers just know what’s up, and especially travel bloggers on Instagram. Find a few bloggers you like and take extra care to notice the places they tag in their photos. Once I’ve found a place that looks super cute + appetizing, I’ll screen shot it like this:

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That way before I hit Prague or Paris I will have all my screen shots of awesome places to eat. The most amazing part is that the map is part of the screen shot, so you have a quick overview of where the place is located if you’re on the go for the day and looking for a bite to eat. Since I am always looking for coffee shops to hit up on my travels, I take the time to find really good coffee bloggers and I stalk them like crazy!

Tip: You can also try searching through Instagram to find foodie accounts. For example, try typing in the Instagram search bar something like ‘Paris food’ (as seen below). You’ll notice right away the @thefoodstache account, and then the @paris.foodguide account, which is even more impressive. This is another great way to find authentic local food. Instagram can be used just like Google search. Never underestimate 2016.

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https://www.instagram.com/

Ask Your Driver

Because Uber is in nearly every major country now, I feel like this one finally applies (ahhhh). I’ve asked my Uber driver on more than one occasion where their favorite eats are located. This also applies for cab drivers, though I tend to find Uber drivers a little more raw and approachable. These guys know the city like the back of their hand. You bet they know where some good restaurants are!

Tip: Be very careful asking your hotel where some good local restaurants are. A lot of times hotels are getting commission for referring people to a certain restaurant. I’ve eaten at some pretty bad and just completely touristy restaurants because of ‘recommendations’ from the hotel. If you see a bunch of pamphlets of places to eat, more than likely they make some sort of commission off them. There are the few exceptions of course. So just be careful! If you are ever unsure of a recommendation, immediately look that restaurant up on TripAdvisor. That should tell you what you need to know.

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I hope these small tips help you a little bit to scope out amazing local gems. It doesn’t seem like much, but they freaking work every time. I always get asked how I find great places to eat and it’s actually quite simple. There really is no secret. Just a little persistence and time spent doing the research.

How do you go about finding the best restaurants in every country? Would love to hear any travel cheats you guys have! Comment below!

BRANDS

Yelp

TripAdvisor

Instagram

Uber

55 Comments

  • 5 months ago

    The post came at perfect time as I plan my upcoming vacation next month. I probably won’t explore too much out of the resort in Mexico but this post will be helpful for all my upcoming trips! I totally Yelp everywhere I go but never thought of maximizing Instagram. This is actually brilliant because I’m also a very visual person and atmosphere places a huge roll in whether I enjoy a restaurant. Brilliant post babe!

    xoxo Rina
    http://www.andshedressed.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Maximizing Instagram is probably my favorite! So glad I could help you out and I hope you have a great time in Mexico. There are a few little gems there that I’ve saved to Yelp, specifically the few pictured in this post (if you’re going to Playa, which I think you mentioned before). 😉

  • 5 months ago

    I love using Instagram to find new restaurants! I think I eat by the pictures 😀
    xoxo

    Ileana

    Novelstyle Blog

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Same! And I like that more people post images of the decor too. You don’t see that as much on Yelp.

  • 5 months ago

    These are great tips! I always love using Yelp when I travel it makes it easier. I never thought to look on Instagram! That was a great option you mentioned! I love this post 🙂 http://www.bauchlefashion.com https://www.instagram.com/heathernoire89

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thanks Heather! Instagram has quickly become my favorite place to discover new places. 🙂

  • 5 months ago

    so excited now that I am traveling soon. so many great tips
    !!

    http://www.cranberrytantrums.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thanks Jenn! Nothing like that feeling of an upcoming trip. Have fun!!

  • Loal
    5 months ago

    looks great!
    NEW BLOG ! please follow me : YOUNG BLOG

  • 5 months ago

    While I was out of town, I did ask the cab driver where’s a good and cheap place to eat. Never be afraid to ask the locals… Well that is if you do speak the language. I can’t wait for my first out of the country trip next month… Let’s see what I’d do with this one. xD

    xoxo,
    Gelleesh.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Your first time out of country?! OH MY GOSH, you will love it!! I am so excited for you! I like asking people too. I think sometimes it can be intimidating, but hey if you find a great restaurant then it is totally worth it in the end! Have a great time. 🙂

  • 5 months ago

    Lovely tips! I think instagram works so well for finding out places! The pictures always looks so inviting and it’s easy to check up a person you follow and see their tips! Xx

    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Exactly! Most people don’t think to use Insta but it’s soooo good. 😉

  • Kay
    5 months ago

    These are some truly amazing and helpful tips! It can be difficult to pick a good restaurant, especially when in a foreign country! I tend to use TripAdvisor for all my travelling needs, but I will be sure to check out Yelp also, thanks for sharing. 🙂 <3

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you Kay! Glad you liked the tips. I love using TripAdvisor as well!

  • 5 months ago

    Great post and tips! I’m hungry now!! :))

    http://hungrycaramella.blogspot.it

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Haha I am always hungry! Thank you Caramella. 🙂

  • 5 months ago

    I do use Yelp a lot and I like it better than TripAdvisor. There are some stuck up twats on TripAdvisor and I have learned to take the reviews with a pinch of salt. And I definitely agree with Instagram too, isn’t it amazing how huge it plays a part for many of us these days. Who would have thought a picture sharing site would do so much? Great tips as always, Emily!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thanks Shireen! I totally know what you mean by some people being stuck up. It happens on Yelp as well. I find I like Instagram because it tells me exactly what I want to know and people are just taking photos, rather than leaving their opinions haha. For local options anyway. For international I try to use a review site paired with Instagram. Have a great weekend lady!

  • 5 months ago

    These are great tips! I use Instagram a lot when traveling. When we went to LA a few weeks ago I looked at a lot of bloggers’ accounts that are based there and all of the places were delicious!

    Jamie
    http://www.treatsandtrendsblog.com/

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      I do the same thing and it always works! LA bloggers are so active and go to the best spots haha. What would we do without ‘us’? 😉

  • 5 months ago

    This is such a great guide to eating like a local while travelling! I always like to check out instagram for foodie recommendations too!

    X

    Anjelique

    http://anjelique.com.au | snapchat: anjeliquetv

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Yes that’s one of my favorites! Love using Insta to find cool coffee shops in other cities too. Thanks Anjelique!

  • Great tips! I always use yelp, but will have to try these others as well. Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re having a great day!

    Love, Lindsey
    http://www.thenomisniche.com/

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you Lindsey! Definitely give Instagram a try. It’s so helpful and easy to use!

  • 5 months ago

    Whenever I travel, Yelp and Instagram are the first thing that I look for a review of a restaurant! Cool post! xo, Sophia from http://www.sistersandglitters.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you Sophia!

  • 5 months ago

    Love these ideas! I am going away next week so this is gonna be helpful while finding local treasures.

    xo Christina
    http://www.christinabeex3.com/

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Yay, glad you liked them! Thanks for stopping by Christina and have a great trip!

  • 5 months ago

    Always love your post, great choice of food and properly written too.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you so much!

  • 5 months ago

    Such great tips! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Samantha
    http://goldcoastgirlblog.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you Samantha!

  • 5 months ago

    Great advice babe!! gonna try this on my next visit!
    Thenewgirl.me

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Yay! Thanks Darlene!

  • 5 months ago
    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you Carina!

  • darriyan
    5 months ago

    Love this post.. I have a friends who is going to be travelling. I’ll defo be sending him this!

    Darriyan xo
    http://www.darriyancateland.blogspot.co.uk

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you for sharing this! Hopefully it helps them. 🙂

  • 5 months ago

    Great tips! I do all of the above, and I usually befriend locals at the restaurants. 🙂 I love meeting new people and chatting them up. You learn so much about the locals, culture and all the hidden spots in the city. 🙂
    Local bloggers are always a great source as well. 🙂

    Xo,
    Miki
    http://mikialamode.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thanks Miki! I love chatting up the locals too. Even with the language barrier, I try to seem approachable because I think it’s so fun to learn about other people and their culture. 🙂

  • 5 months ago

    This is such perfect timing Emily! I’m heading back to Paris in less than two weeks and have been Yelping, Instagraming, etc. like a psychopath trying to pick the perfect places to eat every meal. (To the point my husband is concerned I’m obsessed.) By the way, I’m doing a roundup of the most useful travel posts I’ve come across on Monday and am including your post on packing for two weeks in a carry because it was a post after my own heart and included some tips I hadn’t thought of before! Please keep your fabulous travel/coffee/review posts coming!

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Hahaha I think my boyfriend thinks I get obsessive too. But then I’m just like “have you ever eaten anywhere bad with me?” And he usually agrees and shuts up ;p… I am so excited you are going to Paris! I would love to go back. Please eat some pastries for me.

      Thank you for thinking of me and including me in your post! Yay! That totally has made my day. Can’t wait to read your roundup. Hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

  • One of the best things about travelling the world is to try different food! Great suggestions on how to find the best places, never thought about asking a taxi driver but surely they know where to go! Great tip!

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thank you Miriam! I agree. I definitely look forward to the food the most!!

  • 5 months ago

    Yelp and Tripadviser are the things I rely on whenever I go somewhere new. Tbh, I never thought about checking Instagram for that, that’s actually a great idea.

    Ela BellaWorld

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thanks Ela! Definitely try it. It works really well!

  • 5 months ago

    Yes! I completely agree with you on how food is the most important aspect of a trip =o) Thanks for sharing these tips =o)

    http://www.dreamofadventures.com/

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

  • 5 months ago

    I never thought about using Instagram, good tip! For me, I like to get away from the main tourist-y areas and explore the local towns (if I feel it’s safe enough after a bit of research of course!)

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Definitely! I always look up my neighborhoods before I go to make sure everything is safe. Thanks Maya!

  • 5 months ago

    Excellent tips! On our recent vacay we used Yelp a lot and we also relied on the Tourism book in the hotel room. I usually don’t look at those thing but I’m so glad I did. After flipping through a few pages and little website stalking we found an awesome brunch place.

    -M

    Violet Roots || Instagram || Twitter

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Thanks Monika! I’ve definitely found some gems through random books as well! It’s the most satisfying feeling. 😉

  • 5 months ago

    I like to really investigate good places to eat at before I travel too. I use instagram, yelp and tripadvisor too but hadn’t thought of asking the uber drivers 🙂 Actually I’ve never used uber. but am travelllng to the states very soon so I guess I’ll have ample opportunities to try there 🙂

    http://www.thesundaymode.com

    • Emily
      5 months ago

      Oh you’ll definitely want to use Uber in the states. It’s really really amazing and so much cheaper! Let me know how it goes. 😉 And happy traveling!

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