Eating out, when you are away from home, can be something of a double-edged sword. Stay on the tourist trail and you may only find high prices and food that it is a pale imitation of authentic fare. But equally, if you leave things to chance, will you be fortunate enough to discover that one gem in a hidden backstreet?
Here are a few tricks of the trade that will improve your chances of eating out as well as the locals.
Do not fall back on your hotel every day for breakfast
If you have planned a busy day, the hotel breakfast might be the best way to get off to a quick start. But make sure that you leave plenty of time during your stay for breakfast in a nearby café. If it is bustling with orders from those heading out for a day’s work at the office, the food on offer has to be genuine, sincere and designed to satisfy the healthiest appetite.
Have a packed lunch and do your research
Plan a day, early on, when you will not eat out at all. This is your day for research! Wander into town and the likelihood is that you will find a restaurant on every corner. Have a peek inside. Take a look at the menu. Is it still doing a rip-roaring trade after the lunch service has ended? By the end of the afternoon, you will have found half a dozen places you cannot wait to eat in.
Search for the market and you will find the restaurant
We marvel at the range of produce found in many European cities, and much of it is destined for the tables of nearby restaurants. Find out which day is market day in your holiday destination or, if you are fortunate enough, hunt down the town’s food hall or market. The chances are that you will be able to eat there too and enjoy the freshest meat, fish and vegetables cooked to simple local recipes.
A few dishes are better than many
A restaurant that caters for every taste may have a menu that will take longer to digest than the meal itself. If a restaurant only offers a few choices, or even just one signature dish, you can be certain that each has been cooked with a lot of love and experience. They are also likely to taste better than the same food prepared in places that at first sight might be considered far more upmarket. For example, Figlmüller in Vienna is a restaurant that built its well-deserved reputation on serving a giant schnitzel!
No one restaurant can be to everyone’s taste, but following these four simple tips should guarantee that you do not go hungry on your next trip abroad.