One of the best things about traveling is engulfing yourself in local delicacies. Finding a good local food joint is not that hard these days. There are all sort of websites and apps to point you in the right direction: tripadvisor, foursquare etc.
But sometimes you find yourself in a situation with no internet access. Darn, now you have to resort to more traditional ways to find a good place to eat. But don’t worry, base your judgement on the signs below and you’ll separate a descent place from a tourist trap in no time!
The presence of a propper trying to lure you into the restaurant. A good restaurant doesn’t need an annoying dude in front to push people in. It’s good reputation will ensure tables will be booked.
Pictures of the food on the menu. This is a major sign of a tourist trap. Why? Because tourists often don’t speak the local language and hence don’t understand the menu. Restaurants catering for tourists therefore add pictures on the menu.
A large menu. Less is more. Large menus require lots of different ingredients and therefore are hard to maintain, unless frozen products are used. Restaurants using only fresh ingredients typically have a small menu.
It’s busy. A no-brainer. But don’t use this one as a sufficient condition to qualify the place as “good.” It could also be a bad restaurant in a good location filled with tourists.
A local crowd. The locals know which restaurants are good. It’s usually not too hard to see if the majority of the customers are tourists or locals.
Open kitchen. If you can peek inside the kitchen, the chef must be confident that good things are happening inside. Generally this means good food and fresh ingredients. Chefs who use frozen food and microwaves will not let their guests see this.
Final note: remember, use the combination of these signs to estimate the quality of the restaurant! You can’t draw conclusions on just one or two signs. Just because it’s busy and the menu is small doesn’t necessarily mean good restaurant. But if there is also a local crowd and an open kitchen you should be good.
What do you think is the best way to recognize a good restaurant?