I love food.
When I travel, I could pretty much skip any museum or landmark and just hit up restaurants. And coffee shops. And dive bars. And ice cream places.
I think good food makes or breaks a vacation, a birthday, a celebration, or just a meal away from home. It bums me out when people come to my city and eat at an Olive Garden instead of Matt's Bar or Hola Arepa. Come on, you work hard for the money, so why not spend it on delicious food you can't get anywhere else?
Outside of this blog, I'm primarily a food and travel writer. I get peppered with emails and texts from people seeking restaurant recs all the time. While I'm well-versed in many U.S. city's greatest hits, I often find myself double-checking my work.
There is a place I can almost always depend on for good restaurant advice.
It's certainly not Yelp. (Who even knows who's writing those reviews?!)
It's not TripAdvisor. (Ick.)
It's not a New York Times review from 1996.
When I'm traveling, I turn to Eater.
If you're not familiar, Eater is website all about food, restaurant and chef news. They do have a national site, but also city-themed micro sites that get updated daily. The best part? They actually rely on local writers who know things and are passionate about their city's food scene, not just average joes who want to bitch about a restaurant experience online.
Eater is great for travelers looking to find awesome restaurants.
You can pretty much get an overview of the an entire city's food scene through their Eater 38 lists (aka the best 38 restaurants in a particular city), Heat Maps (lists of what's hot right now; not always winners, but definitely the buzziest!), plus roundups of best places to cocktail, brunch, grab a coffee (<<< I actually wrote this Minneapolis one for them, NBD) and more. Each listing is short and sweet, perfect for getting the vibe of a place without having to dig through 2,000 word reviews from the local monthly magazine. Plus, they feature hoity-toity spots next to down and dirty dives, so trust me: there's something on Eater for everyone, not just people swimming in money.
If the city you're visiting doesn't have a dedicated Eater site yet, use their search function to see if they've written about wherever you're going. For example, Madison, Wisconsin doesn't have one, but I searched "Wisconsin" and found this super-helpful list, which prompted my husband and I to grab a drink at Graft & dinner at Estrellon. Both were great. If you're traveling internationally, try there search function-- they do offer some, but not tons, of global recommendations.
So, if you're traveling in the near future and want to impress your friends or coworkers with your restaurant expertise, check out my secret weapon. You won't be sorry.
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What's your favorite way to find places to eat, sleep and hang out when you travel? Share in the comments. PS Here's where I ate while in Nashville. Guess where I got many of those recommendations...