For me part of the appeal of traveling is eating the local food. If I’m abroad I like to try the native cuisine and try out some new dishes. Over the years I’ve discovered so many wonderful things to eat and drink on my travels. A lot of my trips away are in this country though, but I apply the same principles. So I try out local specialties and relish the opportunity to try out new restaurants.
As I’m a food writer I often write about my foodie experiences whether it’s in my home city of Birmingham, or a restaurant sampled on a trip away like this one in Sherborne, Dorset. It’s worth looking out for local bloggers if you are visiting a particular area as they will often have good local knowledge and will know what’s recently opened too. Or if you have high end tastes a trusted and experienced reviewer like Jay Rayner, the Guardian’s food critic, might be your guide to find that special venue. That sort of research takes a lot of time though and sometimes you just want to find somewhere that’s close, but that’s good quality too. A great way to save time in finding somewhere to eat is to use a site like squaremeal as it’s so easy to search for the type of place and location of where you want to eat.
I do try to scout out and discover potential dinner venues during the day. If you do this earlier in the day, when you have the energy and are not clouded by hunger, you’re likely to come up with better options. There are far too many lists and recommendations to take in for a city like London, for example. But you can find cool and quirky cafes and great lunch places simply by walking around when you have the time. It’s so rewarding when you find your own places as you feel like you found it purely from your own instinct and savvyness. There are often certain streets or areas of a town or a city that have a lot of restaurants and cafes together. This is often a good place to start looking as there’s plenty of choice in a small area. The other advantage is that if you can’t get a table at one place, you don’t have too far to go to find a suitable alternative.
For me a good holiday meal is usually about value for money and not perfection. Don’t set yourself too high expectations about finding the most amazing place. Aim instead to find somewhere good, that you’d recommend yourself if it was back home maybe, but don’t feel it has to be the best eating establishment you have ever been to.
I hope this is useful and gets you thinking about how you’ll next approach trying to eat out well when you’re away on holiday or on a business trip. What do you do when you go away? How do you like to eat out?