Trouble in paradise…
We all love a good vacation. Especially when at home is the middle of winter and we get to escape to a white sandy, warm beach edged with palm trees, somewhere reminding us of paradise.
But even paradise can have it’s downsides. We could find ourselves in a brand-new place away from internet reviews and cell phone reception, yet, we still have to get our meals somewhere!
If you have traveled abroad before I am sure you must have experienced one small mistake in judgment which lead to some very unhappy moments in the bathroom….or if you were very unlucky even in the emergency room.
Maybe you will choose to stay confined in your hotel and play it safe. But what if there was a magical set of guidelines that would help you make the right choice at least 90% of the time and lead you to magnificent new experiences in the wide world of flavors and taste?
What if there was a guide to choosing the very best places to eat even if you knew nothing about them?
…and how to avoid it.
Well, I pride myself of having used my “secret” guide to how to choose the perfect restaurant over and over with a very high rate of success and satisfaction!
As you might know from reading this blog I am a lover of food, I am an acolyte of exotic flavors and a preacher of seasonings!
In short I love eating and I love GOOD food. Every country has good and bad food. Some more than others, but the trick is always to find the best places to eat!
Having traveled a lot all my life, and having been so lucky to professionally photograph restaurant food for many years, I got the opportunity to form an inner database of criteria that will consistently lead me to a successful choice of eating establishment!
BELOW ARE SOME EXAMPLE OF PLACES I WOULD NOT PICK!
10 easy criteria to help you choose the perfect restaurant.
1. Eat where the locals eat: a true and tested rule! Ask somebody local that you can trust, somebody that will not get a commission from referring you somewhere. Otherwise just drive or walk around and look at what places are frequented mainly by locals. If you are going on you own device don’t forget to apply the additional criteria below!
2. Avoid tourist traps: Certain restaurants cater exclusively to tourists! Most of the times what that means is higher prices, and a limited, less authentic menu. Sometimes the quality is also not the best as those restaurants bank on the idea that the tourists have little experience of their food and anyways they will leave fast enough not to give them a bad reputation.
3. Look at the menu: Always have a look at the menu before you choose. Is it reasonably priced or overpriced for the restaurant’s quality and looks? Is it in English or in two languages? Most authentic local restaurants or food joints will not have a menu in English…if they have a menu at all.
4. Observe the workers: Are they busy? Are they solicitous? Do you see them working together as a team, as a well oiled machine, or are they idling around almost grudgingly getting up from a chair to attend you? Are they courteous and friendly? Are they dressed neatly even if not wearing a uniform or are they a bit unkempt?
5. Observe the people eating : Do they look like they are enjoying their food? Are they properly waited on? Do they look like they are they enjoying the experience or do they look unhappy and are playing with their food?
6. How does the place smell? Do you smell heavenly aromas drifting from the kitchen? That is usually a really good sign!
7. How is the overall look of the place? Clean and neat but not sterile? Look for a welcoming atmosphere, tables should be set with charm, even if extremely simple. Even the most basic wood table with no tablecloth can be clean and appealing. Are the condiments fresh or do they look like museum pieces?
8. How does the food look? Does the menu have photos? If not can you peek at other people’s plates? Does the food look fresh?
9. Is at least 20% of the dished unknown to you.? (for foreign restaurants). That usually means that the place is authentic and most likely the cuisine regional. Ask questions about those dishes. Ask the wait staff if the recipes are from that region.
10. And lastly: trust your instinct. Engage your 5 senses, a dining experience should always be a sensual one. All your senses should be involved and pleased!
EXAMPLES OF PLACES I WOULD PICK!
I hope this guide will be helpful in leading you to many a great discovery! Be adventurous, be bold and experience new dimensions in the realm of food.
As a last good precaution always have a good bottle or probiotics
handy, unfortunately in America we have sterilized away the good bacteria and therefor are very sensitive. A good dose of probiotics with your food should take care of most problems!