How to Choose the Best Restaurant in a Strange Land?
You get to know a country and its people through its national cuisine, but how do you choose a restaurant in a foreign country that offers the authentic national cuisine of a country if you are there for the first time and do not know the local language? There are several signs that distinguish a good establishment from a bad one, working not on quality, but on quantity. And, by the way, these differences apply to almost all countries of the world and their institutions, whether it’s a restaurant or a cafe.
Firstly, to choose a restaurant in an unfamiliar city where you can try excellent local food, you must pay attention to its location. All establishments located near the city attractions, of course, have a menu of national cuisine, but, unfortunately, not all of them are conscientious about the quality of served food and service to their customers. They are rather designed for a large flow of tourists. Places “for tourists” usually have bilingual menus and some of them even include pictures of dishes so that tourists have no trouble pointing and ordering one dish or another. And if at the entrance to the restaurant and there is a so-called “caller,” then either in this place bad food, or the institution has recently opened and has not yet had time to acquire their clientele.
Secondly, in order to choose a restaurant or a cafe in a foreign country – look at the faces of those sitting at the tables. If most of them are locals, it is worth going in and trying their cuisine. Yes, and another point on this point: good places are not empty, there are always customers, regardless of the season and day of the week (unless of course it falls on a local religious holiday or a time of fasting for locals).
Thirdly, to choose a good local restaurant or cafe, pay attention to opening times, good restaurants are open for lunch or dinner, but do not work 24 hours a day! There are also establishments, such as those that have fresh seafood on the menu, closed on Mondays because the fishermen do not go out to catch fish on Sunday.
Fourth, when choosing a good place to eat lunch or dinner, look at the restaurant’s menu and see if they serve seasonal dishes. For example, if it’s early spring and the menu says eggplant dish, you should think twice. You should also be wary of a huge menu of many pages. And if the menu pages are laminated, that’s not good for the place either. It means that the menu hasn’t been changed for years. Optimal set of dishes in menu of a good restaurant will be 4 – 5 items of appetizers and salads, the same number of main courses, 3 – 4 desserts and a page set aside for drinks.
And the last point, not the main one, but nevertheless not less important in choosing a good place to enjoy the local cuisine of this or that country, can be the visibility of the kitchen and cooks. If sitting from a restaurant or a summer terrace you can see the chefs working in the kitchen or near the barbecue, grill, wood oven, it means that the institution is not hiding anything, and you can safely go in and enjoy a piece of culture, which is probably the most delicious in your whole trip!