Situation: You're traveling and trying to find dinner at a nice restaurant. You arrive at your first choice, but it's completely booked. So, where do you eat next?
I've been to many tourist traps and subpar restaurants, so I've developed a sixth sense. Gen Z translation: I can quickly identify which restaurants are SUS af.
Full Disclosure: I'm probably going to offend some people. I mean no harm. 😛 Lol
Below are 5 warning signs for spotting tourist traps:
Look at the menu size: If the menu is as thick as a Harry Potter book, that's a good indication the food is frozen and frozen food is microwaved. I didn't spend a bunch of money, time, and energy just to eat a Hot Pocket. Save venues like the Cheesecake Factory for work lunches.
Look at the portion size: If the dishes at a restaurant are so large that you have to take them home, I recommend going elsewhere. The defining feature of the restaurant should be quality (taste, ingredients, etc.) and not the portion size. Authentic establishments want you to finish the food in the restaurant, not at home as soggy leftovers. Large portions are for fast-food joints.
Look at the dishes: If you are traveling outside of the USA and the menu looks like just home, run. For example, if you're in Colombia, the authentic Colombian restaurants don't serve Hamburgers, French Fries, and Mozzarella Sticks. They serve Bandeja Paisa, Sancocho, and Arepas. Locals wouldn't go there for authentic food, and you shouldn't either.
Look at the crowd: I look at the people dining in the restaurant. If they all look like tourists, that's a good indication that I shouldn't be there. I want to be at the venues full of locals, and I'm the oddball tourist.
Look at the location: Most quality restaurants are not in the tourist areas because the tourist areas have higher operating costs. To make a profit in these areas, they have to appeal to tourists. As a result, this leads to higher prices, cheaper ingredients, and safe dishes (chicken nuggets.) I want to go where locals eat, and locals will not pay exorbitant prices for the same food they can get elsewhere. Therefore, the quality venues are at least a block or two outside the
Bonus: Look for promoters: You know those people who stand outside the restaurant and try to get you to go inside? I've never had a good experience going to any of those restaurants. Just keep walking.
I have more warning signs, but I need more editing to avoid offending too many people or getting sued. Maybe I should do a part 2... 🤔🤔🤔