Dine Like a Local: 10 Tips on Eating Out in a New City 

If you’re a bit of a foodie, you’re probably super excited about eating out in a new place—the chance to try new restaurants and explore different cuisines. That said, if you’ve never been to a city before, dining out can be a little bit overwhelming.

Whether you’re worried about not understanding the local etiquette surrounding eating out or you think that you may get caught out by the over-rated tourist traps, the blog below is just what you need to make sure all your dining experiences in a new city go without a hitch. Plus, find out how to find the best restaurants in any area!

1. Do Your Research

Do Your Research

If you’re feeling nervous about the prospect of eating out in a new city, then it can be a good idea to see what the area has to offer before you make any dining reservations. Embracing technology trends in the restaurant industry, consider exploring mobile apps that offer insights into local dining scenes, allowing you to discover hidden gems and trending eateries conveniently on your smartphone.

Take a look online and see what restaurants come up top on food review sites such as Trip Advisor and take the time to read a handful of reviews. You may also want to have a walk around the city to see which neighborhoods you like the look of and to see what dining options are available.

2. Read Reviews

Although some reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, it can still be helpful to read some if you’re unsure about where to eat out.

There are lots of review sites, as mentioned briefly above, all of which can give you a better idea of what an eatery is like and the quality of food and service that they offer. You can also ask residents to make recommendations, as this can help you to find the true hidden gems in a new city.

3. Try New Cuisines

Do you always tend to stick to the same cuisine when eating out? If so, then a new city provides the perfect opportunity for you to try something new.

If you’re visiting a new city in another country, make sure that you try a wide range of local dishes, and don’t be afraid to push your tastebuds outside their comfort zone. It can also be helpful to know how to order from a menu in a foreign language, so you might want to learn a few words and phrases before you go.

4. Explore Street Food

Street food can be daunting for those who’ve never tried it before, but it’s on the streets that you can find some of the best dishes at some of the best prices.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure what something is or what it’s going to taste like. Most street food vendors will be only too happy to let you try some of their food free of charge, so, if in doubt, ask for a sample.

As a general rule, if a street food stall has a long queue, this is a strong indicator that the food is going to be good.

5. Take a Peek Through the Window

If you’re unsure about a restaurant, it can be helpful to take a peek through the window to see what the ambiance is like. Do the customers look like they’re enjoying their food and having a good time? Are the waiting staff dressed professionally? Are the kitchen staff kitted out in coats made for ChefWorks and the appropriate headwear?

All of this can help you to determine whether an establishment is worth visiting or not.

6. Dine out With the Locals

Arguably, the best way to explore the cuisine of a new city is by dining out with the locals, which is a surefire way to avoid falling into the trap of eating out at over-priced and over-hyped tourist spots. A local resident will be able to show you where all the best restaurants are and prevent you from getting ripped off by inferior food and service.

There are lots of ways that you can meet the locals in a new place, such as joining a club or class, using online apps, or simply striking up a conversation with a stranger.

7. Take a Cooking Class

Take a Cooking Class

If you’re visiting a city that you’re totally unfamiliar with and you have no idea what the food is like, then it can be a good idea to take a cooking class to get to know the local ingredients and see how they’re used.

Whilst there are cooking classes that you can do online; it’s much more useful to take a face-to-face class as this will enable you to fully immerse yourself in the culture of the city and help you to make new friends.

8. Make Reservations

Although you may enjoy spur-of-the-moment dining out experiences and these can often be amazing, when you’re visiting a new city, you should always make a reservation when eating at a restaurant for the first time. This is especially important if you’re planning to dine at a popular eatery or if you’re eating during peak hours or months of the year such as the school holidays.

9. Mind Your Manners

It goes without saying that you should be polite and courteous when visiting a new city and treat people as you would expect to be treated yourself. When it comes to eating out, etiquette can vary from one culture to another, so you should always make sure that you do your research before visiting a new place.

If you notice other people acting a certain way and you’re unsure about the rules of a particular area or establishment, then feel free to ask the owner or your server.

10. Know Your Limits

Dining in A New City

If you’re not used to spicy food, then eating out at a new restaurant isn’t the place to suddenly order the spiciest item on the menu. Instead, start with something milder and gradually work your way up. Remember, it’s better to err on the side of caution rather than spend your entire meal with your eyes streaming and gasping for water.