Whether you find yourself in a small town or a major metropolitan area, good food can be found throughout America. While national chain restaurants offer comfort and uniformity in terms of menu and dining experience, when traveling to a new city you’ll find the tastiest creations and mouthwatering combinations can be found at independent dining establishments, local diners, or at a neighborhood bar.
Before you walk in and order the number 2 off the menu, consider these 3 tips to discover the best places to visit for great food.
1. Try hometown favorites
There’s a reason why certain cities are known for a particular dish. From New York-style pizza to Memphis barbecue, eating the hometown fare is sure to energize your taste buds and give you a new appreciation for where you’re visiting.
Take, for instance, Pittsburgh, PA. This city recently earned a spot on the best places to live in America list. The city is growing with businesses moving in and a variety of new restaurant concepts popping up left and right. However, one restaurant will always remain a staple in Pittsburgh, Primanti Bros. Their Almost Famous Sandwich comes stacked high with grilled meat, melted cheese, crunchy vinegar coleslaw, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and a heaping pile of French fries between two slices of Italian bread. If a friend or family member mentions making a trip to Pittsburgh soon, do them a favor and send them a Primanti Bros. e-gift. They won’t be disappointed when they sink their teeth into the sandwich you need both hands to hold.
2. Travel outside of the downtown area
Being in the heart of whatever city you’re in typically means the finest choices in entertainment, dining, and nightlife are available. While 4-star cuisine is nice, it’s expensive. Not to mention, pricey plates don’t necessarily mean better-tasting food.
For example, say you’re in downtown St. Louis wrapping up a work conference. Your flight home isn’t for a few hours and you want a no-frills burger. With some time to explore, rent a car and grab some colleagues for a manageable day trip. About 30 minutes outside of St. Louis is the city of Florissant. At the Florissant City Diner, you can seat yourself and order up a simple and satisfying meal. Known for the low-key atmosphere, filling portions, affordable prices, and tasty menu options, you won’t be disappointed you made the trip.
3. Ask for recommendations
Finally, the last bit of advice is, don’t be shy, ask a local. Yes, you can bring up reviews on your phone in a heartbeat and sift through response after response, but where’s the fun in that? While grabbing a cup of joe at the corner coffee shop, politely ask the person in front of you, where can I find the best falafel wrap around here? While everyone’s tastes are different, if you hear the same restaurant coming up in conversation, it’s probably worth checking out.
In short, the best places to visit for great food can range from fine dining to a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall. Depending on what you’re in the mood for and what your budget is, you can expand your palate and create your own best restaurants list when you follow any of these tips.