When it comes to going out to eat or stopping in somewhere for a cocktail, it can be easy to fall into a rut of going to the same couple restaurants on a regular basis. If you're feeling stuck or are looking for a new place to try, there are ways to find a new restaurant or two to add to your rotation of regular spots. Who knows, you may even find a new favorite!
Why explore new restaurants
There are a few reasons why you may want to branch out and try new restaurants. To start, it allows you to support more local businesses if you're routinely trying new places. It can be exciting to find local restaurants that hit the spot, and supporting locally owned restaurants can help stimulate your local economy.
Trying new restaurants or new types of cuisines can also inspire personal growth. If you grew up eating Italian and American food, you may tend to stick with what you know when choosing restaurants. However, trying a Thai or Brazilian restaurant may introduce you to new flavors that you love. Expanding your palate may even encourage you to travel more, as you seek out new flavors and ingredients.
And of course, going out to eat is fun. There's no chopping vegetables, standing over a hot stove or cleaning up a mountain of dishes afterwards — you get a professionally made meal in a nice atmosphere. Trying new places could help you find a brand-new experience, such as having a Hibachi chef toss you a shrimp from the cooking station right at your table.
How to find restaurants
If you aren't sure how to find restaurants to try, there are a few different ways to find some inspiration.
One of the first places you can start is online. There are multiple websites that allow patrons of a restaurant to leave a review. Many reviews include information about the food, service and atmosphere, and some even include photos. Review websites also generally allow reviewers to give overall ratings, so look for restaurants with a high rating and a lot of reviews.
Social media is another avenue for finding reviews. It gives you a glimpse into the restaurant recommendations and reviews of people in your area. It's also a great way to keep up to date on any new restaurants. There are likely “foodie” accounts in your area as well. These are generally run by locals who are just into exploring your local food scene and can provide a wide range of restaurant suggestions for you to try.
Word of mouth
If you're not comfortable digging around online to find local restaurants, word of mouth is a great way to get some restaurant recommendations. Ask your friends or coworkers where they like to eat and keep a running list of suggestions. This method can really help you expand your horizons, as your friends from different backgrounds will likely have a wide range of opinions.
Figuring out where to eat when visiting a new city
If you're visiting a new city and looking for a place to eat, you'll likely have success following many of the same tactics. Whether you're traveling abroad or domestically, the city you're in will likely have online reviews and social media foodies documenting their restaurant recommendations.
If you're hoping to avoid touristy locations and want to eat where the locals eat, there's only way to do that — ask the locals! When you check in to your hotel, visit a museum or take a taxi, ask what their favorite restaurant is. Not only will you get to know a local, but you'll likely find more authentic food options, especially when you're out of the country.
Many cities also offer culinary walking tours. This may be particularly useful if you're traveling abroad and unfamiliar with local cuisine. You can learn about common ingredients and dishes, and your guide will be able to offer suggestions.
It can seem easy to stick with what you know when you're headed out to eat, but by trying a few new methods, you'll be able to find a restaurant that can expand your palate, bring a new experience and maybe even become a new favorite.