Tips for discovering the best local eateries around the world

Food is one of the great joys of traveling — whether it’s an exotic, possibly dodgy street food stall or just the local version of your favorite dish, for many, the food is the chief reason to go.

But of course finding the best restaurants, street food and delicious out-of-the-way local favorites is difficult when you don’t know the city. We’ve pointed out some tried and true tips on finding good local food before (I’m a big fan of the simplest tip on that list — ask the locals), but there are some other potentially helpful resources you can tap before you ever leave home.

If you aren’t already a fan of Yelp, be sure to start there. The site is packed with user reviews for restaurants around the U.S. Be aware, however, that Yelp’s users are an opinionated bunch, so take bad reviews with a grain salt. One invaluable Yelp tip, if a restaurant has really bad reviews click through and check out the user profiles for the naysayers, you may find they’re bothered by things that aren’t an issue for you (like “sloppily” dressed staff, which apparently bothers enough people to vote down my favorite local restaurant such that it gets only a one star rating on Yelp, despite the four stars Zagat gives it).

Don’t think Yelp is the only option either. There are some interesting new sites out there trying to stake a claim in the same territory. Where the Locals Eat is a recent entry that, as the name suggests, tries to help you avoid the tourist traps and banal chain restaurants.

Where the Locals Eat isn’t perfect and despite its claim, the site lists more than a few chains. Still, with a little pre-trip research it isn’t hard to find some real gems. The only downside to Where the Locals Eat is that, like Yelp, it’s currently U.S.-only.

[Update: Yelp has a brand new U.K. edition.]

If you’re headed to Europe check out Qype, which aims to be a sort of Yelp for Europe and seems to have pretty good coverage of the UK, France, Germany and more.

For destinations in Asia the list thins out a bit. India has an answer to Yelp by the name of Burrp (click the “local” link) that covers most of the major cities. I’m not aware of any sites that offer comprehensive Yelp-style sites for Southeast Asia (or at least not any that are in English), nor Africa or South America. If you have suggestions post them in the comments below.

But just because there’s no community review site doesn’t mean you can’t find dining advice on the web. Use a blog search tool like Google Blog Search or’s blog search to see if any fellow travelers have written on food and restaurants in the area where you’re headed.

And remember, the real experts are the locals you meet once you arrive — ask them where they eat.

[photo credit]

Posted by | Comments (9)  | January 6, 2009
Category: General

9 Responses to “Tips for discovering the best local eateries around the world”

  1. Mustafa Says:

    Check out for Hong Kong, Malaysia & Singapore

  2. Etl World News | Assorted links Says:

    […] 1. Via Chug, tips for discovering good local eateries around the world. […]

  3. Zainab Says:

    For the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, there is a website with local food reviews, called