One of the hardest things to do with a big group of people is decide where to eat. Everyone has different opinions, nobody wants to be responsible if it turns out to be bad, and typically, nobody wants to step up to make a decision. By following these nine steps, I guarantee you’ll be able to find the best restaurants in any city.
I have high standards when it comes to my meals. I figure you only get so much food in one day so every meal should be worth it. So when I go out for a meal I make sure it is the best of the best. Because of this, my friends and family have designated me the official foodie for anytime we need to dine out.
I take this job very seriously and it goes beyond checking a few Yelp reviews. Here’s how without fail, I find the best restaurants in any city.
1. Ask is anyone has a craving for a certain type of food
If they do, focus on that type of food in the next few steps, otherwise, keep an open mind and go more general.
2. Google “Best ___restaurants in ___”
Fill in blank #1 with either the type of food you are looking for or the meal that you are going out for. For example, “The best Mexican restaurant….,” or “The best brunch restaurant…”
The first result will be a list from Yelp, the next will typically be from Thrillist or a similar website and other local food blogs will follow.
Open Yelp in one tab, open Thrillist in another, and click on one or two of the blogs.
3. Open Pinterest and repeat step #2
Click on 3-4 blog posts that will lead to lists of the best restaurants from food bloggers. Pinterest in chock full of info about traveling, so you might even discover some fun things to do in the city you’re exploring!
4. Cross reference
Make a list of the best restaurants you have found on Yelp, Thrillist, Pinterest and the local foodie blogs. Put a star next to any one that is repeated. Once you have a good list, narrow it down to the ones that popped up across multiple sites. You should have anywhere between 8-10 options.
5. Go deep and get specific
Start with the first restaurant on your list and type it into Google.
Typically, the first result is the restaurant’s Yelp page, followed by the official page for the restaurant and so on. On the right side of the Google page there will be the restaurant location, photos and other information.
Open the restaurant’s Yelp page in a new tab, open the official page in a new tab, click on the Google photos in the tab that is open.
6. Check out Google Photos
Before anything else, you want a visual of the restaurant. Scroll through the photos to get an idea of the style, ambiance, and food. There will typically be a lot of photos of the food and one or two of the inside of the restaurant. If the restaurant looks like what you are looking for, then move on to Step 5 if not, go back to Step 2.
7. Check out Yelp reviews
Always remember that Yelp is very subjective. EVERY place will have both good and bad reviews, but typically if a restaurant has 4 or more stars it’s going to be a good one. Don’t even bother reading the reviews because everyone has a different experience. If the place has passed the Yelp test, move on to Step 7, if not it’s back to Step #2!
*Bonus* check out some of the Yelp photos for a more accurate image of the restaurant and its dishes!
8. Check the menu ahead of time
Head to the tab with the restaurants official page. You can tell a lot from a restaurants website. Pay attention to the style, typography, ease of navigation, aesthetic, and photos.
Every restaurant has their menu on their website so take this opportunity to skim the menu and get an idea of what type of food they serve.
If your mouth is watering by the time you’re done, you have probably found a winner!
9. Take notes
Jot down some quick notes about the restaurant next to the name on the document you have made with your master list. Just little things so you can remember what it was like (i.e. “cute,” “trendy,” “lots of seafood,” “looked fancy,” “highly recommended,” etc.)
Now that you have gathered all of the information, one restaurant WILL stand out amongst the rest! This is usually the hardest part for a lot of people; actually making a decision. Honestly just go with your gut (literally) and choose what looks best to you. Most people don’t have a strong opinion when it comes to choosing a place to eat and they will trust your choice, so trust yourself!