How to Find the Best Restaurants in Town, Some Guidelines

Gentle Readers, a most interesting question was posed by a gentle reader on whether Anthony Bourdain’s proposed method of finding the best restaurant abroad works. His suggestion is not gently, but provocative like the man himself. Though I’m sure it does work, it is at a cosmic cost, and not for the faint of heart.

Foie gras burger and fries for the win! (Not on the menu, super delicious.)

Foie gras burger and fries for the win! (Not on the menu, super delicious, find it at G2B GastroPub in Durham.)

So if you’d prefer a bit more of a traditional method, here are some suggestions. Thanks to companion diner and future guest blogger Waldorf for the amendments.

The Practical Cook’s Guide to Finding the Best Restaurants in Town

1. Google it. Obvious, yes, but a broad initial search can help you establish of baseline of credibility. You’ll need this later to confirm or deny your research.

Google's take on the best restaurants: Good research fodder!

Google's take on the best restaurants: Good research fodder!

2. Read Yelp critically. Yelp can be quite useful to uncover gems. Be wary of general popularity if you’re picky, remember the masses may not share your tastes. As Waldorf suggests, read the 1-star reviews, and see if the critique is something like “too spicy” at an Indian restaurant. That may mean more authentic.

Indian with a kick! (That's what the raita is for . . .)

Indian with a kick! (That's what the raita is for . . .)

3. Use the hotel guide. I am not afraid to see what the hotel suggests when I’m traveling, both in writing and by asking the concierge. Yes, there are relationships here, but sometimes proximity equals best. I used this plus google to uncover an amazing Mexican restaurant near Williamsburg, VA, on a recent trip. Tableside guacamole, totally worth the wait.

Fresh guacamole really does taste better.

Fresh guacamole really does taste better.

4. Let wiseacres like Anthony Bourdain do your dirty work. There is always a local chat board discussing the best whatever, and someone always throws a firebomb into the thread. Find the chowhound or equivalent community, and browse some threads. You’ll see themes.

Delicious Chinese green beans came with a recommendation!

Delicious Chinese green beans came with a recommendation!

5. Join Twitter and ask. I got some amazing recommendations for London by asking. Yes, I write about food, and think about it even while sleeping. However, you to can ask, or find a local food blogger and ask. I love supplying a customized answer when colleagues and friends come to town.

Poached eggs over polenta with mushrooms, rocket, and feta (Dinner at Heston, Knightsbridge, London)

Poached eggs over polenta with mushrooms, rocket, and feta (Dinner at Heston, Knightsbridge, London)

Rest assured, I will continue to seek the finest in fried chicken, the best burgers and fried, and the best whatever else I can think up. If you’ve got a suggestion or question, please send it my way! I am currently developing a list of places to try locally (that’s the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of NC), and would love your ideas. Field research must go on. Post a comment below and let’s hear what you’ve been eating!

Special thanks to the good people of G2B GastroPub for the food and fabulous space where this blog post was mentally constructed during a most torrential downpour.

Send your restaurant suggestions, food questions, and general good cheer to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up Friday, The Grand Finale of the Bacon Tasting! The Best Bacon Declared!

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