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Claire's Tips

Dine Like a Local


It can be hit or miss finding restaurants you like at home, let alone in a foreign city. Eating poor food at high prices isn’t fun at the best of times, let alone when you’re on vacation. The best rule of thumb? Eat where the locals eat. Here are some ways you can do just that:

Check out locally produced “Best Of” guides. Most major cities have some sort of dedicated magazine, newspaper, mainstream or alternative weekly that does an annual “Best Of” issue. The upside is that their readership is truly a local one and the mission is to seek the best and off-the-beaten track restaurants that locals love and can afford.

Websites and smartphone apps have become ones of the hottest trends for finding restaurants. One of my favorite websites is Yelp.com and for apps – you really can’t go wrong with Urbanspoon. Be sure to read the reviews posted by others. Just like a hotel review, be sure to take it with a grain of salt. Restaurants is very subjective.

A quick Google or even Twitter search for something like “Best Portland Lunch” or “Top Toronto Breakfast” can also bring up some helpful results.

If you’re exploring on foot, take a walk away from the tourist strip, you may find that prices drop to levels that locals will actually pay. If prices seem in line with the menu and ambiance of a restaurant you’re trying to decide on, this can also be a good indicator that you’ve found a place where locals come to eat.