Picking a really great place to eat is not as easy as people might think. In my opinion, it’s not just the menu you should be looking at, but the write-ups in magazines, online forums, and the reviews.
Here are my top tips on how to become really good at picking the perfect place to eat in your area.
- The menu should be the first stop. Yes, the menu should be the first thing you look at when trying to pick a place to eat. You obviously need to know whether you like the cuisine or not. And, you want to know if you can find something on the menu that you would actually enjoy. BUT, the menu should definitely not be the only thing you look at.
- Find the food bloggers from your area that are LEGIT. There are a ton of food bloggers posting pictures of amazing dinners and over-sized bagels stuffed with peanut butter, banana, and bacon that have you drooling at first look. These days, food bloggers live in Instagram where they also share the link to their blogs in their profiles that feature hundreds of pictures, reviews, and posts on what we must check out in the neighborhood. I also search out bloggers via food news and dining sites and tend to find their social accounts through those. A few of my favorites at the moment are Rachel Blumenthal from Eater Boston (Instagram: blumie625) and theprettyplate Instagram. Both Boston-based, they share mouth-watering pictures and tid bits of information on the best dishes from great spots in the area.
- Look for a restaurant more than once. It’s telling when you can find a restaurant on multiple top restaurant lists that all boast how good it is. If in the Boston area, check out Eater.com, Serious Eats, HiddenBoston.com, the Boston Foodie, and the Thrillist Boston, and look for repeat offenders. Every one of these sites has awesome suggestions. com, Serious Eats, and the Thrillist are not just Boston focused but feature and recommend restaurants from dozens of cities across the country.
- READ REVIEWS. This is so important and has helped me so many times when deciding on where to eat. First, check yelp and then follow up with a search on TripAdvisor. These days, I find that Yelp offers more recent and a larger number of reviews on any given restaurant than TripAdvisor does. However, when it comes to any review site, make sure you read two or three pages of reviews and not just the first two on the first page. Don’t be lazy about review reading. If on Yelp, find the sort by “Yelp Sort” drop down. This is located right above the first review available. Once you find the drop down, filter by “Newest”. This sort will help you determine if people are actually enjoying the place now and won’t populate reviews from 2013 and 2014 which can be quite irrelevant. For some reason Yelp sometimes pulls random reviews that were written years ago onto the first page.
Read ten recent (written in the last 6 months) reviews from start to finish and make sure to take a glimpse of both 5 star and 1 star reviews. Hopefully, one stars don’t even exist.
Everyone’s opinion won’t be your opinion but it’s good to read what others have to say. If you do stumble across a one-star review, check to see if that person has written other reviews for other spots. People are weird and some people just want to hate on a restaurant or a place for no real reason, so make sure that person is legit themselves and reviews regularly. Though, if you can’t find a five-star review on the first or second page, it’s probably best to skip on that restaurant.
Thanks for reading!
Check out my yelp reviews here.