10 Dine Like a Local: Tried-and-Tested Ways to Find the Best Restaurants Near Me!

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The internet and apps have made fining the best places to eat or the best restaurants near me fairly easy. Everyone is a critic these days and finding opinions is as easy as asking the internet a question. You find these tools useful whether or not you have a cell phone, tablet or computer.

Food or Travel Blogs

Food Bloggers Credit CanvaPro
Food Blogger Credit CanvaPro

Whether they write about food or travel food bloggers eat for a living and travel bloggers write all about great places and experiences. When you look for good advice, the best advice come from those ‘in the know’. Besides, by narrowing down the choices of restaurants, you might be able to catch a few tourist attractions along the way.

Food Tours

Food Tour Credit DownshiftingPRO
Athens on Foot Food Tour Credit DownshiftingPRO

If you are short on time, one of the best ways to hit the local food scene is by taking a food tour. These specialized tours will often focus on local cuisine with a bit of history thrown in for good measure. I’ve taken tours in Athens, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. Destination Kitchen in New Orleans – the guide provided local history, tall tales of famous people and a sampling of the great food NOLA had to offer. This was a walking tour in the French Quarter and a quick 2.5 hours. Food tours give you a small sampling and a feel for a restaurant, you can return later on for a full meal experience.

Google Maps

Screenshot 2024 04 28 132847
Good Restaurants in Toronto Credit DownshiftingPRO

At the best of times, you can simply Google ‘find a restaurant near me’ or ‘best restaurant near me’, and Google will provide a list of eateries close to you. This is a great option if you are looking for restaurants within short walking or driving distances, but you may miss out on those farther afield. The upside is you will access directions to the location and Google Reviews (even images).

Google Reviews

Screenshot 2024 04 28 133613
Google Reviews Credit DownshiftingPRO

Once you’ve found the restaurant of choice, look at the menu and food images and read the Google Reviews. Many people from all walks of life add reviews to share their experiences (good and bad). The great thing about Google reviews is they are usually many of them, and they are quick reads. You can assess what is good, what to order, or what is missing in no time. Be sure to dig deep and see a variety of reviews plus have a look at the food pictures.

Local Guides

Local Guide Photo of Jet Fuel Coffee Credit DownshiftingPRO
Local Guide Photo of Jet Fuel Coffee Credit DownshiftingPRO

A Local Guide on Google is a person who likely takes pictures of food (attractions, services, etc.) and can also write a review. Margarita Ibbott is a travel writer and reviewer with thousands of images and hundreds of reviews. Google has different levels of expertise (depending on the number of contributions, images, etc.). This image of Jet Fuel Coffee has been seen almost 2.5M times since the review was written in 2017.

Tik Tok

Social Media Credit Depositphotos 1
Social Media Credit Depositphotos

With social media helping us make decisions today, it should be no surprise that consumers use videos either on YouTube or Tiktok to find the best restaurants. You can search using hashtags for #restaurants #foodie #foodlover #foodtok #foodtiktok to find people talking about food.

Likes on Instagram Credit isusek via CanvaPro
Likes on Instagram Credit isusek via CanvaPro

There is no question that a picture is worth a thousand words. Stories, reels, and posts on Instagram change the food industry. The number of images of food, restaurants, and attractions make this an ideal place to see reviews and to help patrons decide on what to order. Most eateries have an Instagram account, and if they are smart, they put photos of the delicious food online.

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor Credit DownshiftingPRO
Trip Advisor Credit DownshiftingPRO

It is almost impossible these days to ignore Trip Advisor. If you search on Bing or Google, chance are you will have a Trip Advisor review at the top of the search results. Although this has become more of a revenue generator, you can still find authentic reviews on Trip Advisor. The good thing is there are usually hundreds of reviews to read. Dig deep, don’t just read the top reviews.


Yelp iOS App Credit K. Liu via Yelp
Yelp iOS App Credit K. Liu via Yelp

Watch a show or series

Streaming Services Credit celt.sarmat.gmail .com via Depositphotos
Streaming Services Credit celt.sarmat. via Depositphotos.jpg

I love watching food shows: You Somebody Feed Phil, Netflix Street Food, and Chef’s Table are a few classics for me. Watching travel shows can also be a great source of finding places to eat. The only drawback is sometimes they don’t live up to the hype. On the flip side, after visiting La Perseverancia Market in Bogota, I was happy to write an extensive review on how AMAZING it is.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.