I read an interesting article this morning about tourist trap restaurants. I think we have all had some experience with such a place. Anytime the chef is more famous than his food, I begin to worry and will not eat there. Places like Wolfgang Puck, Moritmoto, Bobby Flay, Paul Prudhomme, Alain Ducasse. I prefer the Mom-and-Pop places, the authentic recipes. old fashioned style cooking.
So, what should the wary diner look for to avoid the rip offs, and disappointment?
If the menu is written in more than two languages, I would run to the nearest exit.
The hours of operation are important. In many countries, locals do not eat at the same hour as Americans.
The menu looks like it is from a different region or agricultural area. For example, sushi in Omaha!
A hawker or baker outside the front door is a sure sign, though my Greek friends in Athens do this with great food!
If you see an OLD TripAdviser sign in the window.
The restaurant is next to a famous landmark, like Pisa, Eiffel, Ipanema, Heineken, 30 Rock.
Are locals inside?
How can you avoid these places?
Do some internet research, ask friends, use the hotel concierge.
Talk to people!
One of my secrets: Sit at the bar with a drink before deciding!
In busy areas, always make a reservation to avoid being forced to a big tourist trap.
If you see a tour bus outside, run the opposite way!!!
Once in a while, the trap is a pleasant surprise. Scoma’s at Fisherman’s What in the City, Merry Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta, Joe’s Stone Crabs in Miami, Sardi’s in NYC to name a few.
Name a “good” tourist trap that you enjoyed.