When in Rome — or Bangkok, or New York, or anywhere, really — skip the tourist traps and chain restaurants in favor of neighborhood gems, advises former chef and "Parts Unknown" host Anthony Bourdain.
"You want to go to a place where there's locals only," Bourdain tells Money in a recent interview. "No photos of the food, the menu is not in English and there are people eating there that look like they go there a lot."
However, finding the best under-the-radar spots can be easier said than done. Bourdain recommends skipping travel websites like TripAdvisor or Yelp in favor of niche forums with message boards.
Then, he says, provoke "nerd fury. "
To get heated responses, he suggests writing a fake post about how you "just got back from Rome!" and had the best food of your life there. Name drop a restaurant at random and wait for the comments to roll in.
"The torrent of informative abuse that will come your way from people who want to tell you how stupid, witless, and uninformed you are will be very instructive," he says. "It will, of course, mention the tiny little place, the tiny little trattoria ristorante that they experienced. "
People will start to agree on certain places and, if 10 to 12 "nerds," as Bourdain calls these impassioned experts, point to the same spot, it's probably worth checking out.
If you're already on the road, Bourdain offers a simple test to narrow down the places that know what they're doing from the ones that don't.
"My favorite restaurants are ones where they only do two or three things," he says. "A place that does three things and it looks like they've been doing those same three things for a very long time — that's a really healthy sign.
"If they have a menu that's all over the place, if they have a hamburger or Asian fusion and it's not in Asia, these are all worrisome to me."
It makes sense: If you want pizza, look for pizza shop. And if you want to find the best locals-only bar in Madrid, listen to those who know.
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