local restaurant

How to Find Locally Owned Restaurants While Travelling

Dining out is one of the greatest experiences of traveling abroad. When visiting a new place, tourists have the opportunity to try new food.

Every culture has a unique cuisine with special flavors, ingredients and other interesting differences. With an increase in tourism, many popular cities have increased the number of restaurants catering to visitors.

While this provides travelers with more options, there is a downside to this trend. Many restaurants will forgo a local cuisine in order to appeal to a larger demographic. Some tourists don’t mind eating the same food in every place they visit. This is unfortunate as each place has something unique to offer in the realm of food.

Why You Should Support Local Restaurants

Instead of eating at chains, travelers are advised to find locally owned restaurants that serve the authentic cuisine of the particular region. Chain restaurants taste the same in every single location. Every item on the menu is replicated with an identical recipe in every franchise across the globe.

Eating as these chains defeat the purpose of traveling abroad to experience something new. On the other hand, locally owned restaurants have unique recipes and flavors that reflect the cuisine in that particular area. Here are a few tips for finding these locally owned restaurants when traveling.


Yelp is one of the original restaurant review websites. The site has been around for years and is often considered the best way to find quality restaurants. The great thing about Yelp is that all of the reviews are from people who have visit the restaurant and tried the food. Reviewers will provide a restaurant a certain number of stars out of five and provide a description of their dining experience.

The level of detail that can be found on this website is perfect for travelers looking for locally owned restaurants. Search results can be filtered by location, price, style of food and more. As one of the most popular restaurant review apps, every local restaurant will be listed. Yelp is a great way to find locally owned restaurants while seeing what people have to say about their food.

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor is often heralded as the world’s largest travel site. While Trip Advisor is an excellent resource for travel destinations, many people also use this site for finding locally owned restaurants. As Trip Advisor has established a great reputation within the travel community, smaller restaurants strive to get recognized on the platform.

This encouragement ensures that even the smallest, locally owned restaurants can be found on Trip Advisor. This website has also started to give out awards to certain restaurants that stand out amongst the rest. This dedication to quality and great food makes Trip Advisor an excellent place to search for locally owned restaurants. Trip Advisor has an easy search function capable of showing local restaurants within any particular area.

Visit Smaller Towns

Larger cities attract a vast majority of visitors. While this makes for a convenient visit, this amount of tourism usually detracts from the local culture. Restaurants begin sacrificing some of their roots in order to appeal to more people visiting.

This is why larger cities always have more chain restaurants. In order to find the best locally owned restaurants, travelers sometimes have to venture out of the larger cities. Smaller towns in the surrounding area are bound to have hidden gems. An example would be Scranton, Pennsylvania. There are many places to eat in Scranton that offer a variety of homemade dishes.

These smaller restaurants cater to locals and will undoubtedly have a local cuisine. Another great benefit of visiting these smaller towns is getting away from the tourist crowds and higher prices.


There are several applications available for Android and iOS users that help travelers search for specific restaurants. These apps have search features with certain filters that can yield particular options. In this case, travelers can search for restaurants that serve local cuisine in a certain town. These apps are free and very easy to use. You can find them by searching in your app store for “restaurant reviews”.


If searching online doesn’t yield any worthwhile results, it may be a better idea to search on foot. Exploring a city is a great way to find local restaurants. Visitors can follow crowds or simply walk down random streets until something great is found. Sometimes the best restaurants are found by chance.

Ask Locals

In the 21st century, a majority of people are completely dependent on their smartphones, computers and other devices for finding good food. A simple search can yield thousands of results for one city alone. While this method is convenient and fast, it misses out on some key opportunities. There are still restaurants that can’t be found online no matter how much searching is done.

Furthermore, sometimes the online reviews are not accurate. Asking locals is sometimes the most effective way to find great food. First and foremost, locals know better than any traveler where great food can be found. Secondly, locals will likely recommend restaurants that serve local cuisine with a cultural edge. No local would recommend a McDonald’s.