Edwina and I love travelling, and for us one of the most exciting and enjoyable aspects is checking out the hottest new bars and restaurants in the city or region we are visiting. Uncovering them is part of the fun!
Before we leave home, we do a google search using terms such as ‘on trend restaurants’, ‘new restaurants’ and ‘best restaurants’ plus the name of the city or destination. We’ve found bloggers with small, niche websites have a different perspective to the mainstream media and are likely to be on it much quicker. We also often google ‘pop up restaurants’ in the destination to see what’s happening right now.
We have also built a strong network of industry contracts through social media. Every city has restaurant critics, and they’re quite accessible. A lot of them are on Twitter, and most are on Instagram these days. You can shoot them a message and say “we’re coming to town, where do you recommend?” and start a conversation. The chief critic at Bloomberg in London, for example, has become a good friend through Twitter.
Airlines’ inflight magazines are also a very good source when it comes to what’s going on. They generally include stories about restaurants at the destinations they fly to. I always make a note of the ones that sound interesting.
Once we arrive, we like to find a cool little bar or restaurant and sit at the bar and start talking to the barman. A barman at an on-trend restaurant will always know the best places to go and the people in them. They will often tell you the name of the person to ask for to get in. It’s always better to have an introduction. If you can say “Dave from X says hello” when you get there you have that instant connection.
We often go to four or more restaurants in one night. In Vienna, we walked down the road and sat down at a restaurant that looked quite cool. But when we looked at the menu it was quite steaky, so we thought we would just have one drink and head off. We asked for the bill, but the waitress there was quite persistent and convinced us to stay. We told her we were going to be there for a week and asked what the best restaurants were. Next thing we know, Frisco the manager came over. He told us where to get the best schnitzel, the best bar, the best markets… We literally did a tour of Vienna based around his recommendations. He’s a really cool, funny guy. We became friends and interact all the time on Facebook now, and his friends are becoming our friends. Now when people we know are going to Vienna, we tell them to go and see Frisco and have a drink at his bar.
People now ask us all the time where to go when they are travelling, which is why I decided to start a restaurant review section on my website so people can see what we regard as being the best from our travels. Check it out.