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Anyone else don't care that much about the restaurants while traveling?

Anyone else don't care that much about the restaurants while traveling?

Apr 16th, 2005, 04:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 215
For breakfast, I value a quick breakfast buffet, at the hotel that I am staying, with a variety of good choices and quality coffee (or cappucino).

For lunch, I go where ever I am, when the hunger strikes. I love street food, or small grocery stores w/take-out. One time, it was the cafeteria in the Vatican Museum, the food was awful.

For dinner, in a major vacation area, there are usually too many choices (fare, price, and atmosphere) just to stumble in anywhere. I rely on recomendations, coming from the hotel staff, based upon my inputs. I might ask where I can get a good steak, or maybe a special romantic spot.

DonnieD is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 05:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Seeing the sights is definitely our priority when traveling. And for me, it doesn't take a fancy restaurant to get my taste buds on overdrive. In Switzerland, to me there's nothing better than having a mountaintop wurst and kraut after a long hike, followed up by apple strudel with vanilla sauce. Yum..yum...
kopp is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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We love to eat but are not foodies. We went to Paris last week armed with lists of recommended places, none of them high-end, though. Did we go to any of them? Not a one! We wandered around all day, stopping to eat when we were hungry (and long past the point of hungry and into irritability for me one day!). We had lots of local delicious food, and some not so good. But it was all French and fun and wonderful.
allisonm is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Food isn't a big priority for me, either, although I'm disappointed when I have bad food while on vacation. DH and I can't eat large amounts of food, so a 3-course meal is wasted on us. We often like to split an appetizer and a main course. Like others, we usually go about our business and look for someplace interesting when we get hungry, although I carry a list when possible.

For our London trip, I'm going to carry Time Out's Cheap Eats book and compile a list both from here and from london-eating.co.uk, where people can post reviews of restaurants. I don't know how much I'll actually use the list, but I enjoy doing the research anyway!
sunny16 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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I'm with you lyb - not that into food. I'd rather spend the time wandering around (with a plan or without!) instead of "fancy" eating. I do, however, enjoy trying local cuisine (such as pasties in England; raclette in France, conch in the Caribbean) but prefer to do so casually. Good to see that I'm not alone in this preference.
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,036
We are similar to allisonm. We both like to eat and always bring a list of recommendations for restaurants but I don't think we've been to one of the recommendations yet. We don't plan our trip around eating. If we get hungry, we just start looking for places to eat. Some have been better than others, but we've always had a good time. The problem with most of the recommendations is that they never seem to be in the same area we are when we determine that we are hungry. We too also like to stop in cafes, check out the street food, or get some pastries to go.
tcreath is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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We always seem to head to Europe with a looong list of restaurants. Never (hardly ever) try any of them.

We are much more likely to try places recommended by locals we meet.

Byrd is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Maybe it depends on where you're going. For example a trip to Paris might include one "must do" each day. One day perhaps a museum, one day maybe a special church or a concert. But... not to plan at least one
perfect meal (yes, even if it requires an advanced reservation) in the culinary capital of the world is JUST WRONG!

bardo1 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:13 AM
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I care about everything while traveling. I like a good meal in an attractive alfresco setting. It depends on your relationship with food. I take dining seriously so dining with loved friends raises a simple meal to great heights. I find food sensual. Apples in a basket, a colorful bowl of lemons, oysters on a mont of seaweed and ice, but hey, I get off on the color and touch of an eggplant :0 Please don't hate me because I'm bountiful!!!
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I'm with you lyb. Marilyn described it perfectly -- I can't eat a big production of a meal every day or I would feel weighed down and crummy all the time. Eat a meal maybe once or twice a week, graze throughout the day whenever hungry for the remainder of the time. We can usually manage to avoid the disgustingly smoky interiors of many restaurants this way as well.

Also love the street/market food and always look forward to exploring the grocery stores in different countries.
questionmotives is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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Restaurant quality and service can be inconsistent. Advice from several years ago may not be accurate.
I actually like to follow the recommendations of hotel managers and desk clerks for no-nonsense local cuisine at reasonable prices. I have too often been disappointed by the popular, famous places.
platzman is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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I totally agree with LYB. Long periods of time spent in slow serving pampering restaurants is better spent seeing and doing the things I went to Europe to enjoy in the first place.

By and large the restaurants found near the tourist popular areas are over priced and the food is in general mediocre. Please note I am saying "in general" and "by and large". I do enjoy restaurant meals found in places off the tourist trail and frequented by the natives and serving food of a "regional" type.

There is an obsession with food among Americans today evidenced by the fact that so many of us are overweight. Less time in the fancy overpriced overhyped European restaurants and more time spent walking and seeing the wonders of Europe would make all of us healthier and happier.

Larry J
LarryJ is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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I wish I had written cigale's response because she took the words right out of my mouth. After reading her reply, I had to run to my vegetable bin and rub an eggplant all over my naked body. (Now watch this reply get pulled.)

The cliches "it takes all kinds" and "to each his own" work well here. I would venture to estimate most (American) folks could care less. How else can you explain such an enormous appetite for junk.

I know I don't need to explain my stand on this query. My philosophy is quite simple; if I can prepare what I'm eating and make it taste better at home, then I'll pass on that dining experience. I'd rather miss a meal then settle for mediocrity.

I adore the talents of a skilled chef and I always long for great tasting food no matter where I find myself. I'm not as obsessed about eating as some people I know but I am a true food snob. When I'm hungry, I look forward to treating myself with something that titillates my taste buds. And, sometimes, you have to plan and strategize well to get the "titillating treat" you're looking for.

One thing I don't do is eat dinner late. If the 10 PM slot is the only time available, I'll pass. In Europe (as in NYC), my preferred reservation time is 7 PM. My party is often the first to arrive and I have a few favorite haunts in Italy and France that will open 30 minutes early to accommodate me. An 8 PM start time is the latest I will go. And, finally, I always try to walk for a minimum of 20 minutes after every meal out, which is very easy to do in most places I visit.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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Marilyn said exactly what I would have.

We also do not eat fast food here, so definitely don't do it while traveling.

The only time we have ever made reservations for a place while traveling, was in Paris for a dinner at Altitude 95. We only did that out of necessity.

We much prefer to wander and fine a place that is casual and off the beaten path.

We do not eat out much at home, so when we travel, many times the food is way too much in quantity and also just too rich.
mms is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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A cold, properly treated can be cured in only a week. Left to it's own devices, it will linger on for a full seven days. -- Anonymous (meaning I didn't research who said it)

In that vein, has anyone noticed that in Europe you can plan and research and get lots of recommendations from other travelers and guide books and end up with a pretty fair chance that you'll get a good meal, and a small chance that you won't?

Or, you can go with no lists, wander down a side street or square of the tourist beat, watching locals gather or sniffing the air for a inviting aroma and end up with a pretty fair chance that you'll get a good meal, and a small chance that you won't?
Clifton is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Hey NYCFoodSnob, ya coming to the GTG on 21 May? The food, wine, and company will be "to die for." Oh, don't you just hate cliches?

Hope to see you there!!

Budman is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I, too, love delicious well prepared meals. I have my favorite restaurants in Europe and try to go to them every time I am there too. I don't follow the crowd but I do love good recommendations from friends and Fodorites.

It is so hard to find simply prepared meals with home grown robust ingredients here that I too dig in with both hands and rub the food all over my face in Italy. And I have learned over the years that expensive price tags and many stars do not necessarily make a delicious experience.

SeaUrchin is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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great question lyb. mostly because i'm in agreement -LOL. i have never planned a restaurant experience, let along written lists or studied guidebooks. i just look for the best option where i happen to be when i/we are hungry.

this method has mixed results, i admit!
suze is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 08:29 AM
Posts: n/a
I was happy to find this post, as I was thinking we were the only ones who didn't make restaurant reservations while traveling. We have had great luck in finding wonderful meals by just reading the posted menus at places that attract us. We focus our days on the must-see museums/monuments/sights, then find food in the area we end up at dinner time. We try to load up on a full breakfast, walk all day, grab lunch on the go (can't wait to try the crepes in Paris!) or in a cafe, then sit for awhile at dinner to re-charge our energies for more walking! Although Paris may call for a different strategy and probably warrants a reservation for dinner at least one night. But where, or where? My list I've gleaned from posters here has grown much too long to be manageable!
Apr 16th, 2005, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,156
Depends on where we are. In London and England in general, in particular, even sticking to recommended restaurants didn't always come out well. But it was better than just grabbing the nearest place. In Italy and France, I'd be more casual.

But I hate wasting money on bad food when I could have had a memorable meal for the same price or slightly more.
Mimar is offline  

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