I am that friend that people always ask for restaurant recommendations. I do find joy in researching restaurants, especially when traveling, but I never understood why people find it so hard. I have a few tried and true things I do each time I visit a new place or am looking to spice up my restaurant repertoire wherever I am living. 

My (not so) dirty secrets about finding the best restaurants:

1. Yelp

Yelp, after Instagram, is probably my most used app. I don't really write reviews for restaurants (unless I have a horrible experience or feel really compelled to share) but it is the number one thing I use to find restaurants. When I'm bored, I like to look at the "Hot & New" tab for wherever I am to find newly opened restaurants. And always before traveling, I always look up types of restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, juice, etc. and bookmark them. 

A little tip, restaurants that have over 100 reviews and 4-5 stars, are generally really good. I look at people's pictures as well as read through some reviews and then take a look at the menu. Sometimes, newer restaurants will have fewer reviews so that's why it's important to actually read the reviews there are. You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the way the food is presented—I'm a sucker for well presented food.

2. Ask for people's recommendations

I'm not sure why, but some people are so scared to reach out. Whether it be posting on Facebook, your Instagram story, or just asking a friend, if you're looking for restaurants (or anything for that matter) in a certain place, ask people places that they love. The majority of times, people love to share the things that they love and people always like to help. 

3. Find the Instagram "foodie" accounts for the area

Before moving anywhere or even before traveling anywhere, I like to follow or at least stalk local Instagram food accounts. Literally type "[location] food" into the search bar and I'm sure tons of accounts will pop up. I'm friends with a lot of local Baltimore foodies and most times, they'll get invited to openings of local restaurants and will post pictures about it. Besides Yelp, to find the best food in an area, Instagram is your best bet. Also, these accounts have real people running them, don't be afraid to reach out and ask their must-try spots–they will be happy to share recommendations with you.

4. Google it

This sounds so obvious, but I'm convinced people are just lazy and don't want to spend the time actually researching good places to eat. The first thing I do when I am on the quest to figure out where to eat in a new city is google it. Usually "best restaurants in ______ 2018" will do and then you can sift through articles, take note of places that stand out or have been mentioned multiple times. 

I am leaving in three weeks to study abroad for a year in Europe and I have been using all of these tips to compile restaurant options in all the European countries I want to visit. I currently have a 10 page word document and it's not finished (not really shameful, but it is a bit excessive). I take my food seriously, people! Plus, I really enjoy researching restaurants. And grocery shopping. Am I obsessed with food or am I obsessed with food? Let me know.