7 Ways a Menu Can Tell You if the Restaurant Is a Tourist Trap

In a previous post, I offered seven tips on how to eat where the locals eat. While that post is an excellent guide to point you in the right direction to a local trattoria that hasn’t been spoiled by an onslaught of tourists, it did not provide the final determining factor on how you can decide if the restaurant is a tourist trap.

The final clue lies in the menu. Here are seven ways a menu can tell you if the restaurant is a tourist trap or not.

The host pushes the menu in front of you as you walk by

If that’s the case, you should run, not walk away. If the restaurant begs you to come inside, what does that say about the quality of their food? That nobody wants to eat there without having their arm twisted.

There are pictures of food on the menu

We’ve all seen these menus. You know, the ones filled with faded pictures of what looks like stale food. If the pictures themselves don’t look appetizing, do you really think the food will look or taste any better when it arrives at your table? No! If you eat there, pray that you don’t catch E. coli.

The restaurant advertises a special tourist menu

This should actually read: “Hey suckers! We have a special menu just for you. Nothing on it is inspiring, and each item has been sitting under a heat lamp for no less than 48 hours. Because this is a special tourist menu, we’re also charging double what you should be paying.”

Don’t eat there.




Cultured Palate: Dishes from Ethiopia

It’s never been easier to get hooked on Ethiopian food -- and the spicy, primarily vegan cuisine of this small country is spreading rapidly around the world thanks to its vibrant flavors and special home cooked delicacies.

Cultured Palate: Dishes from the Pacific Northwest

If you’ve ever heard people discuss the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest, they talk lovingly of ingredients rather than specific dishes. That’s because the food of the Cascadia region is focused on fresh ingredients from land and sea.

Cultured Palate: Dishes from the American Southeast

Southern cooking is one of the most popular and internationally beloved U.S. cuisines. It’s famous for its indulgence and its delicious ingredients that draw on the South's many regional cultures.