European people take food very seriously. The biggest problem is often the language barriers. Unless you have a good understanding of the written language, you might be taking a gamble in what you order.
Where to eat
There are some basic rules that will help you find an authentic, good quality, good value restaurant or cafe.
- To find the best place in town, or a good place to eat: find somewhere full of locals. Its simple.
- Establishments in or around touristy areas will be the most expensive, and often the least authentic. Try going further afield, down side streets to find someone traditional.
- Avoid anywhere with menus in many languages in the window. Whilst this might make ordering easier, it is a ploy to tempt people into the restaurant. Places that don’t show the menus in different languages in the window often have them inside, or the staff can help you. Ask if they have a menu in your languages.
What to eat
- If you are not sure what to eat, ask the waiter for a recommendation or the specialty. Ensure you understand what it is, and that you like it first. Chiefs will always put the most effort into making specials, and normally the specialty of the house.
- Learn the words for foods you like, AND don’t like, or take a guide book with you.
- DONT order something you don’t understand. Cuisine in other countries can be widely different, and it is easy to mistake a dish when you read it.
- If the staff don’t speak your language, and you don’t speak theirs, point to something you see someone else eating. Or, ask other dinners to point on the menu to what they have. You can then show the staff.
- Don’t be afraid to ask and point. The restaurant or cafe want your business as much as you want to eat.
- Check the bill in touristy areas. You may find items have found there way onto your bill.
- Don’t feel obliged to pay performers who entertain you.
- Vegetarians and vegans should take special care when ordering. Definitely learn in the local language enough to ensure you are not getting something you wont eat.