One of travel’s biggest joys—and trials—is figuring out where to eat when you’re on the road. There is nothing better than serendipitously scoring a great meal in an otherwise unprepossessing roadhouse. And nothing worse than following a guidebook’s advice on a four-star restaurant and getting burned. Is there anything more subjective than a restaurant review?
So most of us do some triangulating to protect ourselves: We read multiple guidebooks, talk to friends, quiz the locals, harvest saved posts and screenshots from Instagram, and scour the depths of online reviews. This is a decent safeguard against disaster. It is also time-consuming and exhausting.
With the Eat Sheet, the Daily Beast is here to help.
When we at Beast Travel set out to create a useful restaurant guide, we wanted something concise and authoritative, something akin to the Beast’s signature Cheat Sheet. We also wanted a guide that made our tastes and viewpoint clear, which is something that gets lost when browsing Trip Advisor or Google. And we wanted variety, sort of haute to honky tonk, because almost no one likes eating the same thing over and over. So we decided to stick with one city at a time, and to sum up that city’s culinary hot zones, we’ve created categories, delineated and explained below. We’ll only be giving you eight or so per destination–enough to get you through a long weekend but not so many that you’ll be overwhelmed. The categories are as follows:
Make It Quick
The food scene in many destinations isn’t limited to full-service restaurants–after all, locals don’t dine out for every meal. This category covers a particularly noteworthy joint where you can get something quick–sandwich shop, salad spot, fast casual, etc.
See and Be Seen
This is the power spot, the spot where you’ll get the best people-watching, be it those on top or the strivers looking to take their place. This is where you’ll find a destination’s ruling class–politicos, financiers, journalists, and artists.
Hold the Meat
Every year more and more people switch to either vegetarian or vegan, so let’s give the people what they want! It doesn’t have to be a strictly vegan/vegetarian place, but one that has a menu extensive enough in those areas to serve this group.
If It Ain’t Broke
Just because a restaurant has been around forever doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. In some cities, the best way to get a feel for the history of a place is through a restaurant that has seen it all–but is still serving up great food!
Whether you woke up hungover or it’s late at night and you need something to prevent that hangover, this is the spot where you can get that good greasy food.
Start Me Up
We all love a great breakfast spot when we’re traveling and quite simply that’s what this category is.
The Hot Spot
What’s the one new-ish restaurant these days that everybody is trying to get into? That’s the one we want to be checking out when we visit a city to see what this place sees as cool and cutting edge.
Under the Radar
Every city has a handful of restaurants that are doing stellar work but just aren’t drawing the out of town crowd. In fact, if you have even heard of one of these places you might impress a local.
Not all of us are looking to spend $20 on an app and $30+ on a main–some of us even have families. So what’s a spot where you can get a good meal with a good atmosphere and not break the bank.
One for the Feed
Admit it–we all love a spot now and then where the ambiance is more important than the food itself, especially in this social media era. This is the spot where you might spend more time taking photos and videos than actually talking to your friends.
On the Street
Few food categories are fetishized as much these days as street food. In some places like Bangkok or L.A., you definitely want to know what stand or food truck is a can’t miss.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Don't judge this spot by how it looks from the outside, or even once you walk in. Good food is all you're here for and so good food (maybe with good service) is all you'll get.
You're the kind of person who loves to impress, or you're dealing with a crowd that needs to be impressed. Either way, this spot will hit all the pretentious marks while serving a great meal too.