When Traveling Abroad, Should I Avoid Places That Serve A Lot of Tourists?

Eaten at Katz and the Carnegie. Probably packed with other tourists. Enjoyed both.

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I really enjoyed my meals in Sarge’s. They just do it right.
I like Katz’s but I will eat my food there next time. I ended up walking 3 blocks to a park before I could find a place to sit down and enjoy my enormous sandwich. Excellent sandwich with almost too much meat.
I think my favorite things in NYC were places not cafes. Loved the USS Intrepid Museum. What a beautiful ship!
And walking the Hi Line was very cool, too. In the fall the foliage views down the streets can be outstanding.

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I don’t mind touristy places if they are able to keep it real. Some can, some can’t.
When I was in Athens Greece one of my favorite restaurants was a tourist place called Liondi. It was just to one side of the Acropolis Museum and used a busker at the front to encourage people to try it. The busker was playful rather than insistent and I started shooting the sh** with him and figure “why not?”
I ordered wine and an olive app, pita fresh out of the oven plus a Greek lamb dish with potatoes, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Just delicious, it was bone in and I tucked in like I was starved. The waitress laughed at my enthusiasm but the chef popped up a few minutes later and asked me how I liked my meal. Again, he just sat for a second and we talked food and Greece. Very nice experience.
Even chefs at tourist places like to see their guests enjoying the food they prepare!

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If you return to Athens, breakfast on the patio at the St George Lycabettus Hotel’s 6th floor Le Grand Balcon

in Kolonaki, from which you can see the Parthenon, is an amazing experience.

One of the nicest breakfast buffets I have experienced, in my top 5.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3HADCNIRc0/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Nice rooftop pool at that hotel, too.

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Even more of a warning sign than multiple languages are photos for everything.

There’s a self serve cafeteria in the Vatican Museum. It had one of the best seafood risottos I’ve ever eaten. So, you just never know what you’re going to come across. The best thing you can do is a combination of research for due diligence, but tempered with an open mind based on how the travel day goes.

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The cafeterias in Italy sometimes have excellent food!

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We’ve always enjoyed sit-down restaurants in major art museums, because they make sense, and the menu’s usually just fine. As you can tell, we’re not really booking a table there primarily for the cooking. The relaxed meal is part of a big day, a planned investment in hopes for civilization, one compelling reason for being a tourist.

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I often have coffee and a pastry at the museum cafés.

Some museum cafés and restaurants are worth a visit even when you’re not visiting the museum.

Before the mural controversy reared its head, the Tate Britain’s distinguished and well-chosen and really well-priced wine list would have filled the bill, no matter the menu, not that the menu ever clouded a nice morning among the Turners, et al. Oh well, days gone by . . .

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I like the soups and tortes at Café Sabarsky in the Neue Galerie.
Also Bar Room at the Modern.

I never been to Tate Britain, but I had a nice lunch at the Tate Modern years ago.

I had a nice lunch at Lenbachhaus in Munich, too.

I miss travelling so much.

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Closer to home:

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I don’t know why you would avoid them if they offer something of interest to you.

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I hear you, RD. If it has something I like, I go.
I used to travel for extended periods of time and found that I was running into the same people all over the world. The “Gringo Trail” is a term that applies to areas outside Peru, it turns out. Whether it was Jalan Jaksa, Ram Buttri, Thamel, Earls Court, Poppies 3, Gili Trawangan… There is a clique of “travelers” who absolutely do not want to be identified with tourists but they tend to end up in the same places as many of the other travelers.
As I was informed one time by a traveler on Gili Trawangan “Travelers travel like a local, they stay at locally owned losmen, they eat at rumah makan not tourist places.” The fact that travelers frequently tend to (not always but usually) stay in specific locations in each of their destinations was lost on him.
That having been said, I kind of agree with my traveler friend in some ways. I do like to stay in places that are owned by locals and there is a difference between a local joint and a tourist trap, but there are tourist places that I still really enjoy. Whether it is roast lamb at Liondi or walking around the dungeon at Elsinore Castle, they are touristy for a reason. They are fun!
I didn’t mean to ramble about this, but it is a subject that I have actually talked about a time or two before…

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I was positively surprised by the restaurant in the Alhambra complex in Granada, Spain. Great drinks and great food, and well priced. And then that magnificent view! :slight_smile:

I was thinking about the original topic a bit more. Funny thing: on holidays I often drag my partner along to find restaurants off the beaten track, hoping to find that elusive perfect holiday meal. But on business meals I do the opposite, often choosing bland hotel restaurants.

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Certainly. I just thought I would include this here as the question was whether to avoid places that serve a lot of tourists and this cafeteria certainly did (and was self service to boot - so I didn’t expect much, but was happy to be proven wrong).

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Indeed. Although in some places (Japan, for example) it’s common. In fact in Japan you might get an entire 3D plastic model of the food!

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No

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The Paradores in Spain used to have amazing food, at least from my perspective. We ate very well when we stayed at them. Of course, they’re a big splurge.

The Four Seasons and the like in most cities have excellent restaurants, and tourists/travelers/locals have to pay big bucks to enjoy it relative to other restaurants in town.

People who love their pastrami flock there in troves. As I mentioned upthread, a sandwich with a softball-sized and shaped lump of meat is not my idea of a special meal out, but your opinion is certainly … well, your opinion.

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