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What is the efficient way to choose a restaurant in an area you don’t frequent?


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I’m sure there must be an app or website or something to help with this. So, for example, I want to choose a restaurant in western Frederick, MD, towards Hagerstown to meet a friend who lives way out that way. But I rarely go out there and don’t know what restaurants are out there and don’t particularly want to fall back on a franchise (like Outback) just because I know there is one out that way. So, any good ideas to do this? 

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I go on Tripadvisor, sort for latest reviews and then look at the bad ones.  The good ones could be fake but you learn from the bad ones. Some will be crazy people, others will be people who care about different things than I do, but there are nuggets of information in there.

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Dh and I look at the restaurants in the immediate area online, check out their menus, and then look at reviews.  We immediately get rid of selections that have huge menus or non-descriptive entries unless it's a standard item (like a club sandwich.)  Our most successful places have been ones that use locally sourced ingredients, highlight their own creations, or fill a specific niche.  Like, we ended up at a brewery because it got good reviews, brought in other local companies to work with them, and had a short menu with slow-cooked meats done on property and with their own spice blends.

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4 minutes ago, hjffkj said:

 I would just google 'restaurants near Frederick, md'  Then check out the map that pops up and read google reviews

 

I would do the same then check reviews - google, tripadvisor, and yelp - plus check out the menu for prices and selection.  

 

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TripAdvisor and GoogleMaps. I'll search the area for restaurants near town (you just type this in google maps) and then compare what is interesting there to tripadvisor. If the town is very small, be aware that it's showing what is top relative to that area, not necessarily to what you're used to. So it might be a greasy spoon or whatever, but there it's hot stuff.

https://www.google.com/maps/search/restaurants+near+Frederick,+MD/@39.4165262,-77.4465018,14z/data=!3m1!4b1

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I key in the address to my phone and see what food places comes up. Then I also zoom in on the map of the area and see which ones are clustered together. After that I read Yelp reviews if not too costly, TripAdvisor as well as Yelp if it’s a more expensive place. 

My kids looked at a Korean, Japanese, Mediterranean, Thai restaurant for Tuesday’s dinner and decided that the food or the prices aren’t to their liking. We ended up eating at Subway for their limited time special. 

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I used googlemaps and tripadvisor and yelp. If we are somewhere and looking for a restaurant right then - just googlemaps and go off the star rating of the restaurant. Usually we will glance at the menu too - just to make sure we are okay with the price range. I use all three if we are looking in advance and make a short list (3-5) of possibilities and we can figure out which we want when we are there. 

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4 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

I go on Tripadvisor, sort for latest reviews and then look at the bad ones.  The good ones could be fake but you learn from the bad ones. Some will be crazy people, others will be people who care about different things than I do, but there are nuggets of information in there.

An additional feature I like about Trip Advisor is the ability to sort by price and type of cuisine. Generally, we are almost always looking for interesting, relatively inexpensive ethnic or local cuisine when traveling to new areas and Trip Advisor is very helpful for narrowing the focus.

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All the ways above are the ways I use. But efficient? Hardly. You really have to cross reference, especially if you're trying to time something and need a restaurant in a specific area. Yelp is way too broad geographically. You have to look at a map as you go.

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54 minutes ago, Jennay said:

Have you ever been to the Blue Moon Cafe in Shepherdstown? About 30 minutes from Hagerstown.

I have not. Is that near Shepherd University? I feel like I have seen it before.

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14 minutes ago, Farrar said:

All the ways above are the ways I use. But efficient? Hardly. You really have to cross reference, especially if you're trying to time something and need a restaurant in a specific area. Yelp is way too broad geographically. You have to look at a map as you go.

Yeah, that was the part that seemed not very efficient to me. 

I do know downtown Frederick is full of great restaurants and cafes. But because my friend lives far out, I was planning to meet a bit beyond central Frederick. I guess the restaurants do thin out quite a bit once you leave downtown, though. 

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