To help make sure that your holidays remains as cheap as possible, the following advice is on how to find wining and dining bargains whilst abroad, and how to avoid unnecessary overcharging:
- Location, location, location! Don’t be fooled by how busy a restaurant is. If we chose where to eat on that basis then we’d never get past the fast food chains! Often the price of a menu is negatively influenced by a prime location ‘levy’. Restaurants and bars that are one or two streets away from the limelight have to work harder on providing good value to attract business. If you’re prepared to sacrifice on the views for instance, you could afford that second dessert.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. The most decorative or eye-catching façade doesn’t necessarily indicate quality or value. In fact, it might often be the more expensive option. Instead, use the menus on display to get a real feel for value. Pick a common dish that most restaurants feature along with a bottle of house red and use those to compare prices as you walk by the restaurants.
- Ask about the set menu. Many restaurants will offer a meal ‘package’, usually consisting of two or three courses with one drink included. The options are often quite generic; cheaper selections such as turkey, pork or pasta dishes which cater to most tastes. But you can sometimes be surprised with a local delicacy. Ask in advance and don’t be shy to try for an alternative, they’re usually keen to get the business. Similarly for drinks, happy hours can go on all afternoon in some bars so keep an eye out for what’s on offer and at what time.
- Trust the experts. Find out where the locals tend to eat, they know exactly where the best value can be found. Just be prepared to be open-minded on how a restaurant looks and enjoy interacting with the differing cultures.
- Be wary of the costs associated with any pre-starter tidbits placed in front of you, often referred to as ‘covers’. Whilst some nice fresh olives or bread can make for a tasty aperitif, some establishments charge an unnecessary amount for them and you can often regret filling yourself up before you even get to your main meal. Always check the charge before tucking in.