Find New Restaurants in Your 'Hood

August 10 2012 - 4:41 PM

Just last week I made the move from the Gold Coast to Lakeview, and with that move came one of the biggest adjustments: new neighborhood restaurants. It’s never easy when you’re taking on a new neighborhood, and it can be easy to be overwhelmed by all the choices that surround you. I’ve picked up a few tricks from my own experiences to help you make the right dining choices.

  1. Take a (Very Thorough) Walk Around the Block. Especially if you live off of a major street, it’s easy to walk to the nearest intersection and think those will be your best bets. I found that my favorite sandwich spot by my old apartment was not one I found on my Google map. It was on a side street nearby, and I never would’ve found it without doing some poking around myself.
  2. You Can’t Try Them All. But really, you can’t. It’s easy to think you’re going to eat at every single restaurant in your new hood since it seems like you have so much time ahead of you. For most of us, this isn’t the case. We eat at a handful of places, find our favorites and stick to what we know we like. Pick and choose what you know you’re going to like. If you’re into Thai food, find the best Thai restaurant for takeout near you (I already have).
  3. Don’t Believe Everything You Read. Sometimes. Browse through most restaurants’ Yelp reviews and you’ll find that some rave while others condemn it. A lot of great places don’t even have many reviews. An exception would be restaurants that have a good number of reviews and they’re all amazing. This is a place you want to try.
  4. Ask the real locals. This seems obvious, yet most people just ask their roommates or friends who have tried restaurants in the area. I like to discuss restaurants with friends at work who are more seasoned in the area I’m going to be in. They have similar taste and know the restaurant with the best value, which is more important than you would think.
  5. Go to a street fest in your area. This advice may come a little late since we’re nearing the end of summer. Nearly every area in the city has some sort of summer street festival with food vendors featuring local restaurants. Check out what everyone else is eating and sample some new spots you’ve been wanting to try. I’m planning on checking out Northalsted Market Days this weekend for pretty much that reason.

–Marly Schuman