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How to find the best restaurants

For food-lovers, dining out at restaurants can be one of life’s biggest pleasures.

True foodies are just as comfortable eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant as at their local greasy spoon. But sometimes, it can be tricky to find the best restaurants in your area. After all, just because a restaurant gets a good review in a national newspaper, that doesn’t mean you’ll like it – or be able to afford it.

So what exactly is the best way to find great restaurants? Do your research and trust your instinct, and you could be eating the best meal of your life in no time.

Choosing where to dine out

If you live in London, your ultimate resource for restaurants is Time Out. Time Out’s guide to restaurants and cafes in London is a treasure trove of information for its residents and visitors. Look for eateries in popular areas – for instance, Convent Garden or Chinatown – or search for London’s best steak or burger joints. All restaurants are given a star rating out of five, and the website’s ranking of London’s top 10 restaurants and cafes is constantly updated. Time Out also has a very active online community, so it’s helpful to read user comments for each restaurant review as well as the reviewer’s star rating. Hearing this breadth of opinions will help you make your mind up about which restaurants you’ll love and which you want to avoid.

If you live in Scotland or you’re planning a holiday there, The List Food and Drink Guide is your friend. Here, you’ll find a range of restaurant reviews in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and its biggest city, Glasgow, as well as selected dining establishments farther afield. It’s also a great resource for finding the best butchers, fishmongers, cheesemongers and other local food heroes, so there’s plenty of valuable information here for the eager foodie travelling around Scotland.

For foodies looking for restaurants in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, the brilliant Love to Dine blog is essential reading, while Chilli and Chocolate is a great blog for restaurants in Belfast.

Other great resources for restaurant-lovers around the UK include Urban Spoon, Qype and Trip Advisor. If you’re going on holiday, Trip Advisor is particularly useful. This website has a truly global community so the restaurants reviews left here are from food-lovers far and wide and are often written by residents as well as tourists. So you can be sure that they offer a fair overview of what it’s like to eat at a restaurants in your holiday location.

How to get more for your budget

If a tight budget prohibits you from eating out as much as you’d like, rest assured that there are still plenty of ways to enjoy good restaurant food. Some restaurants, for instance, offer cheaper deals through websites like Time Out, Top Table and 5pm.

What’s more, lunch menus can be significantly cheaper than evening fare. Pre-theatre menus – which many restaurants offer between 5.30 and 7pm – may offer significant savings, with two courses costing the same as one a few hours later. And if you’re on holiday, having a hearty but cheap late lunch and a light dinner can be a very satisfying but wallet-friendly way to dine out, especially in Spain and Italy.

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