When we’re travelling, we inevitably end up eating in some over-priced tourist restaurant. Eating food that’s okay, but not inspiring.
There’s always the sneaking suspicion that the locals have their own secret restaurants and cafes – the places where you get the best local food and the best atmosphere.
Well, we don’t want you to feel like you’re missing out so we’ve found a few fantastic haunts to visit when you’re in London, Rome, Paris and New York – all recommended by the people who live there. Bon appétit!
Where locals eat in London
Ceremony in Tufnell Park was spotted by Peter Clayburn, who says: “If the idea of a vegetarian restaurant is enough to see you recoil in horror and send you sprinting off towards the nearest steakhouse, Ceremony could be the place to change your mind.”
Opened in September 2017, menu highlights include deliciously moreish sweet potato pancakes and green omelettes. There’s a great cocktail menu and, as you’d expect, vegans are well catered for.
LOVENpresents – Hidden Pizza
You’ll feel like a detective tracking down this secret venue. LOVENpresents – Hidden Pizza is tucked away on an industrial estate – a discreet sign by the door is the only clue that the restaurant is here.
Local spotter Kamla Pillay says tracking it down is worth the effort: “The pizzas are Neapolitan-style and cooked to perfection, and come with a selection with both traditional and more experimental toppings made with good quality Italian ingredients.”
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Where locals eat in Rome
L’Ombralonga on Via delle Palme is the place to go for Venetian-style spritz and surprisingly affordable aperitif.
Spotter Matteo Mueller-Thies says: “For a ridiculous €2.50, they will make you drown in a sea of delicious cold cuts and cheese (obviously there’s a vegetarian sea) in quantities two fully grown humans are going to struggle to finish.”
This spot is, unsurprisingly, extremely popular. Get there early to bag your table.
Chic restaurant Il Sorpasso, a stone’s throw from bustling St Peter’s Square, is “refreshingly non-touristy” according to Livia Hengel.
There are a good selection of veggie options on offer here: “From fettuccine made of farro with pumpkin, rosemary and pecorino to ravioli stuffed with cheese and pepper in a saffron sauce, everything is delicious, comforting and made with high-quality ingredients.”
Livia rates it as “one of the best hidden gems in Rome”.
Where locals eat in New York
If you’re looking for an easy brunch in Harlem, try Sylvia’s restaurant for a tasty soulfood feast.
Craig Nelson has tried a range of dishes on the menu, from catfish to smothered pork chops and recommends turning up for the Gospel brunch early on Sunday mornings. “I love strolling through Harlem before the rest of the city wakes up,” he says.
Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn serves consistently delicious food with a seasonal vibe.
The dining experience is best described as New American, with fabulous dishes such as chilled asparagus soup and Doug’s pecan pie sundae.
Mains come in at around $20-28, but you can bring your own wine to keep costs down.
Where locals eat in Paris
Le Grand Breguet
Paul Wright describes Le Grand Breguet as “healthier eating with a vibe!” The restaurant on Rue Breguet offers a basic menu of either a protein or a vegan dish.
Its eclectic interior design is also a major draw for diners, with stripped-back concrete floors and exposed pipes on the ceiling.
Not to be confused with Bar Le Breguet.
The Printemps Terrace
The laidback, spacious terrace cafe near Les Grands Magazins shopping area offers stunning views across Paris.
It’s a little out of the way but, once you’ve navigated your way up nine escalators above the Printemps warehouse, it’s well worth the effort.
Local resident Julia Fortuin says that you’ll need to buy something to enjoy the view, but “buying an espresso for €2 will do”.
If you’ve enjoyed these tips, you can find more local gems on spottedbylocals.com.
Photos by Chris Karidis, jonathan riley, Jamie Goodwin, JOHN TOWNER and Hugo Sousa on Unsplash