If you know my husband or myself personally, then you have already heard us rave about what we consider to be a completely original way to visit a city – Appetizer Tour!
At its simplest, an appetizer tour is a tour of all the best restaurants in a town or neighborhood. At each destination, you order an appetizer and drink to share from the bar. It completely takes the pressure off picking the “best spot in town” while simultaneously allowing you to try many different cuisines at a low total cost overall cost. For a “maximizer” like myself, it is dining heaven.
The concept sprang out of one exceedingly mundane dinner my husband and I shared at, of all places, the Holiday Inn of downtown Miami. I know, I know. Why did two self-described foodies settle for chicken fingers and Caesar salad in one of America’s most vivid foodie neighborhoods? We simply didn’t do our research and we left for dinner late (as per norm), so we concluded that there would be nowhere else open. Of course, after our meal, we walked no more than 4 blocks and stumbled upon half a dozen fantastic local restaurants with food still being served and guests partying it up.
To compensate for such a disappointing dining experience, my husband encouraged me to scope out the scene at our next destination, Savannah, and set up a restaurant tour. Using Trip Adviser and a map of historic Savannah, I was able to set up a walking tour that included 6 of Savannah’s top rated restaurants in under 3 hours.
At each location, we sat at the bar (to reduce turn-around time) and ordered a single appetizer and drink to share. We got to enjoy 5-star cuisine at a fraction of the typical price per plate and, because portions are often petite at super nice restaurants, we became full gradually without ever feeling over-stuffed or bloated. We also got a real feel for the atmosphere of Savannah and got to meet a few chefs along the way! It was the best way to see a city, no contest.
Interested in setting up an appetizer tour of your own? Here is my go-to guide
- Use an online review service like Yelp or Trip Advisor to pick out the top rated restaurants. Or, you can use my handy dandy go-to guide for how to pick a restaurant like a pro.
- Plan ahead – check the closing times of the restaurants you want to visit and order your tour accordingly.
- Sit at the bar – this reduces the turn around time for each spot. It is also thoughtful of the wait staff’s time and energy. Tables should be reserved for diners looking to spend the evening.
- Order an appetizer and drink to share – for couples this works perfectly. If you are working with a larger group, I recommend an appetizer for every two people and drinks for everyone.
- Close out your tab and move on to the next spot!
- If you fall in love with a place, don’t be afraid to settle in for dinner. There’s always another night to do a tour.