What’s the point of great restaurants if nobody can afford them?

23Oct09

I often hear certain cities described as great places for “foodies” — in other words, they’re chock full of great restaurants. In the US, this list would arguably include big cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. However, you rarely hear about how expensive the food is in those locations. Take Chicago, for instance. Most of the famous restaurants are far too expensive for regular people to eat at. You might go there for a special occasion, but they probably won’t be part of your regular rotation.

Vancouver is different. While I’m sure there are plenty of expensive and glamorous restaurants, it’s also incredibly easy to find high quality food on the cheap — without settling for a crappy atmosphere. This makes a big difference in the dining experience: for the price of a single great meal in Chicago or New York, you could probably eat out once a week for a whole month in Vancouver.

What’s the takeaway here? In cities like Vancouver where amazing food is actually affordable, the tourism board should emphasize that regular people can enjoy great food there. I’d also like to see travel magazines and websites get a little more realistic with their recommended cities and restaurants. Instead of just focusing on ultra-pricey celebrity chef operations on the high end and hole in the wall dives on the low end, they should highlight more of the mid-priced restaurants that offer high-quality food and a unique atmosphere. That way, you won’t have to blow through your entire meal budget on the first day of your trip just to enjoy some great food.



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