This list comes after reading George Mason economist Tyler Cowen's book, "An Economist Gets Lunch." The ideas are his; I'm just sharing.
  1. In the fanciest restaurants, order what sounds least appetizing.
    I think I'd have a hard time doing this but the logic behind it is that menus are carefully crafted at fancy restaurants. There's gotta be a good reason some weird stuff is on there even if it doesn't sound appetizing. Chicken and steak are staples so the general demand is there but the need to specialize and impress may not be. So get weird with it!
  2. Hit the strip malls
    There's going to be good food at high rent districts (at higher prices) but the strip malls have much lower rents. It's generally the places for authentic ethnic cuisine because the rent is low enough family-owned restaurants can afford. Not only do these places experiment w different dishes, there are usually similar ethnic foods in the same location so they are in direct competition to win over eaters.
  3. Go to trendy spots with a famous chef in the first few months
    At times, having good food is different than having a fun time at a place with awesome ambiance. You can have both, and the food here can be tasty, but it's best to go in the first few months. That's typically when the famous chef will be there and trying to impress food critics and food bloggers.
  4. Ask for help!
    Food blogs have changed how we consume information about entire menus and are super helpful. But if you're feeling adventurous Cowen says consider some some in-person recs from peeps such as: those between the ages of 35-55 (higher probability they'll have some dough to spend and some experience w food). Ask a cabbie or drive to a firehouse for local recs. The one common thread Cowen says is that if you ask for a suggestion and their eyes don't light up, ignore them.