If you’re like me, you’re always searching out ways to connect more authentically with an area, when you travel. I don’t relish the types of vacations where I hole up in a fancy hotel on a strip next to other fancy hotels, and eat at touristy, low-quality, over-priced restaurants, while checking off a ‘top 10 ‘ must see sights list. Sure, a fancy hotel is nice once and a while, but I’d rather have a fancy beach-side villa, for the same price, with a kitchen, a yard, and extra bedrooms… ! And with today’s booming peer-to-peer (or sharing) business economy, I can have it!
Thanks to the advent of businesses like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, etc. we have so many options these days to connect directly with locals and to save money on things like transportation, ride-sharing, and accommodation.
The same is now true for finding unique dining experiences, with locals, around the world.
Like the idea of eating Spanish tapas on a secret rooftop in Barcelona or Madrid?
Cooking (and eating) paella and enjoying a three course (with a variety of Spanish wines) meal with a local chef in her home in Seville?
Enjoying Traditional Boullabaise and Provence Rose with your hosts in Marseille? Oysters and Muscadet in the Loire?
Reveling in the exotic spices of a four course Moroccan feast with your host and her family in Marrakesh?
Head over to one of these still-growing (and therefore limited in many areas, but getting better by the month) websites to check out the selection in whatever city or region you’re visiting this summer. The options will make your mouth water.
Vizeat From the most current information I can gather, Vizeat is the site that boasts the most hosts and is in the most countries. It’s not a surprise then, that they have teamed up with giants like Airbnb for global events.
Bookalokal Is represented in a good number of countries, but mostly in major cities (like most of these other sites right now) and with fewer hosts. Has a wide variety of food based activities (not limited to dinners or in-home experiences) from casual and quirky to fine dining.
EatWith Seems to have the highest standards as far for hosts and chefs. Applicants are vetted and not only required to send photos of their food and their home, but to interview and to provide a demo meal in order to be accepted.
Withlocals unlike the above sites, Withlocals isn’t focused solely on dining/food but it has a lot of cool dining with local’s options so I have included it in this list, as I personally like it and I hope it will stick around