When researching our guidebooks for the best-value restaurants, the last thing I want to do is follow the crowd to a top listing on a crowd-sourcing website. My co-author Steve Smith and I get recommendations from locals we trust — locals who know what works for tourists in their towns, and from locals who simply share with us their favorite spots. Then we always visit the restaurants in person to be sure they fit our style of traveler. Here’s an example of a place my guide mentioned to me that turned out to be our favorite discovery here in Dinan, in Brittany. It’s a very popular place with locals and yet our readers would still feel welcome. Everyone was friendly. The woman at the bar was just back from New York City. A good list of wines was about $3 a glass and our meal (with wine) cost us about $12 each.
Here’s the write-up: Le Nez Rouge (The Red Nose) is Dinan’s down-and-dirty Celtic watering hole serving cheap wine, local draft beer, and tasty tartine dishes (big slices of rustic toast with a variety of toppings — like a local pizza) in a raucous but welcoming setting. It has great outdoor seating on a small square, but inside is where the action is. Work your way up to the counter, order a glass of €2.50 wine while you wait for a seat to open up, and meet a stranger (€7 tartines with salad, 4 Rue de l’Ecole, tel. 02 96 85 94 44).
This is Day 40 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Romania, and beyond. Find more at blog.ricksteves.com.