Why You Should Avoid These Famous Restaurants and Where to Go Instead

Why You Should Avoid These Famous Restaurants and Where to Go Instead

Cheapism; Gabriele E. / Yelp; La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market

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Why You Should Avoid These Famous Restaurants and Where to Go Instead
Cheapism; Gabriele E. / Yelp; La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market

Culinary Underdogs

There are people out there who travel just to eat at specific restaurants. I cannot make fun of these people, because I am one of them. And for many, certain cities have iconic restaurants that can’t be missed.

But ... maybe they can. A lot of the time, it’s simply not worth the hassle or the price. If you’re looking to save some money, time, and sanity, consider swapping out some of these iconic restaurants for these dark horse options. 

Steak for four at Peter Luger
Steak for four at Peter Luger by Greg Ma (CC BY)

Instead of Peter Luger…

Brooklyn, New York

There are few steakhouses in America more famous than Luger, but with reservations that are notoriously difficult to snag and steaks that start at over $100, is it really worth it? Oh, and they won't take credit cards.

Rib eye a St. Anselm
Gabriele E. / Yelp

Go to St. Anselm

Brooklyn, New York

Things are much more reasonable on your wallet at St. Anselm, a Brooklyn steak spot boasting  classics like strip steaks and ribeyes, as well as not-so-classics like pork porterhouses. You’ll remember this meal far better.

Joe's stone crab
Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant

Instead of Joe’s Stone Crab…


Joe’s has been around since 1913, so it's definitely an institution. No doubt about that. It’s also $135 for a large order of stone crabs. Worth it? We’re not sure.

Stone crabs from La Camaronera
Cam C. / Yelp

Go to La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market


Having been around for 50 years, La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market is famous in its own right. The good news is that it doesn’t get the crowds that Joe’s gets, and it’s got that Latin-leaning menu that showcases what eating in Miami is all about.

The French Laundry, Yountville, California
Dean C./Yelp

Instead of The French Laundry…

Yountville, California

Let’s put it this way: You’ll never get in.

OK, let’s say you got in. Let’s put it another way: You’re broke after this meal. It starts at about $350 a person, and that’s before you get fancy with it. 

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Zucchini at Entrecot
Entrecot / Yelp

Go to Entrecot

Napa, California

Argentinian fare is the star of the show at Entrecot, where you can nab an expertly grilled and seasoned steak for around $30. Plus, you’ve got all the Argentinian salads and sides you could dream of. Even Thomas Keller isn’t cooking flavors like these.

Related: 59 Iconic U.S. Restaurants To Try Before You Die

The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, Tennessee
Mallory M./Yelp

Instead of The Bluebird Cafe…

Nashville, Tennessee

The infamous Nashville cafe has launched the careers of more stars than you can count, but let’s be real; It’s a music venue. If you’re expecting fine food, go elsewhere. It’s like eating at a comedy club. There are better chicken tenders out there, you know?

Related: The Best Spot for Comfort Food in Every State

Hamachi collar from Rolf & Daughters
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Go to Rolf & Daughters

Nashville, Tennessee

Why not zag completely? Hit Rolf and Daughters, where chef Philip Krajeck is cooking creative, Italian-ish, Southern-ish fare. You’ve got my personal recommendation on this one: My experience there was one of the best meals I’ve had in years. They did a damn hamachi collar like a barbecue rib. Bless that place.

Voodoo Donuts
Voodoo Donuts by camknows (CC BY-NC-SA)

Instead of Voodoo Donuts…

Portland, Oregon

Everybody has seen and tasted trendy donuts at this point. Voodoo did something special by launching donuts into the culinary scene in a more serious way, but at this point, a visit means long lines and big prices.

Fresh homemade donuts with various toppings

Go to any independent donut shop in Portland

Portland, Oregon

There are tons of them.

In-N-Out Burger Fast Food Location. In-N-Out is incredibly popular in the southwestern US III

Instead of the LAX In-N-Out…

Westchester, California

It’s a scene, really. Everybody coming and going needs either their first or last taste of that sweet nectar, and it’s always a nightmare. For a chain that already has an issue with long lines, this doesn’t help much. 

In-N-Out Burger Double Double
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Go to the Glendale In-N-Out

Glendale, California

On Harvey. It’s usually pretty chill.