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6 Signs You've Stepped Smack Dab Into a Tourist-Trap Restaurant

Tourist traps aren't as easy to spot as you think -- that is why they're called traps, after all.
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Everyone thinks they're a "pro" at successfully identifying a tourist-trap restaurant, and they have the Hard Rock Cafe shirts/battle scars to prove it. Don't try to slip something by them, dammit!

But tourist traps aren't as easy to spot as you think -- that is why they're called traps, after all. They entice you with their flashy signs, giant fruity cocktails, and bubbly waiters dressed as some sort of character. It's all just so... alluring! And even though you know you shouldn't go in, you can't resist -- did you see the size of those frozen cocktails!?!?

Stop. Don't take the bait, because what will result is an unsatisfying meal at a substantial markup... excluding the tip they "forgot" to tell you was already included. No, next time you're perusing eateries in uncharted territory, look out for these 6 surefire signs you're about to enter [cue evil music] a tourist-trap restaurant.

They're borderline begging you to eat there
Stage-five clinger isn't just a hilarious term from Wedding Crashers. When you're walking by a restaurant, and a host or hostess tries to not-so-subtly coax you into the joint, it's more than just suspect. It's a turn-off. Not to mention, a giant red flag. There's a reason they're begging; neediness never makes something look appealing, and this includes your food.

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Credit: Huw Jones/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Illuminated signage and menu in the front
Anything lit up, really. But when that menu is front and center and has some sort of backlight/podium thing going on, it's particularly telling. In other words, if the menu appears as if it's about to be part of a commencement speech, you may not want to read/hear it.

And that menu is translated into English
When traveling overseas, most true local eateries will maintain their authenticity, and this includes their native dialect. Don't worry, waiters can help you with the translation... sometimes.

Oh, and speaking of those waiters, beware of any "themed" ensemble
If you see any member of the waitstaff donning a beret of any kind, run. RUN. AWAY.

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Credit: Allison Michael Orenstein/Taxi/Getty Images

Actual tourists are dining there
Lots of fanny packs, visors, and camera straps? Must be a local spot, then.

It's larger than your average restaurant
Size often matters when spotting a food-related tourist trap. If it looks like a warehouse, and has a TON of outdoor seating with ashtrays donning some sort of beer logo, we have one acronym for you: BOLO (be on the lookout)!

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