Best Places to Eat When You Come in the US for the First Time

When visiting the United States for the first time, the number of dining options can be overwhelming. There are restaurants, cafes and food carts lining the streets in every city. The sights are what you’d like to see and not spend all day searching for somewhere to get a meal or snack. Whatever you’re craving, you can be sure you’ll find it. Here are a few of the most friendly, fresh, and reliable options for the first-time visitor:

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is basically a self-serve restaurant in a grocery store. There is a section in the store that would typically be called a deli, but this is a step above your average grocery store. It includes a hot bar, a salad bar, pizza, burritos, and a number of other options depending on the location. You’ll find chef-prepared dishes using high quality ingredients, locally sourced in some cases, throughout the department in various venues. Fresh organic produce is overflowing on the salad bar, making it easy to create a lighter meal. They also offer a variety of grab and go items that are ideal for the busy traveler. This is the perfect place to grab a quick bite from a large selection and get back to sightseeing. One important side note – Whole Foods has named itself America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.

New Whole Foods Market - North Miami

Whole Foods Market Time Warner Center

Golden Corral

Another speedy choice for the busy tourist is Golden Corral. It’s a better option if you would like to the speed of self service, but the convenience of table service. Golden Corral been around for years and got its namesake through an American favorite – steak. When you walk in, you’ll grab a tray and work your way through the queue. There will be menus easily visible if you’re in the mood for something special you can try the secret Golden Corral lobster tail recipe. If you want quicker service, the buffet is a great option and truly American. There’s nothing like an all-you-can-eat buffet. You will make a second trip, but be careful. A nap may be necessary after all that yummy American fare.

Golden Corral

Fried Okra Feast


There are Mexican restaurants all over the United States, but you never know what you may be getting. When you don’t have time to research the area, Chipotle is an American-Mexican favorite you can rely on. Here, consistency, quality and simplicity are key. The staff is friendly and will help explain the menu. They specialize in burritos and burrito bowls. Protein options abound include pork carnitas, sofritos, chicken, and beef. Then you’ll have your choice of beans and toppings. Burritos are made right in front of you and you’ll pay at the end of the line. If you order a soda, make sure to get the smallest size. It’s self-serve and you get free refills. Now grab a seat, relax, and enjoy your freshly made meal.



Panera Bread

If you’re looking for a soup and sandwich combo, Panera Bread is your spot. Keeping with the American theme of semi-fast food, you’ll arrive at a counter and place your order. They’ll give you a number to place on your table. There are mostly comfortable booths in their locations and if you visit before or after the lunch rush, you’ll have your pick. Once your sandwich and soup are ready, someone will bring it to your table. Panera Bread is also a great choice if you’re looking for healthier options. They have salads and other low-calorie dishes. Depending on what city you are in, their locations can be in areas that are less frequented by tourists, but you’ll probably ending up driving by one located in an outside shopping mall. Parking is abundant is the United States, so it shouldn’t be a problem to stop by one of the many locations throughout the country.

Panera Bread



Why would McDonalds’s appear on list of the best places to eat in the US for the first-time visitor? Simply for the fun. Although there are McDonald’s around the globe, the US is the birthplace of this international chain. In some cities, you can find retro locations that have been restored. These include the vintage double golden arches and playgrounds from a bygone era boasting life-sized statues of Ronald McDonald. If you are worried about the choices, McDonald’s has expanded their offerings to accommodate the pickiest of eaters. They still have the classics like the Big Mac and Filet-o-Fish. If those don’t tickle your palette, maybe a grilled chicken sandwich or salad will allow you to fuel up for another museum visit, shopping trip or landmark tour. This is also a good choice for those traveling on a budget. Contrary to most other countries, McDonald’s in the United States is very affordable.


McDonald's CBO (Cheddar, Bacon, Onion) Burger


These are just a few of the options you’ll find during your travels throughout the United States. You can rely on each one for a quick, quality meal, at a reasonable price. From lobster tail to hamburgers, America’s cuisine offers a variety that is difficult to find anywhere else. So while you’re enjoying the many wonders of the United States, make sure to try some good American food. You may be surprised and find your new favorite restaurant.

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