Traveling and eating late night happen to be my two favourite activities but sometimes the latter gets in the way of the former. Whenever I go to a new city I start off with the typical search to make sure that I have the best eating experiences awaiting me. First I call friends who have lived near by then friends who have visited and finally I end up on the web. However, none of these things will work for the most remote locations or the ones that just don’t have a late night culture.
I have spent about half of the summers of my life visiting a town in Italy where the nightlife would die down around 5AM but the room service would stop at 12AM and then you’re just out of luck from there. I would either come home and raid the mini bar or wait until breakfast was served to put my hunger at ease. In all of these years I never heard talk of a 24-hour spot, even from the locals, so I just assumed that it didn’t exist. It took me many years to find out that assuming really did make an ass out of me. I’m purposely avoiding explicitly telling you the town and the eatery because I hope that I never see you there. And if I do see you there then you’ve earned it and I’ll be waiting for you with a shot of Limoncello.
Even though I won’t give you the fish, I’m happy to teach you how to fish. I’ve figured out that there are two types of people that you should trust with your quest.
1. The Super Local
The smaller the town, the easier it is to spot the Super Local. This is the guy who grew up here and lives directly next door to the last three generations of his family. Or the person that everyone says hello to in the street and luckily for you, he sees every tourist as a new and exciting way to keep busy. I’m not talking about someone who recently moved to your destination or someone who likes to keep an anything-but-super-social life because they just don’t know how to help you find the most elusive food in the middle of the night. If you get in really close with the right people then you might even surpass information about the local hole in the wall on the smallest street you’ve ever seen and be invited to the underground morning feasts that are held by the OG grandma of the neighbourhood. Trust me, you want to get to that level.
2. The Kitchen Staff
Naturally these people know how to eat and they normally get off work really late looking for a relaxing place to chow down, drink a little and hang out with friends. They’re in an interesting position because they are hungry at a different hour than most of the locals who get off of work in time for dinner. In addition, depending on the town that you’re in, they spend a lot of time catering to the tastes of tourists so following them to their favourite spot is probably going to lead you to one of the most authentic experiences of your trip. The food community is very tight knit so once you walk into an establishment with the entire kitchen staff of another place, get ready to eat like a king.
*Follow the rest of my late night adventures on instagram @SnacksAfterSundown
SnacksAfterSundown is an ode to the most delicious, most anticipated and most unique meals of the day, which all seem to take place while the sun is down.