A new website lets you dine out in a local’s home. Katie Glass invites herself round
On holiday, sometimes the simplest meals are the hardest to find: the uncontrived authenticity of the traditional feasts that families and neighbours share at home. Now EatWith, a website that works like Airbnb meets Come Dine with Me, allows you to do just that by booking dinners hosted in local homes.
Destinations include Japan, Slovenia and Peru. I was bound for Barcelona, where options ranged from Syrian-Mexican fusion feasts and specialist chocolatiers to tasting menus by chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants. I chose a traditional Catalan supper, three courses for £33. Nervous diners rest assured: EatWith vets hosts for food quality and hygiene, providing a rating system and a photo gallery so you can snoop in advance.
It seemed like a great idea, until I got there. I’d spent the day at the Tibadabo amusement park and was heading from the metro station down an unfamiliar street when it dawned on me that the last thing I wanted to do on holiday was make small talk with strangers. Especially in bad Spanish. But by then I was being buzzed into the gloomy hall of a shuttered old apartment building. It seemed too late to go back.
Agata, a catering teacher, and her husband welcomed me into their home. They spoke English, thank God. Used to having large groups of friends over for dinner, Agata joined the website to meet international people. And they have come: my fellow diners were a couple from Tel Aviv’s tech valleyand two locals, Gemma and Alexander.