I have lost count how many times I've heard that the best way to experience a place--especially a city--is to ask for the recommendations of the people who live there. And to an extent, I agree--but sometimes you simply have to take people's suggestions with a grain of salt and understand that they may or may not know what they are talking about.
Of course, the same goes for published guidebooks--probably even more so--but that's another story for another time, I suppose.
Some things to keep in mind when you are getting recommendations from locals:
-What is this person's budget when they go out to eat? A restaurant that costs $30 per person may be average to some, but expensive to you!
-Is this person someone who will try anything once, or an extremely picky eater? When you know someone at either end of the spectrum, you could end up in a very eclectic restaurant that doesn't serve anything you would eat, or a restaurant with five fried items on the menu that doesn't offer the choice that you may prefer.
-How often does this person go out to eat, and how many times do they end up at the same restaurant? Because if they go out to eat once a month and always eat at the same place, is their recommendation really going to be a solid one?
-Is this restaurant a chain (even a small chain) that you could visit somewhere else? If so, are you sure you want to eat at any sort of chain restaurant, even if it does come recommended? For instance, if I were traveling to Orlando with a friend from Connecticut, I would certainly suggest Bahama Breeze, knowing that the food and drinks are awesome and that there is no Bahama Breeze anywhere near Connecticut. I would not suggest Bahama Breeze to a friend from the Atlanta area, because there are numerous Bahama Breezes there. Likewise, if the same friend from Connecticut were to visit me here in Greenville, I would certainly try to take them to The Melting Pot--assuming this friend is from my hometown area--because the closest Melting Pot to Ellington is nearly two hours away. Unless this person is someone who travels to Myrtle Beach every year. There is a Melting Pot there, but not, for instance, a Blue Ridge Brewing Company. Unfortunately, many people who are giving "local" recommendations don't think about things like this!
Of course there are other things to keep in mind, namely your own preferences. Remember that when you are traveling, this is your vacation. Never feel bad about not taking someone's suggestion! Just remember that you may want to let them down easily when you admit that you didn't visit their favorite restaurant ;)