The home restaurants on EatWith advertise their meals for some 30 to 50 dollars. Although this doesn’t look particularly cheap if you travel with a backpacker’s budget, it actually is not expensive compared to restaurants offering the same menu. In addition the setting can be pretty special, which could vary from homemade paella from a backyard grill in Toledo to a nine-course meal at a family farm outside Florence. Most of the hosts at EatWith want to nurture their passion for cooking, show off their cooking skills and connect with people from around the globe. And that’s exactly what the website wants to offer — a network of people that “share their favorite dishes and unique cultural insights”.
The project’s cross-cultural ambition is very sympathetic but at the same time its weakness. Dining with strangers is a pretty intimate and extremely social. For all those not-so-social people it would be great to have the option to have dinner without the need to talk to the host for the whole night. Fixing this ‘problem’ would take away a barrier for lots of potential users. Airbnb, for instance, offers a ‘private room’ option, as well as an ‘entire apartment’ option, without any obligatory contact with the host. For now EatWith is available in (don’t ask me why) Israel, Spain and New York.