The Ultimate Guide to the Best Culinary Destinations in the World
Are you ready to embark on a mouthwatering journey around the globe? We present to you the ultimate guide to the best culinary destinations in the world. From the vibrant streets of Tokyo to the enchanting vineyards of Stellenbosch, join us as we explore gastronomic delights spanning across continents. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or simply someone who appreciates a good meal, prepare to indulge your senses in a symphony of flavors, aromas, and cultures. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and discover the most exquisite dishes that will leave you craving for more. Join us as we traverse through the vibrant streets of Lima, the bustling markets of Istanbul, and the charming cafes of Paris. Let your culinary adventures begin!
Restaurant at Bodega Ruca Malen
Mendoza, located in Argentina, is renowned for its excellent wines. However, this region also boasts a vibrant culinary scene that is not to be missed. Combining good food, wine, and adventure, Mendoza is the perfect destination for food enthusiasts who seek a holistic travel experience.
Some of the top wineries in Mendoza offer impressive multi-course wine lunches at their winery restaurants. With breathtaking views of the Andes from every seat, these meals are accompanied by an unlimited supply of wine. This unique combination allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the food and wine culture of Mendoza.
If you're looking for a complete foodie experience in Mendoza, we recommend visiting these wineries and restaurants:
Tours you may enjoy:
The Best Foodie Destinations Around The World
Do you love exploring local cuisines during your travels? Discover the most amazing foodie travel destinations for 2023!
According to a recent report from American Express, culinary travel is a growing trend. In fact, 81% of travelers look forward to trying local food the most when traveling, and 77% are interested in dining at local restaurants. Some travelers even plan their entire trip around eating at one specific restaurant.
Here are some of the best culinary destinations for travelers in 2023:
Known as the capital of Aegean cuisine, Izmir presents a unique culinary journey infused with Ottoman, Greek, Jewish, Italian, and French flavors. On an Izmir food tour, we discovered the city's culinary treasures, including the healthy Mediterranean diet with its abundance of fresh salads, vegetables, and seafood. For meat and seafood enthusiasts, specialties like Kokorec, Midye, and others are must-tries. Izmir's street food delicacies, such as Gevrek, Boyoz, Kumru, and Söğüş, will soon become your favorites. And no culinary adventure is complete without indulging in the local sweet specialties, like Izmir Bombas and filled pastries.
To truly immerse yourself in the local dishes, we recommend taking an Izmir city gourmet tour with a local guide. They will introduce you to new tastes and hidden gems that you won't discover on your own.
Here are some other culinary tours you may enjoy:
Peru is internationally recognized for its innovative and distinct culinary creations, which have captured the attention of food critics worldwide. While traditional Peruvian cuisine centered around corn, chillies, and potatoes, the country's food scene has evolved into a melting pot of local and foreign influences. Spanish, African, French, Asian, Italian, and British flavors all contribute to Peru's culinary diversity. Lima and Cusco, in particular, have emerged as global epicenters of gastronomy.
A visit to Peru is incomplete without trying the national dish, Ceviche. This marinated fish dish, served with boiled sweet potatoes or corn, can be found in almost every restaurant in the country.
When it comes to drinks, the Pisco Sour takes the spotlight. Originating in Lima in the 1920s, this cocktail has become Peru's national drink. It combines pisco, lime juice, egg white, sugar syrup, and Angostura bitters for a refreshing experience.
Fun Fact: Peru is home to over 3000 different types of potatoes, and it is believed to be the birthplace of this versatile tuber.
Experience Peru’s Cuisine:
1 Tokyo, Japan | ASIA
Japan consistently ranks among the top food destinations in the world, thanks to its unique food culture. In 2013, traditional Japanese cuisine, known as "washoku," was designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Food holds great significance in Japanese society, as it helps build connections and strengthen relationships. From sushi, ramen, and Yakitori to the highly sought-after Japanese Wagyu beef and sticky rice, the variety and quality of food in Tokyo is astounding. The city boasts more dining establishments per square mile than New York and has the highest number of Michelin stars worldwide. Tokyo is a must-visit destination for any food lover.
Expert Tip: "Discover the best sushi in Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market, the world's largest wholesale market for fresh, frozen, and processed seafood." – Brenda O'Connor, Travel Consultant, Japan
Street food of various hues in Bangkok
Guadalajara, located in Mexico, is often referred to as Mexico's Silicon Valley. It is also famous for being the birthplace of tequila, mariachis, birria, and Mexican rodeo. This city showcases a perfect blend of the old and the new, with passionate young entrepreneurs bridging the gap between tradition and modernity.
In recent years, Guadalajara has emerged as a gastronomic powerhouse, challenging the culinary reputation of Mexico City. With support from the local tech and tequila industries, talented young chefs have gained international recognition, attracting food enthusiasts from around the world. Guadalajara's vibrant food scene builds on its rich culinary heritage, famous taquerias, fondas, and street food. The city's ancestral agave spirits and unique dishes like tortas ahogadas, enchiladas, and crispy tacos dorados are a treat for the senses. As you stroll through the streets, the aroma of chiles, tomatoes, and spices fills the air, while locals celebrate the thriving dining scene. We recommend exploring the 30 essential restaurants in Guadalajara to fully experience the city's culinary offerings.
- Need to Know:
- Currency: Mexican Peso ($1 USD = 21 pesos)
- When to visit: January through May or November and December for the warm, semiarid weather that's part of Guadalajara's attraction.
- Must-try: Tortas ahogadas, carnitas sandwiches drowned in a fiery salsa of tomatoes and chile de árbol.
Stephanie Pollak/Travel Leisure
The city of Oaxaca, located in Mexico, takes the top spot this year. Known as the birthplace of mezcal, Oaxaca seamlessly combines its rich culinary traditions with innovative flavors from modern Mexican cooking.
Singapore's food culture is heavily influenced by the myriad hawker centers scattered throughout the city. These centers are home to stalls that specialize in one dish, perfected over generations.
Taylor McIntyre/Travel Leisure
Charleston's vibrant food scene is rooted in its history and culture, with black-owned restaurants playing a vital role in shaping the city's reputation for amazing American soul food.
Known as the "Nation's Kitchen," Osaka is famous for its takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and izakayas. The city's food culture thrives well into the night, ensuring a memorable dining experience.
Barcelona is a city where eating and drinking go hand in hand. The tradition of tapas encourages a leisurely enjoyment of each dish, making it the perfect accompaniment to a night of dancing and drinking.
Bangkok, a legendary Thai street food destination, showcases a culinary scene bursting with confidence. Exploring the city's diverse food offerings guarantees the discovery of new and amazing flavors.
Chicago is a city that knows how to do American staples right, whether it's greasy classics or fine dining. Its warm hospitality combined with culinary luxury creates a unique dining experience.
Stephanie Pollak/Travel Leisure
As chefs in Mexico City continue to experiment with global and national flavors, the city has become a major attraction for food enthusiasts worldwide.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende, a cosmopolitan city in Mexico, is home to talented and innovative chefs. While new culinary creations take center stage, traditional local dishes still reign supreme.
Chiang Mai, located in Northern Thailand, is renowned for its world-class street food. Despite its quick and casual nature, the city's food culture places great emphasis on quality and authenticity.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, offers an incredibly diverse culinary scene. The city's streets are alive with the bustling exchange between hawkers, creating a vibrant food culture.
Kuala Lumpur bounced back from the challenges of the pandemic and is ready to welcome visitors once again. Home bakers, private chefs, and proud locals have revived the dining scene, offering a plethora of culinary delights. Nasi lemak, char kuey teow, Hokkien mee, and other local favorites fill the streets with irresistible aromas and flavors. The city's renowned restaurants and open-air eateries have regained their lively atmosphere, inviting both locals and expats to indulge in Kuala Lumpur's diverse food scene. With its unique blend of cultures and cuisines, Kuala Lumpur promises an unforgettable culinary experience.
- Need to Know:
- Currency: Ringgit ($1 USD = 4.18 ringgit)
- When to visit: May till July for blue skies and dry weather, September for Malaysia Day, and December for New Year's Eve celebrations.
- Must-try: Hokkien mee, a dish of thick noodles braised in a dark, sweet soy sauce, topped with juicy, slightly charred pieces of pork lard.
Markham is considered the most diverse city in Canada, offering a wide variety of gastronomic options from various Asian cultures in its bustling streets and gleaming plazas.
Markham has experienced significant growth, with new buildings and construction over the past decade. This growth has attracted new immigrants, adding to the city's cultural complexity, and has also provided opportunities for local restaurants to expand. The culinary scene in Markham prominently features Asian cuisines, ranging from high-end Chinese restaurants to Hakka noodle shops in strip malls and Afghani kebab establishments. It's no surprise that renowned chef David Chang believes Markham has the best food in Toronto. Despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, including anti-Asian hate and restrictions on indoor dining, Markham's restaurants, cafes, and bars have rebounded and are thriving once again. A visit to Markham should be more than just a quick stop; it should be the focal point of your trip to Toronto. — Faiyaz Kara
- Need to Know:
- Currency: Canadian dollar ($1 USD = 1.25 Canadian dollars)
- When to visit: Late spring and summer are perfect for enjoying patios in Ontario, but the restaurant scene is active year-round.
- Must-try: Explore the diverse culinary offerings in Asian shopping centers such as Pacific Mall, First Markham Place, Langham Square, and J-Town.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a thriving metropolis with a distinct culinary identity, a growing number of fine dining establishments, and hidden culinary gems that tell a story.
Named after the patron saint of lost things, San Antonio has managed to preserve its rich heritage while embracing change. The city is home to several historic landmarks, such as the Alamo and the River Walk, and is also known for its vibrant food scene, particularly when it comes to tacos, barbecue, and other culinary traditions. Iconic establishments like Ray's Drive Inn, which has been serving puffy tacos for over 65 years, and Schilo's delicatessen, a German-style deli that has been operating since 1917, continue to uphold the city's culinary traditions. In recent years, new dining destinations have emerged, such as the Pearl, a mixed-use development that has become a hub for culinary innovation, featuring restaurants like Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery and Best Quality Daughter. Southtown is also gaining recognition for its must-visit restaurants like Little Em's Oyster Bar and Battalion. San Antonio offers a vibrant culinary experience that showcases the city's past and present. — Polly Anna Rocha
- Need to Know:
- When to visit: April is the best time to experience Fiesta, a lively celebration that transforms San Antonio into a party. If you prefer smaller crowds, early winter offers beautiful weather and fewer tourists.
- Must-try: Indulge in a "chicken-on-a-stick" with a jalapeno at any Fiesta booth, savor breakfast tacos from taquerias named after Mexican states, and enjoy brisket from popular establishments that often have lines before they open.
Nantes, the historic capital of Brittany, is a prime example of urban renewal and sustainable living. Situated on the banks of the Loire river, this city is just a few hours away from Paris by train.
Nantes is experiencing rapid growth and has become a thriving hub for neo-bistros, bakeries, and wine bars. Over the past decade, the city has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from a post-industrial wasteland to a vibrant cultural center. Compared to Paris, Nantes is more affordable both in terms of living costs and launching businesses. It also boasts a high quality of life. Referred to as the "ville du futur" (city of the future), Nantes has attracted a younger generation of eco-minded individuals, with two-thirds of its residents being under 40 years old. These residents are passionate about supporting regional agriculture and contributing to a community of creatives and entrepreneurs. Even before the pandemic, Nantes saw an influx of chefs, bakers, and sommeliers, both returning to their roots and seeking new opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic further strengthened Nantes' focus on local ingredients and regional gastronomy, leading to an exciting boom in modern bistros, locavore dining, Japanese canteens, sourdough bakeries, pastry shops, coffee roasters, and natural wine bars. Nantes is well on its way to becoming France's next great food capital. — Lindsey Tramuta
- Need to Know:
- Currency: Euro ($1 USD = 89 euro cents)
- When to visit: The best time to visit Nantes is between early spring and mid-autumn, when you can experience the finest seasonal dining.
- Must-try: Indulge in the delicious Gâteau nantais, a moist regional cake made from almond flour, butter, sugar, and rum.
Orange County, California
Orange County, known for its palm trees and glamorous malls, is also a burgeoning culinary destination. It is home to vibrant Vietnamese, Mexican, and Korean communities, which contribute to its diverse and dynamic food scene.
While Orange County is often associated with summer vibes, beach culture, and popular TV shows, it has much more to offer. Its population of 3.2 million residents is incredibly diverse, and this cultural richness is reflected in its culinary offerings. The region boasts a robust Vietnamese population, one of the largest in America, which has paved the way for innovative and boundary-pushing restaurants. Modern Mexican chefs are redefining traditional cuisine while advocating for equity and equality. Anaheim's Little Arabia District is a hidden gem, featuring a variety of Middle Eastern delights in sun-bleached strip malls. Orange County's culinary scene is on the rise, fueled by its multicultural communities and a commitment to culinary excellence. — Farley Elliott
- Need to Know:
- When to visit: Orange County offers pleasant weather year-round, but the summer months from July to October are perfect for enjoying the sun and beach culture.
- Must-try: Indulge in the tasting menu at Taco María, a Michelin-starred restaurant that beautifully showcases the region's complex relationship with Mexican cuisine.
Mallorca, the largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, offers more than just sandy beaches and tourist attractions. It is a place where visitors can discover tiny aquamarine coves, limestone mountains, and a thriving agricultural heartland, all while embracing a slower pace of life.
Mallorca has long been known for its popular beach vacations and mass tourism. However, in recent years, the island has undergone a culinary transformation. Chefs and restaurateurs have focused on sustainable approaches to food and tourism, moving away from the island's reputation as a budget holiday destination. The COVID-19 pandemic further solidified Mallorca's commitment to local ingredients and regional cuisine. With a temporary decline in visitors and limited access to foreign ingredients, restaurants on the island began prioritizing local tastes and showcasing the finest seasonal produce. This period of isolation led to the emergence of modern establishments that champion local ingredients and redefine Mallorca's culinary scene. Mallorca offers a diverse range of experiences, including chic rural retreats, medieval villages, ancient olive groves, and secluded beaches. The capital city, Palma de Mallorca, also offers a vibrant seaside atmosphere. The island's culinary landscape has been influenced by global visitors, including international chefs, who have left a lasting impact on Mallorca's gastronomy. It's worth noting that even the Spanish royal family chooses Mallorca as their preferred summer destination. Join their endorsement and explore the culinary treasures of Mallorca. — Isabelle Kliger
- Need to Know:
- Currency: Euro ($1 USD = 89 euro cents)
- When to visit: May to June and September to November are the best times to avoid the high-season crowds and enjoy the finest seasonal dining.
- Must-try: Treat yourself to the delicious Gâteau nantais, a traditional regional cake made from almond flour, butter, sugar, and rum.
Located just under 10 miles east of Atlanta, Clarkston is a small but culturally rich city. It is home to a diverse community of 13,500 residents, with over 50 countries represented across six continents, including many asylum seekers.
Dubbed the "Ellis Island of the South," Clarkston is known for its immigrant food businesses that showcase the cuisines of dozens of nations from around the world. Since the 1990s, Clarkston has been a safe haven for refugees escaping conflicts in countries like Somalia, Syria, Libya, Myanmar, Ukraine, and Nigeria. Its close proximity to Atlanta, access to public transportation, and affordable housing make it an ideal location for those seeking asylum in the metro area. As refugees and immigrants have settled in Clarkston, the culinary scene has flourished. The city is now a hidden gem in the Atlanta food scene, offering a diverse array of cuisines from Ethiopian and Nepalese to Burmese, North Indian, Eritrean, and Vietnamese. Nonprofits like Just Bakery and Refuge Coffee Co. provide job training, employment opportunities, and long-term economic security for refugees and asylum seekers. A visit to Clarkston is an opportunity to not only savor the flavors of the world but also support a community that values diversity and creativity. — Beth McKibben
- Need to Know:
- When to visit: Any time of year is suitable for a visit to Atlanta, as the climate remains fairly mild throughout the year. January tends to be the coldest month, with average temperatures ranging from 48 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, while July is the hottest and most humid month, with temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Must-try: Sample the flavors of Mohinga, a traditional fish soup with rice noodles commonly sold by street vendors in Myanmar, or savor the fragrant bak kut teh, a pork rib soup often found in Singapore. PS-Asian offers both of these delicious options and more.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai, located on the Persian Gulf in the United Arab Emirates, is a dazzling metropolis that has risen from the desert to become a global city and a melting pot for diverse communities, with 9 million foreign workers contributing to its vibrant dining scene.
Dubai's economic rise is attributed to industries such as oil, industrial manufacturing, global trade, and real estate. However, in the 2000s, the city experienced a surge in luxury tourism, attracting affluent travelers looking for glamorous experiences and fine dining. While luxurious high-end restaurants are part of the city's identity, Dubai also offers a buzzing network of down-to-earth cafeterias, markets, and cafes that cater to its diverse immigrant population. The city's culinary landscape is a blend of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian cuisines, reflecting the multiculturalism of its 9 million foreign workers. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai quickly achieved high vaccination rates and reopened to tourists for Expo 2020 Dubai, a major world's fair showcasing culture and technology. The long-awaited opening of Ain Dubai, the world's largest Ferris wheel, also added to the city's appeal. These attractions, combined with an explosion of innovative dining concepts and home-based food businesses during the pandemic, have revitalized Dubai's restaurant industry. Dubai offers a dining experience that goes beyond its glitzy reputation, presenting a diverse and delicious blend of international flavors. — Rahma Khan
- Need to Know:
- Currency: Dirham ($1 USD = 3.67 Dirhams)
- When to visit: November to February is the ideal time to visit Dubai, as the days are hot but the temperature drops to around 68 degrees Fahrenheit after sunset, with low humidity.
- Must-try: Indulge in Persian kebabs cooked with Indian masala (spices) and enjoy a cup of karak chai, a popular tea blend with milk.
Louis, Missouri is a mid-sized city that offers a range of attractions and cultural highlights. It is well-known for its rich baseball history, expansive Forest Park that surpasses the size of New York's Central Park, renowned museums, a world-class zoo, and its delicious pork ribs.
St. Louis has recently emerged as one of the top 15 restaurant destinations in America. This recognition is not solely due to national media attention, but rather the result of a tight-knit and aligned community of chefs and restaurateurs who are committed to showcasing the city's culinary prowess. According to Danny Meyer, a prolific restaurateur and St. Louis native, the city's culinary success is driven by the chefs and restaurateurs who support and collaborate with each other, creating a sense of unity and fostering individual growth. This unique approach has transformed St. Louis into a city where competitors operate as one cohesive restaurant group. Esteemed chefs like Qui Tran, owner of Nudo House and Mai Lee, regularly collaborate with up-and-coming chefs such as Kurt Bellon of Izumi to bring fresh ideas and experiences to the dining scene. Immigrant-owned businesses like Chiang Mai, Akar, and Diana's Bakery thrive by championing respect and self-representation in their offerings, celebrating diverse cuisines. — Holly Fann
- Need to Know:
- When to visit: Early autumn, when the humidity in STL subsides, is the perfect time to catch a postseason baseball game or enjoy a St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concert in the scenic Forest Park.
- Must-try: Don't miss out on the iconic St. Louis style cracker-crust pizza topped with Provel cheese, always served in squares, and pair it with a side of toasted ravioli.
Gelato, pasta carbonara, and pizza are just the beginning of Rome's culinary delights. This ancient city offers a wealth of culinary hotspots, many of which are traditional family-run restaurants that have been serving generations of satisfied customers. Rome's nickname, the "Eternal City," takes on a double meaning in the context of its vibrant and enduring food culture.
For a true food lover, Kyoto is a paradise for restaurant hopping and indulging in a day dedicated to culinary exploration. This waterfront neighborhood, known as Gion, boasts narrow streets lined almost exclusively with restaurants of all kinds, catering to both high and casual dining experiences.
Florence's culinary offerings have made their way onto the menus of renowned restaurants worldwide. From the original garlic bread known as fettunta to the famous naked ravioli, known as ravioli nudi, Florence's culinary traditions are celebrated and cherished globally. For the most authentic experience, why not visit the birthplace of these dishes and taste them where they originated?
Nick & Laura on a Girona Food TourIf you've had the pleasure of visiting Spain, you are likely aware of the country's rich cultural heritage and the distinctive products and foods that are unique to each micro region. Catalunya is one such region that offers an astounding variety of authentic products, recipes, and foods.
Catalunya's food culture is complex and multifaceted. Not only does it boast specific products that are not found in other parts of Spain, but the diverse smaller areas within Catalunya each have their own signature dishes that set them apart. As a food enthusiast in this region, you will be fully immersed in a vibrant and rich culinary tradition that permeates every aspect of life. Even if you tried to avoid it, the importance of food in Catalunya is impossible to ignore.
During our time there, we discovered a plethora of unique products and foods that are a must-try. You can explore the various wineries, as Catalunya is home to several distinct wine regions, including Priorat and Emporda. Additionally, the region is renowned for its production of Cava, a sparkling wine.
Giardiniera "Malvano" – 8-point star-shaped pizzaEach region of Italy has its own distinct list of specialty foods that are a must-try, and that includes Naples. From the iconic Neopolitan pizza to deep-fried macaroni, and rum-soaked sponge cakes, exploring the culinary wonders of Naples is a delightful way to discover the city and all its charms.
Be prepared, as Naples offers an overwhelming variety of delicious treats. If you're searching for the best Italian food in Naples, embarking on a food tour with Eating Europe is highly recommended. During our week-long adventure in the city, we ventured to various establishments to find the most exceptional pizza.
While Pizzeria Da Attilio stood out as our favorite, there are memorable pizzas to be savored at 50 Kalo and Antico Borgo Ai Vergini. These are just a few examples of the top-tier culinary experiences that Naples has to offer. Other delectable dishes include Pizza Fritta, Cuoppo, and Pasta Frittatine.
Tours you might enjoy:
One of the most remarkable destinations for a foodie trip is Turkey. As one of the world's most visited countries, Turkey offers a plethora of experiences to satisfy travelers. From seaside resorts along the Mediterranean Sea to historical sites, welcoming locals, rich cultural heritage, captivating museums, and of course, mouthwatering Turkish dishes, a trip to this country promises unforgettable memories.
Whether you find yourself in Istanbul, Capadoccia, or any other popular city in Turkey, you will encounter outstanding food at every turn. Each region has its own unique spin on the dishes they serve, but some noteworthy options include Doner Kebab, Meze, Pide, and Baklava.
Tours you might enjoy:
Hong Kong, with its vast culinary landscape, offers more gastronomic adventures than one could possibly experience in a lifetime. Dim sum, a traditional Cantonese style of cuisine that includes bite-sized portions of savory and sweet dishes, is just the beginning of a long list of culinary delights that await visitors in this vibrant city.
Ceviche of trout with cucumbersOne experience that should be on every food lover's list is to visit Copenhagen, Denmark, and dine at Noma, an acclaimed restaurant that has consistently ranked among the top establishments on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
Renowned chef and owner, Rene Redzepi, has mastered the art of delighting diners with an ultra-modern menu. Although gaining access to Noma can be challenging, and the experience comes with a lofty price tag, Copenhagen is fortunate to be the birthplace of many talented chefs who have emerged from the Noma kitchen to establish their own successful restaurants. Some notable options include Relae, a one Michelin star restaurant that focuses on organic ingredients and sustainability, Baest, owned by the same group as Relae, and AOC, a two Michelin starred establishment.
For a more casual food experience, Reffen, located in Copenhagen's industrial Refshaleøen neighborhood, offers an array of trendy food trucks and stalls where you can savor high-quality international dishes.
Where to stay in Copenhagen: We recommend 71 Nyhavn Hotel (see prices and read reviews.) to enhance your culinary journey.
Tours you might enjoy:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Lobster PoBoy from GW Fins (photo cc2.0 by nolamaven)New Orleans offers a culinary experience that goes far beyond typical American cuisine. With its unique blend of Creole and French influences, the city has developed a style and culture of food that is truly its own. Exploring New Orleans as a foodie means immersing yourself in a world of diverse flavors and rich history.
In addition to its abundance of talented chefs and memorable dining experiences, New Orleans boasts a sophisticated cocktail scene. Many of the cocktails served in the city have deep roots in its eclectic past and come with fascinating stories that enhance the overall enjoyment of the drinks.
Tours you might enjoy:
Peruvian ChicharonesSurprisingly, Peru has been named the top South America Food & Drink destination by Frommer's, and the country certainly lives up to this reputation. With a multicultural population that includes immigrants from Spain, China, Japan, and more, Peru's food scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and regional variations.
Lima, the capital city, is renowned for its culinary wonders. Signature dishes such as ceviche and chicharones are gaining popularity around the globe, showcasing the unique flavors of Peru. Restaurants like Astrid & Gaston have captivated foodies for years with their innovative twists on traditional fare. The city is embracing a modern take on classic dishes, thanks to culinary powerhouses like Gaston Acurio of La Mar and many others.
Now is the perfect time to embark on a culinary journey through Peru, particularly Lima, before the rest of the world fully discovers its culinary treasures.
⇒ Where to stay in Lima, Peru: We recommend the Hilton Lima Miraflores (see prices and read reviews) for a comfortable and convenient base during your culinary exploration.
Tours you might enjoy:
Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan
Okonomiyaki – an Osaka specialty (Photo by Savored Journeys)When it comes to food, few places can rival Japan in terms of variety and quality. However, one street in particular stands out as a paradise for food lovers - Dotonbori in Osaka. This bustling street, which stretches along the Dotonbori canal from Dotonboribashi Bridge to Nipponbashi Bridge, offers a condensed food metropolis that caters to every culinary whim.
Dotonbori is home to an incredible array of restaurants, food stalls, and street vendors. From hot-off-the-grill gyoza, yakisoba, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki to sukiyaki and so much more, the street is a sensory delight for anyone with a passion for food. As evening falls, the street comes alive with hungry locals and tourists, patiently waiting in line to indulge in the vibrant flavors of this unforgettable culinary destination.
Tours you might enjoy:
Both travelers and Greeks themselves agree that the island of Crete offers an unparalleled foodie vacation experience in all of Greece.
During our five-month stay on the island, we were astounded by the local cuisine, regional wines, and the quality of olive oil and honey that are produced here.
Cretan cuisine is a gastronomic treasure that has evolved over centuries. Its foundation lies in simplicity and the use of fresh seafood, locally grown vegetables and fruits, all generously drizzled with olive oil.
This Mediterranean diet not only showcases healthy eating practices but also offers immense pleasure through the enjoyment of good food.
While in Crete, we highly recommend indulging in local dishes and fully immersing yourself in the flavors of the region. Start with Cretan dakos, a traditional dish featuring dried bread topped with fresh ingredients, or try the addictive kalitsounia cheese pies.
Seafood or lamb stews like tsigariastó are best enjoyed with horta, a variety of wild greens endemic to the island.
One culinary highlight of Crete is the gamopilafo, a rice dish that is an integral part of local weddings and family celebrations. This celebrated Cretan delicacy should not be missed on your foodie vacation.
Meals in Crete begin and end with the local liquor known as tsikoudia or raki, which is often offered as a symbol of Cretan and Greek hospitality.
Furthermore, a visit to Greece's largest island is an excellent opportunity to discover the stunning variety of local Cretan wines. Don't miss the chance to taste unique varieties such as red Kostifali or Mandilari, and the renowned white Vidiano wine.
If learning how to cook local Cretan specialties is on your agenda, we recommend experiencing a real Cretan cooking experience in the home of a local. In Chania, which is famous for its Venetian Harbor, you can also take part in a wine and food walking tour that combines history with indulgence in local delicacies.
Greece has long been recognized as a top food destination, and Crete is the ultimate haven for food lovers.
Other culinary tours you may enjoy
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Situated just an hour outside of Cape Town, the Stellenbosch Wine Region of South Africa offers an exceptional wine tasting experience. Among all the places we've visited for wine tasting, Stellenbosch remains our favorite. What sets it apart is the warm and relaxed ambiance of the wineries.
To make your visit even more convenient, you can join a group tour instead of driving yourself, or you can plan a personalized winery tour with a designated driver. Upon arrival at any winery, you'll have the luxury of unwinding at a cozy table or comfortable couch while wine samples are delivered to you.
In addition to its renowned wineries, the region boasts a wide selection of top-rated restaurants. These establishments are home to talented chefs who have an in-depth understanding of wine pairing and create culinary masterpieces that perfectly complement Stellenbosch's wines. When it comes to foodie experiences, Stellenbosch truly stands out.
And if you're looking to further explore nearby wine regions after indulging in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek is another destination worth visiting. Both areas are known for their exceptional gourmet cuisine and fine wines.
⇒ Don't miss the opportunity to embark on one of these incredible culinary vacations in South Africa.
Tours you might enjoy:
Experience the culinary delights of Melbourne, Australia, a city that has gained a reputation as a food lover's paradise. With numerous exceptional restaurants scattered throughout the city, two of our personal favorites are Chin Chin and Lucy Liu, both located on Flinders Lane.
While in Melbourne, make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the beautiful Yarra Valley wine region. With more than a dozen wineries to discover, this cool climate area is known for producing excellent Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines.
Melbourne is also home to one of the best food and wine festivals in the world – the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Lasting for 17 days in March, this festival attracts renowned culinary experts from around the globe who host events and create unforgettable dishes for participants to savor. Each year, the festival draws in over 250,000 food enthusiasts.
Tours you might enjoy:
Often overlooked as a food destination, London is truly the culinary capital of the world. No other city offers a more diverse range of international food choices, unique dining experiences, and foodie activities than London.
Contrary to popular belief, London's gastronomic scene extends far beyond fish and chips and pub food. In fact, it stands as one of the largest food cities globally, with a remarkable variety of cuisines available. And where else can you indulge in the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea, with countless establishments offering this delightful experience?
If you're interested in exploring London's food culture, we recommend exploring the city's vibrant markets, such as Camden Market and Borough Market, where you'll find an array of enticing food options. For a distinct street food experience, a visit to Boxpark in Shoreditch is highly recommended.
Soho, in particular, offers an overwhelming selection of eateries. With every step, you'll encounter a different restaurant, wine bar, pub, waffle bar, gelateria, and more. Soho truly epitomizes London's vibrant food scene.
Tours you might enjoy:
Combine the exquisite wines of Bordeaux with breathtaking scenery, and you have the ultimate vacation for any food lover in France. To fully immerse yourself in the culinary treasures of Bordeaux, we recommend dedicating at least a week to this region. This will allow you to spend two days exploring the Left Bank and two days exploring the Right Bank, and yet you'll only scratch the surface of the region's wine and food offerings.
Aside from the world-class wineries, take the time to explore the center of Bordeaux itself. Here, you'll discover an array of incredible food options, ranging from wine bars to street food markets. Additionally, don't miss the newly opened wine museum, which offers a captivating journey through the history and craftsmanship of Bordeaux's wines.
For wine enthusiasts and foodies, a bike tour through the picturesque vineyards of Bordeaux is an absolute must. The region's flat terrain, particularly around Saint Emilion, makes it an ideal location for leisurely biking.
Imagine indulging in foie gras, duck confit, and black truffles, all perfectly paired with Bordeaux's bold and complex wines. Each day, you'll have the pleasure of savoring gourmet lunches and dinners accompanied by world-class wines. It truly doesn't get any better than this.
Be sure to check out these guided foodie activities in Bordeaux:
San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian may not be as internationally renowned as Paris or London, but it is, without a doubt, the ultimate food destination in the world. With more Michelin stars per capita than any other city and a thriving pintxos scene, the culinary offerings in San Sebastian are unparalleled.
What makes San Sebastian extraordinary isn't just the abundance of haute cuisine establishments, but also its picturesque setting overlooking the crescent bay and the stunning La Concha Beach. Within the city, you'll find three 3-star restaurants, along with several 1- and 2-starred venues. In addition, countless pintxos bars serve gourmet-style bites that rival even the most luxurious meals you've ever had.
If you plan to visit San Sebastian, we highly recommend taking an evening pintxos tour. It's an experience you'll truly love. And don't miss the opportunity to dine at Arzak, one of the world's top restaurants boasting three Michelin stars.
Just an hour away from San Sebastian lies the Rioja wine region of Spain. Here, you'll discover exceptional food prepared by Michelin-starred chefs and charming local restaurants. One of the most enjoyable foodie experiences we've had in Spain was a pinchos crawl through the narrow streets of Logrono. It's an absolute dream for any food lover.
Tours you might enjoy:
One of the ultimate bucket list items for foodies is taking cooking classes in Italy. We all dream of mastering the art of creating delicate homemade pasta, indulging in rich and savory tomato sauces, and savoring briny olives and antipasto while overlooking the vineyards of Tuscany.
Fortunately, this dream can become a reality, as Italy offers an abundance of cooking schools and wine tasting tours. Among the most beloved areas in Tuscany is Chianti. Beyond its breathtaking beauty and ease of accessibility, Chianti boasts numerous exceptional Chianti Classico wines waiting to be tasted. We've curated a list of our favorite places to stay in Tuscany for indulging in wine tasting.
Another enchanting destination in Tuscany is Montepulciano. Nestled atop a picturesque hill, this charming town is famous for its winding streets, historic architecture, and world-class wineries. The local wine industry plays a significant role in the town's economy and culture, with rolling vineyards surrounding its boundaries. Notable wineries in and around Montepulciano include Avignonesi, Poliziano, and Boscarelli.
Tours you might enjoy:
We can't wait to indulge in the famous Georgian Khachapuri.
What makes Georgian cuisine so enticing? Traditional Georgian dishes reflect the diverse ethnic and regional influences found in the region.
Tbilisi, the capital city, is widely regarded as the culinary capital, showcasing a dazzling array of foods enriched with spices, herbs, cheese, nuts, and dried fruits.
The city is home to a vibrant mix of traditional and modern eateries, serving delicacies such as khinkali, khachapuri, dishes featuring walnuts, churchkhela confections, and much more.
After being introduced to Georgian wines and captivated by khachapuri, it's safe to say that Georgia deserves a spot on every food lover's list.
One of the best ways to experience Georgian food culture is through a Supra, a traditional feast featuring an assortment of dishes and copious amounts of Georgian wine. Embarking on a Tbilisi walking tour through its scenic streets offers a taste of both culture and history, along with an opportunity to sample Georgian wines steeped in tradition.
Kakheti, Georgia's renowned wine-producing region, stands as one of the oldest in the world. Exploring Georgian wines at its largest and oldest wineries is an experience not to be missed for any wine enthusiast.
As one of the top countries for food in the South Caucasian region, Georgia's fantastic food and wine are waiting to be discovered.
Other culinary tours you may enjoy:
The diversity of food and wines in Porto is simply astounding.
Ranked among the best vacations for foodies, Porto, Portugal's second city, offers a vibrant atmosphere for exploring local cuisine.
As a UNESCO Heritage Site, this laid-back port city boasts a culinary scene that seamlessly blends fine dining with home-style cooking.
Porto's food draws inspiration from the Trás-os-Montes mountains and the beautiful hillsides of the Douro Valley.
Embarking on a culinary adventure in Porto, we were continuously amazed by the sheer variety of food and wines the city has to offer.
The Francesinha sandwich, a famous local dish that originated in Porto, stands as one of the city's most iconic culinary creations. An adaptation of the French croque monsieur sandwich, you can even replicate it at home using our Francesinha recipe before visiting Porto.
Other must-try dishes in Porto include traditional tripe dishes, pasteis de chaves (puff pastries), and tarte de amêndoa (almond tart).
In Mercado do Bolhão, one of the city's vibrant markets, you can sample a wide array of meats, cheeses, and traditional desserts. For an in-depth tasting experience, a 3-hour food and wine tasting tour will guide you through quaint streets, offering cultural insights and tastings of Porto's culinary delights.
As an essential part of any visit to Porto, exploring the Douro Valley is a must for food and wine lovers. Known for its Port wines and exceptional table wines, this region offers a breathtaking tour on a Portuguese Rabelo boat, visiting three wineries and creating memories that last a lifetime.
Porto truly stands as one of Portugal's premier foodie destinations. With its tantalizing array of local cuisines and exquisite wines, it's the ultimate culinary destination for your next trip.
Other culinary tours you may enjoy:
- Porto: 3-Hour Port Wine Walking Tour with Tastings
- Traditional Portuguese Cooking Class in Porto
- Portugal: Walking & Wine
- READ MORE: 7 of the Best Porto Food Tours You Want To Try
In the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily, Italy is a captivating gem that boasts a rich history and a vibrant food culture influenced by various civilizations that once ruled the island.
Having dedicated several months to exploring the local culinary highlights, we can confidently say that the food and history of this intriguing island are truly noteworthy.
Sicilian cuisine is steeped in history, showcasing a blend of Arab, Spanish, and Greek culinary traditions. The region's iconic dishes are a rare culinary treasure not found anywhere else in Italy.
Prepare your taste buds for a delightful journey through the island's renowned specialties such as pasta alla norma, caponata, arancini rice balls, and refreshing treats like granita.
As you traverse the region and immerse yourself in its charms, make sure to indulge in the most famous Sicilian dessert, cannoli, filled with whipped ricotta cheese.
Other culinary delights that await you in Sicily include Modica chocolate, sfincione, a flavorful focaccia-like bread topped with condiments, and pane e panelle pancakes.
To truly experience the local food culture, make a visit to the vibrant food markets of Palermo. Stroll through the streets with the guidance of a knowledgeable local guide who will enlighten you with captivating stories about the history, food traditions, and unique architecture of this enchanting city.
While exploring Catania, make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to discover the renowned Etna wines. A visit to Mount Etna, combined with a delicious lunch and wine tasting, offers a memorable experience.
No foodie vacation is complete without learning the secrets behind the traditional Sicilian dishes. Join a cooking class in a local Sicilian family home and discover the authentic techniques used in creating the best Italian food.
While Italy is renowned for its exceptional cuisine, Sicily stands out as a destination that deserves weeks and even months of exploration to fully savor its culinary treasures.
Other culinary tours you may enjoy
One day in Morocco will undoubtedly reveal why it has earned its rightful place among the top culinary destinations in the world. The cuisine of Morocco is a masterpiece, delicately infused with subtle spices like saffron, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and caraway, a reflection of Arab influences. The Persians contribute their touch with sweet and sour flavors, while Southern European ingredients such as olives, olive oil, fruit, and tomatoes add their unique essence to the mix. French patisseries introduce decadent sweets to the culinary journey, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors that make Moroccan cuisine truly heavenly. With the addition of apricots, figs, dates, raisins, preserved lemons, and nuts like almonds and pistachios, every bite transports you to the rich tapestry of Moroccan culture, a fusion of imperial and trade influences.
What to Eat: One cannot visit Morocco without indulging in a tagine, the country's most beloved dish. This stew of meat and vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, is cooked in a distinctive conical-shaped dish that provides a uniquely moist and hot cooking environment. The variations of tagine are endless, with beef and almonds, chicken with olives and lemon, and lamb with apricots being among the most popular choices.
What to Drink: Mint tea is an integral part of Moroccan culture, serving as a perfect end to every meal. Made with green tea infused with abundant mint and a generous amount of sugar, preparing a good mint tea is considered an art form and a cherished daily ritual.
Fun Fact: In Moroccan culture, it is considered impolite to decline meat when it is offered to you.
Experience Morocco’s Cuisine:
Embark on a cultural walking tour with Mary Moody in April 2017 and explore the vibrant markets, beautiful gardens, and tantalizing food of Morocco. Book your adventure here!
Nestled between the Hoosac and Taconic mountain ranges, Berkshire County in western Massachusetts is a haven for art, nightlife, agriculture, and exceptional dining. Located just a few hours away from Boston and New York City, this region offers a natural sanctuary brimming with cultural and culinary delights.
During the pandemic, the Berkshires experienced an influx of individuals seeking refuge from urban lockdowns. The serene woods, hills, and farmland of western Massachusetts captivated these new residents, resulting in the sixth greatest population growth among similar areas in the U.S. In addition to a slower pace of life, they discovered a community with a proud agricultural heritage, chefs dedicated to the locavore movement, and restaurateurs reviving centuries-old architecture.
For generations, the Berkshires have been a haven for artists like Herman Melville, Norman Rockwell, and Arlo Guthrie. Cultural institutions such as the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington and MASS MoCA in North Adams continue to be vibrant hubs that attract money, diners, and inspiration to local food businesses. Chefs, akin to artists, continuously draw inspiration from the surrounding land, resulting in a culinary scene that is constantly evolving. – Stephanie Gravalese
Discover the 31 essential restaurants in the Berkshires here.
- Need to Know:
- When to visit: The Berkshires are at their peak during summer, with warm weather, outdoor dinners hosted by local farms, and farmers markets overflowing with fresh ingredients.
- Must-try: Indulge in the pizza at Hilltown Hot Pies, where each topping tells a story of local farms, perfectly paired with a refreshing Berkshires cider.
Editorial lead: Nicholas Mancall-Bitel
Editors: Lesley Suter, Erin DeJesus
Creative director: Alyssa Nassner
Contributors: Farley Elliott, Bill Esparza, Holly Fann, Stephanie Gravalese, Maria C. Hunt, Faiyaz Kara, Rahma Khan, Isabelle Kliger, Allie Lazar, Beth McKibben, Polly Anna Rocha, Jenn Tanaka, Lindsey Tramuta, Ian Poh Jin Tze
Photographer: Liliana Espinosa
Copy editors: Diana D’Abruzzo, Rachel P. Kreiter, Nadia Ahmad
Fact checker: Kelsey Lannin
Engagement editors: James Park, Carla Vianna, Milly McGuinness
Project manager: Ellie Krupnick
Special thanks to: Amanda Kludt, Matt Buchanan, Stephanie Wu
Photos, in order: traveler1116 / Getty Images, Ian Poh Jin Tze, Ian Poh Jin Tze, Walter Bibikow / Getty Images, Bill Addison, Creative Touch Imaging Ltd / Getty Images, NurPhoto / Getty Images, Louie, Greg Rannells, Daryl Caluen / EyeEm, Andrew Hetherington, Andrew Hetherington, Artur Debat / Getty Images, A Restaurant, Farley Elliott, RossHelen / Getty Images, Laura Macías, Laura Macías, DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
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In the vibrant Spanish city of Madrid, wine and tapas are an integral part of daily life. While indulging in the famous paella is a must, the culinary adventure doesn't stop there. Prepare your taste buds for a journey filled with exquisite flavors, including cocido madrileño, oreja a la plancha, and many more delightful dishes.
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Lima | SOUTH AMERICA
Lima, the coastal city fringed by the waters of the Pacific, showcases its abundance of marine life through its iconic ceviche. This raw fish dish, cured in lime juice, is enhanced with a touch of chili, served with raw onions and fresh coriander, creating a burst of flavors reminiscent of the sea. Beyond ceviche, Lima has become a prominent culinary destination, consistently earning numerous entries in the esteemed Best Restaurants list. The seafood, deeply rooted in Lima's cuisine, is now complemented by ingredients from the Andes and the Amazon, such as paiche (an Amazonian catfish) and tumbo (a rainforest fruit). Additionally, the fusion of Chinese Cantonese food with Peruvian ingredients, known as Chifa, has become a popular culinary tradition in Lima's Chinatown. As a result, a diverse range of dishes like Tallarin Saltado (Cantonese-Peruvian Chow Mein) and Lomo Saltado (Beef and vegetable stir-fry) offer a true showcase of Lima's eclectic cuisine.
Expert tip: "A meal at Astrid y Gaston, whose Peruvian food helped put the country on the global culinary map in the 1990s, is a must!" – Lisa Fox, Travel Consultant, Peru
With a myriad of flavors, textures, and culinary creations, Lima guarantees a delectable experience that will take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey. Join us as we explore the top 10 food destinations and create a vacation tailored to your interests and preferences.
From vibrant markets in Mendoza, Argentina to mouthwatering street food in Istanbul, Turkey, and Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo, Japan, the culinary destinations around the world are as diverse as they are delectable. Whether indulging in paella in Barcelona, dim sum in Hong Kong, or devouring a deep-dish pizza in Chicago, food lovers can embark on a global gastronomic journey that tantalizes all the senses. Wherever your taste buds may lead you, these top culinary destinations promise unforgettable flavors and experiences that will leave you craving for more. So pack your bags, unleash your inner foodie, and set off on a gourmet adventure of a lifetime. Bon appétit!
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