Best Food Cities Selected by 11 Travel Experts
The best food cities vary depending on who you ask. Those who know best have embarked on a foodie tour, tasting their way through their favorite cities. So we reached out to travel experts all over the world and asked them for their picks. These 11 experts – who include bloggers, photographers and food connoisseurs – shared their best food cities and favorite places to eat. Before you read their selections, you may want to grab a snack. These food scenes may make you crave something delicious:
Best Food Cities in the U.S.
San Francisco is a city rich in diversity, so it’s no surprise that the food scene is just as diverse when it comes to all types of traditional cuisines and modern fusions. In a city less than 50 square miles, it sure has packed in its fair share of quality restaurants, cafes and bars into this little area. From the delicious Italian-inspired North Beach, to the classic and contemporary blends of Chinatown, to the incredible selection of Latin America influenced restaurants that pop up around the Mission. If you’re looking for a flavor sensation, then San Francisco is the place to be!
Jules and Christine, Travel Experts, Adventure Travel & Responsible Tourism
I’d never claim to be a foodie, but even my plain palate can’t ignore San Francisco’s incredible cuisine! It’s impossible to have a bad meal there, and the city boasts America’s highest density of restaurants, which means there’s no shortage of options. The infamous Tenderloin District is a popular area for gastronomy, and the farm-to-table movement sweeping the nation ensures all those seafood, Italian and Mexican dishes are made with high-quality, fresh ingredients. Start the day at Honey Honey, which is usually lined up around the block thanks to its delicious crepes and mimosas made from fresh-squeezed orange juice. Lunch means a stop in Pier Market at Fisherman’s Wharf, where a bowl of clam chowder served in a sourdough bowl is well worth pushing through throngs of tourists for. Finally, enjoy a charcuterie board at Top of the Mark in the InterContinental Hotel, which has one of the best views in the city, before crossing the street to the Fairmont Hotel for a nightcap at its tiki bar, Tonga Room.
Tamara Elliott, Founder, Globe Guide
San Francisco brings to the table a food scene as varied as the nationalities and cultures that live there. Add to that an abundance of local produce, a sustainable focus and an urge to invent, it’s no surprise the city holds the reputation as one of top culinary destinations in the U.S. From top-end restaurants to street food and pop-ups, the choice is dizzying and you’ll find something delicious around every corner. I love to drop by the Ferry Building Farmers Market for a casual sampling of home-grown nibbles and tastes while indulging in a side-serving of people watching.
Suzanne, Travel Blogger, The Travelbunny
Favorite city to visit for craft beer in the U.S. is Pittsburgh, PA. This Steel Town has been overtaken with microbreweries, brewpubs and great spots for food. We sampled our way through the craft beers, walked our way over bridges and ate our weight in perogies! Then I discovered both the most beautiful brewery I had seen to date: Church Brew Works. There is a new thing to worship in this old church, and it is beer! It is stunning on the eyes and tasty on the mouths. They have beer selection to satisfy any style of craft beer lover. I have always put craft beer on an altar and these guys do too … literally.
Tiffany Hayey, Founder, The Travelling Pint
From brunch spots to breweries, foodie hot spots are found all over Portland, OR. If you’re a huge fan of breakfast like I am, Gravy is a must-visit. Breakfast is served all day, and the huge portions will leave you deliriously full. The pedestrian-friendly city makes it easy to create your own food crawl. If you’re craving specific foods or cuisines, you can walk down a single street to find what you’re looking for in Portland. Many restaurants in Portland also offer kids playspaces, and several are pet-friendly too!
Gem, Founder/Chief Blogger, Hawaii Mom Blog
I recommend Philadelphia. While Philly often lives in the shadow of New York, it has a vibrant restaurant scene featuring top chefs like Stephen Starr and Morimoto (the Iron Chef) that sets it apart. Don’t forget to weigh in on your favorite cheesesteak (Pat’s vs. Geno’s) and check out the humming Italian Market. My favorite place in Philadelphia is Reading Terminal Market, one of the best food markets in the nation. Sample Amish pie and other treats baked the old-fashioned way. Throw in a Philly soft pretzel (or two!) and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect foodie weekend.
Jennifer (aka Dr. J), Travel Blogger, Sidewalk Safari
My favorite food city is New York. Being one of the most ethnically diverse cities, the vast number of cultures represented in the Big Apple makes dining options endless. In New York, you can take a gastronomic tour of the world in a day – from authentic Greek cuisine in Queens to dumplings in Chinatown, the options are endless. Aside from the variety of cuisines, New York’s food scene is cutting edge. NYC chefs combine donuts with croissants (the Cronut) and use Ramen noodles to hold a hamburger (the Ramen Burger). Whether you’re dropping $900 on a meal for two at Eleven Madison Park, or feasting on hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya, you’ll be in culinary heaven.
Caitlin, Travel Expert/Blogger, The Gramercy Girl
Best International Food Cities
The shiny black shell of a deep fried chewy scorpion crunching between your hesitant teeth may cross your mind when it comes to the ‘delicacies’ of Bangkok, but for all you adventurous foodies out there, there’s much more to Thailand than crispy critters. Bangkok is a delectable playground for fresh, tongue-tingling dishes, and with such a beautiful mish-mash of nationalities, you will find the right food for you for sure. For the best Pad Thai, head to Thip Samai, and make sure to get the egg version. For mouth-watering roti, head to Roti Mataba, and for a fancy after-dinner cocktail with a splendid view, head to the Eagle Nest Bar at Sala Arun Hotel. Enjoy and soak up the genuine Thai experience!
Alice Teacake, Travel Entrepreneur, Teacake Travels
Bangkok is my favorite city in the world for food. Bangkok has everything a foodie could want – from amazing 5-star restaurants and best street food scene in the world. If you have three days in Bangkok, you could get a good sample of the best street food in Bangkok! I always suggest people take a food tour; this way you can explore things you have never heard of before and discover new dishes. A must is Baan Somtum restaurant best papaya salad in Thailand, located in Silom district.
Hannah & Adam, Travel Writers & Photographers, Getting Stamped
Chiang Mai, Thailand
If you like Thai food, then Chiang Mai, Thailand, is an amazing city to eat your way across. With countless street vendors, night markets, local eateries, fancy restaurants and cooking schools, it seems that everyone is a chef. Plus, Chiang Mai specializes in Khao Soi: an amazing northern Thailand noodle dish that surpasses Pad Thai on my favorite foods list. If that intrigues you, head directly to the basement food court of the Airport Plaza Mall. Trust me, it’s one of the most local and hidden spots in the city, and home to the best Khao Soi in Thailand.
Greg Goodman, Travel Photographer/Storyteller, Greg Goodman, Photographic Storytelling
I guess I will not be very original if I say you can find all kinds of the best food in Paris. But it is true – being a gourmand capital for centuries, now Paris is also home for migrants from countless countries. You can find 5-star classic cuisine, or try the best Chinese or Peruvian food, or follow the new food trends. The choices are countless! There are endless ways to satisfy your divine pleasures in Paris. It was calculated that if you try to visit all the restaurants in the city, even just stopping by for 10 minutes, the average lifetime still would not be enough to do that!
Yulia Safutdinova, Adventure travel blogger, Miss Tourist