Some of us base all of our travels around our next meal while others are happy to have food be an afterthought during vacations. Chances are if you fall into the former category, your life may revolve around your next meal and chances are your travel itinerary is no different. If you’re food-minded and find yourself constantly searching for the best place to eat, we feel you. For our fellow food lovers, we’ve highlighted six essential food cities to visit. Add these to the bucket list!
We can’t talk about food in Copenhagen without talking about Noma, a restaurant that has changed the entire culinary scene forever with its creative and innovative cooking practices—it was voted best restaurant in the world for several years in a row. Though it’s certainly not a budget-friendly option, it is too essential to not mention to food lovers. Be prepared to do major planning before your visit to ensure that you score a table at this notoriously hard to book establishment.
Beyond Noma, there are a number of fantastic restaurants in the Danish capital along with wonderful markets and a certain type of creativity that is infused in all food. Relae, Radio, BROR, and Geranium are all wonderful examples of the New Nordic style of cooking that has gained so much traction in the past several years. For a more casual experience head to Torvehallerne market or the Copenhagen Street Food market to experience a relaxed food stall and food truck scene.
If you’re all about spice and flavor, Bangkok, Thailand should be at the top of your list. Home to some of the best, most affordable dishes around, it is guaranteed that you’ll be leaving Bangkok with a full belly—it isn’t hard to find good food in Bangkok. Street stalls are everywhere and you can easily follow your nose to some amazing food options. Mango sticky rice, pork or fish stew, and the countless varieties of noodle bowls all top our list of street food musts.
For those of you looking for something more upscale, head to Gaggan, an award-winning spot serving up modern Indian cuisine. Nahm is another fantastic fine dining option serving up traditional Thai dishes. Both restaurants are considered to be some of the best in the world and consistently serve up unforgettably good food.
Though there are a lot of places to find incredible food throughout France, there is something about the cafe culture and the markets of Paris that draw us in. Is it the endless cheese plates? The wine? The fact that everything just tastes better when you’re eating in a tiny Parisian alley? It’s all of the above, actually!
Lucky for you, there are an incredible number of restaurants in Paris to visit and it feels like every other one is more delicious and famed than the last. Since it’s hard to go wrong with food in Paris, we’re focusing on options that are delicious, unique, and budget friendly.
Our favorite picks include L’Avant Comptoir, the sister to the more expensive and difficult to book Le Comptoir, a tiny, standing room only place with a lot of flavor and a good selection of wine. L’as Du Fallafel is another inexpensive option that is home to what some consider to be not only the best falafels in the city, but in the entire world. Marché des Enfants Rouges is great if you enjoy walking through food markets and trying a little bit of everything. Too much eating and not enough activity? Head to a French cooking class while in Paris for a hands-on experience to learn the basics of French cooking on your own.
Tokyo has more three Michelin Star restaurants than any other city in the world and continually retains its crown as one of the gourmet capital of the world. From their famed sushi and ramen to their lesser known foods, Tokyo boasts one of the largest restaurant scenes in the entire world meaning it’s next to impossible not to find one you love.
Begin your days by hunting down one of the many ramen or sushi shops that open early and prepare to gorge yourself on noodles with mouth-watering toppings or fresh fish from the nearby markets. If noodles or raw fish for breakfast is something you simply can’t get behind (don’t knock it til’ you try it!), remember that Tokyo is an international city that has many coffee and pastry options nearby as well.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast, make sure to make it to one of the many markets throughout the city. The most famous Tsukiji Fish Market has every form of seafood imaginable, and it’s a sight to behold even if you aren’t purchasing food. If you left room in your stomach, you can eat at one of the market’s restaurants to take advantage of some of the freshest seafood anywhere on the planet. After certainly entering a food coma by midday, head over to one of Tokyo’s many tea houses to enjoy a traditional tea ceremony to prep for your next meal.
New York, New York
A city that is home to people from a countless number of cultures and countries around the world means arguable the best, most diverse food you can find in the United States. Though the city is known for foods like pizza (and rightfully so), beyond the surface is an incredible myriad of unique foods and cultures to explore. Little Italy, Chinatown, Chelsea Market, the list goes on. We recommend simply walking around, and sampling a little bit of everything. A taco here and some jerk chicken there is how we like to roll. For specific picks, we love Tacombi for their amazing tacos and Russ and Daughters for some of the best smoked salmon imagineable.
Though a lot of great food is right in Manhattan, taking the time to explore the other boroughs for food options is something you should definitely consider if your timeline allows. Food in the other boroughs will often be more authentic and far cheaper than what you can find in the more tourist-heavy spots of Manhattan. Queens is a favorite for a variety of diverse food options including Indian, Korean, Greek, and Chinese, while Harlem is fantastic for Caribbean and soul food. No matter which borough or type of cuisine you decide to delve into, head in with an open mind and an empty stomach.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you’re the kind of gal that feels like a meal isn’t complete without a bit of meat, head to Buenos Aires for some of the best you can find. This destination is perfect for budget-minded foodies as you can get incredible dishes here for a very modest price tag. Buenos Aires is known for steak and there are a number of places around town to try some of what is considered by many to be the best in the world. Steaks By Luis is a great option, but you’ll find a lot of different steak restaurants or parrillas throughout the city.
If you’re vegetarian or just not a fan of steak, you may be wondering if this city is right for you at this point. Rest assured, there are plenty of other options that have put the city on the culinary map. In addition to favorites like empanadas or the amazing pastries you’ll find in the many bakeries littered around the city, there are a lot of newer establishments reinventing and modernizing the cuisine in Buenos Aires. To experience this best, we recommend taking a food tour to learn more about what makes the food here special and where the best spots are around the city. It goes without saying, but be sure to top of your Buenos Aires food experience with a good glass of Malbec.