Our readers ranked these 25 places as the main gastronomic destinations of the year. From the birthplace of Mezcal to the cities with the most Michelin-starred restaurants and chefs, these are the best places to visit with an appetite. Many of the cities on this list are within the same country or region, so allow this list to guide you through your own food tour. From Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka in Japan to Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and, of course, Lyon, Paris and Aix-en-Provence in France, you can go in any direction and find the beginning and end of your dream food tour.
Alternatively, spend all your time unpacking the dishes and culture of some incredible places, such as Mendoza, in Argentina's wine region, or Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, where the products are as exceptional as the appreciation for the food experience. Even the gastronomic capitals of the world, such as Paris, have fallen off our list to make room for America's own New Orleans and Charleston. The birthplace of mezcal, Oaxaca ranks first this year. It is known for the way it combines its culinary traditions (think mole, molotes and fresh, moving dishes) with the innovative flavors of modern Mexican cuisine.
From fettunta, the original garlic bread, to ravioli nudi or ravioli naked, Florence food finally appears around the world in some of the most famous restaurants. Why don't you go to the source? There may be no better place to go to restaurants and enjoy full days of food than Gion, Kyoto, a waterfront neighborhood with slender streets filled with restaurants almost exclusively, ups and downs. Lyon, a city in which to eat for the next 100 years without tiring, serves classic French dishes and fresh, modern dishes without the waiting list or the price of Paris. You can visit Athens for food at Loukoumi Taverna in Astoria, imagine that you have arrived in Seoul while strolling through the lines of Korean barbecue restaurants on 32nd Street, channeling the vibes of Mexico City at the Ramirez Taqueria, savoring Warsaw in Karczma or landing in Beijing on the 7th train to Flushing, Queens, where you can eat sizzling soup, meatballs, and thick, jelly-like noodles with pork at the New World Mall food court.
I may be biased, but I think New York is the best city in the world and it has a lot to do with the restaurant scene. The first time I visited Mexico City, I wasn't sure what to expect. A big city in Mexico that isn't close to the ocean? But after my first taco al pastor in El Tizoncito shortly after landing, everything made sense. This city is bursting with culture, incredible vibes and life-changing cuisine.
Here you can eat extraordinarily well on any budget, whether you're sipping on 20-cent street tacos and blue corn quesadillas, or feasting on Pujol's famous tasting menu. New York is a city of superlatives and that obviously applies to its food scene as well. It has more than 10,000 restaurants, where you will find every type of cuisine imaginable, and for all budgets. It is the true food mecca of the world, allowing you to take a gastronomic trip around the world without leaving the city.
Our favorite experiences, however, are looking for gourmet foods like Zabar's (the best food store in the world?) — and we're not ashamed to admit that we still love joining the Whole Foods chain every time. Check out the New York City Guide The Tsukiji fish market alone would be enough to make Tokyo a foodie destination. That's where 5 million pounds of fish are sold every day, mostly to serve as sushi. But this is also the city with the most Michelin stars in the world and with some of the best casual restaurants.
You could say that Lyon is where France originally elevated food to an art form, and chef Paul Bocuse was the pioneer. The city still caters to gourmets of all budgets, although it is haute cuisine that clearly stands out. It focuses on local traditions and products, and bouchons (the most traditional restaurants) are among the best places to enjoy the most rustic cuisine washed down by the best French wines. Barcelona became a world-class city largely due to its innovative contemporary Catalan cuisine.
It offers a large number of excellent restaurants where food is science and chefs such as Ferran Adrià are also artists and scientists, while for the more conservative there are excellent classic establishments serving the most traditional dishes. In addition to that, there is one of the best food markets in the world, La Boqueria, not to mention the impressive Mercat de Santa Caterina. See the Barcelona city guide There is an extraordinary culinary movement in San Sebastian that goes beyond its impressive trio of restaurants with 3 Michelin stars. This is a city that takes food very seriously and a place where a meal can turn into an event.
The best experience is to visit the La Brecha market in the morning and end the day at any restaurant that serves Basque-style tapas accompanied by local wines. London currently has a thriving food culture, and that's not just because of celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver. Food markets like Borough are still memorable experiences, and even smaller venues, such as Neal's Yard, remain lively and irresistible. Add the extraordinary culinary diversity of its multi-ethnic restaurants and you have one of the gastronomic capitals of the world.
See the London City Guide You could say that the Danish capital became a gastronomic capital thanks to just one restaurant: Noma, often praised as the best in the world. But that assessment would not be fair. Noma exists because Copenhagen is a city that has refined your taste buds and offers an impressive variety of restaurants to suit all tastes. It is also the center of the revival of Nordic food and there is a flourishing coffee culture.
San Francisco restaurants have been a driving force behind global culinary innovation for decades, and there are countless examples of local establishments leading the way in creativity and, most importantly, delicious cuisine. The city also has some of the best coffee shops in the world. Hong Kong is the master of Cantonese food. Dim sum sets the pace with a variety of dumplings and fried treats.
However, beyond the legacy of Dim Sum that envelops the streets of Hong Kong, char siu pork, soy sauce chicken and roast goose make the city a great place for meat lovers. With so many restaurants, cafes, and bistros to choose from in Paris, it can be difficult for visitors to know where to eat. From French classics such as snails and croque monsieur, to modern touches of traditional dishes such as crepes with goat cheese %26 honey or steak tartar; there are many delicious options available throughout the City of Lights. If you're an enthusiast who travels with a picky eater, don't worry.
New York City has one of the widest variety of food on offer. In northern Thailand, the city of Chiang Mai has one of the most famous street foods in the world. The streets are enveloped in a hypnotic fusion of spicy and sweet aromas. New Orleans' signature food is nourished by the city's colorful and varied heritage.
Seafood plays a vital role in the city's cuisine and it's one of the reasons travellers love to visit NOLA. One of New Orleans' many popular dishes is Po'Boy. This is a sandwich filled with fried seafood, such as shrimp, oysters, catfish, soft-shelled crab, or roast beef, and is completed with gravy, shredded lettuce and tomato, served on French bread. Mexico City is another contender for excellent street food.
The city offers many food stalls selling tacos and fried corn dogs. Whether you're playing their grills (just go to Don Julio and take the guts), eating empanadas (we like them in Perón Perón) and choripán sandwiches (literally, there may be no better street food in the world) on the street, drinking incredible wines from Mendoza, Salta and Patagonia in their wine bars, or even going to one of their trendy “closed door” restaurants inside a chef's home, BA has to be on the radar of any food enthusiast. I learned a lot about Mexican food and culture on a food tour with Mexico Underground (plus, they showed me the taco spots I would never have found). As the capital of Malaysia's Penang state, Georgetown is home to the world's best street food, or street food, as locals call it.
Eating is now a reason to travel, and whether it's to a city with a long gastronomic history or a more recent culinary hotspot, there are now several gastronomic meccas on the planet worth visiting. . .