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Best Cities for Food

Enjoy a sumptuous doner kebab in Istanbul or fresh, wild-caught salmon in Seattle. Every city listed will satisfy even the highest standards for food.

#1 Paris France

Paris, France, voted the city with the world’s best food, is a global center for fashion, art, cafe culture and gastronomy. Characterized by artisan cheeses, rich sauces and pungent truffles, beloved French dishes range from pot-au-feu, a hearty, meat stew, to pâté de foie gras, a spreadable pate made of fattened duck or goose liver. Flaky croissants, crème brule and Parisian pastries, such as cream-stuffed eclairs or crepes filled with chocolate, pair perfectly with a frothy cappuccino for a morning treat.

Grab a crepe from street vendors lining the Avenue des Champs-Elysees or at an authentic crêperie such as La Crêperie Bretonne. To mingle with locals and eat splendid food, try a Parisian supper club. Jim Haynes Sunday Dinners offers surprise menus from a selection of top French chefs. Or tour the ghostly side of the Paris metro and its vast network of tunnels and abandoned stations with Ademas.

#2 New York City New York, USA

Visitors to New York City can eat their way across the globe and enjoy everything from Asian fusion and Greek dishes to spicy Thai curries and rich French classics. Restaurants in the Financial District and Hell's Kitchen provide a range of ethnic dishes to suit any palate. But for a real New York City experience, head to one of the city's lively diners for a pastrami on rye, fried chicken and waffle combo plate or a thick slice of NYC cheesecake.

Other New York City treats include bagels with lox and cream cheese or a “garbage plate” piled high with beans, potatoes, hot dogs, onions, mustard and chili. Thrill seekers can take a trapeze lesson with Trapeze School New York or explore the city with Accomplice, a quirky enterprise that sends participants on a scavenger hunt through museums and neighborhoods armed with clues and tricky riddles.

#3 Rome Italy

The focus of la cucina romana, or Roman food, is heavy on meat, especially sweetmeats, entrails and other discarded parts of the animal. Oxtail stew is one of the most famous dishes using this style of cooking. Popular meatless dishes like gnocchi, or dumplings made with cheese, or pizza bianca, a thin, focaccia-style pizza bread, can be found in nearly every street cafe. For the tastiest pizza bianca in Rome, head to Roscioli Bakery.

Of course, pairing a classic pasta dish, such as carbonara, alfredo, or gricia, with a crisp salad and fresh bread creates a delightful Italian meal. Felice a Testaccio blends fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic into salsa al pomodoro - Rome’s most famous pasta sauce. For unique sightseeing, relish the picturesque view through the Knights of Malta keyhole on Aventine Hill or catch a glimpse into monastic life in the Crypt of Capuchins.

#4 San Francisco California, USA

San Francisco is not only known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars. The city also boasts 40 Michelin starred restaurants throughout its streets and over 150 food trucks in its weekly Off the Grid markets. Local food connoisseurs appreciate San Francisco's emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Pick up a loaf of famous, tangy sourdough bread at a corner bakery. Better yet, try a sourdough bread bowl filled with rich, clam chowder at Boudin Bakery.

Other San Francisco staples include fresh seafood, Philly cheese steak sammies with a side of garlic fries or a popular “mission style” burrito. Skip the Starbucks line - San Francisco is well-known for its plethora of neighborhood cafes, especially the strong Irish coffee from Buena Vista. Tourists can spend an afternoon touring Alcatraz prison or taste samples of locally made fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown.

#5 New Orleans Louisiana, USA

New Orleans is known for its nightlife, vibrant music scene and spicy cuisine reflecting a history of Cajun, French, African and American influences. Served on a baguette with roast beef or soft-shell crab, the po’boy sandwich is probably the best-loved sandwich in New Orleans. Dig into a generous po’boy at Parkway Bakery. Dishes that incorporate seafood including gumbo, jambalaya or spicy craw-fish stews further embody the festive spirit and Cajun culture of New Orleans.

Side dishes of red beans and rice, oysters Rockefeller and couche-couche, or fried cornmeal, are star attractions in the French Quarter. Though Mardi Gras is New Orlean's most popular festival, visitors can always catch live music and entertainment along Bourbon Street or sign up for an airboat excursion through the bayou with Louisiana Tour Company.

#6 Florence Italy

Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and the birthplace of the Renaissance, is home to masterpieces of art, architecture and Tuscan food. Cuisine in Florence is abundant with local produce, cheeses, meats and beans. Typical three course meals begin with an antipasti - usually a tray of thinly-sliced meats - followed by heavier first and second courses. Pizza is popular in Florence, especially a Tuscan Neapolitan-style pizza topped with fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil.

Feast on one at Pizzeria Starita. Other traditional Tuscan dishes include beef steak Florentine, tripe and roasted game. After sampling Florence’s culinary spread, tourists can visit the Galleria dell' Accademia to see Michelangelo's David or enjoy an evening of Italian opera arias at the intimate Santa Monaca church.

#7 Chicago Illinois, USA

The Windy City offers splendid shopping, the beautiful Lake Michigan and a tasty array of local specialty foods. Pick up an authentic Chicago-style hot dog with all the traditional toppings at Superdawg or Wiener Circle. Even better, savor one covered in french fries at Gene & Jude's. Other iconic Chicago fares are deep-dish pizza from Giordano’s, Italian beef topped with hot peppers from Fiore’s and authentic Mexican tamales from the Little Village.

Taste a sweeter side of Chicago with cheesy, caramel corn from Garrett's Popcorn or with pie from Logan Square’s Bang Bang Pie Shop. For a night on the town, follow locals to Al Capone’s old hangout- the Green Mill, a classy jazz bar in Uptown. Or see the city’s most famous buildings from the Chicago River on an architectural boat tour.

#8 London England

London, England’s capital, is a unique 21st-century city with a rich history and a celebrated British monarchy. Tourists can photograph street art along Dalston and Hackney or explore the container city of Trinity Buoy Wharf before grabbing some goodies from London’s ultimate foodie list. Begin with bangers and mash, savory sausage rolls and hot meat pies. And nothing beats a traditional English Sunday roast with plates of roasted meat, mashed potatoes, stuffing and Yorkshire pudding.

London's Harwood Arms is a popular destination for Sunday roasts. Classic fish and chips doused with vinegar and served in newspaper wrappings are another quick comfort food. For a different dining experience, the blind staff at Dans le Noir serves surprise meals in complete darkness. Or warm up with a cup of tea at one of London’s thirteen remaining cabman’s shelters. These unusual shelters were designed as pitstops for carriage and taxi drivers in the late 19th century.

#9 Barcelona Spain

Barcelona may be a sprawling city, but there is no better way to explore its vibrant streets and gastronomic options than to tour the city via foot. Catalan cuisine, an ancient Mediterranean style of cooking, is bold and full of fresh flavors, garlic, onions and olive oil. Meats are bred locally, and seafood is harvested from the nearby Mediterranean. Paella, a popular Catalan rice dish, consists of white rice with vegetables, meat, beans and seasoning.

For great paella, restaurants in the Barceloneta area offer the best options. Another iconic Spanish dish, jamón ibérico, is cured ham served with wine and olives. Though Barcelona’s restaurant scene is diverse, tapas may be the most famous culinary option. These small dishes, meant to be passed and shared, vary from bowls of nuts to slices of grilled meats and skewered cheeses to small cakes. Fill up at Barcelona's oldest tapas bar, Quimet y Quimet.

#10 Venice Italy

The UNESCO World Heritage property of Venice and its lagoon spreads over more than 100 islands. There are no cars or motorcycles in Venice. Everyone travels by foot, boat or gondola through the innumerable narrow alleys, small squares and canals branching off of the Grand Canal. Given its proximity to water, seafood fare thrives in Venice. The most famous fish entree is baccala’ mantecato, a cod dish prepared with olive oil, garlic and parsley.

Sarde in saor, a popular antipasto flaunts sweet-and-sour sardines with onions, pine nuts and raisins. Two other famous dishes in Venice include rise e bisi, or Venetian rice and peas, and pasta e fagioli, or pasta and beans. Visitors can glide on a gondola through the canals, cheer on dueling musicians in Piazza San Marco, or take a vaporetto to the colorful town of Burano.

#11 Vancouver Canada

Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is one of Canada's most ethnically diverse cities. The food in Vancouver varies from simple seafood sandwiches to delectable Japanese, Thai, Korean and fusion dishes. Foodies can indulge in mussels, oysters, cedar-plank salmon, Dungeness crab, prawns or any other form of Pacific Northwest seafood. For Asian fare, explore Alexandra Road in Richmond.

Dubbed “Food Street,” cuisine ranges from noodles houses and hot pot restaurants to bubble tea cafes and Korean BBQ pit stops. Visitors will find dishes such as grilled octopus, shui gau and stir fried sweet potato noodles. For excellent Aburi style sushi and a romantic dining experience along Vancouver’s waterfront, dine at Miku Sushi. Outside of the city, adrenaline junkies can head to northern Vancouver to the Capilano suspension bridge or spelunk through the Horne Lake caves.

#12 Istanbul Turkey

Along with religion and history, a central part of Istanbul's culture is food - lots of it! And nothing is more associated with Istanbul than a doner kebab complete with shaved meat, pita bread, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and tahini or tzatziki sauce. Grab a traditional doner kebab at the popular Donerci Sahin Usta. Though classy restaurants line the streets of Istanbul, for a real Turkish experience, head to the streets.

Dürüm, a wrap made with chicken, beef, cheese or veggies or a kumpir, an ultimate Turkish baked potato, offer quick and tasty treats. Besides the popular sites of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, sightseers can also explore more obscure spots like Basilica Cistern and the Princes’ Islands. For a low-key day, stop by a Turkish hamam for a luxurious soak or stroll to Galata Bridge and hang out with local fishermen.

#13 Bangkok Thailand

For Bangkok's best delicacies, experience the heavenly flavors and lively atmosphere of the city’s food stalls. Gourmets can salivate over sweet potato balls (khanom khai nok krata), spicy pad thai and creamy tom yum goong (hot and sour soup). Cold mango smoothies, iced milk coffees and other drinks are brilliantly served in plastic bags with straws, and a creamy, coconutty bite of khanom krok provides a satisfying dessert.

For sit-down meals, the well-known Som Tam Nua restaurant is a popular spot for trying green papaya salad (som tum) and hot chicken wings. Sightseers and shopping enthusiasts can head to the Chatuchak Market, check out the Grand Palace or take a riverboat tour on the Chao Phraya River. To get off the beaten path, spend an afternoon relaxing at Lumpini Park.

#14 Hong Kong China

A global financial center and booming metropolis, Hong Kong is also known for its vast array of culinary experiences. Foodies can be found equally enjoying Hong Kong's street foods, dining in its classy restaurants or partaking in high tea at the Peninsula Hotel. Traditional dim sum dishes are steamed in advance in bamboo baskets and usually consist of cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, scallions and bamboo shoots.

Street snacks of fish balls, peking duck pancakes, pineapple buns, and mini egg puffs offer rich flavors at affordable prices. Local craft beers are brewed at Hong Kong Beer Co., Hong Kong’s own microbrewery. And egg tarts from the Hoover Cake Shop are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Visitors can take a funicular up to Victoria Peak, the highest mountain on Hong Kong island, or ride a ferry to Macau to test their luck at the island’s many casinos.

#15 Lima Peru

Cuisine in Lima can be an ocean-infused experience. One of the most popular examples of typical Peruvian gastronomy is ceviche. Prepared with raw fish marinated in citrus juices, this treat is often served with corn, slices of potato and avocado. One of the best restaurants in Lima for ceviche is the famous La Mar. Visitors can also pick up bowls of fresh ceviche near the harbor in the Miraflores district.

Locally grown quinoa is eaten with fruit for breakfast, and fearless travelers can taste a famous guinea pig dish at Astrid y Gaston. Pisco Sours, made with Pisco, egg whites, lime juice and simple syrup, can be found at swanky Pisco bars around the city. To learn more about the country’s history and see great collections of art and national treasures, tourists can visit Lima’s museums, such as the National Museum of Archaeology and History or the Museo de Arte.

#16 Montreal Canada

Montreal, the largest city in the Quebec province, is a vibrant melting pot of cultures and a UNESCO City of Design. Famous foods in Montreal include hand-rolled bagels - a smaller and sweeter version of the New York bagel - from St. Viateur Bagel Shop and a classic poutine dish purchased from the popular Au Pied de Cochon.

Smoked meats and sweet Orange Juleps are other iconic treats found around Montreal. The undisputed king of the kosher-style smoked meat is Schwartz's Delicatessen, serving meats since 1928. However, for something truly from Montreal, try a tourtière, a traditional spiced and savory meat pie made with pork, veal or beef.

#17 Toronto Canada

Toronto, the Capital of Ontario, offers a proximity to the tumbling Niagara Falls and a dynamic food scene. One of the most classic foods in Toronto is the butter tart, a Canadian dessert topped with raisins or nuts. Buy a box of tarts at Buttertarts 'n More in Little Britain. In this area of North America, the terms Canada and maple syrup are nearly synonymous, and pairings such as maple-bacon doughnuts are featured at local bakeries.

Other local treats include a peameal bacon sandwich, a unique Canadian sandwich of cured bacon, or a veal sandwich with ketchup. Find both must-eats at the crowded St. Lawrence market. For more foodie fun, the Kensington Market has delectable Latin American and Caribbean eateries. After exploring Niagara Falls, tourists can ride a segway through the Distillery Historic District or take a ghost tour of Toronto’s old town.

#18 Singapore Singapore

Singapore cuisine is a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and Western influences. One of the most popular dishes in Singapore is katong laksa, a typical Singaporean curry laksa. This specialty, made with bite-sized noodles, is often eaten with a side of banana leaves. Invented by Madam Cher Yam Tian in the 1950s, sweet and savory chilli crab is sold on nearly every street corner and will hit the spot at any time of day.

A dish ubiquitous to Singapore, Hainanese chicken rice, is prepared with pork stock, garlic, coconut milk and ginger. Sample a plate at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice restaurant. On hot days, cool off with an ais kacang - grated ice smothered with sweet syrups, jelly, red beans, corn and attap seeds. Cap off a visit to Singapore with top-notch shopping or an afternoon in the Botanic Gardens, a tropical garden honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

#19 Madrid Spain

In Madrid, the capital of Spain, local cuisine is very meat, seafood and potato-heavy. Madrid's most famous sandwich, the bocadillo de calamares, or fried squid sandwich, can be found at any sandwich bar near the Plaza Mayor. Visitors can slurp up huge bowls of gazpacho at the city's Andalucian bars and sample heaps of pulpo a la gallega – octopus – at popular Galician restaurants. Churros con chocolate, or long, fried donuts smothered in chocolate, are a quintessential breakfast, and visitors can purchase a dozen at a churrería such as Chocolatería San Ginés.

Along with indulging in Madrid’s culinary spread, tourists can explore the city’s museums, including The Prado Museum that boasts one of the world’s finest collections of European art. Alternatively, the El Rasto market in nearby Salamanca provides a vibrant atmosphere for stocking up on souvenirs, clothes and unusual trinkets.

#20 Seattle Washington, USA

Visitors to this stunning city can sink their teeth into wild-caught Pacific salmon. Grilled, broiled, smoked or steamed, this fish is prepared in multiple ways and is one of Seattle's most famous dishes. Other Pacific seafood includes Dungeness crab, Kodiak Island scallops, salt-herring brandade and Olympia oysters.

These wild delicacies are mixed with Oregon white truffles, onions and basil tips and are served in all imaginable forms of stews, pastas, sandwiches and more. Pike Place Market, a delightful waterfront attraction, offers everything from fresh doughnuts at Daily Dozen Doughnut Company to happy hour oysters and local beer at Athenian. For a bit of adventure, tourists can enjoy the picturesque vista from the Seattle Needle, go whale watching or stick chewing gum on the famous Post Alley Gum Wall.

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