New Orleans, Paris, Chicago and Bangkok -- see our staff's picks for the best places to wine and dine.
No list of the world’s best foodie cities is complete without a shout-out to Italy, especially the fresh, rustic cuisine native to Florence. Grab a creamy scoop or two of gelato at Grom or Perche No! and sit on the steps of the Duomo as you devour it. And who said Italy was all about pasta and pizza? Even the most devout herbivores will be transformed when they carve into their first Bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Charleston, SC, has quickly become <i>the</i> place for foodies. In an area known as Lowcountry, Charleston’s Southern charm shines through at places like Hominy Grill. A must-have is shrimp and grits prepared with scallions, mushrooms and bacon, over cheese hominy grits. At Jestine’s Kitchen, the okra gumbo and fried-green tomatoes keep locals and tourists coming back year after year. The wait time might be longer than normal at both places, but it’s definitely worth the wait.
Take a stroll through the French Quarter and you’ll feel as if you’re in another country. Is it Paris or the American South? Basically, it’s the best of both -- right down to the food. In between daiquiris (the to-go kind, of course) and beignets, stop by Willie Mae’s Scotch House for a big ole plate of incredible fried chicken, or Domilise’s for shrimp po’boy that puts all others to shame.
Some consider the city that never sleeps to be the food mecca of the world. From Harlem to Hell's Kitchen, take your pick of authentic ethnic food from around the globe. For trendy foodies, head to the Meatpacking District or West Village where celebrity chef restaurants like Catch are always in style. A personal favorite in the Flatiron District is Eataly, where Italian food truly comes alive!
Baileys’ Chocolate Bar is the sweet spot in St. Louis. Truffles are served individually on plates and their chocolate martinis are as smooth and frothy as milkshakes, adding to the class factor. Try the raspberry martini to perfectly complement the rich desserts. The Gateway City is also known for being a big beer city, pork BBQ destination and vibrant foodie town, especially in the trendy Central West End neighborhood.
Nothing beats a slice of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati's or yes, the original Pizzeria Uno! Piled high with toppings and topped with tons of tomato sauce, you'll barely be able to finish a slice. What's more, many Chicago restaurants are BYOB and don't charge a corking fee, so you can wash down your meal with your favorite bottle of wine -- every time.
The Pink City of Jaipur, in the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan, stands out not only for its regal monuments but for its cuisine. Explore the city and you will find familiar foods like samosas -- and so much more. For a taste of Rajasthan, head to Chokhi Dhani on the outskirts of town. This village resort offers a taste of rural India through dishes such as the Rajasthani specialty daal-baati-choorma -- the more ghee, the better!
You'll find some of the best food in Bangkok at one of the many street-food stalls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants along Khaosan Road and Yaowarat Road in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Expect noodle dishes -- and lots of them, most for less than a dollar. Classic pad Thai, tom yum soup, samosas, grilled pork skewers, som tam (a papaya salad) … the list goes on.
Tasty Spanish tapas is just one reason why Barcelona is on our list. It’s a great way to sample small plates of delicious food, including fresh calamari, seafood paella, patatas bravas, empanadas, bacon-wrapped dates and chorizo -- all, of course, with a glass of sangria. Try Tapa Tapa, a restaurant where the menu items are listed in Catalan and English. And if you want to make a pit stop while sightseeing, Abrelatas restaurant -- in the Sants-Montjuïc neighborhood -- makes one of the best mojitos in the city.
A seafood lover’s heaven, Seattle boasts the best salmon in the country. Don't just stop there, sample it all: fresh mussels, Dungeness crab, halibut, oysters, clams, scallops and more. Head to Pike Place Market for the freshest seafood in the city. And when you can't fit another morsel in your belly, there's always room for Seattle’s world-famous coffee.
A list of the best food cities that doesn’t include Paris? Mais non! From the cafes to the brasseries and patisseries, the cuisine of the City of Light is sinfully delicious. As Julia Child said, in France cooking is a serious art form -- and a national sport! Visit Julien restaurant for a pain au chocolat, Le Relais de l'Entrecote for reasonably priced steak frites, and if you're looking to splurge, L'Ami Louis for escargot.