Top 10 U.S. Cities for International Foods
Whether you’re on the hunt for tapas, a pho bowl or spicy noodles, here are the 10 cities across the U.S. you'll want to be when you’re craving exotic flavors from around the world.
Oakland, CaliforniaWhether you’re craving Thai, Japanese, Mexican or Halal, Oakland has you covered. Estately recently mapped U.S. food preferences with the help of Yelp and found that Oakland ranked high in the top-five in nearly every category of international restaurant, even food trucks. Clearly they’ve got something going on when it comes to world cuisines. Try Juhu Beach Club, an Indian restaurant that puts a creative twist on traditional recipes. The JBC Pavs (sliders) and the bhel salad are must-trys. 960 1280
Orlando, FloridaOrlando has more food trucks than any other city in the U.S., according to data compiled by Business Insider. A favorite is Jamaica Jamaica, which serves up to-go food with a Caribbean flair. Or, take a stroll along International Drive for your pick of Greek, Italian, even Ethiopian. Order up a pho bowl at Little Saigon or try the ceviches and tapas at Cuba Libre. Then, of course, there’s Epcot, which boasts flavors from nearly a dozen countries, including Norway, Japan, Mexico and Germany. 960 1280
Los Angeles, CaliforniaIn Los Angeles, there’s a section of town for just about every type of cuisine. A few to look for include Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Tehrangeles, Little Armenia and Thai Town. It’s even been ranked as among the most diverse cities in America. Try the short ribs at Genwa Korean BBQ or the spicy lamb noodles at Jitladala. Or, head the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles where you’ll find everything from falafel at Madcapra to carnitas at Villa Moreliana. 960 1280
Portland, OregonPortland's food truck scene (or, as they say in Portland, food cart) is the stuff of legend with more than 500 food carts all across town. It's so big in Portland that there are “pods” around town, like Rose City Food Park, with multiple food carts offering up cuisines from all over the world. Before you go, visit Food Carts Portland for maps and tour dates. Among the most popular carts is Nong’s Khao Man Gai, which boasts simple yet delicious chicken and rice dishes from Bangkok. 960 1280
Houston, TexasWhen Anthony Bourdain goes to Houston, his first stop isn’t for barbecue or Tex-Mex. Not long ago, he filmed an episode of his popular series, “Parts Unknown,” and made stops at Udipi Café for vegetarian Indian cuisine and Himalaya, which serves up flavorful Indian and Pakistani dishes. Or, try Helen Greek Food and Wine where their Sunday Brunch is a favorite. Order the Greek Taverna Benedict and a Trojan Horse, a refreshing morning cocktail made with sparkling wine, lemon and cherry. 960 1280
Queens, New York CityIn New York City’s most diverse borough, Queens, more than 135 different languages are spoken, so it’s no surprise that the food and restaurant choices are just as diverse. In Flushing’s Chinatown, you’ll find regional cuisines from all parts of China. Go to Fu Ran for Dongbei-style dishes or head to Sifu Chio for Cantonese cuisine. For Thai, Thai Rock is a favorite for creative dishes and refreshing cocktails. Try the Pad Kee Maow with Chicken and a Mango Frozen Dackery. 960 1280
Chicago, IllinoisThe international flavors in Chicago are as diverse as the people who set up the distinctive neighborhoods all across the city. You’ll find Irish, Mexican and German, as well as Costa Rican, Swedish and Nepalese. On the West Side, head to Jim’s Original for a Polish Sausage Sandwich before indulging your sweet tooth with traditional Greek pastries, like Baklava and Kataifi, at Artopolis. Or, go to the North Side for Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. The Crazy Squid at Asian fusion-style Fat Rice is a must-try. 960 1280
Boston, MassachusettsWhether you’re craving Vietnamese, Italian or Irish food, take-out is just a phone call away with more than 40 world cuisines offered to-go at restaurants all around Boston. Pick up the Drunken Noodles at Pho Basil (considered by many to be the best in Boston) or bring home an order of Penne Puttanesca from Artu, a popular Italian eatery in the North End. If you prefer to dine in, try The Beehive for a mix of flavors. The Lamb Moussaka and Seafood Ceviche are local favorites. 960 1280
Washington, D.C.In a city where nearly every country in the world has its own embassy, you’ll find that most every cuisine is also represented. The Washington Post even compiled a listing of the most essential dishes, like Unagidon (a Japanese rice bowl featuring barbecued eel) at Donburi and the Lebanese-style Falafel Burger at Zaytinya. Ethiopian cuisine is also well-known in Washington, DC. Order the Veggie Combo at Zenebech Injera, which comes with lentils, shiro, tomato salad, collard greens and traditional flatbread. 960 1280
Atlanta, GeorgiaWhen you’re hungry, there’s so much to choose from in Atlanta and Buford Highway is the place to go. This international corridor is jam-packed with cuisines of all kinds, from Indian to Greek to Soul, one right next to the other. You’ll even find restaurants boasting dishes from Nigeria, Nepal and Jamaica. Try the Bun Rieu (crab noodle soup) at Chateau Saigon or stop in Las Delicias de la Abuela for a Sunday brunch filled with traditional Colombian flavors. 960 1280
Breakfast All DayBreakfast All Day
At B.A.D. Burger in New York City, the B.A.D. stands for "burgers/breakfast all day" -- a perk that's on the radar of many foodies. Open 24/7, this comfort-food joint serves up classic breakfast options (steak and eggs, anyone?), as well as vegan alternatives (such as shroom burgers), for cravings from dusk till dawn -- and beyond. 960 1280
Bread Upon RequestBread Upon Request
There's nothing quite like warm bread right out of the oven, and many restaurants are catching on to the idea. At Fishtails Café in Newport, OR, the bread is baked fresh daily. So are the muffins, biscuits and pies. 960 1280
Sustainable FoodSustainable Food
At Triangle Char and Bar in Mount Pleasant, SC, the ingredients are homegrown and sustainable. The head chef has developed relationships with area farmers and bakers to provide the freshest bar food around, such as burgers made from local grass-fed beef. 960 1280
Small PortionsSmall Portions
Tapas, antojitos, small plates -- call them what you will, but this trend isn't leaving the culinary scene anytime soon. Restaurants such as Oyamel, a Mexican eatery in Washington, DC, are giving patrons the opportunity to taste many different plates at once. 960 1280
Spicy FoodSpicy Food
Part of the fun of dining out is getting the chance to taste cuisines from around the world -- especially spicy ones. If you’re looking for watery eyes and beads of sweat on your brow, head to new Thai restaurant Stang of Siam in Baltimore for its drunken noodles. 960 1280
Menu NarrativeMenu Narratives
Menus can showcase a chef's vision for the food he prepares. At Pican restaurant in Oakland, CA, the menu tells the story of Southern culinary traditions; it includes complimentary corn bread and a comprehensive bourbon guide. 960 1280
Veggies for DessertVeggies for Dessert
A few restaurants are surprising diners with vegetable-themed desserts. Del Posto in New York City proudly serves celery sorbet with a fig sweet-and sour-sauce, giving patrons a great excuse to eat dessert first. 960 1280
Mobile TechnologyMobile Technology
Restaurateurs are seeing the advantages of finding technology at their tables. Lark Creek Steak in California uses tablet computers to display its menu. Diners can see photos of the farm where their steak was sourced and what it will look like when it arrives tableside. 960 1280
Fine Dining BurgersFine Dining Burgers
A burger can be so much more than fast food. With locations in Georgia and Alabama, Top Chef's Richard Blais's Flip Burger Boutique artfully crafts burgers with toppings such as pomegranate ketchup, seared foie gras and cucumber relish -- not all together, of course. 960 1280
Fine Dining for KidsFine Dining… for Kids
Fine dining no longer has to exclude the kids. High-end French country restaurant Sel de la Terre in Boston offers a kids' menu, with choices such as chicken fingers or grilled cheese with pommes frites. Mom and dad no longer have to sacrifice fine dining for family-friendly fare. 960 1280
St. John BaptisteryDedicated to St. John the Baptist, this baptistery is the oldest religious monument in Florence. Although its origin is unknown, it’s believed that it was built over the ruins of a Roman temple that dated back to the fourth or fifth century. Up until the 19th century, all Catholics in Florence were baptized here. 960 1280
The DuomoOne of the most recognizable landmarks in Florence, the Duomo is a cathedral built in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore. Visitors can climb to the top for amazing views of the city or explore the Gothic building’s amazing artwork, including Giorgio Vasari’s Last Judgment. Self-guided tours are free, or you can pay about $2 per person for the audio tour.
Mercato CentraleGo shopping at the Mercato Centrale, or Central Market, in Florence. This two-level, indoor food market has butchers, fishmongers and delis on the first floor, and on the second floor, shops sell vegetables, fruits, cheese, homemade sauces and more. Don’t leave the market without tasting homemade mostarda, a spicy jam usually eaten with cheese or roasts. 960 1280
Piazza San LorenzoPiazza San Lorenzo is the square in front of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. It is also a popular spot for locals and tourists to go shopping at the open market, visit the Cappelle Medicee, or stop by the Laurentian Library, a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 books. 960 1280
The CampanileClimb to the top of the Campanile, or bell tower, to get perfect views of the Duomo and Florence. Italian painter and architect Giotto di Bondone designed the 277-foot-tall structure, which is divided into five levels. It is often referred to as Giotto’s Campanile. 960 1280
Fountain of NeptuneLocated on Piazza Della Signoria in front the Palazzo Vecchio, the Fountain of Neptune was used as a washbasin for laundry before the 16th century. The popular statue was restored in 2007 after vandals tried to climb it, damaging the trident and one of the hands. 960 1280
Galleria dell’ AcademiaThousands of tourists converge on the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture, the statue of David. In addition to works by Italian artists, the museum also has a section that displays musical instruments created by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano, and a tenor viola made by Antonio Stradivari in 1690. 960 1280
Galleria degli UffiziArt aficionados will appreciate visiting the Galleria Degli Uffizi. This museum is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe and the world. Artwork created by well-respected artists such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci is on display here. Expect to wait up to five hours to get into the museum in July, during the city’s high tourist season. 960 1280
Linguini Carbonara PancettaFoodies will definitely want to sample the traditional Italian cuisine offered at hundreds of restaurants in Florence, including linguine carbonara pancetta. Feeling really adventurous? Take a class at a local cooking school to learn how to make classic Italian dishes. 960 1280
Piazzale MichelangeloBuilt in 1869 and designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi, Piazzale Michelangelo, or Michelangelo Square, is the perfect place to get panoramic views of Florence. Dedicated to the Italian artist and sculptor, it features copies of his work, including a replica of the statue David. 960 1280
Boboli GardensIf you’re visiting Palazzo Pitti — once the home of Florentine banker Luca Pitti — then don’t miss out on strolling behind it through the Boboli Gardens, which house a collection of sculptures from the 16th through 18th centuries. It’s not uncommon to see these historical gardens undergo some form of restoration throughout the year to maintain the landscape and dozens of statues on site. 960 1280
Cé La Vi in Singapore
Cé La Vi (formerly called Ku Dé Ta) is a premier rooftop party bar — emphasis on the rooftop, as it sits on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, an architectural landmark in Singapore. Part of the spectacular SkyPark, the bar lets guests take in one of the best unobstructed views of the city and the rooftop's infamous infinity pool. Whether you’re watching the sun set over mini wagyu beef burgers with fontina cheese green chili mayo and smoked tomato relish, or you're just mesmerized by the nightly laser show, Cé La Vi is a place to see and be seen.
Insider's Tip: The price for a cocktail, such as the Lady Be Mine Grey Goose martini with lychee and rosewater, is $16, roughly the same fee the resort complex charges to board the elevator to the observation deck just below — so think of it as breaking even.960 1280
Plunge in New York City, New York
Taking over the Gansevoort Hotel's 14th-floor penthouse in the Meatpacking District, this granddaddy of New York's rooftop bars is still among the city's best — with some of the most stylish parties, an amazing outdoor pool and, of course, a sick view of the N.Y.C. skyline and the Hudson River. Plunge is packed with pretty young things on the weekends, so those not looking to be part of the scene may prefer to watch the sunset from the wraparound balcony midweek.
Insider's Tip: Give the recently revamped, American bistro-style menu, with its fresh chopped salad, jumbo shrimp skewers and rooftop sliders, a shot; you'll be pleasantly surprised.960 1280
The Roof in Madrid, Spain
If your first glimpse of this club atop the ME Madrid is the line to enter — at its peak length during summertime — know that it's worth the wait. Once you board the private elevator to the penthouse terrace, you'll be treated to unmatched views of Madrid's skyline. Owned by Rande Gerber (also known as Cindy Crawford's husband), this swanky rooftop consistently attracts beautiful locals and celebrities alike, thanks to guest DJ sessions, inviting daybeds and a VIP bar embedded in a stone wall.
Insider's Tip: Like most places on our list, the Roof serves cocktails that are on the pricier side. If you're going to have just one, make it the Black Mojito.960 1280
Three Sixty in St. Louis, Missouri
For a bird's-eye view of Busch Stadium, pass on the nosebleed seats and instead, head to this slick rooftop bar atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Panoramic views of the Gateway Arch serve as the backdrop for gourmet bites prepared by chef Rex Hale, such as house-smoked salmon chips, mini New England lobster rolls and Korean BBQ pork tacos. Save room for the sweet stuff; the desserts — especially the house-made Kit Kat bars — are among the best in the city. The 6,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space accommodates cozy fire pits, flat-screen TVs and several bars, making Three Sixty a year-round destination.
Insider's Tip: Cardinals fans, hold on to your ticket stub and get the $10 cover charge waived. And for those trying to score one of the coveted tables overlooking the field, Three Sixty opens at least two hours before every home game.960 1280
POV in Washington, D.C.
To see the Washington Monument in all its recently unscaffolded glory, head to this trendy bar perched atop the historic W Hotel. POV's velvet banquettes and black wicker chairs are first-come, first-served, so we suggest arriving in plenty of time to watch the sun go down, or you may have to wait in line to board the elevator to the 11th floor. Drinks are expensive by D.C. standards, which makes it mostly a popular spot for tourists and special occasions (both bachelorette parties and proposals are popular here). But enjoying unobstructed views of Washington lit up at night has its price.
Insider's Tip: The scene is more club than cocktail bar after 10 p.m., so we suggest either springing for a table with bottle service next to the dance floor or, for a more economical option, meeting up around the corner at the Hamilton for dinner and drinks before taking in the view.960 1280
Sevva in Hong Kong, China
If you're looking for one of the most glamorous bars in Hong Kong — and possibly even the world — look no farther than this penthouse bar on top of the prestigious Prince's Building. The 360-degree views of Norman Foster's HSBC Building and I.M. Pei's Bank of China Tower from Sevva's wraparound terrace, combined with dazzling interiors that reflect owner Bonnie Gokson's iconic style, has made this the top spot for impressing out-of-towners. The well-coiffed crowd clamors for dishes such as baked truffled mac and cheese and signature crunch cake from the Taste Bar. Also popular is the traditional high tea, where you'll be Instagramming three tiers of Ms. B's treats — including chocolate fudge cake with marmalade and mini short rib burgers — as much as the scenery.
Insider's Tip: The Sevva terrace is an ideal vantage point for the popular "Symphony of Lights" laser show that illuminates Hong Kong's famous skyscrapers.960 1280
The American Bar in Innsbruck, Austria
End your day with a relaxing sundowner and panoramic views of the Alps on the heated rooftop terrace of Innsbruck's glass architectural gem, the Penz Hotel. Order the signature Fifth Floor cocktail, a Bellini Royal made of peaches and Champagne, or ask one of the skilled bartenders to whip up something unique. A bonus for hotel guests is that they can begin the day with an extensive breakfast buffet (with more fresh fruit than you can name) served against the same beautiful backdrop.
Insider's Tip: People who don't like smoke should be aware that cigars are permitted inside.960 1280
New York Bar in Tokyo, Japan
This landmark bar, situated on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, served as the backdrop of Lost in Translation. Rather than shy away from the Sofia Coppola connection, the bar embraces it, even creating the L.I.T. cocktail, made with sake, Sakura liqueur, peach schnapps and cranberry juice. Enjoy panoramic views of Shinjuku; order from the extensive wine menu (which has more than 1,600 bottles to choose from); listen to live jazz; and try to get in a New York state of mind — while in Tokyo.
Insider's Tip: We recommend arriving before 6:30 p.m. to avoid a line, and watch the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows. After 8 p.m., there is a cover charge of about $20 for guests not staying at the Park Hyatt.960 1280
Bramante Terrace in Rome, Italy
Just one block from the Piazza Navona, atop the ivy-covered Hotel Raphael, this multilevel rooftop garden boasts sweeping views of the Eternal City in the summer. Order an omelet of artichokes, red onions and fresh mint for lunch from chef Jean-Luc Fruneau's creative Mediterranean menu (now completely vegetarian), or watch the sun set between St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo over a dinner of fresh caciotta cheese ravioli and marjoram with cherry tomatoes and basil.
Insider's Tip: It's one of the most romantic places in Rome, so don't be surprised if you see a proposal take place while here!960 1280
Vue Bar in Shanghai, China
Spread over Levels 32 and 33 of the five-star Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai, China, Vue offers guests two floors and two distinct views overlooking the historic waterfront and the futuristic Pudong skyline on either side of the Huangpu River. Pull up a seat at this sophisticated lounge's circular cocktail bar or continue up the spiral staircase to the open-air terrace, where you can lounge in a four-poster daybed or take a dip in the marble whirlpool.
Insider's Tip: For those who can justify a $100-plus price tag, Vue's bottomless brunch is hard to beat: free-flowing Perrier Jouet Champagne, a Bloody Mary counter and chefs preparing dishes that include everything from made-to-order eggs to lightly pickled steak tartare on brioche.960 1280
Galaxy Restaurant & Bar in Athens, Greece
The star of the Athens skyline is the majestic Acropolis — and there's no place where it seems to glow more brightly than from the Galaxy Restaurant & Bar atop the Hilton Athens. A hot spot for locals and tourists, this chic open-air terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or a romantic dinner. We suggest starting with one of the restaurant's inventive (read: not just Greek) salads or sesame-crusted seared tuna with caviar, pickled pearl onions, black and yellow cherries, and a truffle vinaigrette, followed by an assortment of sushi. Otherwise, try the surf 'n' turf — a beef tenderloin and lobster tail atop a sizzling hot stone.
Insider's Tip: If you can't snag a reservation, stop by for an aperitif. The bar typically opens two and a half hours before dinner service starts.960 1280
360 in Istanbul, Turkey
True to its name, this spot offers 360-degree views stretching over Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait that are enough to take your breath away — but so are the "special occasion" prices. Forgo 360's Turkish-fusion menu and instead, come early, score a coveted window seat and nurse your drink while snacking on stuffed olives and nuts before grabbing some street food nearby. On weekends, the restaurant turns into a club from around midnight until the wee hours, with avant-garde entertainment (including burlesque), up-and-coming DJs and well-mixed cocktails.
Insider's Tip: The unassuming entrance in the historic Misir Apartment building is easily missed, but don't let that deter you. Once you've entered the lobby, take the elevator directly to the eighth floor and follow the candlelit stairs.960 1280