From Rome to Cuba and back again, our tasty guide to the world’s culinary capitals will get your stomachs rumbling!
Eating is a great reason to travel – as many foodies will agree! Whether it’s dining in a side-street café where the locals eat, exploring a mouth-watering market or splashing out in a raved-about restaurant, it can be a lot of fun planning a holiday with gastronomy in mind. So if the thought of gourmet globe-trotting appeals to you, have a look at these worldwide food meccas. Bon appetit!
1. Tokyo, Japan
Not all sushi is created equal – and in Tokyo you’re likely to have the best sushi of your life. Fish fans should visit the Tsukiji Fish Market – the world’s largest and busiest – where five million pounds of fish is sold every single day. And did you know Tokyo has the most Michelin starred restaurants in the world (261 shared by 197 restaurants)? Or that it has the most three-starred Michelin restaurants (11)? Officially the ‘world’s best place to eat‘, it’s no wonder Tokyo is reeling in international foodies!
2. Havana, Cuba
The Cuban capital is a delicious melting pot of food cultures and counts Spanish, French, African, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese amongst its influences. Since Raúl Castro’s recent economic reforms, a wealth of new restaurants have opened up to lure food connoisseurs to this Caribbean island. Lobster is a speciality and is inexpensive, so fill your boots (and those doggie bags)!
3. Rome, Italy
Ask anyone where to go in the world for heavenly food and there’s a good chance they’ll reply…Rome! It’s said that the Eternal City lives to eat, not eats to live – and there’s certainly no shortage of wallet-friendly restaurantsto put this saying to the test. Fans of the humble pizza should venture into the suburbs where you’ll find authentic Italian restaurants that are popular with the locals – which is always a good sign.
4. New York, USA
The city that always eats! Boasting some 10,000 restaurants, New York offers an eclectic mix of flavours thanks to the waves of immigrant communities that have made the foodie hot spot their home. This means you can sample signature dishes from all around the world without having to leave the Big Apple. For an authentic street food experience, don’t forget to try a hot dog from one of the countless roadside vendors.
5. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona has all the ingredients to make it onto a foodie bucket list. From budget dining in humble tapas bars to fine dining restaurants, the Catalan capital has something for every palate. One of the world’s most extraordinary food markets can also be found in the city centre – La Boqueria – where you’ll be left wandering around in wide-eyed amazement at the delicious array of food on offer.
6. Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech is full of exotic flavours guaranteed to tantalise your tastebuds. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by delicacies such as snail soup, pigeon in pastry (with ground almonds, cinnamon and sugar), camel burgers and date milkshakes. You’ll often find the best cuisine is traditional home-cooked dishes served up on riad rooftops – washed down with some mint tea of course!
7. London, UK
Not to be outdone by our Continental neighbours, there is a thriving restaurant scene in the capital that boasts several gastronomic game changers. Celebrity chef restaurants include: Marco Pierre White (Quo Vadis,Criterion Brasserie and MPW), Peter Gordon (The Sugar Club), Gordon Ramsay (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay), and duo Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray (The River Cafe). Just grabbing a bite to eat in the Big Smoke is not an option, which is why it’s one of the world’s dining capitals.
8. Bangkok, Thailand
In Thailand’s capital there are thousands of eating options and even the pickiest of people won’t be disappointed. Bangkok’s street food culture is legendary, with cheap, fresh meals typically cooked to order in roadside woks over a roaring fire. Lip-smacking dishes include: papaya salad, roast pork belly, fish cups, quail eggs, coconut cream filled pancakes and green curry. Thai food is delicious and unashamedly authentic, making it a pleasure to eat your way around this city.
9. Zurich, Switzerland
There are two tasty reasons for visiting Switzerland – chocolate and cheese. And in Zurich you will find ample supplies of both. Chocoholics can take a ride on a Swiss Chocolate Train and tour the Lindt Chocolate Factory. Or why not indulge your taste buds with a fondue, where you dip small pieces of bread into delicious, molten cheese? Other than these staple foodstuffs, a popular dish with locals is Züri-Geschnetzeltes – a minced-meat dish served with gravy and Swiss potato pancakes.
10. San Sebastian, Spain
People in San Sebastian take eating very seriously – planning dinner while eating lunch! And in this elegant Basque city you can follow your nose to a wealth of walk-in bars where dining on tapas (called pintxos here) is elevated to an art form. San Sebastian boasts seven Michelin-starred restaurants, a trio of which have three coveted stars each: Arzak, Akelarre and Martin Berasategui. A visit to La Brecha fish market is also recommended for those with a penchant for fresh seafood.
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