Top Ten Cities In The World For Foodies

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. Virginia Woolf

The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure. Michel de Montaigne

According to Cambridge International Dictionary of English, a foodie is “a person who loves food and is very interested in different types of food”. Yes, it is all about food! Food is my passion, right after traveling. And if I travel to places with terrific food, then I am really in heaven! To pick top ten among world’s best cities for foodies is a very hard task. Only in France I can count at least ten cities with wonderful food. Not to mention Italy, Spain or the USA. There are a lot of cities in the world with delicious local specialties, fantastic food markets and exquisite restaurants. However, if I have to pick top ten cities in the world for foodies that would be the cities below.

Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse food market, Lyon France
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse food market, Lyon France
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse food market, Lyon France
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse food market, Lyon France
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, Lyon France
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, Lyon France

Lyon

Lyon undeniably should be on every foodie must-visit list. The city is blessed with culinary history as rich as its extraordinary produce. After all Lyon not only does have an abundance of Michelin starred restaurants and the highest ratio of restaurants to people in whole country, but also spectacular fresh food markets with Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse most famous one. This real temple of French gastronomy, the kingdom of the most beautiful products is home to French most legendary cheese- and chocolate makers, butchers, fishmongers and etc. It is here Paul Bocuse, before becoming the finest chef of the 20th century, always did his market shopping and one can still find in the alleyways his favorite suppliers. You can have a delicious meal right at the sellers in the market (the stall of oyster sellers is my favorite one), or in the bouchons (typical restaurants of Lyon) around. And of course, all food has to be wash down with wine. The Beaujolais region here encompasses 50,000 acres of vineyards. A carafe or bottle of Beaujolais sits on virtually every table in Lyon’s restaurants.

Paris

Paris, being one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, attracts all kind of travelers: tourists, art lovers, business travelers and those of us who travel to Paris to eat. And indeed, the city is a paradise for foodies. Famous for its elegant fine dining (thanks to well-known chefs Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon, Alain Passard, Pierre Gagnaire and etc.), Paris also offers a variety of delicious down-to-earth fare: from contemporary bistros and brasseries to traditional Parisian open-air food markets. For truly memorable dining experience don’t miss Le Grande Véfour, literally the mother and father of all restaurants; La Tour D'Argent, famous for its numbered duck; Pierre Gagnaire, notorious for its modern French cuisine.  The Rue Mouffetard food market near Pantheon and the Rue Montorgueil food market near Centre Pompidou are perfect for delicious affordable French dishes. And if you want to try something off the beaten path, visit the world’s largest fresh food market, the Rungis Market. This modern facility supplies with food and flowers many of Paris’ restaurants and 18 million European consumers.

Brussels

Brussels, maybe, is one of top ten underrated European cities among tourists, but it is definitely highly rated among foodies. One would think that’s all about Belgium beer, chocolate and waffles. But the foodie knows that Brussels offers much more than that. Just think of rabbit stewed in flavored beer or stoemp or moules frites – oh, the quantity of local specialties is endless. Brussels boasts more Michelin star restaurants per person than Paris and food is taken very seriously here. Walk along Rue des Bouchers – the street is lined with a fascinating array of venues. Here you can choose pretty much any place, but the 80-year-old Aux Armes de Bruxelles for best mussels in town is a must! Real Bruxellois eat the first mussel with their fingers, and use the empty shell as a utensil for scooping up the rest. For a great fish try L'Ecailler du Palais Royal or restaurants at the Marché-aux-Poissons (Fish Market). And of course it’s all about chocolate (preferably from Pierre Marcolini) and a Trappist beer (Le Roy d'Espagne is a good place to start tasting).

The Sydney Fish Market, Sydney Australia
The Sydney Fish Market, Sydney Australia
The Sydney Fish Market, Sydney Australia
The Sydney Fish Market, Sydney Australia

Sydney

Everything about Australia is unique including food. And, of course, Sydney, being a main city, has it all. The diverse mix of cultures and ethnic origins plus the freshest produce make Sydney dining an exceptional experience. Indonesian, Thai and Japanese food and fusions are popular and always a good choice in Sydney. Australian Bush Tucker is now getting popular among local chefs, and there are restaurants that specialize in traditional aboriginal food and fusions. But, above all of that, Sydney is famous for its seafood and Sydney Rock Oysters are well-known around the world. At the Sydney Fish Market, vendors offer a spectacular variety of exotic seafood (over 100 species) at daily auctions, and basically you can enjoy the freshest delicious seafood at any venue in Sydney. Try to combine your seafood feast with breathtaking views of Sydney harbor or a beach – some restaurants in Sydney have it all!

Bangkok

For foodies, Bangkok is ‘street food’ paradise. You don't have to walk very far to find something to eat in Bangkok - food carts can be found on almost every street corner at all hours of the day or night. In fact, the smell of food is inseparable from the city and distinctive Thai flavor is the major attraction for visitors who loves to eat. Street food in Bangkok is not just a culinary feast, but unparalleled adventure – you will always surprise yourself here with something new and different. Just be open-mined and treat yourself with shark’s fin or scorpion or white ant eggs. Essentially Bangkok street food is all about noodles: from simple chicken and duck noodles to something like 'yen ta four' (noodles in red soybean paste with fish ball, squid and morning glory). The food in Bangkok is a visual feast and even simple dish looks like a piece of art. Just watch how a street vendor making your dish and you will witness an artist at work.  

New York

For a foodie who wants to take a tasting trip around the world, New York City is probably the best choice. We have them all – from legendary French chefs Alan Ducasse and Jean George to creative Japanese Masa, Nobu and Morimoto to innovative American Thomas Keller (Per Se) and Anthony Bourdain (Les Halles). Talented chefs from around the world came to New York and have opened restaurants here, so we, Manhattan foodies, have welcome their creative dishes and asked for seconds. Manhattan has plenty of great places for fine dining, quality casual dining, and even for upscale dining in New York after midnight (after all, New York City never sleeps and actually never stops eating). If you crave for simple but ethnic dining, explore Brooklyn (for Russian and Ukrainian) and Queens (for Greek and Korean).  By the way, New York City is not only about ‘foreign food’, we love our American burgers and steaks, Texas BBQ and fresh bagels.

San Francisco

San Francisco is not only one of the top romantic getaways in the USA but it is also the top getaway in the USA for foodies.  The city is surrounded by world-class wineries, artisan cheese makers and small farms. As a result, San Francisco is well-known for its farm fresh, ingredient-obsessed food. The most innovative American chefs Traci Des Jardins (Jardinière), Michael Mina, Richard Reddington (Redd) and Thomas Keller (French Laundry), inspired by best of San Francisco and Wine Country can offer, opened their upscale venues here. Asian fusion, California cuisine and freshest seafood are all great here. Plus, the city is ethnically well-diverse, so nearly every ethnic cuisine is represented. And, of course, for more great food and exquisite wine just take a ride to Napa Valley.

Barcelona

Barcelona, the most populated city in Catalonia, has a reputation for producing some of Spain's finest cuisine. All region of Catalonia is famous for its culinary delights – traditional and nueva cocina española, a provocative gastronomical wave leaded by famous Catalan chef Ferrán Adrià. Adrià, who comes from a city southwest of Barcelona, and whose restaurant El Bulli is in nearby Roses, is famous not only in Spain but in the world. Unfortunately for a foodie, it is practically impossible to get to El Bulli, but if you got there, this culinary experience really worth the trouble and the money. But fortunately for a foodie, all Catalan cuisine is recognized for its creativity, so in Barcelona restaurants you can easily find creative dishes where rabbit is combined with snails, poultry mixed with fruit, or i muntanya (‘sea and mountain’, meat combined with seafood). On the other hand, classic Barcelona food is all about freshest local essential ingredients: olive oil, garlic and tomato. And all of them, as well as, delicatessens like bull’s testicles, cod tripe, goose barnacles, can be found at La Boqueria, the food market in Barcelona and one of the best food markets in the world.

Hotel Cipriani, Venice Italy
Hotel Cipriani, Venice Italy

Venice

According to the experts’ opinions, the best restaurants in Italy are mostly outside of popular tourist destinations and big Italian cities. But still, if I have to pick a city in Italy where even a demanding foodie could be very satisfied, I would pick Venice. Something is very special about Venetian cuisine. Created from local produce, much of which could be found in any gondolier’s kitchen, dishes in Venice look deceptively simple, but in reality cannot be replicated anywhere in the world. Freshly-caught fish, fresh vegetables and top quality meats are essentials for Venetian cuisine. A foodie will not be disappointed by the fantastic range of fish available in Venice, and fish is always served with white polenta, a unique Venetian specialty. Very ancient Venetian dishes such as calf’s liver, ravioli con granciola scampi and cicchetti are very popular in Venice. And nobody can prepare traditional Venetian dishes better than Cipriani. Dining in Hotel Cipriani in Venice is a must. Two other things not to miss in Venice are a Bellini in Harry's Bar and coffee at Caffé Florian.

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo Japan
Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo Japan

Tokyo

One can think that food in Tokyo is all about sushi and sashimi, but an epicure would know that Japan’s capital may be the food-wildest city on earth. In fact, food is one of the biggest attractions of Tokyo. The city is steadily building a reputation as the ‘dining capital of the world'. Actually the Michelin guide Tokyo 2009 claims Tokyo as ‘a world leader in gourmet dining’ with more stars (227) than any other city. The city has more restaurants than almost any other city in the world. To compare - Paris has around 20,000, New York about 23,000, and Tokyo at least 160,000. Since Tokyo is a port city, the food understandably includes a lot of seafood. Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world with 5 million pounds of fish changes hands every day, is a good place for a foodie to start a day in Tokyo. A sushi breakfast here is one of the best in the city. The best fish from Tsukiji Fish Market makes its way to Tokyo’s top restaurants such as Ginza Harutaka (not to miss sashimi there), Waketokuyama, Tsujitome (the most exclusive kaiseki dining). In spite of a majority and a variety of traditional regional Japanese cuisines in Tokyo, the city has emerged as the single finest French restaurant destination outside of France. The French cuisine remains very influential in modern Tokyo with Joël Robuchon and L’osier, Quintessence and Pierre Gagnaire among the best.

If you like great food, please share with us your food adventures and your favorite places and restaurants in the world.

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Comments 28 comments

juneaukid profile image

juneaukid 6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

A fascinating hub. You certainly have covered the bases for each of these ten cities. I think one of the best meals I've ever had was in Venice.


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

What a super hub - I am lucky to say I have actually been to all of these but two and clearly I need to visit them and revisit the others - it will be a while though in this economy :)


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Terrific hub. I'm drooling!


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City Author

juneaukid, I am glad that you liked food in Venice, I am going there in a few days and looking forward to having delicious food.

billyaustindillon, I am waiting that economy will get better, because my favorit city for food Tokyo is very expensive in terms of very good restaurants.

Pop, I am glad that I've got you inspired for your breakfast :)


Karen Banes profile image

Karen Banes 6 years ago from Canada

I don't think of myself as a foodie traveler, just a traveler who loves food, but maybe it's not a coincidence that I have travelled to, and eaten in, all but one of the above destinations! Seems I am drawn to the best food on the planet. Tokyo next then. Great hub. Thanks.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 6 years ago from Singapore

Have only been to Bangkok but totally agree about what you wrote =) I love Thai food too!


mquee profile image

mquee 6 years ago from Columbia, SC

Very good hub. I like to travel and I like trying new dishes. I have tried New York and I love the variety. Manila has a wide variety as well with people from all over the world opening new restaurants. Thanks.


bidding website 6 years ago

It is mouth watering by just knowing about these places. Paris is no doubt the best place in world. Everyone wants to be there for romance, love, business, art and specially food.


askjanbrass profile image

askjanbrass 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I definitely have to visit all of these cities at some point in my life...I have been to many (NY, San Fran, Lyon, Paris). Lyon is one of my absolute favorite.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 6 years ago from Madrid

I'm tickled that my home town Barcelona is featured! Yay!

Here's the rundown on El Bulli. It's closed now, Adrià decided to take a sabbatical. Used to be the #1, absolute best restaurant in the world, save this year it's been replaced by a Swedish restaurant run by a fellow whose name I forget. Funny that, as the Nordic countries aren't particularly famous for their foods :-)

Now, like Karen Banes above in the comments, I've been to and eaten in all of these cities except Tokyo. Planned for around this time next year, though, wooo-hooo!


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City Author

Elena, thank you for stopping by. I was actually thinking to choose Madrid first, I like food in Madrid, but as a tribute to Ferrán Adrià I chose Barcelona (La Boqueria food market is another reason).

Now, about El Bulli - the restaurant is open only about a half of the year. Maybe that's why you think it is closed. And on Jan 28, 2010 in a food conference in Madrid, Ferrán Adrià announced that he is closing El Bulli to the public for two years beginning in 2012. So, we still have two years to try food in the best restaurant in the world. According to Adrià, they will open it back in 2014, but it's not going to be the same.

Thanks everybody for comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I guess I am a foodie! I have been to four of your cities: New York, Paris, Venice, and Barcelona. I do hope to cover the other six one of these days. Thank you for the journey.


Suki C profile image

Suki C 6 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

Great choices - I've eaten in 5 of these cities and hope to sample the food in Barcelona soon as I actually live in Spain now (I'm not terribly enamoured of the food here in Andalucía though!)

I would also add London to your list - simply for the sheer variety of world cuisines to be found there.

From the delights of Chinatown, the wonderful Lebanese & middle-eastern around the Edgeware Road, the superb Italian cuisine etc. etc. - London has it all :)


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City Author

James, thank you for stopping by and have a great trip!

Suki, thank you for stopping by and I hope you would love food in Barcelona. As for London, which is my favorite city in the world by the way, I wouldn't put it on a list of top cities for foodies. Even though I have to admit that a restaurant scene in London has been changed dramatically for last 15 years. And I have my fav restaurants and chefs in London and some of them really worth a trip!


Suki C profile image

Suki C 6 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

Thanks - the other city I'd love to sample the food in is Sydney - I love Asian food & heard that they excel in it there! (Bangkok has been my favourite eating place so far :) )


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City Author

Yes, Suki! Sydney has great Asian food and fusions. Bangkok is fantastic for different Asian street delicatessen. We have several very good Asian restaurants in New York. San Francisco is also famous for Asian food. But nothing can beat Tokyo, very expensive though :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Now that I'm fantastically hungry...


donna bamford profile image

donna bamford 6 years ago from Canada

Delicious. I am a foodie too - haven't been to Bankok or Sydney but i certainly enjoy Japanese and Tgai and Indonesian. I would say that French and Italian are my all time favourites and now I am obsessed with Italy again - going to take fourth year italian at the university here in London, Ontario in the fall to improve my Italian and writing a novel and children's book that take place in Italy. i enjoyed your article - well written and entertaining. I look forward to more!


David Swartzentruber 6 years ago

Apparently the author of this "top ten" has never made it to Bangkok. "Krung Thep," as it is called locally,has the world's best street food, the country is a major food exporter, produces the world's smallest, most delicate asparagus, fresh seafood caught the same day,there is no freeze and thus quality produce is available all yearlong, Thai cuisine itself is now regarded as one of the top world cuisines and restaurants of all flavors line the city's streets at lower prices than in the west. For example, there are now 400 Italian restaurants in Bangkok. To not include Bangkok in this listing is a matter of ignorance nothing more.


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City Author

Dear David! You probably haven't read the article! Bangkok is on a list! Scroll it up and you will see it! You also can enjoy a video about street food in Bangkok - it is on right side from the text :) In any case, I do appreciate your comment and I am glad that we both love food in Bangkok.


Luke 5 years ago

Nice list except, no Vancouver?


Suki Kaur-Cosier 5 years ago

I am a new chef and teach teambuilding via cooking and have travelled quite a bit - to all but 3 cites mentioned. I love the idea of fusion cuisine and try to incorporate this into my menu's. After being raised in India and lived most of my life in the UK working for the corporate sector - my home now is London Ont, - We are a creative city & think you should try out some of the delights we can offer for the enthusiatic Foodie - you may be pleasantly surprised.


billyrockD 5 years ago

It's so nice seeing the truth posted every now and then. We all hear on a daily basis via the media that LA is the supposed epicenter of culture on the west coast. It's not, trust me I used to live there. LA may have loads of money (and unfortunately loads of people w/o taste) but what I've learned is that Frisco is still the cultural center on the west coast!


DavidLivingston 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this post to us. This has been very helpful.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Great hub. This should be on one for the Food Network shows. Maybe with Bourdain or Tom Colicio (sp?) as the host!


mib56789 5 years ago

Shared this link on my Facebook page. You had me at the first Slide Photo.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Everyday-Exotic-Spic...


tanveerbadyari profile image

tanveerbadyari 3 years ago

Nice hub, good to see lots of nice dishes from beautiful cities around the world.


mts1098 profile image

mts1098 2 years ago from InsideTheManCave

great job on this...now I can find food all over the world :)

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