By Briana Seftel
Eating well and traveling well go hand in hand. Where (and what) you eat on your vacation can greatly influence your opinion of the place, so it's important to know where to go. But some cities are just blessed with great food no matter where you go. Below are some of our top picks for foodie destinations around the world.
We know what you're thinking...Copenhagen?! True, the Danish capital may not come first to mind when you think of foodie cities, but in fact this Nordic beauty excels at all things culinary. Even if you're not able to make a reservation at one of the best restaurants in the world (Noma), you can still can still choose from one of 15 Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. Don't leave without trying smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich topped with fish, meat or vegetables on rye bread.
Must-try restaurant: Aamanns Etablissement
A trip to Tokyo isn't really a trip if you don't indulge in its cuisine. And boy, does the Japanese capital have some fantastic eats! With more than 220 Michelin-starred restaurants, Tokyo beats every other city when it comes to the world's best restaurants. You'll find everything from nigiri sushi, ramen and tempura in casual izakayas or white tablecloth institutions. While dining at Tokyo's best restaurants will cost you a pretty yen or require an hours-long wait, the experience will be absolutely worth it.
Must-try restaurant: Sushi Dai
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sink your teeth into the best steak you've ever had in Buenos Aires. It's all about meat, meat and more meat in the Argentine capital, where eating at a steakhouse (known as a parilla) is practically a religious experience. It's not uncommon for Porteños, as the locals call themselves, to spend an entire afternoon at a parilla, conversing over the finest cuts of beef and bottles of Malbec wine. Even if you're not a meat eater, you'll still find plenty of delicious eats, from empanadas to the city's unique, extra cheesy take on pizza.
Must-try restaurant: Don Julio
Los Angeles, USA
You could say Los Angeles is in a Golden Age when it comes to food (and you can thank the late L.A. Times food critic Jonathan Gold for that). No longer just a destination for In-N-Out burgers, L.A. has blossomed into a full-blown foodie paradise. Locals and visitors will suffer through hours of bumper to bumper of traffic for the perfect carnitas, tear-inducing pad thai and light as air doughnuts. Outside the restaurant scene, L.A.'s farmers markets burst with colorful fruits and vegetables year round, making the perfect foodie pit stop before a big meal.
Must-try restaurant: Spago
With a multicultural population that includes immigrants from Spain, China, Japan, Lima offers one of the best (if not the best) food experiences in South America. Travelers flock to Peru's capital for the famous ceviche, which should only be eaten for lunch to ensure maximum freshness. Other food highlights include anticucho de corazón (skewered cow heart), tacu-tacu (rice and beans) and carapulcra (pork stew). Don't forget the country's national cocktail, the pisco sour.
Must-try restaurant: Astrid & Gaston
New Orleans, USA
Red beans and rice, muffalettas, crawfish, po-boys, gumbo...the list of iconic New Orleans dishes goes on and on! Eating well in the Big Easy isn't hard at all, with time-honored establishments offering the best Cajun, Creole and international cuisine. Leave the touristy French Quarter and venture out to New Orleans' vibrant, up and coming neighborhoods like the Arts/Warehouse District for trendy and tasty eats.
Must-try restaurant: Dooky Chase's Restaurant
San Sebastian, Spain
Move over, Madrid and Barcelona. San Sebastian in Spain's Basque country is the real gastronomy center. It's worth the trip alone for pintxos, or the Basque version of tapas. There's even a word for a pintxos crawl: txikiteo. Follow the locals around the Parte Vieja (Old Town) to find tantalizing bite-size treats, or put on your finest duds to eat at one of the city's seven Michelin-starred restaurants. Complete your meal with a glass of Rioja wine or local cider.
Must-try restaurant: Arzak
Waffles! Beer! Chocolate! Fries! If you come to Brussels to indulge, you're in the right place. Dig into the best waffles you've ever had, dusted in powdered sugar or drizzled with chocolate, or go the savory route with a cone of piping hot pommes frites. Contrary to popular belief, french fries are from Belgium, not France. Quench your thirst with lambic beer or a a Trappist beer, brewed by Belgian Trappist monks.
Must-try restaurant: Bon-Bon
Like New York City and London, Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures. Home to some of the largest Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant populations in the world, Australia's culinary capital takes inspiration from other cultures as well as its own backyard. Melbourne's dining scene is varied and eclectic, with cafes serving the ubiquitous avocado toast and flat whites (Melbourne is a city for coffee lovers and hole-in-the-wall places serving spicy Szechuan delicacies.
Must-try restaurant: Attica
Sure, Paris has its pastries, but Lyon is France's foodie epicenter. Even the famous saying in Lyon is about food: “qui saute un repas n’est pas lyonnais!” (He who skips lunch isn't from Lyon!) Strongly influenced by the countryside, Lyonnaise cuisine is rich and rustic. Dining out in this beautiful French city is a real treat, as you'll find everything from fine restaurants to the famous local bouchons. Don't leave without trying Lyonnaise potatoes, sliced and pan-fried with onion and parsley.
Must-try restaurant: La Mère Brazier