For those of us who prioritize eating over, well, everything, here's a list of cities to add to your wish list.
If you’re not planning your next trip around what, where, and how often you’re going to eat, you’re doing it wrong. In order to really see a city, one must also taste it. Plus, no one wants to hear their stomach growl at a cultural site, museum, or religious landmark. Bon voyage—and bon appetite!
1. Paris, France
Paris is a no-brainer destination for those who prioritize eating as much as sightseeing. Every local and visitor has their list of must-hit Parisian dining spots, but perhaps the best way to taste the city is spontaneously. Side streets pack tempting cafes and kitchens with under-the-radar chefs cooking up some delicious treats. Of course, the wine, bread, and cheese are more than enough to satiate you. Those who are in it for the pastries must make a stop at Dessance in Le Marais, which serves a fruit- and vegetable-focused dessert tasting menu that’s unlike anything else available in the city.
2. Tokyo, Japan
As the city with the most 2- and 3-starred Michelin restaurants in the world, Tokyo is packed with highly rated, high-end food. But you don’t have to splurge on upscale fare for a delicious trip through the city. Street vendors hawk treats like takoyoki (fried octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), and yakitori (meat skewers). In addition to street eats, Tokyo also offers authentic ramen that’s typically slurped after a few Sapporos to quench drunk munchies.
3. Modena, Italy
Chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena has twice been named the best restaurant in the world. So yes, that does technically mean the best pasta in the world can be found here. A reservation at the restaurant doesn’t come easy, and if you’re lucky enough to score a table, be ready to spend almost 300 euros per person for the 12-course tasting menu. But even if you can’t get in to Osteria Francescana, know that Modena is packed with plenty of other great restaurants. The Michelin Guide has a list of acclaimed spots to seek out, but let’s be honest: it’s pretty difficult to have a bad meal in Italy. So go ahead and fill up on pasta, pizza, and fresh produce to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content.
4. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is built for eating. Build up an appetite while walking around because lunch, which can run anywhere from one to three hours, is followed by tapas time (think of it as a pre-game to dinner) and then dinner at around 9pm. When you’re not sitting down to eat, pass through La Boqueria Market (Mercat de la Boqueria), which is brimming with stalls selling fruit, meat, and fish, as well as full-service restaurants. And if you want to learn more about the cuisine, sign up for a class at La Boqueria, which will school you on tips and tricks on Spanish cooking.
5. Montreal, Canada
Home to Marche Atwater market, Montreal is a great city to satiate your hunger. In addition to the iconic market, which features food purveyors spread across two floors, be sure to stop by La Fromagerie Atwater, which Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern dubbed “the cheese shop of your dreams.” But that’s not all. Lachine, Montreal's oldest public market, has its own cheese factory and bakery. Those who want to go the extra mile can book a food tour that highlights local vendors, off-the-beaten-path bites, and Quebec classics.