Andrew Hetherington

Cities that make T+L readers' mouths water, be it French fusion, peanut-butter-and-kimchi sandwiches or the perfect piece of fried chicken.

11. Nashville

10 of 21

Nashville ranked at a respectable No. 5 in the barbecue category, perhaps by straddling the line between the Memphis and Carolina styles. But the city has one food genre all its own: the hot chicken. This fried chicken with a serious kick—and often served on white bread—may also be the reason the city also ranked so highly for sandwiches. To eat the classic, go to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, then for comparison’s sake try Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, the relative new kid that offers a heat range from the not-hot “Southern” to a “Shut the Cluck Up,” washed down with a Coke float. The city also ranked well for coffee—like the pour-overs and coffee sodas at downtown’s Crema Coffee Roasters—while the caffeinated locals impressed readers by being friendly.

America’s Best Cities for Foodies

11. Nashville

Nashville ranked at a respectable No. 5 in the barbecue category, perhaps by straddling the line between the Memphis and Carolina styles. But the city has one food genre all its own: the hot chicken. This fried chicken with a serious kick—and often served on white bread—may also be the reason the city also ranked so highly for sandwiches. To eat the classic, go to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, then for comparison’s sake try Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, the relative new kid that offers a heat range from the not-hot “Southern” to a “Shut the Cluck Up,” washed down with a Coke float. The city also ranked well for coffee—like the pour-overs and coffee sodas at downtown’s Crema Coffee Roasters—while the caffeinated locals impressed readers by being friendly.

Andrew Hetherington

America’s Best Cities for Foodies

When she’s visiting Los Angeles, Las Vegas restaurateur Elizabeth Blau—recently nominated for a James Beard award—does not concern herself with A-list seating at restaurants. “The first time I went to Gjelina,” she says of the acclaimed Venice café, “we got pizza and salads in the to-go area, then ate them while sitting on milk crates in the alley. It was so good.”

No surprise, Blau says that she plans her trips around restaurants, bakeries and markets, though many Travel+Leisure readers would attest that you don’t have to be a restaurateur to travel by your stomach. As part of the magazine’s America’s Favorite Cities survey, readers ranked 38 cities for qualities like walkable streets, historic appeal and art galleries—which, for some travelers, are just pleasant time-killers between meals.

Readers also ranked the 10 most crave-worthy features of a city, from the relatively low-cost indulgences of street food, coffee and bakeries to specialty gourmet markets, wine bars and high-end, chef-driven restaurants. (And throwing in plenty of burgers, pizza, craft beers and sandwiches.)

Among the winners—some perhaps boosted in the polls by their enthusiastic locals—we found a number of James Beard winners and nominees, as well as some fabulously creative twists on classics: “hot chicken” in Nashville, bison tartare in Minneapolis and pickle tasting plates in Chicago.

Sometimes, though, the simplest tastes are the most memorable—like the fresh, warm bread Blau once had at L.A. bakery Superba. “We only had crumbs in the bag by the time we left,” she says. “We had to go back and get more to bring home on the plane.”

Explore More