Alice Gao

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

10. New York City

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The Big Apple may have ranked at the top of the survey for being expensive, but readers’ two favorite cuisines—fine dining and pizza—are proof that there is still a wide range to the city’s price spectrum. To dine alongside the city’s savvy foodies, go to the Lower East Side’s Dirty French, in the Ludlow Hotel—where classics get global twists, like duck a l’orange with Morroccan spices—or the Smyth Hotel’s locavore Little Park, from James Beard winner Andrew Carmellini. The latest pizza place to enter the fold is Marta, in the Martha Washington Hotel, which does Roman-style pizzas like a classic margarita or the veggie-friendly Cavolini, topped with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and pickled chili. To occupy themselves between meals, readers embraced the city’s high-ranking bookstores and luxury boutiques. 

America’s Best Cities for Foodies

10. New York City

The Big Apple may have ranked at the top of the survey for being expensive, but readers’ two favorite cuisines—fine dining and pizza—are proof that there is still a wide range to the city’s price spectrum. To dine alongside the city’s savvy foodies, go to the Lower East Side’s Dirty French, in the Ludlow Hotel—where classics get global twists, like duck a l’orange with Morroccan spices—or the Smyth Hotel’s locavore Little Park, from James Beard winner Andrew Carmellini. The latest pizza place to enter the fold is Marta, in the Martha Washington Hotel, which does Roman-style pizzas like a classic margarita or the veggie-friendly Cavolini, topped with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and pickled chili. To occupy themselves between meals, readers embraced the city’s high-ranking bookstores and luxury boutiques. 

Alice Gao

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.”

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