Cities that make T+L readers' mouths water, be it French fusion, peanut-butter-and-kimchi sandwiches or the perfect piece of fried chicken.
5. Minneapolis/St. Paul
America’s Best Cities for Foodies
5. Minneapolis/St. Paul
The Twin Cities clearly offer a calm haven for savoring your meal: readers ranked the cities highly for feeling relatively quiet, clean and safe. The nerve center for Minneapolis food snobs, though, is the North Loop’s Spoon and Stable—helmed by the former executive chef at NYC’s Café Boulud—where you can get heartland twists on fine dining, like bison tartare. If your taste runs to the quirky, check out Gyst, which celebrates “the art of fermentation” through sandwiches (like grilled cheese with spicy kraut, or peanut butter with kimchi) and house-made “kombucha,” a fermented sweet tea. Meanwhile, if you’re a burger purist, the local Juicy Lucies—with the cheese melted inside the patty, like the standard-bearers at the 5-8 Club and Matt’s Bar—belong on your bucket list.
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.”