Cities that make T+L readers' mouths water, be it French fusion, peanut-butter-and-kimchi sandwiches or the perfect piece of fried chicken.
18. San Diego, California
America’s Best Cities for Foodies
18. San Diego, California
This sunny SoCal city gave our nation fish tacos, but also ranked highly with readers for brunch. Two great spots worth getting up for are in North Park: Waypoint Public, which offers a breakfast pot pie and morning-friendly beers (like an Austrian Grapefruit Radler), and StreetCar Merchants, which specializes in fried chicken and doughnuts. And while San Diego food snobs have given North Park much love in recent years, there is increasing buzz in Little Italy, home to New-American Juniper & Ivy, the oysters at Ironside, and the hotly anticipated Bracero Cocina, where chef Javier Plascencia will pay tribute to the history of Mexican farm workers. The city won the survey for nice weather, and also ranked well for clear people-watching.
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.”