If you’re planning your next trip around where you want to eat, who better to ask for recommendations than an experienced chef? These 16 toques have dined all over the world, savoring a range of cuisines and even using it for inspiration back in their own kitchens. They gave us the dish on the cities across the globe to visit for the best eats.
“Can I tell you how much I hate these kinds of impossible questions that ask you to pick a favorite among favorites? I have an overflowing handful of bull's eye / do-not-ever-miss experiences in Rome, Milan, New York, San Francisco and Seattle at the moment. As I build my bank of experiences I will keep you posted!”
—Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune, New York City; author of Blood, Bones, and Butter
“I’m caught between New York City and Barcelona. New York is home, and it’s the most diversified city in the world, I think. But there’s something about Spain, man—the simplicity and boldness of flavors; it keeps me coming back every year.”
—Johnny Iuzzini, author, Dessert FourPlay and Sugar Rush
Credit: Getty Images for NYCWFF & Getty Images/iStockphoto
“I’d have to say, a couple of months ago I was in Tokyo for the first time in about 10 years, and I can’t imagine eating any better food than in Tokyo. I think from Italian to Japanese to anything, the passion and the pride that they take in that city—there’s nothing like it. It’s phenomenal.”
“New York City. I love that we constantly keep pushing it. There is like this intense dialogue between customers and chefs, just piling on top of each other, constantly arguing in a good way. Push and pull. The dynamic—it’s exactly that.”
—Marcus Samuelsson, author, Yes, Chef; Red Rooster, New York City
“Vancouver, Canada, because it has some of the best Asian food in the world. It’s like multi, multi-generational noodle and kanji houses. It’s just the best. It’s affordable. It’s accessible. And it’s got the cleanest Chinatown I’ve ever seen.”
“Kyoto is amazing from the low to the high end, just the spectrum of food there—it’s pretty spectacular if you like it. And I love the Japanese-style restaurants that just focus on one ingredient, one thing, and do it for “x” amount of generations.”
—Paul Qui, Qui Restaurant and East Side King, Austin
“That's tough—I haven't been everywhere. Also, I think there may be one dish or ingredient in a certain city that is just perfect. How can I choose? In Athens, Greece, I love Greek coffee and coffee shops, ouzo, meze, grilled octopus and lamb.
In Santorini, I love the wine, tomatoes, and seafood. In Venice, Italy, I love the negroni and spritz cocktails, incredible seafood, and seasonal produce markets. In Bologna, I love the mortadella and pastas. In Barcelona, Spain, there’s Cal Pep. In Healdsburg, California, there’s DaVero and Loretta Keller's cabin—these guys have cooked some of the best meals of my life.”