The Best International Cities for Food
No matter where in the world you’re traveling, you’re going to eat. And if you plan to make that a very important part of your trip (which we suggest you do), consider heading to one of the world’s best cities for food.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities for a number of qualities, including food. And some of this year’s favorites are pretty unexpected.
Sure, Paris—arguably the gastronomic capital of the galaxy—sits comfortably in the top three. Just imaging the City of Light conjures the aroma of fresh-baked croissants, éclairs that could be mistaken for works of art, nutty Reblochons, and pungent Époisses cheese.
“Who doesn’t want to live on baguettes and Brie for a few days?” wondered one T+L reader.
But this year, lesser-known destinations received accolades for their restaurants and cuisine, including the colonial city of San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico’s central highlands. Travelers will find bars serving small-batch mezcals from Oaxaca, and (believe it or not) a croissant at Cumpanio that will rival any ordered in Paris.
And a cross the world, in Chiang Mai, visitors touring the best city in Asia will find regional stir-fry classics like phad pak boong dang (morning glory with oyster sauce) at the Night Bazaar, which comes to life just as dusk settles on the city.
Globetrotters with voracious appetites, take note. You’ll find food worth traveling for in every city on this list.
10. Bordeaux, France
9. Barcelona, Spain
8. Chiang Mai, Thailand
7. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
6. Rome, Italy
5. Bologna, Italy
4. Florence, Italy
3. Paris, France
2. San Sebastián, Spain
No. 1 Beirut, Lebanon
Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut, is having a bit of a cultural renaissance—and it’s not just new museums like the striking Aïshti Foundation that have attracted international attention. There’s arguably no better way to sense the friendliness and enthusiasm of Beiruties than by enjoying fresh a meal at Tawlet, a fantastic Lebanese restaurant in the hip Mar Mikhael neighborhood (order goat tartare and the unusual mountain specialty, h’risset ‘akkub: a lamb porridge with wild thistle). Even breakfast here is exciting: order Al Soussi’s fatteh, a traditional dish of toasted pita, chickpeas, yogurt, and pine nuts.