If you thought the Big Apple had absolutely nothing in common with the modest New Mexican city of Santa Fe, think again. Travel + Leisure readers voted both as two of the top 10 cities for food in the United States.
“For a small city,” said one T+L reader about Santa Fe, “the restaurant and food selections are outstanding.” Others raved about the unique, regional dishes like carne adovada: braised pork featuring local meat, dried red New Mexican chilies, and Mexican oregano.
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From the American South, where visitors loved classics like shrimp and grits, bacon-buttered corn bread, and fried green tomatoes, to the West Coast—where quirky international fare of all varieties is matched with craft beer—high scores for great restaurants and distinctly local fare helped propel these cities to the top of the list.
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 the votes rolled in for delicious cities across the country.
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Major cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, are hardly surprising. The latter has a crop of new restaurants that are dynamic and adventurous—but also just really, really good. Yet our readers found fantastic, world-class meals even in quiet Savannah, Georgia, and far up the coast in Portland, Maine.
“I was amazed by the food scene here,” admitted one reader of their trip to Portland. “Even the food trucks were unexpectedly exceptional. [You] can get the best fish and chips in Maine!”
Wherever you travel in the United States, you’re probably not too far from one of the best food cities in the country.