Whoever said food should solely be viewed as a means to nourish the body has clearly never found themselves two pints deep in dulce de leche by the spoon. Food is something that brings our traveling community together. Yea, we share meals and potlucks together, but it’s more than that. Most of us find that food scene is an important part of exploring a new city. And as perpetual travelers (and year-round gluttons), we feel pretty well qualified to tell you about the hidden foodie gems of the globe that we’ve identified along the way.
The 5 Foodie Cities (In No Particilar Order)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Falafel? Sure. Hummus? They’re the masters. But Tel Aviv is so much more than what you’d expect. No matter where you are in this metro, you’ll be in close proximity to some kind of tasty morsel, likely with origins somewhere else.
We’re talking a melody of diverse cuisines, blended in creative ways. Go to a shuk (a local market) and grab yourself some fine cheese, pickled fruits, and freshly baked pastries, or head over to one of the city’s fine-dining restaurants for some culinary prowess that will leave you shook in a different sense. Vegan? NP. The selection you’ll find in Tel Aviv is worth extending your stay over. Trust us, we’ve done it.
In a disarming display of old and new worlds, Belgrade is a dark horse. It’s gritty, it’s cool, it’s inexpensive and it’s food scene is exploding. Here, you’ll eat fusion food in a fortress, paired with Serbian wine or Rakjia, all with a view of the Danube River. It’s a city with secrets, layers and a strong pulse. Go underground bar hopping or enjoy a fresh brunch from a sidewalk cafe with locals that choose to take the day slowly.
It’s known as the ‘New York’ of Eastern Europe, and it’s steadily on the way to putting itself on the foodie map, so get there now, before the crowds do.
This up-and-coming foodie mecca has a few feathers in its hat: it’s affordable, it’s bold, and home to the empanada. And then there is the Malbec. Be still my beating heart.
Food here is often eaten late. Which means dinners are boozy and considered very much part of your night out, only starting at around 10PM. While you have to experience a traditional Parrilla (steakhouse), it’s not all meat and potatoes in this place. Get a reservation at a restaurantes a Puerta Cerrada or closed door restaurant, which is generally hosted by the chef in his/her home. Tables are often communal, and the fixed menus boast fresh and refined dishes.
As with any great city that relies on tourism, in Morocco, you’re going to find a lot of people trying to make a quick buck off some average, overpriced tagine. But look in the right places and you’ll find that Marrakech is a haven of tastes and aromas from the spices, herbs, oils, fresh fruits and honey that find their way to one of the main tradings posts in North Africa.
Some of the best advice I received was to stay in a riad and accept any offer to eat or cook with my hosts. That being said, there is an abundance of competitive cafes and restaurants in the city that will not only give you a break from the heat, but will also offer some polished dishes inspired by all the food scenes in the various nearby regions.
When a heavy like Conde Nast Traveler names Cape Town as the best food city in the world, we’re choosing between an aisle and a window seat.
South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation because of the multicultural makeup of the population. You can only imagine what this does to energize the food scene. With a currency conversion that benefits many a “developed country”, award-winning wine and offerings from world-renowned chefs seem all too accessible. And maybe the only thing more impressive than the food itself is the range of settings you’ll be eating said food from. Beaches, mountains, bush, vineyards, and urban sidewalks — Cape Town really does have it all.