While most people travel to see the wonders of the world, we go mostly for the food. After all, it’s a pretty great way to experience the culture of an unfamiliar land. But since this world is so large and diverse, it’s hard to decide where to focus your culinary efforts, especially when abroad. Since we always have your back, here’s our list of restaurants around the world you (and your stomach) need to visit.
Osteria del Matto // Spoleto, Italy
Hidden in the hills of Spoleto, Italy is a tiny restaurant called Osteria del Matto, which translates to something along the lines of “restaurant of the madman.” This is fitting, as there isn’t really a menu – the food served is just whatever the chef feels like making that day. Chances are this will involve several staple items founds in the Umbrian region, or fried ricotta cheese, because it’s just that delicious.
Cafe du Monde // New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Cafe du Monde is one of the OG beignet establishments in the Big Easy. Chances are you’ve heard of it, but if not, you need to get your behind to New Orleans, stat. These fluffy balls of fried dough doused with as much powdered sugar your little heart desires is a sight to be tasted and relished for all of eternity. You might have to wait in line for a bit, but it’s worth it – we promise.
The French Laundry // Yountville, California, USA
Thomas Keller is one of the most influential chefs on the planet today, and The French Laundry is his primary brainchild. Located in Yountville, California in the midst of Napa Valley, this restaurant has more accolades than we can even recount in one sitting. This six-hour meal incorporating the most pristine produce California has to offer is something everyone should experience in their lifetime.
Sukiyabashi Jiro // Tokyo, Japan
When a restaurant is awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide, you know it’s pretty legit. In fact, former President Obama dined there and apparently said, “That’s some good sushi right there,” as he walked out. The main perks of dining at this restaurant are some of the most noteworthy sushi dishes on the planet, prepared by Chef Jiro. Yeah, that Chef Jiro from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Need we say more?
Joe’s Kansas City BBQ // Kansas City, Kansas, USA
There seems to be an ongoing barbecue dispute throughout the United States, and it totally depends on where you’re from. North Carolina? You’re probably down for whole hog, smoked BBQ. Texas? You’re all about the brisket, hot link, and sauce. But no matter what kind of BBQ tickles your fancy, it’s hard to deny the luscious goodness of ribs and burnt ends from Joe’s Kansas City BBQ. Folks come from near and far for this crack in the form of meat, and we don’t blame them. As a matter of fact, everyone's favorite globetrotting foodie authority, Anthony Bourdain, named Joe's as one of the 13 places one needs to eat at before they die.
Le Jules Verne // Paris, France
There are plenty of incredible chefs that have come from France, but Alain Ducasse tops the list. For God’s sake, the man has 21 Michelin stars. He’s basically a saint. And one of Ducasse’s most stunning restaurants is Le Jules Verne, which is literally located on top of the Eiffel Tower. With the scenery and Ducasse’s food combined, an experience at this place will cost you at least $200, but it’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Fat Rice // Chicago, Illinois, USA
Run by Adrienne Lo and Abe Conlon, Fat Rice is a must-visit in the Windy City. The restaurant serves food native to the island of Macau, which is a happy fusion between Chinese and Portuguese flavors. Their signature dish is the Fat Rice, also called Arroz Gordo, featuring sofrito, chorizo, salted duck, char siu pork, curry chicken thighs, linguiça sausage, prawns, steamed clams, tea eggs, chicken fat-fried croutons, olives, and pickled chillies. Basically, you better come to this place hungry.
Thanasis // Athens, Greece
Athens is gorgeous and full of history, which means it can be a pretty touristy place. We all know touristy cities can get a bad rap for food, but this is Greece, so obviously this doesn’t hold true. Is there even such a thing as bad Greek food? With plenty of options to choose from in the city, it’s hard to narrow down the best, but we’ve found it in Thanasis. Make sure you order their signature dish, μερίδα κεπμαπ, which is basically a meaty and delicious kabob of your dreams.
Arepa Zone // Washington, D.C., USA
At Tastemade, we’re all aboard the food truck bandwagon and if there’s one city in the country that excels in this area, it’s our Nation’s Capitol. Arepa Zone is without a doubt, one of the finest road warriors, and with one bite of their delicious arepas, you’d be crazy not to agree. The truck (well, now they have a brick-and-mortar location in Union Market) serves the Venezuelan version of this famous street snack, which involves a griddled corn cake stuffed with chicken, beef or pork.
Abou el Sid // Cairo, Egypt
At this establishment, you can find traditional Egyptian cuisine, including various tajines, like veal and pearl onion, and molokheya stew with chicken, rabbit, or meatballs. If you’re feeling daring, Abou el Sid also sells stuffed pigeon. This place seems to have it all!
Pig & Khao // New York, New York, USA
There are tons of places worth visiting in New York City. It’s basically a culinary wonderland. And we could have pointed you in the direction of Katz’s Delicatessen or Le Bernardin, but we wanted to mix things up a bit. Pig & Khao, located in the Lower East Side, serves food that is a beautiful amalgam of some of our favorite Southeast Asian flavors, including Thai and Filipino. Once you take part in some of their staples like the Sizzling Sisig, Grilled Pork Jowl, or Pork Belly Adobo, you’ll thank us.
Strut & Cluck // London, United Kingdom
Turkey is generally is a “bleh” protein because most people don’t really know how to prepare it. Strut & Cluck, located in the Spitalfields neighborhood of London, is an exception to this rule. This place produces delicious bird influenced by Eastern Mediterranean flavors, with menu items like juicy lettuce cups with smoky harissa and hand-pulled turkey shawarma with dates and pine nuts. Turns out all turkey needs is some good ‘ol TLC.