April 12, 2024

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Pack Your Appetite: The Best Destinations For Culinary Travel In 2024

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Pack Your Appetite: The Best Destinations For Culinary Travel In 2024
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Food, glorious food. Few things define a city or country like its cuisine. That’s probably why culinary tourism is one of the hottest trends in travel. Foodies will hit the road and go two towns over or to a far-flung locale for the sake of a great meal. If you’re seeking a “culinary-cation” in 2024, pack your bags and bring a big appetite. Here’s where to go.

Toronto

With thousands of restaurants and food establishments, you can eat yourself silly in Toronto. In September of 2023, Michelin Guide inspectors awarded stars to 15 restaurants. In a city where more than 100 languages are spoken, taste your way around the world with Egyptian, Filipino, South American, Persian, West African, Moroccan, Brazilian, Lebanese, Eastern European and other cuisines. Make reservations for Aloette, a Michelin Guide restaurant, a stylish bistro designed like a passenger train’s dining car. The lemon meringue pie is to die for. Also hit Richmond Station for a chickpea or grilled leak burger. Consider timing your visit during ByBlacks Restaurant Week, a semiannual event in November highlighting Black-owned Canadian restaurants, food trucks, pop-up kitchens, and caterers in Toronto.

Lima, Peru

Lima is called the culinary capital of Latin America. It is home to the number one restaurant on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list. Central took top honors, and Mayta, Maido and Kjolle also made the top 50. If you’re a ceviche lover, this is the city for you. It is the quintessential dish of Peru. Around town, you can anticipate creative dishes with pork belly, octopus, cactus, yuca root, and more.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel is on California’s central coast. It’s just one square mile and looks like a European-style village from centuries ago. With more than 60 restaurants, more per capita than any other small city in the U.S., it’s an ideal foodie getaway. There are no chain or fast-food restaurants. Check it out during the annual Carmel Culinary Week from May 31–June 8, 2024. Experience the “Art of the Plate” through immersive culinary events, special menus, and incentive offers that week at more than 30 restaurants and entertainment venues. And what’s great food without amazing wine? You get both in Carmel, with 17 tasting rooms, wine bars and bottle shops.

Tampa, Florida

There’s much talk about Tampa as a burgeoning foodie destination. It is home to three one Michelin-starred restaurants in Rocca, (Italian), Koya (Japanese) and Lilac (Mediterranean) and three Bib Gourmand establishments, Psomi (Greek), Rooster & the Till (Southwest and Southeast Asian, Latin American) and Gorkhali Kitchen (Himalayan) along with 18 Michelin recommended restaurants. To say the culinary scene is hot is an understatement. In the last six months, at least a dozen or so new restaurants have opened, including Tyler Lepley’s eatery, Lepley’s Kitchen and Lounge.

Paris

The City of Love and the City of Lights is also the city of street food. When you think of Paris, you envision romantic restaurants and cafes, but if you fancy something simple and delicious, Paris has that as well. With 350 street food eateries, in 2022 the city was crowned the world’s street food capital based on the volume of options, percentage of four-star spots, variety of cuisines, and average price per meal. So now you have one more reason to go to Paris.

Columbus, Ohio

Don’t laugh. Columbus has gastronomical game. It is called home by chefs and restaurants that have been given kudos from The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and others. Chef BJ Lieberman, who opened Hiraeth this year with dishes like whole jerk guinea hen with yuca hash browns, grilled turnips and pineapple, earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nod in 2023. Modern Southern Table owner and winner of Food Network’s Food Court Wars, Sadaya “Daisy” Lewis, opened Modern Southern Table in the Budd Dairy Food Hall a few years ago. The Black-owned spot features recipes from Daisy’s grandmother’s kitchen, including fried chicken, gumbo, macaroni and cheese and other Southern classics. Take it from me, you’ll be impressed with what’s cooking in Columbus.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston’s culinary scene tickles every palate, with fresh seafood and elevated Lowcountry dishes as well as Gullah cuisine, Carolina barbeque, and Southern spins on international dining. Combine good grub with the colorful architecture, cobblestone streets and Southern hospitality, and you have a foodie’s dream. Charleston is home to one of Conde Nast’s Top 5 Foodie Hotels in the World, Zero George Street Hotel. And in a town of many favorites, one not to miss is the waterfront restaurant Fleet Landing, with treats like lump crab bruschetta and pan-seared blackened triggerfish with pimento cheese grits and grilled asparagus.

Barcelona

When it comes to Barcelona, paella and tapas likely come to mind, but there’s more to the culinary story. The city boasts 30 Michelin-starred restaurants. One of them to try is El Celler de Can Rosa, which is buzzy because of its avant-garde Catalan cuisine. Immerse yourself further in the culinary scene with a visit to La Boqueria, a market full of produce, seafood, and local delicacies. A bonus, the region produces wines and cavas (sparkling wine from Spain) to enjoy with the good eats.

Richmond, Virginia

Prepare to eat your way through Richmond. From fine dining to food trucks, fill your belly with some of the best food in the South and elsewhere. Creativity reigns with dishes like toasted ravioli, fried oatmeal, pistachio cheesecake, buttermilk biscuits with fried chicken, goat cheese and pepper jelly, red velvet waffles and more. TallTravelEats’s list of the Top 150+ Best Things You Must Try When Visiting Richmond, VA! can guide you on your gastronomy journey.

Mexico City

The food scene is vibrant and diverse in Mexico City. This past summer, Blaxicocina, the first Black, queer and woman-owned soul food restaurant in the city opened. Two restaurants you won’t want to leave town without trying are Contramar and Rosetta. Contramar has an eclectic menu that includes squid toast, Tequilla shrimp, fish meatballs and more. At Rosetta, anticipate goodies like savoy cabbage, pistachio pipian (spicy Mexican mole sauce) and romeritos (leafy green) tacos.


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