Best Foodie Cities in the World, Ranked
You go places partly (OK, mostly) to eat the local food. Who wants to go to Osaka and not delight in yakitori or to Bordeaux and not drink entire barrels of wine (for the culture, of course)?
But it’s also nice to know that you have options and that if you happen to be struck by an uncontrollable craving, you’ll be able to satisfy it with a simple Google search.
Treat your inner Anthony Bourdain at these gastronomical paradises, where culinary diversity reigns supreme. These are the world's best foodie cities.
Bottom Line: San Francisco
You'll have a hard time finding a restaurant in San Francisco that isn't some sort of fusion.
A meeting point for immigrants from all over the world and home to rich tech people who want to pay more for experiences than things, San Francisco is bound to have a diverse and interesting food scene.
Asian and Mexican restaurants are particularly recommended, given the large number of first- and second-generation immigrants from those regions who reside in the Bay Area.
Besides being one of the tastiest foodie cities in the world, it's also within the top five in the U.S.
Best International Restaurant in San Francisco
Can't afford a trip down to Mexico? Go to Nopalito instead.
Nopal is a type of cactus frequently used in Mexican cuisine, so this restaurant's name signals its commitment to authentic food from our southern neighbors. You definitely won't find any Tex-Mex here.
We recommend the totopos con chile, a genius spin on tortilla chips and salsa that is delicious.
9. Portland, Oregon
Total restaurants: 3,774
Total international restaurants: 3,106
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 4.76
Bottom Line: Portland
Portland beats out San Francisco by a hair for its number of international restaurants per 1,000 people. The hipster capital of the U.S. has an intense love affair with anything that is foreign, which means that opening up an international restaurant is a lucrative affair.
Lucky us, since it gives travelers a chance to try anything and everything, from authentic dishes hailing from all corners of the world to fusion concepts you would've never imagined would work well until you put the food in your mouth and feel like you've reached heaven.
Best International Restaurant in Portland
Stepping into DarSalam is an express ticket to the Middle East. This Iraqi restaurant is decorated with mosaics that glitter with blue and gold hues, mimicking the beautiful Ishar Gate of Babylon.
The decor and service ease you into the space and take you to another world, immediately making you feel as if you're home.
As one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in the U.S., DarSalam shines a spotlight onto an often-ignored, yet delicious cuisine.
8. Nagoya, Japan
Total restaurants: 18,668
Total international restaurants: 11,255
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 4.82
Bottom Line: Nagoya
For a city of fewer than 3 million people, it is astonishing that Nagoya has over 18,500 restaurants — of which, a staggering 11,255 are international.
Of course, give priority to Japanese food, but don't feel too guilty about trying out other cuisines, particularly those of other Asian countries, which enjoy a prominent place in the city's gastronomical landscape.
Nagoya also has a masterful grasp of French and Italian food.
Best International Restaurant in Nagoya
If you've got the means to enjoy a two-star Michelin restaurant while in Nagoya, then make reservations at La Vagabonde.
Ironically translating to "the vagrant," this upscale restaurant is one of the best fine French cuisine establishments outside of France.
Small dishes pack in complex flavors and textures for a meal you'll be thinking about — and bragging about — for years.
7. Paris, France
Total restaurants: 17,503
Total international restaurants: 10,633
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 4.88
Bottom Line: Paris
Of course, Paris would make it onto here. As one of the gastronomical centers of the world, Paris offers every kind of food in the world.
After Tokyo, the French capital is the city with the most Michelin-star restaurants, though we guarantee even the street food stands selling kebabs and crepes will delight your palate in ways previously thought impossible.
With immigrants from all over the country, Paris enjoys being a meeting point for diverse flavors and cooking methods — something it has used as an advantage to cement its position in the global culinary scene.
Best International Restaurant in Paris
There's no such thing as bad Thai food, but there is such a thing as superior Thai food. This is what Thiou delivers.
This high-end restaurant is located next to Les Invalides, so you'll be able to visit while touring the city. Try the squid and octopus in Thai lemon grass sausage or the sautéed duck breast in Panang curry.
6. Atlanta, Georgia
Total restaurants: 3,396
Total international restaurants: 2,528
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 5.06
Bottom Line: Atlanta
You may be surprised to find Atlanta higher on the list than other U.S. cities like San Francisco. But the truth of the matter is that, like its population, Atlanta's food scene is very incredibly diverse. This is especially true when you consider the city proper, rather than the metropolitan area.
Eating is one of the best things to do in Atlanta, which is also famous for its urban green spaces, civil rights monuments and street art. Definitely don't skip out on Southern food, but take this as an opportunity to do a round-the-world tour as well.
Best International Restaurant in Atlanta
Serving up authentic Ethiopian and Eritrean fare, Feedel Bistro has established itself in the hearts of locals.
If you've never tried this delicious cuisine, drop all your plans and head over to Feedel. You'll find typical food like doro wat and kifto — which happen to be some of the best African food dishes — usually accompanied by the signature injera flatbread.
5. Bordeaux, France
Total restaurants: 2,519
Total international restaurants: 1,374
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 5.34
Bottom Line: Bordeaux
Does Bordeaux have more international restaurants than Paris? Of course not. But 1,374 of its total 2,519 restaurants are international, which is very admirable if you ask us.
And while you may know Bordeaux more for its impeccable wine, we assure you that you'll have plenty of good food to pair with it.
The city is rather small, but you'll find hidden in the alleys stemming from Place de la Bourse, as well as in Rue Saint Catherine, that it is decidedly cosmopolitan. You can partially thank the large and diverse student population for this.
Best International Restaurant in Bordeaux
Bibibap — a purposeful misspelling of the popular Korean dish — is the place to get South Korean food in Bordeaux.
The restaurant focuses more on Korean flavors and style than authentic dishes, serving bibimbaps and variations of it as well as fun fusion dishes like Korean tacos.
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
Total restaurants: 4,511
Total international restaurants: 3,526
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 5.49
Bottom Line: Las Vegas
Las Vegas is Epcot on steroids. It's made for adults, not children, so, of course, Sin City would rank well in restaurant diversity.
There are plenty of over-the-top American restaurants, like the infamous Heart Attack Grill, but you also have your choice of international food.
The best part is that it ranges from casual to fine dining, so it can adjust to your preferences and budget.
Best International Restaurant in Las Vegas
Step away from the noise and the tacky (sorry, flashy) glamour and go into family-owned Curry Leaf Flavors of India.
Proof that not everything in Las Vegas is about money, the restaurant showcases cuisine from the state of Gujarat, where the head chef is from, as well as favorite dishes from other parts of the country.
Because of its authenticity and quality, Curry Leaf Flavors of India is considered one of the best Indian restaurants in the U.S.
3. Geneva, Switzerland
Total restaurants: 1,644
Total international restaurants: 1,399
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 6.86
Bottom Line: Geneva
Often mistaken to be the Swiss capital — it's actually Bern — Geneva hosts the European headquarters of the United Nations. This brings it diplomats, business people and immigrants from literally all over the world, which in turn translates to a confluence of flavors that's honestly the best thing about the city.
European food is, of course, very popular, especially German, Italian and French, since these are Switzerland's neighbors. But you'll be surprised how many cuisines you'll find represented here.
Best International Restaurant in Geneva
In a setting that's as fresh as the ceviche served, Yakumanka brings Peruvian fare to Geneva. The restaurant is led by celebrity chef Gaston Acurio and located inside the Mandarin Oriental.
Ceviche is the most popular dish, but we are also fans of the anticuchos. Usually a delightful street food snack, Yakumanka serves the juiciness and tenderness of the dish with an elevated twist.
2. Osaka, Japan
Total restaurants: 35,638
Total international restaurants: 20,695
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 7.51
Bottom Line: Osaka
You are probably surprised that Osaka wins as the most diverse food city in Japan instead of Tokyo. But with a smaller population (2.7 million vs. 14 million) and a jaw-dropping 35,638 restaurants, we believe it.
The city certainly feels a lot bigger than it is, probably because it doesn't skip a beat in its go-go-go atmosphere — that is, unless you're in the traditional residential areas or near temples, in which case it's like a wave of peaceful stillness washes over you.
We won't lie to you. Most of your time here will be spent eating. And you'll still wish you had room for more.
Best International Restaurant in Osaka
Someone with less experience may not have thought Japan and Italy were similar, but the head chef of Macauda found that Plugia, where he studied, shared elements of climate and ingredients with his native Wakayama.
This unexpected bridge between two cultures is what inspired Macauda and what informs its delicious Italian menu that doesn't shy away from hints of Japanese techniques and flavors.
Expect handmade pasta and fresh seafood at this one-star Michelin restaurant.
1. Brussels, Belgium
Total restaurants: 3,687
Total international restaurants: 2,739
International restaurants per 1,000 people: 14.65
Bottom Line: Brussels
Brussels is the unexpected winner of culinary diversity. The skeptics need only look at the numbers. Out of 3,687 restaurants 2,739 are international. That comes out to 14.65 international restaurants per 1,000 people — twice that of the runner-up, Osaka.
We love a good underdog win story, especially when it's a place as deserving as gorgeous Brussels, which is already known for French fries, waffles and literally hundreds of types of beer.
Now you know that when you're not in the mood for Belgian food, you'll have plenty of choices from around the good green globe.
Best International Restaurant in Brussels
Take a symbolic trip to southern Europe at Hispania.
Elegantly decorated and serving impeccably presented dishes, this Spanish restaurant is popular for its tapas, which allow you to try many different flavors in small bites.
For those who come a bit hungrier, there are also main plates highlighting specialties from different Spanish regions. Of course, you can expect an extensive wine list to accompany your meal.