Everyone in their right mind loves food. Delicious food is something we all crave, especially on vacation and foodie tourism is really taking off around the globe. If food is how you decide on where to go, check out these top American cities that have made a reputation in food.
1. New York City - New York City is simply too big not to include. As perhaps the single most important city for food lovers, chefs, and restaurants, New York City turns over restaurants like a diner chef flips pancakes. And while it's difficult for a restaurant to stay afloat in the Big Apple, the pay off is enormous. What you find here are the best of the best from the top bakeries in the nation to the highest number of Michelin star restaurants in the U.S. A visit to New York is of course recommended for every student group but while you're here, you will undoubtedly eat very well.
2. New Orleans - The Big Easy rounds out second place on this list for the best food cities in the United States. Coming from a cultural history of communities connecting through food, New Orleans has a flavor of its own and it is positively scrumptious. They certainly take their food seriously and you'll see why once you sample real New Orleans gumbo, red beans and rice, or jambalaya. Try some down-home fried chicken and grits, po'boys, the king cakes of Mardi Gras, and the golden fried beignets.
3. San Francisco - When you think of the Bay City you probably think of landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, but you might forget that the city is built on such ethnic diversity that the melting pot sensibility comes through in the food. The sheer number of food that San Fran does well is mind-blowing. You can get no better Chinese food than in the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, Southern California fusion cuisine and Mexican food battle for top billing while bakeries waft sweet smells of fresh bread and pastries from their doors. You'll find a fabulous number of chefs who know what they're doing - plus, if you go here, you get to eat and look at the view. Win-win!
4. Chicago - Chicago isn't exactly known for its Michelin restaurants or world-famous chefs but for Chicago style hot dogs, pizza, and Italian beef. Comfort food, to many. Of course you can dress it up and go to a fancy restaurant and spend a lot of money, but why? Take a taste of the beauty that is Chicago food, mouthwatering and unassuming as it may be. That deep dish pizza is calling your name, my friend.
5. Portland - What Portland does better than anyone is fast, portable food, meaning food carts and food trucks. The craze started a number of years ago but really took off in the Pacific Northwest where the people truly and sometimes obsessively care for food. Food carts bring you impressively awesome food for a fraction of the cost of a restaurant. Diversity of menus gets you Hawaiian food with a side of seaweed salad, southern fried catfish from Grandpa Jimmy, a blend of Malaysian and Chinese food at Straits Kitchen, and a combo menu at Bent-Lee's Kitchen where you can buy brats, schnitzel, and tacos at the same cart.
6. Los Angeles - L.A. has gotten a bad rap for being health junkie hippies and apathetic hipsters but it's not all you think it is. The capital city of entertainment has amazing diversity and inventiveness to its name, as well as the second largest population in the country which brings in thousands of chefs each year to raise the foodie bar. It's not all kale and bland veggies but restaurants trying new things, inventing new ways of making food both healthy and insanely, mouth-wateringly, mind-alteringly delicious. Take Animal for instance, a revolutionary restaurant that uses every single piece of meat from an animal so as not to incur waste. L.A., with its close proximity to the border, has arguably the best Mexican food in the country as well.
7. Seattle - I do not mean coffee when we're talking about Seattle food. Starbucks is great but Seattle's seafood and Asian inspired dishes take the cake. Of course, being on the ocean helps with the availability of fresh seafood but it's the world-renowned chefs and unique "transplant" population's influence on the city that make the food so delicious. According to sources, there are more teriyaki and pho restaurants in Seattle than any other place outside of Asia but you can also rely on finding Mexican restaurants focusing mainly on seafood, food carts and trucks providing a wonderful diversity, and also crazy inspired fusion restaurants like that from Canadian-Indian chef Meeru Dhalwala.
8. Kansas City - The Midwest makes it back on the list with the big ole K.C. and its world-renowned barbecue. Barbecue causes a big stir in the U.S. mainly because every city in the Midwest and in the South claims to have the absolute best recipes and methods. Kansas City just happens to be one of the best. You'd be crazy to visit and not sample some of the melt-in-your-mouth pull-apart ribs, the smoky sweet and tangy pulled pork sandwiches and brisket plates. A few of the top restaurants include Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Arthur Bryant's, Gates Bar-B-Que, and Danny Edward's BLVD Barbecue.
9. Philadelphia - Yes, you can find Philly cheese steaks here but that's not why Philadelphia is on this list. The City of Brotherly Love grows chefs like a garden who, after they gain recognition, turn around and grow Philly. This reciprocation makes Philadelphia a microcosm of fantastic food done by amazing and talented chefs who stay in the city they adore, feeding their communities. In the city, you can taste the love in lamb shoulders from Zahav, roast pork sandwiches at John's, a fabulous number of Italian restaurants and bakeries serving house-made gelato, cannoli, and pizza and also the famed Italian hoagie from Sarcone's Deli.
10. Las Vegas - Here's another destination that makes people turn their heads. Las Vegas has a reputation for being Sin City, destination supreme for gamblers and whatnot but in actuality, the Vegas Strip is covered in restaurants owned by big-name chefs. Practically every huge name in the food industry has been attracted here like a moth to a flame including Gordon Ramsey, Giada de Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Joel Robuchon (whose restaurant has a coveted three Michelin stars), and the Cake Boss Buddy Valastro are a few. Each and every one of their restaurants is divine and worth trying, but it may be pricey too.