Food Cities for Travellers: 10 Dishes and the Best Places to Eat Them





Compiled by Adam Zettler for

Cities and their denizens take pride in being world class or "the best", and food is certainly a great example of this civic pride.  A common refrain that travellers hear is "If you go to _____ you HAVE to try the ______"

Certain cities have laid claim to bragging rights when it comes to some foods or dishes. Every New Yorker will tell you their pizza is the best, and people from Memphis and Kansas City will argue that their BBQ is the tastiest in the world. Other cities are famous for foods that are so unique they have no equal, like the New Orleans po'boy.

We present our picks for travellers to enjoy the BEST foods that cities are known for around the world, and where to go to have a sample.

Disagree and want to argue your city's case? Join the discussion below and tell us why your cities food, whether it's BBQ, pizza or bagels, is better! And don't forget, we have tons of restaurant links on our city pages...including our friends at Menuism and some other great resources, to help you make the best dining choice!



Kansas City/Memphis/Houston: BBQ

This battle of the best BBQ has been raging for decades, and there are many contenders. Both Kansas City and Memphis have a long and fierce rivalry, and both lay claim to the best BBQ in the world, but Houston has some great BBQ restaurants that stack up! Other regions have some great regional BBQ too, but these are the Big 3.

Recommended for travelers: Kansas City-Arthur Bryant's, Jack Stack Memphis-Top's BBQ, Payne's Original Bar-B-Que Houston-Luling City Market


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Tapas, for the uniniated, are delicious finger foods and small samplings of various pickled or grilled vegetables and meat in various combinations, accompanied by sauces. Think Spanish version of dim sum or antipasto. Although tapas vary from region to region in Spain, the best variety of Tapas restaurants to sample the tastiest in Spain can be found in Madrid (although Barcelona foodies may argue otherwise).

Recommended for travelers: Casa Lucio's, La Camarilla


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San Antonio/Cincinnati-Chili

The most commonly known and traditional American chili, bean-less, hot and spicy and filled beef and peppers is the Texas style, the most delicous of which comes from San Antonio and Southern Texas.  But Cincinnati has their own style of chili, which includes beans and tomatoes, and some recipes even include exotic ingredients like chocolate. Which is best? It's all a matter of taste....we recommend several big bowls of both!

Recommended for travelers: San Antonio-Casa Rio Cincinnati-Camp Washington Chili


New York City foodies might strongly disagree, but Montreal has the best bagels and bagel bakeries in the world. Less chewy and generally smaller than their Southern cousins,  Montreal bagels secret distinct taste comes honey infused boiled water and malt.

Recommended for travelers: St. Viateur Bagel, Fairmount Bagel



New Orleans- Po'Boy Sandwich

New Orleans is a foodie paradise, and travellers that like to experience new taste adventures have many options, like Cajun style dishes, Gumbo and abundant seafood. But the most unique New Orleans food is the Po'Boy Sandwich, which is meat (usually shrimp or lobster but other versions have beef) served on a crusty, soft baguette, topped with gravy, pickles and mayonnaise. If you are in New Orleans you have a try a Po'Boy sandwich atleast once.

Recommended for travelers: Domilise's, Casamento's, Parkway Bakery & Tavern


Hong Kong-Dim Sum

Traditionally served in a bamboo woven basket, the experience of eating dim sum (along with drinking tea) in Hong Kong's many excellent restaurants is as much measured for the atmosphere as it is for the taste. Dim Sum are steamed or fried dumplings served individually with many different fillings and wraps. While Chinese culture has carried the dim sum over to many wonderful restaurants around the world, Hong Kong is the one place where travellers can have the dim sum experience as it was meant to be.

Recommended for travelers: Maxim's Palace (also has a fantastic view of Hong Kong Harbour), Spring Moon, Man Wah


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Chicago/New York City-Pizza

Finally we come to one of the fiercest foodie wars of the ages, the battle of which city lays claim to the best pizza. Almost everyone loves pizza, and with the myriad of toppings to choose from it's easy to satisfy almost any hungry traveler. Excellent pizza can be found in almost every city, but the two main contenders for overall quality are Chicago and New York. The choice between traditional New York and Chicago style pizza's doesn't come down to toppings, but rather texture and crust. The Chicago style has a thicker, more pie-like crust, and the tomato sauce added to the top of the cheese and toppings. New York's pizza has a thinner crust and larger slices that New Yorkers fold in half to eat. 

Recommended for travellers: Chicago-Great Lake Pizza, Lou Malnati's, Pequod's New York City-Louie and Ernie's, Lombardi's Pizzeria



Florence (Firenze)-Fiorentina Style Steak

The specialty of Florence Italy is not a traditional pasta but rather a fantastic steak that ranks with the best of places like Buenos Aires, New York City and Texas. Bistecca alla fiorentina is sliced or grilled steak, prepared over red hot charcoals and served  very rare on arugula, often topped with sliced or grated Parmesan cheese.

Recommended for travellers: Sostanza, Del Fagioli


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San Diego-Fish Tacos

A tasty cross over treat originally from over the border in Baja, San Diego has adopted and perfected this Mexican delight. The San Diego style fish taco is fried or grilled fish, diced cabbage,  smothered in salsa fresca or white sauce and wrapped in corn tortilla, with the customary wedge of lime on top. Travelers can find fish taco stand and restaurants almost everywhere in San Diego, from right on the beach to some of the more glamorous dining establishments.

Recommended for travelers: Brigatine Seafood Restaurant, Kiko's Place, Oscar's


Ottawa-The Beavertail(tm)

If you have never been to Canada's capital city, it's unlikely you have ever heard of a the BeaverTail (yes it's trademarked). But almost everyone who lives in Ottawa has eaten one (or several dozen). The beavertail isn't beaver meat, so don't worry. Rather, a beavertail is fried dough, topped with cinnamon and sugar, chocolate, maple syrup (of course) or various other toppings and shaped flat into a, well, beaver's tail. A regional delicacy, travellers who are in Ottawa who want to try one of these sweet delights can visit the flagship restaurant in the Byward Market.

Recommended for travelers: BeaverTails Pastry, 69 George Street in the Byward Market.


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Is your city famous for a certain dish, or do you disagree with our favourites? Do you have a recommendation for a great restaurant in your city? Join our discussion below and let travellers from all over the world know.....we would love to hear your opinions!

And don't forget, our city pages are filled with great links to fantastic resources for finding the best places to eat in over 80 cities across the globe.






beavertail, Ottawa, Mexican food, fish tacos, San Diego, Firenze, Italy, Florence, pizza, New York, Chicago, dim sum, hong kong, New Orleans, bagels, Montreal, chili, Cincinnati, San Antonio, tapas, Spain, madrid, USA, BBQ, Houston, Memphis, Kansas City, travel, food, restaurants, dishes, recommendations, tourism, vacation, foodies

The Conversation

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Chris M wrote: 11:49am November 23, 2012

I was fine with everything here, at least where I have some experience of it, except for one thing. Cincinnati is the last place in the world I would eat chili. I'm sure they know about kinds other than Skyline, but the mere fact they allow that abomination to exist disqualifies them, in my mind, from any discussion about chili, period.

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Adam Zettler wrote: 11:59am November 23, 2012

Thanks for your comment Chris! Interesting-anyone from Cincinnati want to chime in?

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Ayden wrote: 12:33pm November 23, 2012

Haha great article and i too agree with most of the posts recommendations - however ...i make the best chili on the planet and i am in Toronto so San Antonio and Cincinnati can eat their hearts out.

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Sally K Witt wrote: 6:24pm November 24, 2012

Love your post. Fun!!

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Adam Zettler wrote: 5:22pm November 25, 2012

Thanks Sally!

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Adam Zettler wrote: 5:23pm November 25, 2012

I must admit, our CEO Ayden does make some pretty fantastic chili.

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Alisha Ross wrote: 11:37pm July 31, 2019

This is pretty similar to the way I make my alfredo, and it’s probably my favorite dinner that I have ever posted! I haven’t done it without scraping the cooked squash though–I will definitely have to give it a try!

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