The Top 10 Food Cities in the U.S.

Must Do Travels official list of top ten food cities in the United States for 2017 (and at least until we decide to do another list).

We definitely believe in lists to make your life easier, but we’re not so concerned with their order. It would be impossible to fairly rank these, so if you’re a foodie, just try to hit as many as you can. Our only promise, these are all worthy and you won’t be disappointed.

So, with no further ado – your food city list for the remainder of 2017.

Washington, D.C.

Right in DC
Kanding Marano at Bad Saint – DC

If you thought Washington, D.C. had been in a multi-decade dining rut, you’d have been correct. However, it is officially OVER! In fact, D.C. is flourishing in its newfound status as the preeminent go-to spot for innovative chefs and restaurateurs. In just the last 12 months, Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple & Pearls received Best Mid-Atlantic Chef from the James Beard Foundation. And that is just the beginning. In the most recent past, we have seen Bad Saint, land at No. 2 on Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants Hot List, with local neighbors Tail Up Goat and The Dabney also being considered as finalists.

Los Angeles, California

Foodie Heaven at Baroo
Baroo – Los Angeles

This is a foodie culture beyond compare. There are not just exciting choices, but there are countless incomparable options across nearly every iteration you can imagine. You can find several of the best Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Peruvian and Mexican culinary options here. And then, you can find delectable fusion choices that bring many of these disparate varieties together in new and innovative ways. For inventive Korean, hit chef Kwang Uh’s Baroo or if you need a truly ground-breaking breakfast option, indulge yourself at Jordan Kahn’s Destroyer, featuring otherworldly twists and turns that complement your favorites.

Denver, Colorado

  1. Rosenberg's Does Deli Right
    Rosenbergs – Denver

Is it us, or does everyone in Colorado just seem hungrier lately? Whatever their reason, Denver, Colorado is going through a renaissance like nowhere else in the Country. The last few years has seen Denver rank at or near the top of virtually every U.S. index, and culinary prowess is no different. The food scene here is imaginative, fun and make no mistake – impressive. Top culinary names from across the globe are staking claim here, but the real reason to make the trip is the endless local talent. Beard winners are soon to open Tavernetta, while new establishments like Rioja, Hop Alley’s, The Way Back, Rosenberg’s Bagel & Delicatessen, and Bar Dough have lit the town on fire.

Boston, Massachusetts

America's #1 Pie - White Clam at Batali's Babbo
America’s #1 Pizza Pie – White Clam at Batali’s Babbo, Boston

Yes, of course Boston! So much to see and do. So much history. Fine institutions of education. And don’t think for a minute that unfathomably good fare isn’t available on every corner. Star restaurateurs have brought some recent star-power like Mina’s PABU Boston and Batalli’s Babbo Pizzeria. Further, Toro, Little Donkey, Waypoint and Alden & Harlow are keeping critics on their heels with effortless delivery of sensational cuisine.

Seattle, Washington

The Whale Wins, wins over foodie loyalty
Culinary Crew Getting Foodie Ready at The Whale Wins – Seattle

They call it Jet City – but Whet City, as in Whet Your Palette might be even more appropriate. Beyond the famous fish market where you can still see the latest catch fly through the air, visitors of Seattle will be treated to delectable offerings far beyond the throes of Starbuck’s glass case. James Beard awarded The Whale Wins while Bon Apetit could not get enough of Bateau. And for those who like globally acclaimed offerings, you can head over to Tarzan I Jane, Ma’ono, or Chinese/American fusion spot New Luck Toy.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Foodie Friendly Fresh Oysters
Classic Oyster Presentation at Caribbean Room – New Orleans

Let’s face it, New Orleans may be the world’s top destination for foodies. And if it isn’t, it’s close. There really isn’t a question about where you should eat – it’s more about how long you are going to stay. For our purposes here, we will leave off the historic eateries which are more than obvious with a quick Google inquiry and instead, introduce a few spots for those who have some extra time to explore. After your tummy has had its share of beignets, po’ boys, crawdads and gumbo, saunter on over to Alon Shaya’s Israeli Namesake, the seductively French bar & restaurant N7 and the Pontchartrain Hotel’s scrumptious Caribbean Room.

Asheville, North Carolina

                               Mouth-Watering Options at Buxton Hall Barbeque – Asheville

If you’re headed to North Carolina, your first thought might not be, “old-world Spanish,” but it should be. James Beard-nominated Katie Button’s Curate is just one of the MUST eat at places. And if for some reason you don’t make it, you can make yourself feel slightly better by a visit to the same chef’s place for small-plate offerings, Nightbell. Breakfast tacos you say? Then TacoBilly will astound you. And to round out your dream eateries tour, DO NOT MISS fermentation-forward Local Provisions and Bon Appetit’s #9 overall best restaurant Buxton Hall Barbecue.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Best New Sandwich of Year
Best New Sandwich of Year – The Lox @ Philly Style Bagel, Philadelphia

What’s responsible for the endless growth of incredible food options in Philadelphia? Try a combination of a historically talented foodie scene, coupled with an incessant influx of day-tripping New Yorkers and Washingtonians. While we have seen popular Philadelphia-borne establishments pop up across the country, in and around the City itself, we have seen some truly amazing, homey spots. Places like Essen, a new-school Jewish bakery and Philly Style Bagels, Bon Apetit’s Sandwich of the Year winner, are bringing the crowds.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Southern Style Sushi at O-Ku, Charlotte
Southern Style Sushi at O-Ku, Charlotte

What used to be a sports-first, cuisine-as-an-after-thought type town, we have officially been around long enough to see a total reversal of trend. Not that Charlotteans love their sports less, they have just seemingly fallen in love all over again with the food culture. Up and coming chefs and their inventive kitchens have given rise to amazing places like Stoke with salt-roasted oysters and the wild O-ku a one of a kind Asian-Meets-Southern food extravaganza.


    1. Foodie Mecca
      America’s Best Restaurant – Staplehouse, Atlanta

      Sure it’s the South, but you can eat everything, and eat it at its best in Atlanta. You could go to ANY city and not do better than Brezza and Minero for Italian or Mexican, respectively. You want award-winning cuisine? Indulge at Gunshow or Miller Union. And you want to try a brand new spot already nominated for Best New Restaurant? Good, because Staplehouse has buzz about its buzz – it’s so buzzing. And to top it off, newcomers Atlas and Brush Sushi Izakaya are literally garnering International acclaim. There’s really not much more to say than Go Eat in Atlanta!

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