Last Updated on November 29, 2023

When we travel, we eat, right? I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I travel to a region I’ve not visited (or even return to one I love), one of my goals is trying the specialties of that place, the ones that put it on the foodie map.

In a compilation of this year’s restaurant trends and travel insights, World of Mouth, the independent restaurant guide powered by a global community of culinary experts, has released the Global Culinary Report 2023.

The report features a list of the 10 Best Culinary Destinations around the world, spotlighting cities that are shaping the future of food and travel and also highlighting the most dominant culinary trends during 2023.

This year’s report is based on expert surveys and expert recommendations from World of Mouth, with over 6,300 personal recommendations by 600 handpicked experts, spanning more than 2,200 global destinations and including 90,000 members. These include chefs, restaurant critics, food writers, street food aficionados and more.

That’s a lot of tasting going on right there!

Now on to the favorites.

“The Best Culinary Destination” of 2023 winner is Copenhagen, followed by London, New York and Tokyo. Each city, whether it’s the seafood and wine bars of Stockholm or the vibrant street food scene of Bangkok, presents a unique culinary identity contributing to the rich culture of global gastronomy.

Top 10 Culinary Destinations 2023

1.Copenhagen

Copenhagen Denmark's Salon restaurant plated entree.
Copenhagen Denmark’s Salon restaurant plated entree. Photo courtesy Word of Mouth

A pioneer in New Nordic cuisine, Copenhagen’s food scene includes world-famous restaurants like Noma, Geranium and Alchemist.

Classic Danish favorites include creative smørrebrød sandwiches and fresh local-caught seafood such as herring and salmon.

2. London

The capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom has long been a melting pot of global flavors.

You’ll find traditional eateries serving fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash, but also hundreds of different ethnic cuisines ranging from street food stalls to white tablecloth fine-dining restaurants.

3. New York

This ever-evolving culinary giant continues to be on the vanguard of restaurant culture with food from every corner of the world featuring quenelle-and-caviar fine dining to biryani and bureks, Ethiopian sambusas and Korean baps.

And who can deny the classic favorites such as Katz’s Delicatessen (think bagels and cream cheese and lox), pastrami on rye, street dogs, and that delectable New York cheesecake?

4. Tokyo

Tradition meets world-class innovation in one of the most exciting places to eat in the world. This includes everything from regional and traditional Japanese cuisine to all kinds of international choices. Classic favorites include sushi (lots of sushi), ramen, tempura, yakitori and soba.

5. Bangkok

A spicy fusion of street food and sophistication, Bangkok’s food scene is colorful, vibrant, and busy around the clock like the city itself.  Food can be found everywhere – from traditional floating markets, to street food markets and alleys and upscale roof terraces.

Must-try dishes include pat tai, tom yam spicy soup and bamee.

6. Paris

Duck Confit in Paris.
Duck Confit in Paris. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

They say it’s hard to find a bad restaurant in Paris. I agree with that.

The timeless epicenter of gourmet excellence is filled with a myriad of great restaurants run by talented chefs. Another city with hundreds of languages spoken, Paris’ cultural diversity contributes to its world-renowned status as an exciting culinary melting pot.

Our local favorites include escargots, coq au vin, duck confit, foie gras and of course, crepes and macarons to satisfy the sweet tooth.

7. Barcelona

Amar restaurant in Barcelona oysters appetizer
Amar restaurant in Barcelona oysters appetizer. Photo courtesy Word of Mouth

The scents of Spanish food wafting through the air are intoxicating in Barcelona. This haven for Mediterranean and local delights includes everything from traditional, rustic, family-run tapas bars and food market eateries to Michelin-starred venues and pioneers of Molecular Gastronomy.

If you’re into local cuisine, don’t leave this vibrant pulsating city without trying such Spanish delights as seafood paella, patatas bravas, grilled cuttlefish and fried chipirones.

8. Dubai

A luxurious blend of the world’s cuisines, this city located on the Persian Gulf coast has built a remarkable reputation as a culinary haven and on the wish list of many food travelers.

There seems to be no end to the variety, creativity and grandeur of its flavors and dining experiences. Recommendations include the Syrian-influenced dishes at Orfali Bros, the Indian flavors at Trèsind Studio, to ceviche, hand-pulled noodles and Japanese sushi.

9. Berlin

Who would ever believe the city that had to totally re-invent itself would become such an experimental food hub earning the distinction not only as Germany’s capital, but the food capital of Germany?

Home to a thriving Turkish, Middle Eastern and Asian food scene, numerous immigrant communities have brought their colorful food traditions to the city to stay. If you’re looking for local favorites, you’ll want to try currywurst, a popular street food, bratwurst, schnitzel, and döner kebabs.

10. Stockholm

This Scandinavian city boasts foodie flavors in their purest form. The capital of Sweden offers both tradition and innovation in its restaurants, food stands, market food halls and wine bars.

This is the city to try traditional Swedish dishes like meatballs with mashed potatoes, a pickled herring feast with a shot of aquavit and vendace roe with potato pancakes. You’ll also find dozens of great bakeries and cafés to enjoy Swedish fika, including a freshly baked cinnamon bun.

Author

  • Noreen Kompanik

    Noreen Kompanik is a retired registered nurse, legal nurse consultant, and military spouse turned travel writer. She launched her travel writing career in 2014 and has over 600 articles in both digital and print publications.

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