The world is filled with famous food destinations. Some of the most famous foods come from open-air markets, while other iconic dishes are found at Michelin-starred restaurants. Here’s a list of notable eats that foodies should add to their bucket list.
In the name of adventurous eating, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most famous foods and restaurant dishes that food-enthusiasts should try in their lifetime.
Every food lover should experience a classic Spanish tapas meal, a combination of small plates like roasted peppers, anchovies, and other local dishes.
The Market of San Miguel is one of the most famous food spots in Madrid, Spain, and has rows of vendors offering tapas galore.
You might need more than one person to help you finish paella, another traditional Spanish dish of rice, seafood, and vegetables — all cooked and served in a giant skillet.
Paella is believed to have originated in Valencia, Spain. Now, the traditional rice and seafood dish has become synonymous with Spanish culture.
Try colourful marzipan sweets from Barcelona’s iconic food market, La Boquería.
La Boquería is a food market in Barcelona home to whimsically shaped sweets all made out of marzipan.
For dessert, enjoy a Spanish favourite — crispy churros dipped in warm chocolate sauce.
Chocolatería San Ginés is a famous spot for churros in Madrid, but most cafés offer the famous combination of crispy churros with the iconic hot chocolate sauce, and it’s hard to go wrong.
When in London, try fish and chips, one of England’s most iconic dishes.
Locals dip their crispy fish and chips in a vat of malt vinegar.
And don’t miss out on trying a full English breakfast, a traditional take on the first meal of the day.
The infamous full English breakfast has a little sampling of everything from potato hash, baked beans, roasted vegetables, sausage, and eggs. Terry’s Café in South East London serves up a famous take on the classic meal.
Take a bite into a picture-perfect macaron, a meringue dessert commonly found in France.
The meringue cookies originated in Italy, but food scholars believe they made their way to France in the 16th century, according to The Atlantic. The first French macaron shop was Laudrée, which opened in 1892 and now has locations around the world.
Adventurous eaters should try escargot, the traditional French snail dish.
Taste the gourmet dish at L’Escargot Montorgueil, a famous restaurant in Paris.
Everyone should bite into a traditional Italian pizza in their lifetime.
Dine at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, which has consistently been named one of the top-rated restaurants in the world.
Osteria Francescana was named the best restaurant in the world in 2018 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, which is determined by more than 1,000 chefs, food writers, and restaurant experts. Though the list isn’t the be-all-end-all of the restaurant world, Osteria Francescana is a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience.
Eat Italian caprese salad with tomatoes, basil, and a fresh dollop of mozzarella cheese.
Caseificio La Fattoria, a restaurant in Italy’s Campania region, makes fresh mozzarella in giant spheres that can weigh up to 88 pounds.
Try dim sum, a Cantonese-Chinese meal of small dumpling dishes.
The translation of “dim sum” means “with a touch of heart,” according to Mental Floss. Condé Nast Traveller calls Koi Palace in San Francisco’s Chinatown some of the best dim sum in California’s Bay Area.
Warm up with a steaming bowl of noodles from Ichiran, a Japanese restaurant famous for its ramen.
Ichiran is known for being a ramen destination, according to Forbes. The restaurant’s specialty is a ramen with pork-based broth, called tonkotsu ramen, with homemade noodles.
Speaking of sweets, taste a slice of baklava, a Middle-Eastern pastry made with flaky filo dough, chopped nuts, and honey.
Shatila Bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, is renowned for its authentic baklava.
The cannolis at Mike’s Pastry in Boston are a serious foodie bucket list item.
The historic bakeshop, which has been serving sweets in Boston since the 1940s, is known for its picture-perfect cannolis.
Lobster rolls are a classic in the Northeast.
From Massachusetts to Maine, lobster rolls are a favourite in the Northeast region.
Seafood fanatics can taste fresh oysters at restaurants along Maine’s iconic Oyster Trail.
A major New Orleans staple is shrimp gumbo, a flavorful, thick seafood stew served over a bed of fluffy rice.
A popular New Orleans establishment known for its Creole cuisine is Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter.
New Orleans is also known for beignets, a delectable, doughnut-like pastry topped with powdered sugar.
Bite into one of the most famous dishes of America’s South, the fried green tomato.
South City Kitchen in Atlanta is Foursquare’s top-rated Georgia spot for fried green tomatoes.
Chicago’s cheesy, doughy deep-dish pizza is another must-eat.
Eater Chicago calls Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria “one of the original inventors of the Chicago deep dish.”
Chow down on a burger and fries from In-N-Out Burger, a West Coast classic and celebrity-favourite fast-food joint.
In-N-Out is known for its “animal-style” burger, which is grilled in mustard and topped with an extra dose of the restaurant’s special Thousand Island sauce, pickles, and grilled onions. The “animal-style” fries are topped with melted American cheese and grilled onions, then smothered in the world-renowned In-N-Out sauce, according to Brit + Co.
On the topic of fries, everyone should try poutine, Canada’s national dish of french fries doused in gravy and cheese curds.
Cheese-enthusiasts should try the Midwest’s take on chilli at Skyline, a restaurant chain that originated in Cincinnati, Ohio.
People in the Midwest swear by this cheese-topped chilli.
Take a bite into a Cuban sandwich, which typically includes ham, Swiss cheese, pork, mustard, and pickles warmed up between two crispy pieces of bread.
Miami is a popular city for the Cuban sandwich, and Eater Miami recommends 925 Nuevo’s Cubano’s, Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, and Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine Espanola Way – among numerous other local spots.
A Pastrami sandwich with a pickle on the side is a combination from Katz’s Deli in New York City that everyone should try at least once.
Katz’s Deli was one of renowned food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain’s many iconic restaurant recommendations.
It might go without saying, but trying a New York bagel should also be a bucket-list item.
Top New York City bagel contenders include Russ & Daughters, Ess-a-bagel, Tompkins Square Bagels, and Absolute Bagels.
Grab a straw or spoon (or both) and enjoy the Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3 in New York City, which will make you feel like you’re in a romantic comedy.
For the ultimate indulgence, dive into a milkshake from Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in New York City, an eatery known for its extravagant, candy-loaded shakes.
Foodies looking to try a candy-clad Black Tap milkshake should prepare to wait in a long line, according to Yelp reviews.
Taste chocolate rugelach, a flaky pastry from one of the most popular bakeshops in Jerusalem, Marzipan Bakery.
The perfectly golden-brown, sticky pastries, which have chocolate or fruit fillings, will not disappoint. Beyond its Jerusalem location, fans can find Marzipan Bakery goods at shops in the US.
Dip a piece of warm, fluffy pita into hummus, the Middle-Eastern dip made of chickpeas, oils, and tahini.
The exact origins of hummus are contested, but communities across the Middle East, from Israel to Lebanon, offer their own take on the chickpea dip.
Taste Korean bibimbap, a colourful, flavorful rice bowl topped with a fried egg and served in a sizzling-hot stone bowl.
Try bibimbap at Jungsik, a restaurant with two Michelin stars. There are locations in Seoul, South Korea, and New York City.
Try kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of cabbage and vegetables fermented in a flavorful paste.
At Mokbar in New York City, chefs make 200 pounds of kimchi every two weeks.
Dig into spaghetti tossed inside a cheese wheel.
Enjoy a light, fluffy Belgian waffle topped with berries, powdered sugar, or chocolate sauce.
In Belgium, waffles are served as street food and are typically eaten two ways: without layers of toppings, or with strawberries and whipped cream, according to the Huffington Post.
Taste the melty, chocolate-y goodness of a cookie from Levain Bakery in New York City.
Taste Portugal’s iconic dessert, egg custard tarts.
Pasteis de Belem in Libson is one of the most well-known spots in Portugal to try these famous tarts.
Bite into a pierogi, the Polish potato dumpling that can hold a savoury or sweet filling.
The pierogi is a traditional Polish dish believed to have originated in the 17th century, according to BBC Travel.
Cool off with ceviche, a seafood salsa-inspired dish with origins in Latin America.
Ceviche is a cold salsa with raw seafood and citrus flavours, and Peru is one country famous for its take on the dish, according to NPR. Other countries in South America and Latin America offer a take on ceviche, according to the Food Network. For example, Chilean ceviche often includes salmon, and in Mexico, ceviche may be made with tuna.
Try a fresh seafood meal at Fisherman’s Wharf, a historic waterfront in San Francisco.
One of Eater San Francisco’s recommendations is Alioto’s Restaurant, a family-owned establishment that offers a retro dining experience.
Enjoy chorizo, a flavour-packed dish of ground pork sausage common in Mexican and Spanish cuisine.
In Mexican cuisine, chorizo is made of fresh, uncooked pork, and in Spanish cooking, chorizo is made with ground pork sausage, according to Epicurious. Try Washington, DC’s La Puerta Verde for an authentic taste of chorizo.
For another deep-fried, southern favourite, try hush puppies.
These balls of corn meal are deep-fried and delicious. Though it’s unclear the exact origins of the classic dish, hush puppies are a staple in the South.
Don’t miss out on crab cakes at Old Ebbitt Grill, one of Washington, DC’s oldest restaurants.
Enjoy truffles, candies, and other cocoa confections at Teuscher in Zurich, Switzerland, one of the most famous chocolatiers in the world.
Dive into a warm bowl of pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup with tons of flavour.
Dong Thap Noodles in Seattle offers a massive bowl of pho that weighs about 13 pounds.
Try Peking Duck, a crispy duck dish with roots in Beijing, China.
For meat-eaters, the Peking Duck is a must-try. A restaurant in Beijing, Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant, is so popular that people have to call in advance to order one of the crispy ducks, according to BBC Travel.
Dip naan bread into chicken tikka masala, a classic Indian meal with spices and a creamy tomato sauce.
Foursquare users have ranked London restaurant Punjab the city’s best place to get chicken tikka masala.
Chow down on pad thai made fresh from one of Thailand’s diverse street or floating markets.
Another must-try is Greek spanakopita, a pie made of flaky filo dough, feta, and spinach.
Bite into a golden-brown, crispy empanada, Chile’s national dish and the region’s take on a sweet- or savoury-filled doughy confection.
At Tomas Moro, a bakery in Chile’s Las Condes suburb, people line up for hours to buy empanadas by the dozens, according to BBC Travel.