There are those who travel to sightsee, and then there are those who travel to eat; traveling for foodies might look very different than traveling for non-foodies. Travelers that are more focused on a city's food culture will look for internationally renowned, classic restaurants as well as a vibrant, flourishing underground food culture. Foodies will thrive on finding a delicious eatery off the beaten path as much as a dish from a world-famous chef. For those who want a guide to delectable cities across the continent most famed for food, read on.
Undoubtedly the food capital of Europe, Paris flaunts her fabulous food all over the city. The French emphasize quality over quantity, favoring foods that represent traditional French food values. There is also an importance assigned to the taste of each food region in France. Each area specializes in specific foods and wines, making this country one of the most enjoyable to eat your way through. Traditional Parisian cuisine
includes flakey pastries, savory meats, wine, and fresh produce. For breakfast try Coutume Café. This hidden café has a huge coffee roaster and distiller, and offers monthly coffee tasting sessions. There is no better cup of coffee in the city. For lunch, venture to Les Halles district and try Yam'tcha, which is a unique fusion restaurant bringing French and Asian cuisine together in a fine dining experience. Dinner options are endless, but one of the best is Le 39 V, which offers incredibly fresh and unique foods.
While Paris has long held the title for best food culture in Europe, Florence comes in at a close second. There are offerings of mouth-watering Tuscan food and delicate Italian wines. Food in Florence is a focused blend of high quality ingredients, freshness, and simplicity. For a classic Florentine menu, visit La Casalinga
, which has a large menu with diverse, traditional offerings. Il Santo Bevitore
is an eatery that focuses on modern twists to Tuscan cooking and great wine. If you're interested in tasting the Florentine take on a Naples pizza, try Munaciello
A classically Mediterranean palette dominates Palermo, which fresh fish dishes, honey cakes, and ricotta filled pastries everywhere. The food focus in Palermo is on freshness and seasonal ingredients. There is also a local love of sweets. To try some of the best cakes available, visit Cappello and Massaro; they have some of most delicate and delicious setteveli, seven-layer cakes. A local favorite is the frittola, which is a marinated meat sandwich, and can be found in street carts in most alleyways. Another favorite local sandwich is Pane ca'meusa, and is composed of slices of spleen cooked in lard and bundled up in a sesame seed bun. The best place for this sandwich is Pani ca'Meusa di Porta Carbone.
This city boasts a vibrant and quirky culture as the capital of Spain's Catalonia region. Traditional cuisine in Barcelona varies greatly; there's everything from savory pork dishes to light fish recipes along the coast. This Spanish city is most famous for its tapas bars
, which feature small appetizer-like dishes. Two of the best tapas bars in Barcelona are Quimet i Quimet
and La Cova Fumada
. Tapas can include anything from meat-filled mashed-potato balls rolled in bread crumbs to salt-cured, air-dried tuna. As is the case in many European countries, wine is present at most meals in Spain. There are countless wine bars sprinkled throughout Barcelona, and one of the best is La Vinya del Senyor
. This little wine bar has a frequently updated wine list, with small food portions, which allows customers to experiment with different food and wine pairings.
This city's famous namesake is Bolognese sauce, which is a simple tomato sauce popular all over the world. The most traditional foods are cured meats, including prosciutto, mortadella, and salami. Bologna is nicknamed La Grassa, the fat; this city is all about the food, and many tourists leave the city with a few extra pounds packed on. But it's all worth it. One of the most authentic and mouthwatering eateries in the city is Trattoria Da Tony. The home-style meals served here get at the heart of simple Bolognese cooking. For traditional Italian pizza try Trattoria Teresina. Each city in Italy has its own take on pizza, and Bolognese make theirs simple and bursting with flavor. For a more historical eating experience, try Al Pappagallo, which has a rich an elegant atmosphere, and is renowned for their food.
For any international foodie trip, it's important to be
prepared. Make sure you have proper visa and passport documentation, enough
foreign currency (try TravelEx currency
exchange), and the necessary foreign language tools and cell phone apps
that are available these days.
Our guest blogger, Rob Toledo, is working slowly towards his goal of visiting over 100 countries with feet on every continent, including Antarctica. He loves talking travel and can be reached on Twitter @stentontoledo