Top 10 Best Culinary Cities in the U.S.: Where to Eat and Drink

When exploring new destinations, the best part is the distinctive cultural fare and hometown dishes. If you want to know a city more, you will indulge in its cuisine, tasting what the locals like, how it is served and how they dine. Most American cities are experiencing an increasing number of eateries and menus that make a trip to the city worthwhile. Food stands out when choosing vacation destinations as a significant reason people want to visit and revisit a particular city. You will undoubtedly find mouthwatering dishes in every city, but mostly with distinct tastes, a different ambiance, serving style, and culinary experiences.

If you are looking for a perfect place to dine with friends and family or clients, you will find many spots in different cities across the United States. This article is a compilation of the top 10 culinary cities for foodies across the United States. The highlighted places will satisfy a foodie's appetite and serve different occasions such as an engagement party, romantic dinner date, special occasion celebrations, and a quick bite before or after work.

Best Foodie Cities in the U.S.

Any avid traveler is looking forward to a good eating place as part of their exploration of a new city. Whether you are sipping coffee or grabbing street food or gourmet food for breakfast, delicious food makes a high-rated vacation. We at HRC International, advise foodies interested in fine dining to consider a vacation or a quick trip to the following ten cities. Here you will find award-winning restaurants and diverse cuisines acting as foodie hotspots to leave you satisfied and happy. The ten cities include:

  • Portland

  • San Francisco

  • Los Angeles

  • New Orleans

  • Houston

  • Philadelphia

  • Chicago

  • New York

  • Washington D.C.

  • Charleston

The 10 Best Food Cities in America, Ranked

1. Portland

Portland is among the cities in the U.S. wearing a foodie city crown, ranked among the cities with high-quality dining, affordability, and diversity. Portland ranks higher than some of the famous cities in America regarding quality and accessibility as key metrics in gauging breweries, restaurants, food carts, coffee shops, and farmers' markets per capita. Due to the easy accessibility of farmers' farm-fresh produce, the culinary scene in Portland is thrillingly diverse. The Willamette Valley is known for producing world-class wine served across all eateries and restaurants in Portland.

Despite being in the United States, Portland's food scene is known for serving no-frills cheeseburgers and gluten-free Vietnamese pastries. In the Portland metro area, there are over 100 craft breweries serving different blends and tastes of beer. Rated as a city with the most pedestrian-friendly streets, Portland has many food carts along the streets, serving diverse and unique food at affordable rates. When you visit Portland, you will enjoy the food scene and have plenty of hiking and biking opportunities.

2. San Francisco

Free-spirited individuals should visit San Francisco and taste imaginative cuisine, beautiful views, and world-class dining. Enjoy the cozy cafes, first-class cuisine, and unlimited nightlife venues. Visitors come to San Francisco in droves for various reasons, including sports, music, sights, and cultural attractions. The city inspires millions of travelers every year, but most of the returning visitors are interested in the expansive culinary landscape of San Francisco. Food and drinks in the city are intricately conjoined with the traditions and history of the people in the city, making the Bay Area a dining destination.

The restaurants and chefs in San Francisco are turning the wheel of culinary innovation, shaping the global culinary landscape for decades. The city is leading the way in culinary experimentation, growth, and excellence, giving birth to cookbooks and shows like Sourdough's Perfection and The Impossible Burger. The city is home to many award-winning cooking personalities, including chefs with distinct accomplishments. As a visitor or resident of San Francisco, you are embraced by a culture of deep inclusion, making it easy to experiment with diverse cooking projects and cuisines.

3. Los Angeles

Los Angeles is receiving country-wide recognition as one of the top foodie destinations in America. The city excels at street food, seafood, and a wide range of cuisines from different parts of the world. The presence of Los Angeles in the list of foodie cities in the United States is no surprise to people who have visited the multi-ethnic city. You will find both the high-end and low-end cuisine options hitting the spot when dining in an elegant restaurant or from the street food cart vendors. Los Angeles is currently supporting an extensive network of food media, with some websites and traditional print media joining hands. The press constantly gets the word out to keep diners in the loop, asking people to try the undiscovered cuisines.

4. New Orleans

Most people visiting New Orleans are astonished to find that, just like in Las Vegas, you can legally walk down the streets with open containers of alcohol. However, most people have not discovered New Orleans' culinary landscape. Food is a key ingredient of the local culture; groups of people flock to eateries in the city to eat. Some groups share more information about different restaurants on exclusive online platforms. New Orleans is a city you need to visit to experience its culinary expertise. You will experience seafood, traditional Vietnamese food, and other award-winning cuisines.

5. Houston

When thinking about cities with the best food scenes, do not dismiss Houston. This city is home to many world-famous chefs because of a neighborhood that appreciates diverse culinary talent. Regardless of the neighborhood you visit across the city, you will find an eatery that serves one of your best cuisines together with other mouthwatering dishes. As the fourth-largest city in the United States, Houston is extremely diverse. The city has more than 10,000 restaurants representing more than 70 countries. Diversity is better portrayed at the food trucks across the street serving Korean-Mexican fusion cuisine, Coreanos, and other imaginable cuisines. The food scene in Houston has a sense of tradition and unmatched creativity.

6. Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a foodie city home to various farms and artisan food producers. While in Philadelphia, you can visit the suburbs or the indoor farmer's market at Rittenhouse Square to pick your strawberries, pumpkins, or flowers. Furthermore, the city is home to artisan food products like Soom Foods. The street vendors in Philadelphia are a mark of diversity in the food industry, specializing in selling vegetables, fruits, buckwheat cakes, and meats. The city is home to some of the most excellent restaurants at fair prices because of the readily available farm produce. Avid foodies will love their stay in Philadelphia because they will explore and sample different cuisines from different restaurants owned by local and international brands.

7. Chicago

Experience the newly opened restaurants in Chicago with their amazing menus and diverse cuisines. The city is at the top of most food lovers' watch list because here, you experience the depth of culture, the greatness in every bite, and a picture-worthy presentation. Most Chicago restaurants provide American classics like hot dogs, pizza, and steak sandwiches. Chicago is witnessing more culinary tourism as people from different parts of the country make their way to the most significant food awards events. The best chefs in the country have camped in Chicago because they have the liberty to bring out the best of America's classics with a mix of modern dining.

8. New York

All foodie travelers would love to visit New York City because of the countless fine-dining restaurants and culturally diverse cuisines. New York guarantees you 24 hours of all-year-round tremendous and tasty food. Some of the most incredible food critics have given New York a deeper bench for setting up the best restaurants in America. New York City has a wide selection of foods that suit the dietary needs of individuals entrenched in class, high social status, and luxury. Greenwich Village is one of the most significant neighborhoods for foodies who would wish to try Italian food. For delicious Chinese food in New York, China Town serves authentic food. If you are a street food lover, you will find everything from fast food to food carts in Midtown.

9. Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. ranks highly for accessibility to highly-ranked restaurants. These establishments are exciting and create a vibrant scene in the food industry, attracting the attention of the most prominent industry players. Washington D.C. is a nexus of power, immigration, and wealth, and this has traditionally been reflected in the food scene with Indian-American restaurants, Spanish-American chefs, and French chefs. The population of D.C. is predominantly African-Americans and Ethiopians, with a provision of their restaurants offering specific cuisines. The black-owned restaurants are becoming common in D.C., providing a historical touch to the population with their native food and drinks. The volume of neighborhood restaurants is growing tremendously, with some young chefs finding a niche in D.C.

10. Charleston

American cities like Charleston attract companies and individuals in droves for the lifestyle, job opportunities, and chance to connect with the special locality. The Charleston culinary industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the city. The restaurants in the city have the most authentic dishes with a local touch. The legislative changes in the state have seen Charleston explode with craft beer as more breweries join the list. Various cook shows have portrayed Charleston as having the best chefs with exemplary skills. Some of the food neighborhoods in the city include South of Calhoun, North of Calhoun, and North Charleston.

This list is an inspiration for travel foodies and people looking to visit different cities across America. We have explored different culinary cities and wowed you with information you did not expect about specific cities. Whether you are looking for a city to visit, live, work, or eat in, go through the list, and you will certainly find one that will match your preferences and meet your needs.


In conclusion, we hope this list has inspired you to explore new culinary cities across America. Perhaps even prompted you to look for a kitchen or chef job! Whether you're looking for a place to live, work, eat, or visit, we're sure you'll find a city that suits your needs perfectly. And if you have any suggestions for places to add to the list, please let us know!



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