Which are the best cities for culinary connoisseurs?

There are many reasons people love to travel, for some it’s sun sea and sand, while others prefer architecture and art galleries. Although often our most vivid memories of a great holiday revolve around food. Some of the more gastronomically inclined even make detours or specific travel plans to sample the delicacies each city or country has to offer.    

From cutting edge gastronomic delights in Michelin starred restaurants to simple street food in a busy marketplace, the food enjoyed on holiday can be be far more exciting than the fare at home and for some it can even be the highlight of the whole trip! 

With this in mind, we took a look into the culinary offerings of 49 cities around the world to find out exactly which offer the best gastronomic experiences for even the most discerning foodies.  

The best cities in the world for foodies

Best cities foodie hotspots
Best cities foodie hotspots
  1. Edinburgh, UK

Overall foodie Score/10: 8.65

The best foodie city in our ranking is Edinburgh, with a score of 8.65. Whilst not renowned for its traditional cuisine, Edinburgh scored highly across the board for the number of restaurants with vegan options as well as halal offerings and street food vendors. 

  1. Florence, Italy

Overall foodie Score/10: 7.67

Florence ranks as the second best foodie city, earning a score of 7.67. The Italian city is one of the cultural centres of Italy, known for its art galleries and architecture. However, the city should also be on every foodie’s list for its roast meats such as bistecca fiorentina. 

  1. Bristol, UK

Overall foodie Score/10: 7.19

The second UK city in our ranking, the multicultural Bristol comes third with a score of 7.19. Ranking highly for the number of vegan options, this city has a buzzing international food scene, hosting everything from classic Italian trattorias to new takes on Korean barbeque. 

The port city also boasts some of the best seafood in the country.

The best cities in the world for street food

best cities street food
best cities street food
  1. Madrid, Spain

Street food eateries per 100,000: 13

The best city for street food is Madrid, boasting the highest number of street food establishments relative to its population with 13 street food eateries per 100,000. Home to one of the world’s oldest restaurants Restaurante Botín, Madrid offers both traditional and cutting edge cuisine.

  1. Bordeaux, France 

Street food eateries per 100,000: 9.3

Coming second is Bordeaux, with the French city offering 9.3 street food eateries per 100,000 people. Situated close to the Atlantic coast, Bordeaux is a haven for seafood lovers and is renowned for its Cap Ferret oysters. 

  1. Edinburgh, UK

Street food eateries per 100,000: 8

The Scottish capital takes third place for the number of street food eateries, with 8 per 100,000. The city even has several markets, The Pitt and Stockbridge market, dedicated entirely to street food, so you’re guaranteed to find something delicious on your visit. 

The top vegan food hotspots

best vegan foodie cities
best vegan foodie cities
  1. Edinburgh, UK

Vegan options: 34.01%

Edinburgh takes the top spot for vegan options, with 657 restaurants listing themselves as providing vegan dishes, which is just over a third of the Scottish capital’s dining establishments.   

  1. Bristol, UK

Vegan options: 28.95%

Taking second place for vegan options is Bristol, with 28.95% of the city’s total restaurants providing vegan dishes. 

  1. Florence, Italy

Vegan options: 23.96%

Coming in third is Florence, with 23.96% of restaurants offering vegan meals or a total of 548. 

The best cities in the world for fine dining

fine dining cities
fine dining cities
  1. Macao, China

Restaurants in the Michelin Guide: 4.49%

The world’s best city for fine dining is the high-rollers paradise of Macao, in China, with 50 of its 1,114 restaurants featured in the Michelin Guide. This equates to 4.49% of restaurants.     

  1. Washington D.C, USA

Restaurants in the Michelin Guide: 4.21%

As well as being the political centre of the US, Washington D.C can also be considered its foodie capital. It ranks as the second-best city for haute cuisine with 119 of its 718,355 restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide, equating to 4.21%.     

  1. New York City, USA

Restaurants in the Michelin Guide: 3.96%

Coming in third place is New York, the US cultural capital has 119 of 2825 restaurants featured in the highly renowned guide. This makes up 3.96% of restaurants. 

The best halal hotspots

halal foodie hotspots
halal foodie hotspots
  1. Birmingham, UK

Proportion of restaurants offering halal: 9.65%

The best city for halal food is Birmingham, with 9.65% of its 2031 restaurants offering halal meals.  

  1. London, UK

Proportion of restaurants offering halal: 4.30%

In second place is London, where 4.30% of the city’s restaurants that were listed offer a halal menu. 

  1. Edinburgh, UK

Proportion of restaurants offering halal: 3.05%

Coming third is Edinburgh, with 3.05% of the city’s restaurants serving up halal food.  

Methodology

We wanted to find out which cities have the best culinary scene, with the winners being crowned the top foodie hotspots. This was achieved by compiling a list of cities renowned for their food from list articles. 

We measured these cities against several factors to ascertain which cities are the best for foodies to visit. We used the total number of restaurants for each city on Tripadvisor as our first factor and the proportion of them that offered vegan and halal options as well as those listed as “good for local cuisine”. Using the Michelin Guide, we recorded the number of restaurants featured by the guide in each city. We also recorded the number of street food outlets for each location taking the proportion per 100,000 of the population.

Each of the factors allowed us to create a summary of the food culture in each city, taking into account dietary requirements and the availability of local cuisine as well as accounting for formal and informal dining and the total number of restaurants. 

To create an overall score, we gave each city a normalised score out of ten for all five factors, before taking a final average for all five factors.