Experiencing the local cuisine is undeniably one of the most pleasurable aspects of international travel. Europe is especially exciting when it comes to cuisine, with its varied food traditions so close in proximity. While globalism has carried international cuisine across borders, centuries-old traditions often give local cuisine the upper hand when it comes to quality.
These five European cities are revered among foodies for their culinary offerings.
Barcelona is without a doubt the world’s favorite city for grazers. Its tapas bars are renowned for their intrigue. The variety of tapas available in Barcelona and the quality is unparalleled. Whether it’s calamares, aceitunas, bacalao, or pinchos, you can find it in abundance in Barcelona.
Although Barcelona is about 225 miles from Valencia, home of the seafood and rice specialty paella, you can find excellent paella in the Catalunyan capital.
Even the more pedestrian fare like streetside churros tend to be superior to those encountered elsewhere.
Brussels has long been a foodies’ favorite, with its unique twist on French cuisine complementing traditional Belgian fare. Some of the foods for which Brussels is famous include waterzooi, mussels, frites, and seafood.
No foodie would pass through Brussels without extensively interacting with the superlative chocolate and beer. And, whatever you eat in Brussels, don’t forget to sample the Belgian waffles- often.
Breads, a seemingly infinite variety of pastas and sauces, eels, fish, truffles, and desserts like cannoli, cream puffs, tiramisu, gelati — Rome has it all. And don’t forget Rome was doing cappuccino and espresso long before there was Starbucks. Foodies who flock to Rome speak reverently of so many different foodstuffs and restaurants that it’s almost impossible to go wrong when visiting the Eternal City.
It may seem trite to describe Paris as a foodie destination in Europe, but can you imagine not including it? Home to the Michelin Guide and more Michelin 3 stars than any other city, Paris has an astounding number of world-class chefs and eateries. The abundance of specialty markets and food shops is an indication of just how seriously the city takes its cuisine.
It’s hard to know where to start describing the foods of Paris: breads, wines, cheeses? How about the crepes, escargots, pat©s, duck, wild game, oysters? Specialties from the country from bouillabaisse to cassoulet and frogs legs are easily found in this capital city.
With all the culinary enticements in Western Europe, let’s not forget the continent’s other half. Lonely Planet recently surveyed its readers on which world cities they would travel to just for the food.
Istanbul was the only Eastern European city to make the list. Istanbul comes highly recommended from other foodie sources as well. In a 2007 article, the New York Times described Istanbul’s food scene as “international but local, forward-thinking but deeply rooted and, above all, delicious.”
So what’s on the menu in Istanbul? Meze, raki, grilled and fried seafood, lamb, bulgur rice and wheat, kebabs, baklava, and a pistachio dessert called kerebic are some of the many wonderful foods attracting attention of foodies in Istanbul.