Just one city within the US is on Time Out's list of best cities for foodies (hint: it's not SF)

By Francesca Street | CNN

Some travellers select a city break based on the cultural offering of the destination and make a shortlist of the perfect museums and galleries to go to. Others are fascinated with cities with a vibrant nightlife or select a destination where a festival or event is happening.

But for a lot of vacationers, probably the most exciting a part of a visit is the food. These travelers get up on day one enthusiastic about all of the culinary delights that await them: from sprawling markets stuffed with local delicacies to late-night street food to independent restaurants serving unique dishes you won't soon forget.

Time Out had these gourmet travellers in mind when the worldwide media organisation latest rating of the perfect gourmet cities on this planet.

“Food is everything when travelling,” said Grace Beard, travel editor of Time Out CNN Travel“A good (or bad) meal can make or break a trip – it’s usually one of the things we remember most.”

Topping the Time Out list is the Italian city of Naples, said to be the birthplace of pizza. Unsurprisingly, the cheese specialty Pizza Margherita is mentioned within the Time Out list as the town's “must-try dish” – however the wealthy pasta dish Neapolitan Ragù and sweet Sfogliatella are also mentioned.

To compile this roundup, Time Out surveyed 1000’s of city dwellers world wide concerning the food on offer of their city, with a deal with quality and affordability. Time Out editors sifted through the outcomes and included the highest-scoring cities for every country within the resulting rankings.

Pizza and more

For travelers who wish to try authentic pizza in Naples, Time Out recommends visiting a pizzeria Saint Maradonasituated within the Spanish quarter of the town.

Santa Maradona owner Andrea Viviani told CNN Travel it was a “pleasure” to be within the Time Out highlight, but added that it’s “really a waste to think of Naples as just a foodie destination.”

“Food is certainly an important part of our culture, but Naples is much, much more,” said Viviani. “The idea of ​​Santa Maradona is exactly this: to convey all the facets of Naples.”

Viviani's restaurant, he explained, shouldn’t be only a celebration of pizza, but in addition of football. It is known as after Argentine footballer Diego Armando Maradona, who played for the Napoli team within the Eighties.

While Viviani hopes that travelers who come to Naples will enjoy greater than just the food, he adds that it’s exciting that many travelers come to the town with “a great desire to get to know our tradition and try our amazing pizzas.”

Second on Time Out's list is the South African city of Johannesburg. Time Out quotes Johannesburg food author Thando Moleketi-Williams, who recommends the central Braamfontein district and places like wine bars. Mamakashaka and friends in De Beer Street in addition to restaurant and gallery spaces ArtistTime Out says the must-try dish in the town is the kota sandwich, a stuffed bread with tasty ingredients similar to potato chips, sausage, egg or cheese, and likewise puts the highlight on bunny chow, a South African street food with a bread filling of curry, meat or beans.

And Time Out’s top three is rounded off by Lima in Peru, where Time Out recommends its visitors try the specialties ceviche and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). The city’s Central Restaurant, which recently opened was named primary within the 2023 World's 50 Best Restaurants awardsis in fact also mentioned.

Affordability is a priority

What all of the cities on the list have in common is that they’re “experiencing a culinary renaissance” or “are particularly trendy at the moment,” in accordance with Grace Beard of Time Out.

Beard told CNN Travel that “affordability played as big a role as quality in creating these rankings” and that the editors searched for cities “where travelers on any budget can afford quality meals.”

The top US city in Time Out's rating was Portland, Oregon – at number 10. According to Time Out, Portland is one other must-visit for pizza lovers, and Mexican pizza – a pizza topped with taco ingredients – was voted the town's best value dish by locals.

In the UK, the town of Liverpool narrowly missed out on a spot in Time Out’s top 10, coming in at number 11. Time Out praised the town’s signature dish, scouse – a wealthy stew often made with beef or lamb – and what Liverpool-based author Alice Porter calls a “group of brand new foodie ventures”, similar to manifesta restaurant mentioned within the Michelin Guide.

Time Out's best cities for eating 2024

1. NaplesItaly
2. JohannesburgSouth Africa
3. LimaPeru
4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
5. BeijingChina
6. BangkokThailand
7. Kuala LumpurMalaysia
8. MumbaiIndia
9. DubaiUnited Arab Emirates
10. PortlandUSA
11. LiverpoolGreat Britain
12. MedellinColombia
13. SevilleSpain
14. PostagePortugal
15. MarrakechMorocco
16. LyonFrance
17. SydneyAustralia
18. MontrealCanada
19. OsakaJapan
20. CopenhagenDenmark

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