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Foodie Destinations in the USA

Top 07 Foodie Destinations in the USA: A Guide to the Best Local Cuisine

USA Travel Destinations

by Peter Barnes

Traveling is a great way to experience new cultures, explore new places, and sample local cuisine. For foodies, trying new dishes and flavors is a major part of the travel experience. The United States is home to some of the world’s most diverse and delicious cuisines, with unique regional flavors and iconic dishes. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the top 10 foodie destinations in the USA, and what makes each one special.

01 New York City

katz's delicatessen new york 
Foodie Destinations in the USA
Foodie Destinations in the USA | Katz’s Delicatessen

New York City is one of the world’s most famous foodie destinations, known for its diverse culinary scene and iconic dishes. From classic deli sandwiches to trendy fusion restaurants, NYC has something for everyone.

Specific Restaurants and Dishes to Try:

Katz’s Delicatessen: A New York institution famous for its pastrami sandwiches, matzo ball soup, and hot dogs.

Di Fara Pizza: A legendary pizzeria in Brooklyn known for its hand-crafted pies and long wait times.

Shake Shack: A fast-food chain that started in NYC, known for its burgers, hot dogs, and frozen custard.

History and Culture:

Food carts and street vendors: New York City is famous for its food carts and street vendors, which offer everything from hot dogs and pretzels to falafel and kebabs.

Immigrant cuisine: The city’s culinary landscape has been shaped by the many immigrant cultures that have settled there over the years, such as Italian and Jewish delis.

02 New Orleans

Foodie Destinations in the USA
commander's palace new orleans
Foodie Destinations in the USA | Commander’s Palace

New Orleans is a city that’s known for its vibrant music scene, historic architecture, and delicious food. With its unique blend of Creole, Cajun, and French influences, it’s a must-visit destination for any foodie.

Specific Restaurants and Dishes to Try:

Commander’s Palace: A classic Creole restaurant known for its turtle soup, gumbo, and bread pudding.

Cafe du Monde: A New Orleans institution famous for its beignets and chicory coffee.

Acme Oyster House: A popular spot for fresh oysters, seafood, and po’ boy sandwiches.

History and Culture:

Creole and Cajun cuisine: The city’s culinary culture is heavily influenced by Creole and Cajun cuisine, which blend French, African, and Native American flavors.

French colonialism: The French colonization of New Orleans in the 18th century had a significant impact on the city’s food culture, introducing ingredients like butter, cream, and wine.

03 San Francisco

Swan Oyster Depot Top 7 foody destinations in usa
Foodie Destinations in the USA | Swan Oyster Depot (Menu)

San Francisco is a foodie destination that’s known for its diverse culinary scene, farm-to-table restaurants, and innovative cuisine.

Specific Restaurants and Dishes to Try:

Swan Oyster Depot: A seafood institution that’s been serving fresh oysters, crab, and shrimp since 1912.

Tartine Bakery: A popular spot for artisanal breads, pastries, and desserts.

State Bird Provisions: A trendy restaurant with a dim sum-style menu and innovative dishes.

History and Culture:

Sourdough bread: San Francisco is famous for its sourdough bread, which is made using a wild yeast starter that’s unique to the area.

The Gold Rush: The city’s food culture was heavily influenced by the Gold Rush in the mid-19th century,which brought a flood of immigrants and ingredients to the area, creating a diverse culinary landscape.

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04 Chicago

lou malnati's pizzeria chicago
Foodie Destinations in the USA | Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Chicago is a foodie destination that’s known for its deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and steakhouses. It’s also a great place to try international cuisine from around the world.

Specific Restaurants and Dishes to Try:

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria: A popular spot for deep-dish pizza with a buttery crust and lots of cheese and toppings.

The Signature Room at the 95th: A fine-dining restaurant with panoramic views of the city and a classic American menu.

Alinea: A Michelin-starred restaurant with a creative tasting menu and molecular gastronomy techniques.

History and Culture:

Prohibition-era speakeasies: During Prohibition in the 1920s, Chicago was a hotbed of speakeasies, where illegal alcohol was served alongside classic cocktails and jazz music.

Italian beef sandwiches: Chicago is known for its Italian beef sandwiches, which are made with thinly sliced roast beef and served on a crusty roll with giardiniera peppers.

05 Portland, Oregon

salt & straw portland
Foodie Destinations in the USA | Salt & Straw

Portland, Oregon is a foodie destination that’s known for its farm-to-table cuisine, craft beer, and food carts.

Specific Restaurants and Dishes to Try:

Pok Pok: A popular spot for Thai street food, including spicy wings, papaya salad, and noodle dishes.

Salt & Straw: A beloved ice cream shop with unique flavors like honey lavender and olive oil.

Voodoo Doughnut: A quirky doughnut shop with funky flavors and designs.

History and Culture:

Food carts: Portland is famous for its food carts, which offer a wide range of international cuisine and local specialties.

Farm-to-table movement: The city’s culinary scene is heavily influenced by the farm-to-table movement, which emphasizes using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.

06 Austin

ramen tatsu-ya austin tx
Foodie Destinations in the USA | Ramen Tatsu-ya

Austin is a city that’s known for its live music, outdoor activities, and food. Its culinary scene is a mix of traditional Texan barbecue and innovative, trend-setting restaurants.

Specific Restaurants and Dishes to Try:

Franklin Barbecue: A legendary spot for slow-smoked brisket, ribs, and sausages.

Ramen Tatsu-ya: A popular ramen shop that blends traditional Japanese flavors with Texas-style barbecue.

Uchi: A high-end sushi restaurant with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

History and Culture:

Texan barbecue: Austin is known for its barbecue, which is a style of slow-smoked meat that’s flavored with dry rubs and wood smoke.

Tex-Mex cuisine: Austin’s food culture is heavily influenced by Tex-Mex cuisine, which blends Mexican and Texan flavors.

07 Charleston

martha lou's kitchen charleston
Foodie Destinations in the USA | Martha Lou’s Kitchen

Charleston, South Carolina, is known for its rich history and charming architecture, but it’s also a top destination for foodies. With a mix of southern cuisine, seafood, and Lowcountry dishes, Charleston’s food scene is a must-try for any food lover.

Overview of the food scene in Charleston

Southern cuisine

Charleston is located in the heart of the South, so it’s no surprise that southern cuisine is a staple of the city’s food scene. Expect to find comfort foods like mac and cheese, biscuits, and fried chicken at many of the city’s restaurants.

Seafood and Low-country dishes

Being situated on the coast, Charleston also boasts a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including oysters, shrimp, and crab. In addition, Lowcountry dishes such as shrimp and grits and she-crab soup are a must-try when visiting the city.

Specific restaurants and dishes to try

Shrimp and grits at Hominy Grill

Hominy Grill is a Charleston institution that serves up classic southern dishes with a modern twist. Their shrimp and grits dish is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, featuring creamy grits and plump shrimp topped with a spicy tomato sauce.

Fried chicken at Martha Lou’s Kitchen

Martha Lou’s Kitchen is a family-owned restaurant that has been serving up southern comfort food for over 30 years. Their fried chicken is a standout dish, featuring crispy and juicy chicken served with sides like mac and cheese and collard greens.

The history and culture of Lowcountry cuisine

African and Gullah influences

Lowcountry cuisine is heavily influenced by the African and Gullah cultures that have shaped the region’s history. Gullah cuisine, in particular, is a blend of African, European, and Native American influences and is unique to the Lowcountry region.

“Discover the Flavors of Charleston”

If you’re a foodie looking for a taste of the South, Charleston is a must-visit destination. With its rich history and unique blend of southern and seafood cuisine, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.

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