These Are America's Favorite Cities for Food

Whether you're hankering for crispy French fries, fresh fish, or the perfect slice of pizza, cities all across the United States are proving they can compete with international culinary powerhouses.

Aaron Johnson | Oct 30, 2019

Whether you're hankering for crispy French fries, fresh fish, or the perfect slice of pizza, cities all across the United States are proving they can compete with international culinary powerhouses.

Major metropolises like San Francisco and New York City have long been known as epicurean capitals but this year, much smaller cities joined the ranks. According to locals, these are some of the best places in the nation to eat.

In our annual America's Favorite Places survey, we ask Travel + Leisure readers to open up about about their hometowns the place they grew up or have lived in and know better than anywhere else on Earth. Unlike the World's Best Awards, which encourages readers to weigh in on travel experiences across the globe, the America's Favorite Places survey is a way for locals to share what their hometowns do best.

Louisville, Kentucky
"Louisville has more gourmet-class restaurants than many cities twice or three times its size," wrote one proponent of Louisville's cuisine.

Scottsdale, Arizona
Local residents praised the high quality of life in a city with everything from fluffy pancakes to authentic Mexican food.

Portland, Oregon
One our readers put it simply: "Oh, the restaurants. If you're a foodie, this is the place for you!"

New York City, New York
From Manhattan to Brooklyn to lesser-appreciated boroughs like Staten Island, New York City is teeming with some of the best food in the world. Locals recommend dim sum at Jing Fong in Chinatown, frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity, oysters at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal, and vegetarian burgers at Superiority Burger.

Chicago, Illinois
The home of some of the best hot dogs in the world, Chicago also has a thriving restaurant scene that rivals New York City and Los Angeles, with favorites such as Elizabeth for fine dining, Fat Rice for Macanese, and the theatrical dinner service at Next.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Come here for unique, regional dishes (like the green chile cheeseburger) and an entire festival dedicated to wine and chiles.

San Francisco, California
Head to the Mission neighborhood for some of the city's best Mexican food, or stop by one of San Francisco's dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Buffalo, New York
If Buffalo wings weren't your favorite food before coming to this New York hub, they will be after. Check out Anchor Bar, where the Buffalo chicken wing was reportedly born but don't count out new newcomers to the scene like Craving and Marble and Rye.

Norfolk, Virgina
Order the brisket at Belmont House of Smoke, and continue your evening at one of the city's many breweries. Locals are especially fond of O'Connor Brewing Company and Smartmouth Brewing Co.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Want to experience the No. 1 city in the nation for food? Travelers can check out classic standbys like Caf du Monde for beignets, or try more trendy options such as Sylvain, in the French quarter.

"If you know our city, you know the souls of its people are what fuels that spirit and provides its unique magnificence. That food and that music is powered by that spirit and these people," wrote one incredibly proud reader.