The U.S. has some serious eats, and we’re covering five of the very best cities for chowing down. So why not New York? Frankly, it’s too easy. Everyone knows the Big Apple is a foodie’s paradise, so we wanted to share the spotlight with other culinary highlights across the country. So let’s dig in…

Las Vegas

The “City of Sin” doesn’t disappoint. If anything, it over-delivers… with a crushing blend of hedonism and enough alcohol-infused debauchery to make Sodom and Gomorrah blush. But that’s not all. Sure, Las Vegas (please don’t call it “Vegas” in front of locals) offers surface-level pleasures like strip clubs and gambling, but it also offers world-class cuisine.

Where to eat:

Jo?l Robuchon: Located in the MGM Grand, this 3 Michelin star restaurant is among the best in town. It’s also one of the most expensive (menus start at $120 per person). But you’re in good company: France named Jo?l Robuchon the Chef of the Century. Not bad, huh?

In & Out: On the other end of the spectrum, In & Out is the west coast’s best burger chain, period.

Buffet Bellagio: Arguably the best buffet in Las Vegas. Choose from a wide variety of delicious Italian Japanese, Chinese, seafood and American cuisines.

DSC01829 Photo credit: nattokun

Austin, Texas

Known as the Live Music Capital of the World for its high concentration of musical acts downtown, Austin literally rocks. And as good as the music is, the BBQ is even better. In Texas, it’s not a question of if, but where you can find world-class BBQ.

Where to eat:

The best BBQ is found outside of Austin in Lockhart and Driftwood. Lockhart is home to Kreuz Market, a delicious hometown favorite since the early 1900′s. True BBQ aficionados should visit here or Smitty’s – an equally delicious restaurant from the same family – for their brisket and pork.

The Salt Lick in Driftwood may not be the best BBQ in Central Texas, but with killer live music and BYOB (bring your own booze) it’s certainly a contender. Plan on arriving early, as hour wait times are frequent. If you like, bring your own beer/wine to enjoy out in the picnic center with live music.

Family-style Meat Plate at the Salt Lick BBQ Photo credit: vxla

New Orleans

The “city that care forgot” is certainly worth remembering. This charming colonial city – first established by the french, then rebuilt by the Spanish after the great fires 1790 – has been hit by countless tragedies. But take note: New Orleans is the best place in the US to eat. Seriously. Shrimps. Po’boy sandwiches. Oysters. All these (and much, much) await you in the Land Of Good Eating.

Where to eat:

Best restaurants? Tommy’s is tough to beat. An upscale, delicious restaurant you’d be hard pressed not to find something good here.

The Acme Oyster House is a perennial favorite, though oysters are delicious everywhere in the Big Easy. While in New Orleans, you must try a muffaletta, a delicious sandwich consisting of olives, ham and turkey on a Sicilian style roll. It’s about the best thing you’ll ever eat.

Krewe of Mikuta 2 Photo credit: Carnaval King 08

Chicago

Sure, blues and BBQ have many hotspots in the US… but none do it better than the Windy City. (Oddly enough, the term “Windy City” cam from a reference to its excessive number of long-winded politicians rather than its weather.) While the BBQ here is great – and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise – what really puts Chicago on the map are its pizza and its hot dogs. Hot dogs are (somewhat) similar around the world. But good pizza? That’s a different story… and no one does pizza better than Chicago.

Where to eat:

Giordanos One of Chicago’s most popular and longstanding deep dish pizza joints. One of the best, too.

Uno’s Pizza: No, it’s not the chain. This is the other pizza place in town. Which is better? Battle lines have been drawn, and supporters refuse to budge… but for me, Giordanos wins by a nose.

Giordano's Pizza Photo credit: Heather Clemons

San Francisco

Say “foodie” and San Francisco springs to mind. It’s a sizzling mixture of Chinese, Italian, French, Jamaican and German cuisines. Plus, with Napa Valley – and all its wine – just an hour away, you could easily spend a week eating like a king and drinking like a fish.

Where to eat:

Molinari’s Deli: This salami company has been a San Francisco staple since 1896. Their deli is right in the heart of North Beach, which makes in an ideal lunch stop.

Pot Sticker (150 Waverly Place) is a fantastic Szechwan restaurant (though their Mandarin style dumplings are my personal favorite). Be sure to check out this list of 100 things to eat in SF before you die.

one of the better sandwiches in San Francisco Photo credit: permanently scatterbrained

So there you have it: Five great cities for food. Which did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author: Adam Costa is the Editor in Chief of Trekity.com, a travel recommendation website. He also co-founded Travel Blogger Academy to help others start blogging about traveling. Follow him on twitter.

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27 Comments

  1. Brian

    I’ll throw in a plug for Cajun Seafood in New Orleans. Located outside of the touristy French Quarter, in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood, under the I-10 freeway, it looks like a run-down gas station. But we don’t go there for the ambiance. We go for the best boiled crawfish in the city.

  2. Darcie Connell

    The Salt Lick in Driftwood worth the 30-45 minute drive from Austin. They have a habinaro BBQ sauce that’s amazing… Oh, mouth watering, can’t say more. Cheers!

  3. marlys

    O.M.G.! I totally totally agree about Bellagio’s buffet! If only for that, I’d stay there again if ever we go back to Vegas.

  4. Wandergirl

    Despite having travelled many of Europe’s culinary capitals, I still don’t think I’ve ever eaten as well as my week in San Francisco.

  5. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    I have to admit, I planned my honeymoon trip to Charleston, SC specifically because of the food scene there! Not only is the city gorgeous, but the food is wonderfully elegant but steeped in old Southern traditions. If you’ve not been, I highly recommend a trip, though elastic-waisted pants might also be something to pack!

  6. Alexandra

    I lived in SF for 9 years and let me tell you it is a foodie heaven but your list is missing some of the best spots in town!

  7. Waegook Tom

    Deciding where to visit in the US next year just got a WHOLE lot harder. My stomach is all kinds of confused.

    Although based on this list, I’d have to go with Austin and its barbecue. All that meat with that sexy Texan accent…

  8. JoAnna

    When I saw the heading for this post, I was thinking how it wouldn’t be complete without Las Vegas! If you ever visit my stomping grounds, give me a call and we’ll go chow down!

  9. Don Nadeau

    NOLA’s the place to shell out a few extra bucks for supreme dining. You’ll dine at the best for far less money than in a place like New York City.

    I cannot recommend enough Galatoire’s in the French Quarter. Sublime food and quintessentially old New Orleans setting. Not stuffy at all, it’s a lively place with many birthday gatherings, etc. This has been a family favorite for many decades.

    Go at lunch when the prices and dress code are more relaxed. Reservations are usually essential. Ask to sit downstairs.

    http://www.galatoires.com

  10. Pretraveller

    Thanks for a great article. It is great to hear about the different food specialities of the different areas of the USA. I would like to add that I had some great food when I visited Seattle – in particular at the Fish Markets.

    1. debndave Post author

      Yes, Seattle has a great food culture. I’m so impressed with so many US cities for eating lately. Such diversity.

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