These 33 Towns Have Been Selected as America’s Next Top Foodie Destination for 2021!

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Of course, we’ve all heard about New Orleans’ excellent Cajun cuisine.

And everyone is acquainted with Chicago’s world-famous deep dish pizza.

But what about the lesser-known or unexplored areas of the nation that are just waiting to be discovered?

Walla Walla, Washington instead of Seattle, and Natchitoches, Louisiana instead of New Orleans?

Restaurants providing wonderful cuisine that were previously unknown- till today.

Thirty-three of America’s finest travel bloggers have chosen their favorite lesser-known locations as America’s Next Top Foodie Destination.


Voting has now closed — congratulations to Little Rock, Arkansas for winning the title of America’s Next Top Foodie Destination for 2020!


California’s Costa Mesa

Megan of Bobo & Chichi nominated

Southern California has one of the greatest gourmet scenes in the country, yet it’s a residents’ secret.

Costa Mesa is most known for being home to the big luxury mall South Coast Plaza and for being close to coastal communities such as Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, but what really distinguishes this destination is its great gastronomy culture.

Costa Mesa is unquestionably one of the top gourmet destinations not just in Orange County, but across Southern California. Its culinary scene has some of the greatest worldwide fusion cuisines.

Costa Mesa’s cuisine scene is undoubtedly impacted by the many ethnicities of its residents.

Instead of only Mexican, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, or other regional speciality restaurants, many of the chefs in this area create hundreds of fusion style restaurants that flawlessly combine many cultures and cuisines, making this a hub for one delectable restaurant after another.

The gourmet scene in the neighborhood is thriving, so new restaurants are opening all the time.

There aren’t many chain restaurants in this neighborhood since it’s dominated by privately owned eateries with a distinct culinary expertise.

We suggest visiting the SOCO Collection & OC Mix food hall, the restaurant and fantastic nightlife scene on 17th Street, which has the most concentrated section of restaurants, and the independent eateries at both The Lab and The Camp near South Coast Plaza.

Huntsville, Ala.

Gemma of Two Scots Abroad nominated

Alabama’s Huntsville is known as the Rocket City, but did you know that its cuisine scene is out of this world?

It’s difficult to believe that there are over 500 Huntsville eateries within a 5.5-mile radius, ranging from Barbecue to breweries. What the gourmet industry lacks in physical scale, it more than makes up for in personality.

As an example, consider Toy Box Bistro. Among the hanging board games and vintage toys are Frankenstein-style hot dogs suitably called The Punisher.

The gaming theme continues at Pints and Pixels. Play Pacman while packing chili fries. Do you need a break? Have a drink on the rooftop terrace.

Looking for a romantic dinner for two? Wow, your other half at Commerce Kitchen with the fried green tomatoes. Don’t skip dessert.

Campus 805 is my personal favorite gastronomic experience in the city. This is a former secondary school that has been transformed into an entertainment venue. At the family-friendly campus, you may eat pizza, drink craft beer, discover the speakeasy, hurl axes, or hang out by the lockers.

Barbecue is essential to any vacation to Alabama. Big Bob Gibson Barbecue in Decatur serves pork, potatoes, beans, and half-and-half tea.

Take the Blue Bayou for a fixed menu on a motionless train. The menu varies every week, so you may return for this very unique dining experience in the United States.

Washington, Walla Walla

Sarah of Explore the PNW nominated

Since Walla Walla is located in the center of Washington State’s wine region, it is a popular destination for wine sampling.

What foods go well with wine tasting? Food! But not just any meal will do.

Wine enthusiasts are often foodies as well. When wine-loving tourists started to flood into the lovely village of Walla Walla, the demand for outstanding meals soared.

Gradually, the little town began to draw chefs and restaurateurs from all over the country, and it became known as a small-town gastronomic paradise.

Nowadays, every style of restaurant conceivable is available, from adorable, informal cafés to gourmet fine dining and everything in between.

It would take more than a few pages to detail all of the delectable meals available in Walla Walla, but here’s a taster.

Begin with breakfast at Bacon & Eggs and sample the biscuits and gravy or papas pastores.

For lunch, visit the odd and wonderful Andraes Kitchen, which is situated in a petrol station. You’ll be proved incorrect if you believe gas station cuisine is the stuff of nightmares.

Chef Andrae has settled into a peaceful life in Walla Walla after years of working in the high-end restaurant business in locations like NYC.

Get some brisket tacos, in-house smoked prime rib, and Voodoo Fries and join the crowd. His food truck may also be seen at local vineyards.

If you are hungry after a big meal at Andraes, make a reservation at Saffron Mediterranean Cuisine.

Since 2007, this award-winning restaurant has been serving up fantastic fresh meals and is still one of the most popular spots in town.

The menu is short, which indicates that they take their cuisine seriously, and you can’t go wrong with the Lingcod en Salsa Verde or the Wood-Grilled Ribeye.

Torrance, California is a city in California.

Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic nominated

While many people in Los Angeles speak about cuisine, many of these restaurants are merely places to be seen, with lavish decor and clientele who are too terrified to consume much of the food because they are on some type of special diet to earn a main part.

But, just outside of Los Angeles, there is some of the greatest cuisine in the nation, and residents are aware of it.

Torrance is noted for having the greatest ramen in California and amazing Japanese eateries that are genuine and reasonably priced.

Torrance eateries, like the city, prioritize content above style.

The finest locations are in strip malls and industrial parks. While it may not seem enticing, people travel here only to eat, and there are queues out the door for true authentic cuisine.

Torrance’s variety is excellent, but the appeal is its ramen. It is renowned as SoCal’s ramen empire.

Hakata Ikkousha Ramen is one of the most well-known restaurants. The original outpost is in Japan, and the recipe remains the same, which is unusual since many US ramen restaurants change formulas for local tastes.

Although there is a wide selection of ramen alternatives, Tonkotsu is the most popular. The ramen broth is what makes it so delicious. It’s made using pork and cooked over low heat for so long that it’s rich and creamy.

Since the restaurant can’t keep up with demand, there’s usually always a soup pot on the burner, and it serves up to 800 bowls on a Saturday in its tiny space.

Stuart is a town in Martin County, Florida.

Emily of Emily Luxton Trips nominated

The little beachfront community of Stuart, Martin County, located on Florida’s Treasure Coast approximately midway between Orlando and Miami, is sometimes neglected by visitors.

Yet, this vibrant city, with its historic center and emphasis on small local shops, should be on any seafood lover’s bucket list.

Stuart is recognized as the Sailfish Capital of the World, whereas Port Salerno, a nearby town, was originally a fishing settlement. The waterfront eateries that line the port still provide delicious seafood.

There is no scarcity of fresh-caught fish in Stuart and the neighboring Martin County region.

In reality, practically all of the products and fruit found in local restaurants are as fresh as possible: the region’s abundant countryside makes farm-to-table cuisine readily available.

You can even eat directly on the farm! Kai Kai Farm, a renowned local supplier located just outside of Stuart, hosts unique dinner evenings that include a tour, matching wines, and meals created with farm-fresh ingredients.

If you can’t make it out to the farm, let it come to you at one of the numerous independent local restaurants that use exclusively locally farmed vegetables.

Birmingham, Alabama

Maria of Maria Abroad nominated

To be honest, when I planned my trip to Mobile Alabama, I did not really know what kind of food to expect other than Southern with a dash of seafood. Boy was I wrong.
Mobile took my foodie’s heart by storm with its innovative cuisine, fresh ingredients, and delectable tastes.
Mobile bridges the gap between innovation and comfort food, leaving your tastebuds excited and yet give you the cozy feels of homemade shrimp and grits. 
So where should you eat in Mobile? Here are some of my favorite spots in this cute city:
– Bob’s Downtown Diner aka On The Corner of Fat and Happy: Old-fashioned Diner with the classics – fried green tomatoes, homemade corned-beef hash, Po-Boys and more. 
– Wintzell’s Oyster House: This is an institution and a must if you love seafood. Their oysters are sweet and taste like the ocean, fresh and juicy. I also loved their seafood boil that had a little Cajun kick to it (but not as spicy as a Louisiana style boil).
– The Noble South: Tasty Farm to Table restaurant with an Instagram-able flair. Not only is the food really, really tasty, but the decor is beautiful and reminds me of a modern mid-west barn. 
– The Haberdasher: A stunning bar with a hipster vibe and great cocktails. The bartenders take their mixology serious at this place and you can look forward to some delicious treats. 
Mobile definitely should be on your radar, if you are a foodie. You won’t be disappointed, I promise! 

Colorado’s Durango

Jenn of The SoFull Traveler nominated

When it comes to visiting Colorado, Denver seems to be the popular destination. Indeed, it’s a vibrant metropolis, but what large Colorado cities lack is the rural charm of yesteryear.

Make your way out to the Southwest corner of Colorado on your next vacation to the big sky, where you may take a step back in time in the lovely town of Durango. And the gourmet adventurer is in for a genuine treat (see what I did there?).

Durango has more restaurants than San Francisco. From saloon-inspired pubs to hip breweries, artisan style pizza to ethical Japanese dishes, this hidden treasure has something for everyone’s taste buds.

A Colorado staple is fairly constant across some of the greatest Durango restaurants: farm to table foods and artisan drinks. Sustainability influences many choices in this little town, thus as many eco-friendly plates as possible are used.

And when it comes to specialty cocktails, they know how to touch a millennial’s sweet spot with titles like Letters to Elliot and Fireside Talk. So. Instagram-worthy.

Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana

Margie of DQ Family Travel nominated

Natchitoches, Louisiana is a small town about 4 hours north of New Orleans. Known as the oldest permanent settlement in the state, this charming Southern town is filled with antebellum history.
Visitors not only come here for the food and riverfront charm but also because Natchitoches was the filming location for many scenes from the movie Steel Magnolias. It is also a fantastic place to spend a weekend and eat some delicious regional cuisine. 
Due to its location just across the Texas line, Natchitoches serves up all the New Orleans classics: jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, crawfish, as well as some tasty barbeque spots.
It’s well known, however, for its meat pies. A Natchitoches meat pie is similar to a Spanish empanada, only that it is much bigger and is seasoned with different spices.
You will find this perfect lunch item on many of the local menus, yet the only place to get the original meat pie is at Laysone’s, which opened its doors in 1967.
The downtown area is also home to craft breweries and several family-owned Creole and Cajun restaurants. If you enjoy a little Southern charm and cooking, then the small town of Natchitoches is waiting for you. 

Wayzata, Minnesota 

Nominated by Sam of My Flying Leap

What would you expect from a gastronomic hotspot like Wayzata, Minnesota? Probably not much, and you’d be dead wrong!

This Minneapolis suburb is a gourmet haven with numerous hidden treasures.

My personal favorite is Sushi Fix, which was founded by regionally famous chef Billy Tserenbat. This establishment will not disappointunless you fail to make a reservation and are unable to get a seat! Indeed, it really is that wonderful!

They even have a secret sushi menu, according to residents. Inquire about it, and expect to be blown away.

This restaurant serves some of the most inventive sushi meals I’ve ever tasted, including the Frankenstein roll, a hybrid of two other rolls with a fiery bite. It’s not attractive, but it’s remarkable.

Shiso Delicious, with bonito flakes sprinkled on shiso peppers, is by far the greatest presentation. It arrives at your table and looks to be alive on the plate.

Don’t be fooled by the peppers’ sweetness; there are a handful on every dish that will knock your socks off and may even cause flames to burst from your lips!

This establishment is certainly a hidden treasure, situated on a charming lane near Wayzata Bay. You will not be disappointed, and the travel from Minneapolis is definitely worth it.

Oklahoma City is a city in Oklahoma.

Stephanie of Oklahoma Wonders nominated

Even though I’ve spent the past four years traveling full time, there’s nothing quite like thinking about the food from home to make one homesick. For me, home is Oklahoma City, and the food is unparalleled.
While I’ve eaten in some of the best restaurants in London, New York, Paris, and Rio, the one meal I miss more than anything in the world is the classic Tex-Mex served up in OKC at places like Ted’s Cafe Escondido and Chellino’s.
That’s not to say that the foodie scene isn’t growing, because every time I come home I find more restaurants to explore.
The bar seems to get raised year after year, and now places like The Jones Assembly serve up modern takes on classic Southern cooking.
Fried okra, Nashville Hot Chicken, and updated banana pudding are the comfort food the city is known for but with an updated attitude. You could spend months here and not experience every place worth visiting.

Johnnies, the charcoal hamburgers that rival whatever In-N-Out Burger or Shake Shack has to offer, is a hidden treasure that doesn’t receive much national exposure but that every Oklahoman knows about.

But they don’t scrimp on the toppings, have plenty of cheese, and you can have a slice of pie for dessert. Nothing shouts “Oklahoma” like a second piece of pie!

Bricktown and Deep Deuce are the greatest gourmet districts to visit while in town, but don’t be afraid to venture farther afield. The city is full with hidden treasures.

Richmond, Virginia is a city in Virginia.

Becky of SightDOING nominated

Richmond boasts one of the most famous culinary scenes in the South, with dozens of excellent restaurants located around the city. Traditional southern stapes are given a contemporary spin here, elevating the banal to something fresh, remarkable, and tasty.

Begin your morning at The Fancy Biscuit, where a classic ham biscuit is topped with handmade caramel sauce and Virginia ham for a sweet-and-salty taste.

The Roosevelt provides succulent pork chops with pimento cheese grits, which are wonderfully complemented with inventive drinks.

Mama Js is a neighborhood favorite for typical southern fare, particularly the fried chicken and catfish.

There are lots of outstanding restaurants that go beyond southern cuisine: Stellas, a neighborhood institution, serves creative interpretations on Greek food, Peter Chang China Café serves award-winning Sichuan cuisine, and Perlys serves Jewish deli classics.

Richmonders are restaurant-obsessed, with some of the top restaurants dispersed around the local suburbs for residents’ convenience. Visitors who want to sample some of the city’s greatest eateries should hire a vehicle.

Within city bounds, the Church Hill area features a high percentage of excellent local eateries, ranging from fast bites like Proper Pie Co. to full-service establishments like Alewife.

Omaha is a city in Nebraska.

Stella of Around the Globe in 24 Hours nominated

Omaha, Nebraska has long been known for its delicious steaks. If you’re seeking for high-quality beef, The Boiler Room serves exquisite Nebraska-raised wagyu.

Yet, the rest of the local culinary industry has exploded in recent years, and Omaha, Nebraska’s biggest city, is poised to become America’s next top gastronomic destination.

The Reuben sandwich is maybe Omaha’s most famous cuisine. Corned beef, grilled Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing are layered on two pieces of rye bread in this sandwich.

According to legend, it was made in the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha by Lithuanian immigrant Reuben Kulakofsky. Ms Pub now offers a delicious Reuben. Of course, New York City claims to have originated the Reuben sandwich, but don’t mention it in Omaha.

There are plenty additional excellent options for casual eating in Omaha.

Block 16 serves an excellent Croque Garcon burger. (It comes with an egg on top, much like the renowned French Croque madame sandwich.)

Ted and Wallys serves ultra-premium 20 percent butterfat ice cream that is produced fresh everyday.

If you prefer gourmet dining, both V Mertz and The Grey Plume provide outstanding tasting menus that can compete with any in the nation. One night, The Grey Plume serves wagyu beef tartare, steelhead fish, and chocolate nib ice cream.

V Mertz serves pate, morel mushroom lasagne, and Japanese cheesecake the next night. Omaha has an abundance of options when it comes to eating.

The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Courtney of Coco Betty nominated

New Mexico’s food culture is still widely unknown so I’m gonna let you in on the secret: if you are looking for food that makes your mouth water, your eyes get wide and your stomach to roar in agreement then you need to make your way to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
New Mexico may be one of the only states with a State Question; “Red or Green?” This refers to a person’s preference for red chile or green chile on their food.
Now if that doesn’t give you enough of an indication for how much they love their food, let me tell you more. This isn’t Baja or Tex-Mex, this is New Mexican cuisine that reaches to the roots of their Mexican heritage and what can be more New Mexican than tacos?
Small in size but bursting with flavor, the best can be found at El Cotorro in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill right off the famous Route 66. These soft corn tortillas are sometimes doubled up to help with the mess. Who needs napkins?
They can be made with Al Pastor (Pork), Carnitas (Pork), Barbacoa (Lamb), Carne Asada (Beef), Fish or Vegetarian like Nopales (Cactus) and then topped with onion & cilantro.
Generally, the food can be pretty spicy so be careful how much hot sauce or salsa you throw in. Squeeze a lime wedge on top and enjoy! Bon Apetit!

Ridgeland is a town in Mississippi.

Kita of Pass The Sushi nominated

Ridgeland, Mississippi, is a young, energetic metropolitan hamlet rising quickly just outside the capital city of Jackson.

And, as with any burgeoning city, the scandalous gastronomic scene follows. There is a plethora of fine dining establishments and trendy coffee shops, as well as locally owned chic lunch eateries focusing in regionally produced foods and a fantastic Comeback sauce.

Ridgeland is well-known for having some of the best fried catfish and fried chicken in the Delta (with restaurants like Cock in the Walk specializing in and only that), but it also tempts diners to think upscale with exceptional steakhouses, craft cocktails, and oysters shipped in daily from the Gulf.

The gastronomic experience rivals that of a busy metropolis five times its size, with outstanding chefs returning to their origins in the heart of America.

Ridgeland is cranking out a gastronomic experience that is often ignored, from fresh fried green tomatoes topped with crawfish to scratch-made cinnamon buns.

Before saddling up at a cafe for a true blue plate special, try the fresh redfish and butter dipped crab claws straight from the gulf.

Whether you’re passing through or searching for a relaxed and unexpected long weekend, Ridgeland’s food culture is new, energetic, and sure to surprise you.

Portland, Maine is a city in Maine.

Jamie of The Everyday Adventures of Me nominated me.

Portland, Maine is a picture-perfect New England town with brick buildings and lighthouses on the Atlantic Ocean’s shore. It is also one of the top cuisine destinations in the United States.

There are numerous gourmet entrepreneurs here experimenting with New England tastes and ingredients.

While there are classics, such as a typical New England lobster roll, there are also numerous variations, such as Eventide’s brown butter lobster roll.

Other innovative uses of local crops include potato doughnuts at The Holy Donut and some of the greatest fries you’ve ever tasted from Duckfat.

Portland also boasts a booming artisan spirits industry, as well as locally made wines and beer.

Among the greatest are Hardshore Distillery Company’s unusual gin, Eighteen Twenty Wines’ rhubarb wine, and Maine Mead Works’ lavender honey mead.

And Portland is an excellent starting point for exploring the whole state of Maine!

Phoenix, Arizona

Nominated by: Nicole from American SW Obsessed
If you love food like me, then you need to make Scottsdale Arizona your next foodie stop.
Scottsdale has over 800 restaurants to choose from with a variety of different cuisines.  You’re sure to find something for even the pickiest eater here.
If you would like to try a lot of different places on a day trip from Phoenix, why not try a foodie tour like Arizona Food Tours.  You can walk around downtown with the group and try several different places while learning about the history of the area or restaurant.
You can try authentic Southwestern cuisine which is a cross between Spanish, Mexican, and even Tex-Mex.  All I have to say is that it is high on flavor!
Scottsdale also boasts two of the Top 100 Restaurants in the USA – Café Monarch and the French Restaurant Sel.  Both are excellent choices anytime.  Don’t forget to leave room for Rum Cake.

Naples, Florida is a city in Florida.

Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad nominated

Naples, Florida, one of Florida’s most popular vacation locations, is located in the southwest region of the state, on the western border of the Florida Everglades.

In Naples, elite class and small-town charm are as inextricably linked as seafood and beer.

Throw in fantastic white sand beaches, year-round mild weather, Italian-inspired architecture, world-class shopping, and a thriving restaurant scene, and it’s easy to understand why Naples is such a popular destination for foodies and everyone else.

Since the restaurant is directly on the Gulf of Mexico, fresh Gulf shrimp, oysters, snapper, grouper, and other saltwater species dominate the menu. Fresh Florida stone crabs, on the other hand, are a seasonal favorite.

By legislation, stone crab fishing in Florida is a sustainable enterprise; only one stone crab claw may be collected from a crab, enabling it to grow back and thrill us for future seasons!

There are so many terrific restaurants in Naples to pick from, regardless of your mood, from beach drinks in your shorts with your feet in the sand to exquisite high-end dining with a celebrity flare.

Yet, with a drink in hand, the greatest way to enjoy any meal is on the beach or watching the ocean.

Buffalo is a city in New York.

Jennifer P. (aka Dr. J) of Sidewalk Safari nominated

Buffalo has long had an excellent culinary scene. Those living outside of Western New York are just unaware of it. Let’s chat about where to dine in Buffalo.

Charley the Butcher is well-known in the area for his meat on weck. Consider finely sliced roast meat on a perfectly crispy bun sprinkled with salt and caraway seeds.

The finest way to serve beef on weck is with loganberry pop. Only in Buffalo have I seen this combination of a blackberry and a raspberry transformed into a soft drink.

Of course, Buffalo’s cuisine scene is already well-known across the globe.

Who isn’t aware that Buffalo wings originated in Western New York? Duffs offers a less touristic chicken wing experience.

Duff’s wings are naturally spicy. Medium hot is very hot, medium hot is quite hot, and extremely hot is really hot. Duffs’ spicy, vinegary sauce is just amazing, and it pairs well with a pint of craft beer from one of Buffalo’s local microbreweries.

Buffalo witnessed a flood of Polish immigration in the mid-nineteenth century. Another reason Buffalo is a terrific gourmet trip is the excellent Polish cuisine.

Visit Polish Villa to sample traditional Polish food. A traditional meal consists of pierogi and kielbasa served on a massive potato pancake.

Local Kitchen & Beer Bar now serves upmarket interpretations on Polish classics. Try the Cheektowaga Polka, which is a big pierogi with spare ribs and caramelized onions that is presented with an exquisite flourish.

Idaho’s capital city is Boise.

Lauren from TheDownLo nominated

You may laugh if I tell you that Boise is the next great gastronomic destination.

A state famous for the humble potato? Come on, people. But, I am not alone in my opinion.

It was on the verge of a gastronomic revolution, according to Vogues.

They thought it was one of America’s trendiest new culinary towns.

Some said it was one of the country’s most underappreciated eating spots.

So, what makes Boise so special? The variety, affordability, and star power.

Famous chefs from Portland, Seattle, and Denver are flocking to the area, positioning it to become the next great Western metropolis.

The Basque Market, which has the second-largest Basque community in the US, is a must-see for its pintxos and weekly paella feasts.

Bittercreek Alehouse is a popular neighborhood hangout noted for its artisan beer and varied food. Another farm-to-table favorite is Fork, while Goldys is the go-to brunch location.

If you want to pay homage to the state staple, Boise Fry Bar offers five distinct cuts and colors of fries with dozens of toppings and the burger on the side.

Westside Drive-in also serves potato-shaped ice cream sundaes that are excellent for Instagram. Just don’t restrict yourself to potatoes.

North Carolina city of Asheville

Bret Love and Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Tourism nominated

Asheville, North Carolina, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, has evolved in recent years as the Southeast’s answer to Portland, another mountain town noted for its stunning natural surroundings, bustling cultural scene, and forward-thinking environmental concern.

The city is likely best known for George Vanderbilt’s opulent Biltmore Estate, which was completed in 1895 and is still the biggest privately held residence in the United States, with 250 rooms and 135,280 square feet.

Nonetheless, Asheville has received a lot of (deserved) attention for its booming food industry.

As a result of attracting multiple highly regarded chefs from big cities, Asheville currently has more Green Restaurants per capita than any other city in the nation and has received great coverage in prestigious magazines like as Bon Appetit and Food & Wine.

The town boasts loads of excellent alternatives for devoted foodies, from laid-back cafés like Green Sage and Tupelo Honey to stylish BBQ restaurants like 12 Bones Smokehouse (President Obama’s favorite), fashionable vegan eateries like Plant, and farm-to-table French bistro Bouchon.

While the scene’s emphasis is often on fresh, locally sourced Southern cooking, Asheville legends like Peter Pollay (Posana) and multi-James Beard Award candidate Katie Button (Crate) are constantly surprising tourists and residents alike with their imaginative culinary concoctions.

Hawaii, Kona

Constance from Panda Bear’s Adventures nominated

Coffee, macadamia nuts, and chocolate are all associated with Hawaii. Undoubtedly, Kona is famed for its great coffee due to its peculiar environment, which is ideal for cultivating coffee beans, but did you know it is also famous for traditional Hawaiian cuisine?

Lau lau is a Hawaiian cuisine that consists of wrapped beef, hog, chicken, or fish in taro leaves. It is commonly steamed nowadays, although it was historically made in an imu, a Hawaiian subterranean oven.

Remember to try poi! Taro is boiled and mashed into a creamy, thick consistency for this Hawaiian classic. In the warm, tropical climates of Hawaii, it was discovered to be a naturally shelf-stable food, and it is often consumed fresh or fermented.

But, be advised that the fermented form may be rather acidic!

Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish prepared from several varieties of raw, marinated fish. It has also become a popular Hawaiian dish on the mainland United States.

The ahi tuna poke in Kona is unrivaled because it is so fresh! Most poke shops in the Kona region will sell the day’s catch and then shut up business.

Last but not least, enjoy a tour of a coffee plantation and sample some authentic Kona coffee. It’s one of the nicest things to do in Kona, and furthermore, did you really travel to Kona if you didn’t drink Kona coffee?

Washington’s Bellingham

Elizabeth Lau of Lizzie Lau Tours nominated

Bellingham is Seattle’s Canadian border baby sister, delivering the same outdoor lifestyle and laid-back feel.

With a snow-capped volcano to the east and the Salish Sea to the west, this Pacific Northwest city has long been a popular location for mountain biking, snow, and water sports.

It has lately made a name for itself in the gourmet sector, with award-winning brewers, exceptional coffee, and highly recognized restaurants. has covered the region, calling it a great spot for a gourmet holiday. These are three eateries you should try:

Aslan Brewery in downtown Bellingham is a great option, with a great range of beers and an upgraded pub cuisine that looks and tastes more farm to table than fast food. Favorites include the fiery yam tacos and the mammoth bacon bison burger.

On the road to Mount Baker, people in the know stop at Rifugio’s Country Italian Cuisine.  
Their brunch menu is mouth-watering, with things like Breakfast Carbonara topped with poached eggs and roasted tomatoes. Try Chef Richard’s riff on eggs benny on a giant handcrafted potato cake, served in a skillet. Call ahead for a reservation. 
A 7-minute ferry ride away on Lummi Island is the Willows Inn, home of James Beard award-winning Chef Blaine Wetzel.  
Here you can go all in for the 4 hour $225 tasting menu dinner consisting of over 20 dishes, or easier on the pocketbook, their $45 breakfast.
On days they’re open for dinner, they also open from noon until 4 pm for snacks and drinks. Overnight guests of the inn have first dibs on dinner seating so this truly is a destination restaurant.

Little Rock, Arkansas is a city in Arkansas.

Lori of Southerner Says nominated

When you think of cheese dip, you generally think of Texas or the American southwest. But did you know that cheese dip originated in Little Rock, Arkansas?

According to the Arkansas Encyclopedia, Blackie Donnely created cheese dip in the 1930s when he and his wife launched their first Mexican restaurant, Mexico Chiquito, in North Little Rock.

It’s unclear if it was the first time cheese dip was produced in Arkansas, but it’s no secret that cheese dip is as essential to Arkansans as pizza is to New Yorkers.

In fact, Little Rock currently hosts the World Cheese Dip Championship on an annual basis. It’s so popular that the firm that makes the tortilla chips produced 15k bags of chips alone this year.

Guests ate chips while tasting 23 various varieties of cheese dip created by amateurs and pros alike.

Even at non-Mexican restaurants in Little Rock, it’s not unusual to find cheese dip on the menu.

Chefs from all around the city seem to have their own distinctive recipe, similar to Donnelys, which was a well kept secret that made his restaurants renowned across central Arkansas.

Milwaukee is a city in Wisconsin.

Hannah and Adam Lukaszewicz of GettingStamped nominated

We know just where to go for excellent gourmet destinations, and it’s right in our own backyard. Milwaukee, Wisconsin has a burgeoning cuisine culture that includes both historic institutions and fashionable new locations.

We’ve eaten all around the globe, and Milwaukee, in our view, can rival with any major city in terms of culinary quality and variety. Milwaukee not only has a plethora of restaurants to select from, but it also has eateries for every price.

If you’re looking for some traditional comfort food, you should go to Kopps Frozen Custard. This neighborhood staple serves delicious butter burgers and ice custard.

Odd Duck is Milwaukee’s greatest destination for internationally-inspired small dishes, with a menu that changes daily depending on what’s in season.

If you want to eat with a view, go no farther than Harbor House, which is located between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Discovery World Museum, overlooking Lake Michigan. It provides breakfast, lunch, and supper, as well as the greatest seafood in town.

Although Milwaukee is well-known for its beer and cheese, there is much more to discover. We hope to see you soon in our hometown!

Minneapolis is a city in Minnesota.

Julie from Ruhls of the Road nominated

Minneapolis, Minnesota has a burgeoning foodie scene that makes this Northern destination a MUST for food lovers from around the globe.
You may not immediately think of Minnesota as a travel destination, but let us tell you that if you skip over Minneapolis you will be missing out on an incredibly awesome experience, and some wildly good food as well.
Minneapolis has incredible food for all times of day, from early morning breakfast dining to late-night dimly lit steak dinners.
However, where Minneapolis really shines is during brunch. There are tons of delicious brunch options all around the city, each one a yummy experience.
What Minnesota does best is skillet dishes, such as hash or hot-dish. Minneapolis chefs are full-on experts at combining various different ingredients into a hot-plated meal. Every bite is an explosion that puts together every flavor on the plate.
Our particular favorite brunch dish served in Minneapolis locales is corned beef hash.
Whereas other locations will put eggs, potatoes, meat, and vegetables in separate sections on a plate, we love to combine everything together here in Minneapolis! Every plate comes out so yummy and steaming hot, ready to eat.
Another awesome aspect of the Minneapolis foodie scene is all of the awesome breweries around town. Surly calls Minnesota home, as well as many other fun breweries that are dotted all around town. After brunch, head for a beer at one of these awesome breweries for a local IPA or stout!

Arizona’s Tucson

Leigh of Campfires & Concierges nominated

For many years, Tucson, Arizona has lagged behind Phoenix and Scottsdale in terms of tourism. Tucson, on the other hand, was the first city in the United States to be designated as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2015.

Tucson was honored for having the oldest agricultural heritage of any city in the United States, joining places such as Parma, Bergen, and Chengdu.

The indigenous inhabitants were experts of irrigation, enabling them to cultivate crops in the desert, and their agave fields and grinding stones may still be visited today.

Local chefs are combining these old wild foods into contemporary recipes, such as gourmet cuisine and even beer, by using mesquite flour, cactus fruit, and agave.

Tucson is the greatest destination in the United States for Sonoran-style Mexican cuisine, in addition to ancient dishes. Sonoran Mexican, in my view, is more genuine to the cuisine I’ve eaten in Mexico than Tex-Mex.

Forget the cheese, sour cream, and other garnishes; the greatest local tacos are pure simplicity. Boca Tacos, for example, emphasizes succulent meat, handmade tortillas, and fresh salsas.

Café Poca Cosa, another popular Tucson restaurant, changes its menu every day, and the proprietor travels to Mexico often for inspiration.

El Charro Café is another excellent choice for Sonoran Mexican cuisine in Tucson. It is not just the country’s longest-running family-owned Mexican restaurant, but the family that owns it also developed the chimichanga.

A Tucson cuisine tour is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Old Pueblo’s culinary sector.

Cleveland is a city in Ohio.

Amanda of Cleveland Traveler nominated

Cleveland, Ohio, is often neglected and undervalued when it comes to up-and-coming gourmet towns in the United States.

Yet this Lake Erie city has a lot to brag about, including James Beard Award-winning chefs, over 30 craft brewers, passionate coffee roasters, and unique ethnic influences that create for some delectable local meals.

Cleveland’s trademark meal is controversial, although I believe most residents would agree on the pierogi.

Eastern European immigrants introduced these pillowy dumplings to Cleveland in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when Cleveland was rapidly expanding into one of the greatest cities in the United States.

Sokolowskis University Inn, a family-run restaurant offering Polish and Eastern European comfort cuisine since 1923, serves the most classic pierogis.

Cleveland’s history as a melting pot are still visible in its gastronomic culture today.

To witness this for yourself, visit the West Side Market in the Ohio City area; at this 100-year-old market, you can get anything from fresh-made pasta to falafel to Scotch eggs to gyros to mochi all under one roof.

But, it is not just traditional meals that are popular in Cleveland.

In recent years, the city has seen a contemporary food and drink revolution, defined by craft brewers (we have over 35), locally-owned coffee shops (Rising Star and Phoenix are faves), and young, imaginative chefs eager to try new things.

Stop by Spice Kitchen + Bar in Gordon Square, where they use ingredients from their own farm in Cuyahoga Valley National Park; Brewnuts, where they blend craft beer and imaginative flavors into delicious donuts; and the Ohio City Galley, where local chefs can try out new concepts in Cleveland’s first restaurant incubator.

Cleveland’s culinary culture is a delightful combination of old and modern, and it merits a position on any gourmet travel bucket list.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a city in Alabama.

Toccara of Forget Someday nominated

A visit to Orange Beach, Alabama will take you on a mouth-watering culinary journey of the deep south.
Choose from a plethora of delicious Orange Beach restaurants offering local cuisine that will leave you drooling long after you return home.
From fresh seafood straight out of the Gulf to savory southern comfort food, there’s definitely something to please everyone in your party.
For a local treat, head on over to GTs on the Bay and order their shrimp and grits. Enjoy large Gulf shrimp sautéed with Worcestershire, garlic, cream, and Cajun spices, served over fried Parmesan grit cakes (see the picture below and try not to drool!).
Not only does Luna’s Eat & Drink have one the largest selections of craft beer in the area, but it’s also worth popping in for their pimiento hushpuppies. Dip these fried and fluffy puppies in their housemade Blueberry pepper jelly for a truly unique taste!
For more craft beer options, check out Big Beach Brewing in nearby Gulf Shores and find your favorite of their 12 beers on tap.
Other foodie stops in Orange Beach include The Yard for insanely decadent freak-shakes, Brick & Spoon for southern food and Bloody Mary bar, and Rum Sisters for their delicious alcohol-infused cakes.
There is definitely no shortage of calories to be consumed in southern coastal Alabama!

Hawaii’s Kauai

Nominated by: Marcie of Hawaii Travel With Kids
Kauai has an incredible food scene. It’s a mixture of traditional Hawaiian food, Asian-inspired entrees, and Mainland food items.
Visitors will find food trucks all over Kauai, and it’s not a new thing.
These lunch wagons have been around for decades, but recently, they feature more organic and innovative items, like sushi burritos, Hawaiian-style chicken and waffles, and lots of Kauai shrimp.
For those short on time, the Tasting Kauai food tours are a great way to sample some of the trendiest Kauai food trucks and mom and pop restaurants.
One of the stops on the North Shore tour is the Hanalei Poi truck. Hanalei is known for its vast taro fields and supplies most of Hawaii with poi, which is fermented taro root that is mashed to create a liquid paste.
They created a bowl that features 3 of Hawaii’s signature dishes: kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, and fresh poi. It’s outstanding!
This food truck is just steps away from the taro fields, so it’s really as close as you can come to farm to table.
Kauai also has some of the best organic shaved ice in Hawaii. They use real fruit and cane sugar syrup and top their shaved ice with fresh Kauai fruit, li hing mui powder, tiny mochi, and you can top it off with condensed milk or haupia foam. And you can usually order it with a scoop of Hawaiian-made ice cream in the bottom.
Kauai knows how to do food right!

Dallas is a city in Texas.

Outside Suburbia Nominated by:

Dallas, Texas is known for Tex-Mex dishes of queso dripping enchiladas and tacos, barbecue meats, smoked brisket, and pecan pies but there is so much more to the food scene here.
We have lived in Dallas for over 20 years and had many dinners and celebrated events in many of the amazing Dallas restaurants and truly believe it is America’s next foodie destination.
Your taste buds can literally travel the world without leaving Texas.  You can be sipping Sangria at Bulla Gastrobar or eating sushi made from fish flown from Tokyo, the options are endless!
If steak is what you are craving for Chef John Tesar’s Knife is where you will find some the best steaks, some even dry-aged for up to 240 days. 
Haywire Restaurant in Plano, a suburb of Dallas has the best Chicken Fried Steak.
You will find deep-fried everything at the Texas State Fair of Texas, from mac ‘n cheese to bacon sliders to Oreos.  Plan ahead, the fair runs only for three weeks in October.
For an elevated Modern Texas Cuisine head to Chef Stephan Pyles’s Flora Street café, food is theatre here. Every course is beautifully plated and presented, the roasted tri-color beets with comes on a bed of stracciatella cheese with coffee cardamom soil and the Mediterranean Bronzino is better than anywhere else in the country! 
Don’t be foolish and forgo dessert, it is a pretty plate of dense pistachio mousse with passion fruit sorbet!

Montana’s Billings

Nominated by: Heather from Trimm Travels
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Billings, Montana for a conference. I set aside a couple of extra days to explore because, in my research, I found so many cool foodie places.
I know what you’re thinking…is there really that much in Billings? The answer, my friends, is yes!
In a matter of 2-3 days, I had some of the best food of my life and I didn’t even get to everything on my list.
Since this was indicative of a second trip, I was perfectly okay with that.
Seriously though, I had all types of food from the sophisticated to unique twists on classics and everything in between.
From my Blueberry Vanilla-Mosa I paired with The Bennie (a Hawaiian take on eggs benedict-think caramelized pineapple hollandaise sauce) at Sassy Biscuit to burrata cheese with peaches, prosciutto, and honey along with a vegan ramen bowl at The Field House, there was incredible food everywhere I turned!
I was in pure heaven eating the World Food Championships 2016 Burger Champion “I’m Your Huckleberry Burger” from the Burger Drive. All I can say is goat cheese with a Huckleberry Hatch chili barbecue sauce. Absolutely divine. 
At Walker’s, I had the most amazing poutine with a mushroom gravy accompanied by a malt vinegar mayonnaise! I washed it down with the Big Skai, a martini with wild roots huckleberry vodka.
Later on, a peanut butter cup martini from the Northern Hotel made a fabulous dessert!
I have mentioned huckleberry a couple of times. Montana is famous for huckleberry and it is a delightful specialty you will find in most places so be sure to try it.
As you can see, there is something for everyone and if you are a foodie like me, you will rave about Billings. It is a fabulous well-kept secret that deserves its place in the foodie world.

Houston is a city in Texas.

Kay from Skyline Adventurer nominated

Houston is Texas’ hidden gem for foodies and one that’s packed with some of the best eats in the country.
Anyone who has lived in Houston for any amount of time will tell you the same thing: Houston’s diverse population definitely infuses its foodie scene. With this trend comes an awe-inspiring array of different international dining options.
From Peruvian ceviche to Polish kielbasa, Korean barbecue to Afghan kebabs, and of course, some of the most flavorful Vietnamese food you can find in the country, eating in Houston is like traveling the world.
Whether you’ve been trying some of Houston’s outdoor activities and need to escape the heat, or you’re simply looking for something delicious and cheap to try, Houston’s international restaurants are hands down, the best out there.

Washington’s Woodinville

Lydia from Africa Wanderlust nominated

Woodinville, situated in the Sammamish River Valley only 30 minutes outside of Seattle, has been dubbed “America’s Next Top Food Destination” by many.

This little town is known as a wine destination, with over 100 tasting facilities, as well as breweries, vineyards, and whiskey distilleries. Moreover, hundreds of restaurants provide both elegant and informal meals, allowing you to enjoy the valley’s wonderful wines.

Not only that, but the Woodinville Farmers Market in the heart of town sells arts and crafts. Visitors may get a sense of the neighborhood at this market, which sells anything from locally produced fruit and flowers to apparel.

Lastly, keep your calendar clean since Woodinville has a variety of events and festivals all year.

You may go on wine walks, listen to live music, or participate in crush activities.

There are magnificent hiking routes through the forests and an abundance of spas for ultimate relaxation if you like the outdoors.

With so many places to eat, drink, and have a good time, it’s easy to understand why this little town has become a popular destination for foodies. The only thing you’ll need to bring is an appetite, so make your way to Woodinville as soon as possible!


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