Seven Culinary Cities You Should Visit this Year

Seven Culinary Cities You Should Visit this Year

Hungry? Join us as we visit the hottest culinary cities for 2023, including an eastern European capital leading the farm-to-fork movement and a gorgeous Greek island brimming with secret family recipes

that pistachio-flavoured macaron you inhaled in
Paris? How about those syrup-drenched pancakes
in Amsterdam? And that plateful of pasteis de nata
in Lisbon? You’re forgiven for still banging on about them. The
point we’re trying to make here is that food, in our ever-so
gourmet opinion, is what makes a destination that little bit more
magical. It’s through a pit stop at a street-food stand that we
find ourselves hearing the tales of a local fisherman; by stepping
inside an edgy startup that we meet the faces behind the future of
our menus; in touring the lesser-trodden markets that we get a true
taste of a landscape – we could go on. Keen to broaden our flavour
horizons, we’ve sought out the cities that are having something of
a foodie renaissance this year. From an eastern European capital
leading the farm-to-fork movement to a gorgeous Greek island brimming with secret family recipes,
these are the culinary hotspots we can’t wait to visit this

Seven food-focused cities to visit in 2023

Ljubljana, Slovenia



The Slovenian capital enchants with its peach-coloured
townhouses, bottle-green waters and centuries-old squares
backdropped by the dazzling 12th-century Ljubljana Castle. Named
the European Region of Gastronomy in 2021, the city is packed with
flavour-filled pockets to discover. Start by strolling through the
pedestrian-only Old Town, before slipping into the Central Market. There, you’ll find street-food stands
serving the finest national specialities, including kranjska
klobasa – a garlic-infused pork sausage. Our picks for a sit-down
feast? Atelje, for its farm-to-plate menus; TaBar, for stellar sharing
plates and low-intervention wines; and the old-school Strelec
, for traditional recipes and sweeping views across
the city.

Where to stay: Zlata Ladjica Boutique Hotel

Naples, Italy



During any kind of culinary conversation, debating your pizza
order of choice is an unwritten rule. And, what better way to pay
homage to the power of the Neapolitan than by making a culinary
pilgrimage to its birthplace – the shabby yet intensely chic
Italian city that distils the very essence of La Dolce Vita. Ramble
through town, passing effortlessly cool locals in sunny piazzas,
and meander beneath multi-storey terracotta casas, where laundry
lines sway from the windows above. Make tracks to Porta Nolana, a
food market brimming with local produce, best known for its
exceptional shrimp. Next up, the family-run Pizzeria da
, an address loved for its star-shaped pizzas and
nine-slice combination – each hand-selected by the head chef. For
somewhere a little more relaxed, try the old-school Cibi
trattoria – the gnocchi is mouth-wateringly good. End
your evening with a classic cocktail at the speakeasy-style
L’Antiquario bar.

Where to stay: SuperOtium




Dionysus, the mischievous Greek god of wine, is said to have
blessed the island of Naxos with fertility, and you’ll be thanking
him for it when you visit the third-generation family-run Taverna
. The no-frills, sea-facing joint has a wide selection
of local labels on the wine list, plus a full line-up of
traditional dishes seasoned with home-grown herbs and spices.
Nearby Dal
Professore Naxos
is our choice for prawn spaghetti pasta with a
side serving of traditional Greek interiors – picture a whitewashed
pergola draped with dried octopus, gingham tablecloths and
limestone floors. Keen to join the party people for an Abba
singalong? Meze Meze is your best bet – consider the
seafood platters and wine-filled glass carafes an added bonus.
Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades and, at just an hour’s
catamaran ride south-east of Athens, makes for a great day trip
from the capital. If you’re staying longer, take time to visit the
Temple of Demeter. One of Greece’s oldest temples, dating back to
the sixth century, it’s crafted from the finest Naxos marble.

Where to stay: Naxian on the Beach

Osaka, Japan



If you left your heart in Tokyo, then prepare to leave your
entire soul in Osaka. Considered the stomach of Japan, thanks to
its spectacular street-food scene, you’ll be spoilt for choice when
it comes to a refuel. Make a beeline for Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru,
where a typical serving sees six extra-large batter balls making
for the tastiest snack fix. Once you’ve sated your sashimi hunger,
head to Osaka Osake Dining Tsugumi, where the chicken is grilled,
fried and barbecued to perfection. Prefer to sit down and take it
all in? Hariju Dotonbori draws crowds for its succulent
meat cuts and stylish interiors. The best way to explore Osaka,
though, is by getting lost. Wander along streets lined by dramatic,
neon-lit facades, gawk at colourful, outsized lanterns and admire
the animal sculptures snaking along the canal’s edge.

Where to stay: Hotel Cordia Osaka

George Town, Malaysia

George Town

Penang Island, Malaysia

Beach-hopped through Bali? Hiked Phú Quốc’s tropical trails?
Make Penang your choice for a far-flung foodie adventure. Resting
on the north-west coast of Malaysia, its capital, George Town,
offers a melting pot of flavours. Stroll through the vibrant
Chowrasta Market to find street-food stalls dishing up pad thai and
flit between Kimberly Street and New Lane to smell herbs, spices
and tandoor-cooked meats – making sure to try some nasi lemak, the
national dish of rice boiled in rich coconut milk. Date night?
Veggie dishes await at China House; basil-topped goodness can be found at
Hameediyah; and Black Kettle
is made for a pastry-filled breakfast. Food aside, there is a rich
spiritual history to be discovered here. Visit the Buddhist Goddess
of Mercy Temple, which oozes eternal love and compassion.

Where to stay: The Blue Mansion

Lyon, France
Photo credit: Elena Pominova /



When it comes to food, France doesn’t mess about. Sure, nothing
beats a buttery croissant whipped up in some beautiful Parisian
café, or a cheese fondue melted to perfection in the Alps, but
we’re fairly certain that you’ll be most obsessed with the
award-winning kitchens of Lyon this year. Make a reservation at
Restaurant Les Apothicaires, the Michelin-starred
joint headed up by husband-and-wife duo Tabata and Ludovic Mey.
Market-fresh produce feeds a weekly-changing menu that fuses French
flair with Nordic and South American influences – think succulent
sirloin and lemon-drizzled trout. Elsewhere, Daniel et Denise
hits the spot with its tomato cake served on a bed of salad and its
charming interiors – all red-chequered tabletops, half-lace
curtains and four-head chandeliers overhead. Other favourites
include the colourful, covered La Commune market and The Monkey Club
cocktail bar.

Where to stay: Hôtel de l’Abbaye

Melbourne Australia



Melbourne – Australia’s second-most-populous city – might not
exactly be a lesser-trodden foodie destination, but we can hardly
turn a blind eye to the multicultural menus that are bringing a new
taste to this urban jungle. Start with Embla, pairing
wood-fired cooking with wine-focused splendour; the achingly cool
Gray and
, serving Georgian, Catalan and Victorian wines; and
showcasing Southeast Asian flavours in a setting where bare-brick
walls, scaffolding and plywood accents frame an open kitchen. Where
to wash it all down? The Everleigh, for its low-lit, sultry setting,
and Above
, for its seriously fun cocktail concoctions. Read more
about Melbourne’s next-level dining scene in our Flavour issue.

Where to stay: United Places
Botanic Gardens

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Symi, Greece

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