There used to be one food mecca on the planet: Paris. Or at least that's what most Americans believed. Of course, Paris was and still is a paradise for those who love to eat, but Americans have finally figured out that there's incredible food all around the world, and these days we eagerly go globe-trotting in search of great restaurants, markets, kitchenware shops, bakeries, chocolatiers and cooking classes. On the pages that follow, you'll find the best-of-the-best in 20 of the world's premier food destinations--the place to go for the lightest gnocchi in Rome or the tastiest tandoori crab in Bombay. Scroll down for a culinary Baedeker to the planet.
Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon's successor and the chef at the eponymous Alain Ducasse, is still the city's king of haute cuisine. But Alain Passard of Arpègeand Pierre Gagnaire of Pierre Gagnaireare both laying claim to the throne. And Robuchon's influence will almost certainly be carried into the next millennium by such hot protégés as Benoît Guichard at Jamin and Frédéric Anton at Le Pré Catalan.Tailleventremains the first choice for elegant Parisian classicism. For more down-to-earth fare, there's La Régalade(a contemporary bistro), Le Dôme(a brasserie) and Willi's Wine Bar.When you can't bear to spend another minute in a restaurant or bar, that's the time for a croque-monsieur from the street carts behind La Samaritaine. Or better yet, a picnic: a chewy organic baguette from Poujauranor Philippe Gosselin,Crottin de Chavignol from the cheese seller Alléosseand perhaps a good Sancerre from Les Caves Taillevent.Restored, you can shop for cookware at MORA, a modern alternative to the Old World Dehillerin, then stop for macaroons at Ladurée and chocolates at La Maison du Chocolat.