The 10 Best International Cities for Fine Dining

From Mexico City to Rome, these are the best cities for fine-dining lovers, according to our readers.

Diners in Copenhagen

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Global Tastemakers is our first-ever reader’s choice awards, celebrating the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. F&W readers voted based on travel completed within the past three years, on categories including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. Due to the limitations of pandemic travel, this year’s Global Tastemakers winners reflect a smaller portion of the globe. In many categories, we’re including an editor’s pick to shout out some more culinary destinations in places you can’t miss. See all the winners at

Some people travel to see art and architecture, to shop, or perhaps to relax on a beach. Then there are those of us who travel for the food — and our readers are certainly among this camp. Food & Wine readers plan entire trips around coveted restaurant reservations, research the most authentic trattorias and bistros, and seek out the best street food in the destinations they’re visiting. So when we asked you to vote for your favorite cities for fine dining around the world, you delivered. The cities on this list represent the bucket list destinations that all food lovers should visit at least once in their lives. 

European capitals make up a good chunk of the list, occupying spots Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10, but there are small cities too, which punch above their weight when it comes to culinary attractions. Spain and Mexico each have two cities on the list, proving the eternal appeal of Spanish and Mexican cuisine. Japan’s capital claimed the No. 2 spot, while the Middle East is represented by Israel’s most cosmopolitan metropolis in the No. 4 spot. Below, the full list of the top ten cities for fine dining in the world.

01 of 10

Mexico City

Diana the Huntress Fountain in Mexico City

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It should come as no surprise that Mexico’s bustling capital took the top spot in our inaugural Global Tastemakers awards. After all, Mexico City’s restaurants dominated the list of best international restaurants, with five winners, including the No. 1 spot. The city’s food scene just keeps getting better and better, with restaurants that run the gamut from spectacular street stalls to splurge-worthy tasting menus at restaurants like Pujol and the many places it inspired, including Quintonil. And while the city’s fine dining restaurants used to serve European cuisine, a new wave of Mexican chefs are celebrating their own culinary traditions with hyper-regional, ingredient-focused cooking.

02 of 10


Skytree in Tokyo

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The sights, the sounds, the smells, and — perhaps most of all — the flavors of Tokyo make it one of the most enchanting cities in the world. When it comes to restaurants, the city has an endlessly dazzling array of choices, from tiny ramen shops to mind-blowing omakase tasting menus with the best sushi you’ve ever tasted. Tokyo is the city boasting the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, with 203 eateries that have earned at least one star. This is a city where you’re going to want to plan your meals carefully, to get in as many gastronomic delights as possible.

03 of 10

San Sebastián

San Sebastian

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As the most beloved tourist destination in Spain’s Basque Country, San Sebastián has a culinary reputation that far outweighs its diminutive size. In the summer, the city really comes alive with visitors who flock there for the beautiful beaches, laid-back culture, and incredible food. When in San Sebastián, you must try the pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) at the many bars in the historic center, where they’re laid out on the counter like jewels. The Basque region is also home to the world’s highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita. We suggest a high-low mix combining pintxo bar crawls and fine dining.

04 of 10

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

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The relatively young city of Tel Aviv has come onto the map as a food destination in a major way. And though the Michelin guide doesn’t cover Israel yet, Tel Aviv has six entries on the list of the Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants. Food lovers visiting the city will find everything from incredible hummus and falafel at hole-in-the-wall joints to gourmet restaurants where Israeli chefs reinterpret traditional recipes.

05 of 10


Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid

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Spain’s capital is becoming one of the country’s — and the world’s — best destinations for drinking and dining, stealing the spotlight from Barcelona. There’s something for every taste and budget here, from fabulous markets and tapas bars to gourmet temples to gastronomy by famed chefs like Paco Roncero and Ramón Freixa. Visitors to Madrid should be sure to go to a traditional vermouth bar and some of the markets like the Mercado San Miguel for tapas, in addition to high-end restaurants helmed by the city’s most talented chefs.

06 of 10


Montmartre, Paris

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No list of the world’s best cities for fine dining would be complete without the City of Light. The French capital is synonymous with culinary excellence, which is evident everywhere from the bakeries turning out the flakiest, butteriest croissants you’ll ever eat in your life to the Michelin-starred restaurants where haute cuisine is an art form — and everything in between. Parisian restaurants claimed three of the coveted spots in our reader-voted list of the best international restaurants. Hemingway called this city a “moveable feast” and he wasn’t even around to see the modern bistronomy movement — just imagine what he’d say now.

07 of 10


Diners in Copenhagen

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It goes without saying that the city that gave birth to the New Nordic food movement is a must-visit destination for serious food lovers. And even though Noma will close its doors for good next year, its influence on fine dining will last forever. Noma alums have gone on to open fantastic restaurants in Copenhagen and beyond, and even chefs who never worked there have drawn inspiration from the restaurant’s ethos of rigorously sourcing local ingredients and pushing the boundaries of technique. But aside from fine dining, Copenhagen has an excellent beer scene and plenty of less vaunted but just as tasty specialties to try, like smørrebrød and kanelsnegel (cinnamon rolls).

08 of 10



Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Portugal’s capital is no doubt one of Europe’s top destinations for a city break, thanks to the beautiful architecture, cultural attractions, artisan shops, and delicious food. From bakeries that make the famous pasteis de nata (egg custard tarts) to restaurants serving gourmet tasting menus, you can find spectacular food at incredible value. Travelers visiting Lisbon should try traditional Portuguese dishes like bacalhau (salted cod), grilled sardines, and cataplana de marisco (seafood stew) at one of the city’s casual taverns, but there are plenty of chefs cooking up inventive and elegant Portuguese cuisine too.

09 of 10

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

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This small city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato is a popular destination for travelers who want to soak up the city’s charming bohemian vibes. And for a small city, it has an incredible array of culinary offerings. The city’s best restaurants take full advantage of the bounty in the surrounding area’s farms, ranches, vineyards, and orchards. Travelers will certainly be able to get their fix of mezcal and margaritas, plus traditional specialties like tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, and chilaquiles.

10 of 10


Rome skyline

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Pizza, pasta, and gelato are three excellent reasons to go to Rome, but the Eternal City has far more culinary tricks up its proverbial sleeve. Some of the city’s best chefs riff on traditional recipes, offering up creative takes on classics like carbonara and cacio e pepe. Of course, when in Rome you’d be remiss not to hit up the best trattorias to try the pantheon of iconic Roman pastas — amatriciana and la gricia, plus the aforementioned carbonara and cacio e pepe — in addition to traditional dishes like carciofi alla romana (Roman-style artichokes) and saltimbocca (thinly sliced veal cooked with prosciutto and sage).

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