Culinary Tourism

by Anna Streatfeild on 17 January 2012, 16:01PM Culinary Tourism

If you're a 'foodie', the culinary options in destinations you visit are important- whether you want to try the local delicacies or feast in five star establishments. Here's our pick of the top culinary hot spots. 


Voted as THE culinary capital of the world by the Michelin Guides, Tokyo certainly has its fair share of foodie options, from the sublime to the extraordinary there is something to satisfy every appetite. The city offers more than 200,000 eating establishments and a very impressive 266 venues that have been awarded one or more Michelin stars.

The three-star rated Hamadaya, which is located in the Ningyocho district gets our top recommendation for fantastic fresh ingredients, spectacular presentation and delightful decor; it really is somewhere to go if you are out to impress.

For something a little more ‘local’, do have a wonder around the Tsukiji Fish Market, where you can sample takoyaki (dough balls stuffed with octopus) or yakitori BBQ skewers as well as a huge array of other local specialities. Yakitori Alley is a lane with stalls on both sides; and in Kabukicho, you'll find several takoyaki stalls.

Cape Town
If you love meat fish and wine, then you will most definitely be fine in Cape Town, a city that has what is considered by many to be the best top class dining options. Food is taken incredibly seriously here and there is a huge choice when it comes to eating and drinking in the city. Being a city that is surrounded by the ocean, it goes without saying that Cape Town specialises in seafood restaurants – crayfish from the Atlantic, giant prawns or the freshest sushi. South African's also love their meat, so tuck into juicy steaks or try some truly African venison at one of Cape Town's restaurants. Not forgetting the freshest seasonal vegetables ripened in the warm Cape sun.

Our top recommendations are Africa Café for an authentic array of African cuisine. There's no menu like it - 15 dishes from across Africa are served at once, of which you can eat as much as you like. This restaurant is a must for those who want to experience true African food.

For that really special occasion, try The Roadhouse Restaurant. Set on 42 hectares of forest minutes away from the heart of the city, and offering amazing view of Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles Mountain. Steeped in over 300 years of history, the former guardhouse, tea room, hotel and the hunting lodge of Lord Charles Somerset has been elegantly restored with the charm and sophistication of the Grand Old Cape. The style of cuisine is inspired by seasonal ingredients and paired with one of the finest boutique wine collections in South Africa.

New York
In New York City, diners can eat their way around the world in just a small radius, with the city’s diverse interests and cultures reflected in its thousands of delis, cafes, restaurants, food courts and hotels. Whether looking for Italian, French, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Caribbean, Russian, Turkish or Scandinavian, you are bound to find it in the metropolitan melting pot that is New York City.

Dining in New York City is available to suit every budget, with options ranging from salad bars and gourmet mobile food carts to Michelin-starred, world renowned restaurants. Many of the city’s top eateries participate in the twice-yearly Restaurant Week promotions each summer and winter, with fixed price lunch and dinner menus offered for $24.07 and $35 respectively.

Food is as much as a symbol of New York City as the Empire State Building, with bagels, burgers and brunches high on the traveller’s agenda. And for those who like to incorporate eating into their sightseeing, why not take one of the many food-based tours?

Wellington, New Zealand has a fantastic selection of dining options  where you can experience some of the finest food and wines in New Zealand. The Downtown area has more than 400 restaurants, cafes and bars offering something to suit every palate.

Wellington’s top restaurants - and some of New Zealand’s finest dining establishments - include Matterhorn, Logan Brown and Martin Bosley's Yacht Club Restaurant where there's a strong focus on freshness, seasonality and local sourcing of produce.

The city also has a proud wine culture, many restaurants boast an enviable wine list of local as well as top international wines. Coffee is big business in Wellington and that’s great news for caffine addicts. Many cafes roast their beans on the premises.

The capital of Thailand, the ‘Land of Smiles’, is Bangkok, and the city will certainly leave you smiling with stomach filling satisfaction.

A real taste of Thailand - one of the cuisine capitals of the world, you'll find the very essence of Thailand in its fabulously fragrant food. Dishes are available for as little as 50p from places as varied as street stalls and floating markets to malls and gourmet, roof top restaurants with panoramic views. The country’s excellent wines are worth sampling too, as is the opportunity to visit the floating and hillside vineyards. Learn to cook like a local - a Thai cookery class is an essential ingredient in any holiday in Thailand. From just £15 most involve a trip to a local market to choose your fresh ingredients followed by an inspirational lesson. Dining by design – recent new openings in the bustling capital of Bangkok include nahm at The Met from Michelin star chef David Thompson, gastro pub Hyde & Seek and sister restaurant to London, Zuma at St Regis.

Food in Dubai is not restricted to five star hotel restaurants and Michelin starred gourmet dining experiences. The richness and diversity of cuisines on offer in Dubai is the key to its world-class reputation. The emirate offers an incredible range of options. Dubai’s shopping malls boast a range of ‘cheap eats’, while street stalls and local bistros offer visitors the chance to sample local specialties at a very reasonable rate. The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence offers a wide choice of cuisines from chinese to seafood.

Souk Al Bahar is a charming area located in the Downtown Dubai area on the Old Town Island, and has more than 22 restaurants and cafes lining the waterfront promenade. There are many Middle Eastern eateries, ranging from roadside shwarmas to local restaurants serving up mezze and kebabs. Almost every international cuisine is on offer for those in search of a delicious quick bite.

For those who wish to enjoy a leisurely meal do not miss Friday Brunch. Brunch can range from fun-filled family buffet brunches, complete with table entertainers, face painters and kids’ play areas, to gastronomic delights at leading gourmet restaurants. Popular Friday brunch venues include Traiteur at Park Hyatt, Marketplace at JW Marriott and The Wharf at Mina A’Salam.

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