There are so many top food cities in the US that it can be hard to narrow down the list to just a few. Still, there are some American cities that stand out for having a high concentration of amazing restaurants, dishes, and cuisines, making them the best food destinations in the US.
If you consider yourself a foodie, this list of the best places to eat in the United States is the guide you need to travel around the US and eat all the best food. I’ve made sure to include a wide spread of US food cities all over the country, so you’ll get a good variety.
Are you ready to find out the best food cities in the US? You’re in for a few surprises, although you’ll also find some of the usual picks on this list (which are popular for a reason!). Let’s get into it!
1. New York City, NY, one of the best food cities in the US
No list of the best cities in the US for foodies would be complete without New York City. As a melting pot, NYC has lots to offer in terms of food, whether it’s Michelin-starred fare at some of the NYC’s best restaurants, cuisine from just about anywhere in the world, or cheap (and delicious!) pizza.
While you’re there, be sure to sample some of NYC’s must-try foods, including bagels, hot dogs, dim sum, and, of course, cheesecake and pizza. In fact, going on one of New York City’s best food tours is the perfect way to try all the greatest hits of NYC dining. My favorite food tour is this Lower East Side one, where you’ll get to eat Chinese dumplings, potato knishes, Italian cheeses, and more.
Don’t forget to check out the city’s food markets (Chelsea Market is a great one!), and be sure to venture outside Manhattan, too. You’ll find everything from delicious pizza at Lucali in Brooklyn to incredible Nepalese food in Jackson Heights.
2. New Orleans, LA, one of the best foodie destinations in the US
Anyone who calls themselves a food lover simply has to visit New Orleans, one of the best foodie cities in the US. After all, NOLA is the birthplace of Creole cuisine, a product of the city’s mix of French, Spanish, Acadian, West African, Caribbean, and Native American cooking influences. The Big Easy also boasts plenty of restaurants that serve Cajun cuisine, another distinctly Louisiana cooking style.
There are so many incredible dishes worth trying: gumbo, jambalaya, po-boys, crawfish etouffee, beignets from Café du Monde…the list goes on and on. The easiest way to make sure you try all the top New Orleans delicacies is with this food and history tour, where you’ll sample hot sauce, boudin, a Muffuletta sandwich, and more as you wander around the historic French Quarter.
Beyond Cajun and Creole spots in this food capital of the US, you’ll also find delicious Trinidadian food at Queen Trini Lisa, tasty Senegalese fare at Dakar NOLA, and even yummy vegan soul food at Sweet Soulfood.
3. Chicago, IL, one of the cities with the best food in the US
Any fans of The Bear will know that Chicago has one of the best food scenes in the US. As a top food city in the USA, the Windy City boasts a variety of Michelin-starred restaurants, including the world-renowned Alinea. You also can’t go wrong with more down-to-earth eats like the city’s famous deep-dish pizza and hot dogs.
As with all the best food cities in America, a great way to get to know the city and its food is on this food tour, which takes you to top landmarks like the Wrigley Building, the Bean, and Millennium Park while you try deep-dish pizza, beef sandwiches, hot dogs, and brownies.
If you’re a beer fan, check out one of the city’s many breweries like Revolution Brewing or Dovetail Brewery. This is also a city where you’ll find amazing street tacos, steakhouses, fried chicken, pierogies, and ramen places.
4. San Francisco, CA, one of the food capitals of the US
If you’re a foodie, there are plenty of reasons to visit San Francisco, one of the best food cities in the USA: it’s home to sourdough, Mission burritos, over 50 Michelin-starred restaurants, the oldest Chinatown neighborhood in North America, and the birthplace of farm-to-table food, Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse.
One of the best things to do in San Francisco is to take this culinary walking tour of Chinatown, where you’ll sample dim sum, fortune cookies, tea, and more. Be sure to check out Japantown, the city’s many great coffee shops, and the farmers’ market at the Ferry Building Marketplace too.
Any fans of Italian food should head to North Beach to visit Tony’s Pizza Napoletana and Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe. San Francisco is also very close to Napa Valley and Sonoma if you want to visit wineries and try some local wines.
5. Los Angeles, CA, one of the best cities in the US for foodies
Los Angeles is a well-known food capital of the US for good reason. Head to Koreatown for tons of incredible restaurants (try Soban or Park’s BBQ), check out the city’s plethora of food trucks, and visit the Los Angeles Farmers’ Market for groceries and great eateries.
There are also plenty of swanky spots, pop-up dining experiences, and, of course, taquerias. For great Mexican food, check out Guelaguetza in Koreatown or La Casita Mexicana in Bell. If a little celebrity spotting is what you’re after, try The Ivy in Beverly Hills or The Polo Lounge on Sunset Boulevard.
Another amazing option and one of the best things to do in Los Angeles is visiting Little Tokyo and stopping by Hama Sushi for some affordable and delicious sashimi and rolls. Surprisingly, even Disneyland has some great food options, so you’ll definitely eat well in this US foodie city.
6. Austin, TX, one of my favorite foodie towns
One of the best food destinations in the USA is Austin, Texas, hands down. Because it’s Texas, you can’t leave the city without having sampled delicious barbeque and incredible Tex-Mex. Top spots include Salt Lick BBQ for their all-you-can-eat barbeque (which you can try on this food and wine tour) and Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop for all-day Tex-Mex breakfast food.
Other iconic Texan dishes you must try include chili, chicken-fried steak, and Frito pie. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to eat well in Austin either, since the city is well-known for its fleet of food trucks that serve up amazing churros, bao, ceviche, and more.
Of course, if you’re more interested in fine dining, you’ve got plenty of options, including the American gastro pub Salty Sow and top sushi spot Komé: Sushi Kitchen. If you’re a beer fan, be sure to check out the local craft brewing scene. You can even tour breweries like Austin Beerworks and Jester King Brewery.
7. Charleston, SC, one of the US cities with the best food
Eat your fill of delicious Southern cooking in Charleston, one of the best places to eat in America. This coastal Southern city is famed for its seafood, particularly oysters, but there are so many other amazing dishes to try here: fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, hush puppies, sweet tea, okra soup, and more.
This food tour, where you’ll sample pralines, barbeque, and more, is the perfect way to get acquainted with the city’s cuisine. If you’re exploring the Charleston food scene on your own, check out Bertha’s Kitchen for Southern soul food, FIG for Southern fine dining, and Pink Bellies for Vietnamese with a fun twist.
This is a big brunch city where brunch joints offer everything from dim sum and biscuits to catfish and French toast, so be prepared to spend your weekend chowing down. Don’t forget to try a Lowcountry boil (shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes, and Old Bay seasoning) before you leave.
8. Boston, MA, the best food city in America
No trip to Boston, one of the top 10 food cities in the US, is complete without sampling the legendary local seafood and having a lobster roll with clam chowder, which you can try on this seafood tasting tour. You can also check out Little Whale Oyster Bar for what some have called the best lobster roll in Boston or eat at a classic spot like Legal Sea Foods.
Any fan of Italian food should head to the North End, Boston’s Little Italy neighborhood, which boasts all kind of fresh pasta, pizza, and cannoli. My favorite food tour in the city is this one, which takes you to multiple North End pizzerias while also showing you Charlestown, Bunker Hill, and the Freedom Trail.
Of course, you can also find plenty of other great food from around the world. Pop over to Chinatown for dim sum and dumplings, dine at O Ya for top-notch sushi, and try Celeste for Peruvian favorites like ceviche.
9. Portland, ME, one of the best cities for food in the US
Portland, Maine (not to be confused with Portland, Oregon, which is also on our list!) is yet another of the top food cities in the US on the East Coast. Like Boston, Portland is a fantastic place to have seafood, oysters, and lobster rolls. The city also boasts an exciting food scene that has drawn in lots of talented, creative chefs.
The farm-to-table movement is huge here, so be prepared to enjoy lots of fresh, local ingredients. Pop over to Fore Street for seasonal fare from an award-winning chef or try Chaval for French- and Spanish-influenced cuisine. Another great option is this culinary walking tour, where you’ll sample chowder, chocolate truffles, local honey wine, and more.
Don’t forget to stop by Duckfat for their legendary Belgian-style fries and Izakaya Minato for delicious Japanese small plates. Beer lovers will enjoy exploring the city’s various breweries and trying local craft beers from Allagash Brewing Co., Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, and more.
10. Portland, OR, one of the best food cities in the USA
Don’t forget about the other Portland, in Oregon, across the country on the West Coast and another of the best foodie cities in the US. Here, you’ll find great wineries, a huge variety of food carts, and ultra-fresh local ingredients sourced from the nearby Willamette Valley, which you can also purchase at the city’s many farmers’ markets.
One of the best things to do in Portland is to food cart hop on a tour like this one, where you’ll visit seven food carts and a brewery, the perfect way to get the quintessential Portland foodie experience. If you’re more of a wine fan, I recommend booking this wine tour, where you’ll get to visit three different wineries in Willamette Valley.
Of course, you’ll also want to try some of Portland’s best restaurants, which feature food from all over the world. Head to Nong’s Khao Man Gai for Hainanese chicken, Langbaan for inventive Thai food, and Coquine for delicious brunch.
11. Houston, TX, one of the best places to eat in America
As a multicultural city and one of the best places to eat in the United States, Houston has a lot to offer in terms of great food. You’ll find everything from barbecue and brisket to Viet-Cajun fusion, soul food, and, of course, food trucks. This food capital of the US is a true foodie’s paradise.
Of course, you can’t leave the city without having some Tex-Mex. The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation is legendary, but Little Pappasito’s Cantina and Teotihuacan are other fantastic options. You’ll also want to check out Amrina for Indian fusion, Phat Eatery for Malaysian, and The Pit Room for brisket.
Soul food fans shouldn’t miss The Breakfast Klub, where you can try their famous catfish and grits, and chicken and waffles. Houston is also well known for having some of the best fried chicken in the US, which you can try for yourself at spots like Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.
12. Philadelphia, PA, one of the most diverse food cities in America
One of the US cities with the best food, Philadelphia balances plenty of local specialties with award-winning restaurants and diverse cuisine from all over the world. No visit is complete without having the famed Philly cheesesteak, one of the best things to do in Philadelphia, although first you’ll have to choose between big rivals Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks.
Another must-try are homemade Pennsylvania Dutch doughnuts, which you can find at Beiler’s Bakery in Reading Terminal Market. While you’re grabbing doughnuts, be sure to explore the market, which boasts eateries with all kinds of international cuisine, as well as arts and crafts stalls. This food tour will take you around the market and let you sample soft pretzels, tomato pie, and more.
Yet another must-visit for any foodie is the historic Italian Market, where you’ll find bagels, cannoli, gnocchi, and more. If you’re looking for fine dining, try Parc for classic French food, Suraya for Lebanese, and White Yak for Tibetan cuisine.
13. Louisville, KY, one of the top food cities in the US
Eating in Louisville will show you exactly why it’s one of the best cities for food in the USA. Home to award-winning restaurants, barbecue, and mint juleps, this city is definitely a place you’ll eat well. A must-try here is the city’s signature dish, the Hot Brown, an open-faced sandwich with turkey, ham, bacon, and Mornay sauce.
You also can’t leave the city without trying some of its famous bourbon. This distillery tour will allow you to sample bourbon from all the best spots, like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. Top fine dining spots to visit include Jim Fry’s for French-influenced Southern cuisine, Mayan Café for traditional Mayan cuisine, and J. Graham’s Café for the home of the Hot Brown.
A trendy neighborhood that’s worth exploring and has lots of great restaurants is Nulu. Go it alone or take this guided tour, where you’ll get to eat bourbon balls and fried chicken, and even visit a home that Thomas Edison once lived in.
14. Omaha, NE, one of the best places to eat in the USA
Omaha may be a surprising pick for best food city in America, but it was actually named one of Food & Wine’s “Next Great Food Cities” in the US. The farm-to-table movement is a huge part of the city’s dining culture, and there is a variety of diverse cuisine. You can get everything from falafel at El Basha Mediterranean Grill to Burmese at Kathmandu Momo Station.
Top farm-to-table spots include FarmHouse Cafe, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, and Block 16. Steak is a big deal in Omaha, so you’ll find plenty of great steakhouse options throughout the city. Try the whiskey-marinated steaks at The Drover or stop by Johnny’s Café to experience this classic steakhouse that’s been open for just over a hundred years.
Omaha’s Old Market neighborhood is a historic downtown area where lots of shops and restaurants line the charming cobblestone streets. Head to Le Bouillon for fine French dining, Ted and Wally’s for homemade ice cream, and V. Mertz for a contemporary American menu full of local, seasonal ingredients.
15. Las Vegas, NV, one of the best foodie cities in the US
Las Vegas, my final pick for best food destinations in the US, is the perfect city to round out the list. Sin City boasts a number of swanky dining joints from world-famous chefs, and, of course, the all-you-can eat buffets alone are a great reason to visit.
Some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas include Best Friend, Roy Choi’s Korean-Mexican fusion place; Raku, a top spot for omakase and Japanese cuisine; and SoulBelly BBQ, the perfect stop for good soul food and barbecue. Be sure to stop by at least one of Las Vegas’ best rooftop bars to get great views of the Strip.
This walking food tour of Vegas will help you learn more about the city’s history and give you the chance to sample some of the city’s best dishes. On the weekends, don’t forget to grab brunch; Honey Salt and AmeriBrunch Cafe are two of my favorite brunch places.
I hope this list of the best food cities in the US inspires you to fulfill your foodie dreams and start planning a trip or two. As you’ll have seen, there are so many US cities with the best food, and now you should know exactly where and how to eat your way across the United States!
Let us know which of these cities you’ve been to and what you’ve tried there in the comments. Happy eating!