10 Restaurants and Food Tours Worth Planning Your Entire Trip Around
Forget white tablecloths and tasting menus. Many people and places around the globe are taking the idea of food worth the trip way beyond fine dining. The trick is to match your culinary interests to where you want to go—and to find the right guide to take you there. Here are some of our top suggestions around the globe.
1. Inis Meain, Ireland
Across the Atlantic, on Ireland’s tiny, rugged, Gaelic-speaking Aran Islands, the husband-and-wife team of Marie-Thérèse and Ruairí de Blacam opened Inis Meáin back in 2007. Just getting on culinary travelers’ radar, the restaurant specializes in “elemental eating,” including locally caught fish and shellfish, and vegetables they have grown themselves.
2. A Wine Tour of Italy
David Prior, a New York tastemaker, has just launched (with his business partner, Marc Blazer, an investor in Noma in Copenhagen) a bespoke food-and-wine-centered travel club, Prior.club, for the already well-informed gastronome who wants a deeper dive. Planned for September 2019: a five-day immersive excursion hosted by sommeliers from top restaurants around the world into the Piemonte wine region, timed to both the wine harvest and white truffle season. “We’ll be taking over a historic property,” Prior says, “and the trip will culminate with a dinner and wine auction at one of the legendary Barolo cantinas of the Langhe region.”
3. Raymonds, Newfoundland
Farm-to-table is a noble approach (even if the term is overused and occasionally meaningless), but for something more interesting, find an island where the ecosystem is truly unique. Thanks to Jeremy Charles’s restaurant, Raymonds, Newfoundland has become an unlikely stop for tourists seeking gastronomy’s wilder shores. The draw is the chef’s simple but modern approach, which features foraged and hunted bounty like wild partridge and moose, fresh sea urchin and chanterelles.
4. A Chef's Tour of Chicago
Owner of two popular Chicago restaurants, Elizabeth (which has a Michelin star) and Kitsune, Iliana Regan keeps things interesting with a slew of outside-the-box ideas: limited-run menus based on the food of Copenhagen’s Noma or the films of Wes Anderson, classes in making laminated dough for flaky pastries, rural dinners in Indiana fields, and a Pagan Fire summer feast “inspired by the mythology and gods from earth and beyond.” For 2019 she and her wife are traveling across the country with a culinarily outfitted Airstream trailer—seeking out local ingredients, foraging, and creating a series of one-off outdoor dinners.
5. A Barge Tour of Burgundy
The Semaine des Grand Crus, Belmond’s intimate weeklong river barge cruise through Burgundy, makes stops for vineyards, tastings of 33 grand crus wines (including the coveted Romanée-Conti), and winemaker-hosted dinners (plus some light bicycling to work it all off).
6. Mil, Peru
The latest venture of Peruvian chefs Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon (their restaurant Central, in Lima, recently ranked sixth on the World’s 50 Best list) takes things to another level. Located in the high, remote Andes 90 minutes from Cusco, Mil serves only 25 guests per day; it’s also an archaeological site, a culinary lab, and an agricultural cooperative. In addition to cooks and servers, there are on-site anthropologists, botanists, biologists, and environmental scientists, all investigating high-altitude ingredients and ancient farming methods. “Guests can pick what they’d like cooked,” says Martinez, “and we show them the secrets of our world."
7. A Foodie's Tour of Israel
Philadelphia-based chef and champion of Middle Eastern flavors Mike Solomonov (whose restaurants include Zahav and Dizengoff) leads Cooknsolo, food-focused tours of Israel that provide an inside look at the best traditional and modern cuisine of the Holy Land.
8. Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
Guests at the legendary farm can now alternate traditional dining room meals with a Dinner Afield (multicourse meals served anywhere on the property) and, through November, Harvest Lunches at the open-air Yallarhammer pavilion. An extensive new property, Blackberry Mountain, opens next year with even more out-of-the-ordinary options.
9. Modern Adventure, Global
This new outfitter offers, among other curated experiences, tours led by famous chefs. Joshua McFadden, the chef-owner of Portland’s Ava Gene’s and co-owner of Tusk, hosted his first seven-day culinary tour of Rome, Florence, and Tuscany this past July, and trips to Mexico are being scouted for 2019. “It was so much fun to get out of the kitchen,” McFadden says, “to travel with people who are really into the food, and to find these incredible things—like the salt-roasted peppercorns in Rome that helped me make the best cacio e pepe I have ever made.”
10. Orana, Australia
In Adelaide, Scottish-born chef Jock Zonfrillo does something similar with the indigenous ingredients of Australia and the traditions of the Aboriginal people at his restaurant Orana and its Orana Foundation, which supports native communities and runs the Native Australian Foods Database.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors