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6 Unexpected Cities for the Food Lover

Get a taste for each corner of the world.

Move over, Milan. Get a taste for some surprising food destinations with this neighborhood guide to the best eats on (almost) every continent.

Budapest, Hungary



This European capital straddles the Danube River—Buda on one side and Pest on the other—and often flies under the radar, but its food scene is starting to cause a stir.


Best Neighborhood for a Food Frenzy


If you’ve got a short time in Budapest, spend it all in the Seventh District. There’s no reason to leave this hip neighborhood—also known as the Jewish Quarter—with its abundance of international eats and lively bars. Karaván is a foodie’s dream—a beer garden filled with street food stalls serving traditional fare along with new trends. Don’t leave without trying lángos, fried flatbread usually topped with grated cheese and sour cream. The 19th-century New York Café bills itself as the most beautiful coffeehouse in the world, and it’s hard to argue. The food holds its own against the ornate interior (think marble, gold leaf, and red velvet). For a complete change of atmosphere, head to Szimpla Kert for a drink or a late-night snack. This unique spot is one of Budapest’s “ruin pubs,” eateries housed in old and derelict buildings.


Best Neighborhood to Get Fancy

The Castle District is Budapest’s oldest part of town, where Buda Castle stretches along the Danube. Sprinkled among the medieval sites, bustling streets, and charming homes are some of the city’s finest restaurants. Nearby, Alabárdos, open since 1964, has earned accolades for its fare. Recently renovated, the restaurant features Hungarian ingredients exclusively. Ask for the secret chef’s-choice menu. Caviar fans should head to Arany Kaviár, an opulent restaurant with garden views. There’s a wide selection of Hungarian and Russian caviar—and the eatery’s owners also produce their own.

Best Neighborhood to DIY


There’s no scarcity of markets in Budapest, but for the best of the best, head to the Ninth District. You can get everything you need to make a meal—and much more—at Great Market Hall on the Pest side of Liberty Bridge. This huge, three-story emporium was built at the turn of the 20th century, damaged during World War II, and restored in the 1990s. Make a pilgrimage here for local meats, cheeses, and produce, as well as spices (smoked paprika is a must), pastries, and souvenirs.


Yerevan, Armenia


Yerevan is blooming. The capital of Armenia—a tiny country whose natural beauty, culture, and burgeoning tourism industry landed it on our recent list of 10 places that deserve more travelers—has charm in spades and enough places to eat to keep your belly happily filled.

Best Neighborhood for a Food Frenzy


For a day of good eating, choose Charles Aznavour Square as your center point and fan out from there. Start off with a breakfast of waffles or French toast at the ArtBridge Bookstore Café. You can pick up a Yerevan guidebook or some postcards on your way in—the café is inside a popular bookshop. After a morning of sightseeing, hit Khinkali for a lunch of traditional Georgian khinkali, large dumplings usually stuffed with ground beef and cilantro. In the afternoon, recharge with an iced coffee or relax with a glass of wine at Martini Royale, an airy, modern Italian café right on the square. Snag a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows and people watch. Close the day out at Dolmama. Inside, this warm-toned Pushkin Street restaurant looks like an old master painting, and the traditional eastern Armenian food is just as appealing. The focus is dolmas, meat and rice wrapped in grape leaves.


Best Neighborhood for Armenian Barbecue


Armenia is known for khorovats, meat grilled on a skewer, and the place to get the best khorovats in Yerevan is Proshyan Street (which becomes Paronyan Street). Barbecue Street, as it’s known, is lined with khorovats restaurants (try Urartu) and roadside grills.

Best Neighborhood to Café-Hop


Spend an afternoon—or more—in the neighborhood around the Cascade, a massive stairway that links the Yerevan city center to the Monument neighborhood. At Charles, serving both European and Armenian dishes, an outdoor area makes it perfect for nice nights. Try the lamb confit. A few blocks south, Malocco Café is a cozy spot ideal for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Save room for dessert and head over to Cascade Chocolateria, a café and chocolate shop. Tuck in for chocolate fondue or nibble on an assortment of truffles and other sweets.


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