1/31/2012 04:24:00 PM

8 Awesome Foodie Getaways Around the World

For folks obsessed with food and dining, it's only natural that taking a vacation would follow that passion. If you've ever carefully planned a meal-by-meal tour of Barcelona, you know what we're talking about. However, it's no longer enough to just head to Rome for pizza or Tokyo for sushi. Go somewhere off-the-beaten-path on your next holiday. Have a thing for mussels? Jet off to Prince Edward Island, Canada. Obsessed with tracking your favorite roving food trucks? Grab a Jeep and chase the ones that dot the Puerto Rican island Vieques. We've rounded up eight of our favorite destinations that are ideal for the food-obsessed. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

1. Okinawa, Japan
What to eat: Sure, you’ll find gyoza to soak up your Orion beer or awamuri, a high alcohol content sake, but you’ll also find tangy, sweet pork sausages with grainy mustard and plenty of fish dishes on this island off the coast of Japan. Umi dubi (sea kelp) and Okinawa soba are popular dishes, though you’d be remiss to confuse the former with the Japanese buckwheat variety - these noodles have more in common with ramen. Tropical fruits like pineapple and guava are on heavy rotation in both appetizers and entrees, however it’s more likely that you’ll find sata andagi or doughnuts on the dessert menu than in a fruit parfait.
Where to stay: The Sunset Beach House is a lovely boutique hotel on the central Okinawa island, Onna-son. The tiny facility has only four rooms, but is smack dab on a beautiful stretch of ocean. Rates from $26 per night.

2. Prince Edward Island, Canada
What to eat: Prince Edward Island is a shellfish junkie’s dream. Just imagine...lobsters caught a few miles from your table, PEI oysters shucked within arms reach of their beds instead of being trucked down in the bed of eight-wheeler. For the more adventurous foodie, go clam-digging or learn to shuck oysters, then sit back and sip on some local vino. If you go in September or October, the area is ripe with food festivals including the PEI International Shellfish Festival.

The Great George
Where to stay: The Great George is centrally located in downtown Charottetown, near both the beach and retail areas, making it a convenient place to park you things. Rates from $202 per night.

3. Louisville, KY
What to eat: This is Bourbon Country y’all. In Louisville, you’ll find an impressive amount of top-notch restaurants featuring both rustic and city-fied food...to pair with your brown spirits of course. Visit some distilleries (Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace) before dining at upscale restaurant, Proof on Main, where dinner could include chickpea-ham fritters or split pea panisse and should include some housemade charcuterie. The infamous hot brown - a turkey, bacon and tomato open-faced sandwich covered in mornay sauce - can be found at the Brown Hotel, where it reportedly was created.

Where to stay: The 21C Museum Hotel is THE place to stay in Louisville. This boutique spot boasts eclectic decoration in the heart of Bourbon country. Bonus: Proof on Main, one of the top area restaurants is located in the hotel. Rooms from $185 per night.

4. Cornwall, England
What to eat: Opt out of visiting London to say cheerio to beautiful Cornwall on your next holiday jaunt and you’ll be rewarded. Regional specialties like Cornish pasties (a filled pastry) and crab salad lightly dressed with lemon, salt and pepper are especially good here. Clotted cream is also a pride of the area whose rivalry with nearby Devon’s cream makes the product a point of contention in the region. Some restaurants to check out include Sam’s on the Beach, The Alba Restaurant, Porthminster Beach Cafe and The Gurnard’s Head.

Where to stay: You’ll swear that you’re staying in a manor house circa 1800 when you bunk at the Roundhouse Barn Bed & Breakfast which is actually a compound of multiple farm houses. You’ll be wooed by its stone facade and charming gardens, and of course the full English breakfast. Rates from 95 euros per night, which includes breakfast.

5. Vieques, Puerto Rico
What to eat: The island of Vieques isn’t large, and you’ll need to rent a car to traverse it, so it’s no big deal to drive around looking for a spot to eat. Which is good, because you’ll never know what you’ll find. But among its culinary highlights, food-truck culture pervades the tiny island. Pull over to the side of the road for a chicken pulled right from the rotisserie, quickly hacked and tossed into a to-go container with a side of plantains, for just a ten-spot, to tote to the beach. Or grab some barbecue, skewers of meat or conch-filled pasteles pastries. Then roll up to one of the bars along the Esperanza boardwalk for a rum punch.

Hix Island House
Where to stay: Architect John Hix, a Frank Lloyd Wright protégé, built the Hix Island House to bridge the gap between sleeping indoor and out. Each suite/loft is different with features like outdoor showers and roof decks; all beds are outfitted with Marimekko sheets. Rates from $135 per night.

6. Morelia, Mexico
What to eat: Morelia is a town located within Michoacan, an area that grows avocados year-round. However, don’t expect guacamole and chips at the table. Instead, you’ll find sliced avocados spritzed with lemon and sprinkled with salt as a side dish to every meal. It’s worth a quick jaunt to Cupatitzio National Park to dine at La Terrazza de la Trucha, a restaurant specializing in avocado dishes from halved fruit stuffed with spicy macadamia cream to sparkly avocado smoothies and multiple avocado soups. Back in Morelia, Lu Restaurant (overlooking the cathedral and its Saturday night fireworks) and Los Mirasoles offer sophisticated plates like a beef carpaccio with Caesar sauce, suckling pig and mole-sauced pork shoulder.

Where to stay: Walk through the front gate of the Hotel de la Soledad and you’ll find yourself under the stars, in the middle of a beautiful landscaped courtyard, circled by hotel rooms. Right in the middle of town and around the corner from the main cathedral, it's the perfect home base for your adventure. Rates from $116 per night. Important Note: Currently the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Advisory for the region in which Morelia is located. Check with your travel site before booking.

7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What to eat: Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of Asian cuisines with influences from Cantonese to Penang. The street-food scene is a big part of the culture and discovering new favorite dishes in the open-air mamaks or stalls is an activity in and of itself. Look for dishes like gulai alam (chicken curry), iyan bakar (grilled fish) and ulam ulam, a crudite-type dish of uncooked vegetables and sambal dip. Cafes and pubs litter the streets, and food courts take up huge swaths of shopping malls. Insomniacs will be at home in “KL” where night markets rule. There, you’ll find traditional foods - noodles, kebabs, roasted duck - in addition to handheld foods and sweets.

Where to stay: The Sarang Mas Vacation Home may not be the most luxurious locale in Kuala Lumpur, but it is owned by a duo of English-speaking owners who are happy to guide you to the best food locales in the city. Even better, they’ll give cooking classes upon request. Rates from $65 per night.

8Cairo, Egypt
What to eat: Egyptians have a huge sweet tooth, so one of the first things you’ll notice roaming Cairo is the vast amount of stalls devoted to treats. Cakes, cookies and pastries are drenched in honey and studded with nuts and dried fruit. Vegetarians will feel comfortable here as the main ingredients are legumes and vegetables. Many familiar Mediterranean standards can also be found like rice stuffed grape leaves and baba ghanoug eggplant dip with eish masri, pita bread. Fava beans are prevalent and are used in both dips as well as an alternative to chickpeas in falafel-type fritter. For those who can’t go even a day without meat, you’ll be happy to feast on exotically spiced ground meat kofta and shewarma sandwiches.

Where to stay: Le Riad’s colorful rooms and festive atmosphere are fun and welcoming. The rooftop breakfast overlooking the city? Well, that’s just a thing of beauty. Rates from $315 per night.

81 comments :

  1. How can you not mention Oaxaco, Mexico?

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  2. Blackberry Farms in Tennessee!

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  3. We aimed to write about places a little less known and I had an amazing experience in Morelia in December. Will have to hit Oaxaca soon. Thanks for the rec!

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  4. It's ikan bakar for grilled fish in Malaysia :)

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  5. I gasp when I see any mention of trips to Latin America right now. It is far too dangerous. Great list otherwise! Very interesting.

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  6. I would add Anguilla. Accomplished, creative chefs; fine dining open to the ocean. Informal atmosphere, yet superior quality of ingredients - like local crayfish (mini-lobsters!) - and perfect execution.

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  7. And I'd add grand cayman island. Many impressive upscale restaurants, lots of diversity, and beautiful places to dine right along the beach. The island is considered the culinary capital of the Caribbean and has attracted talented chefs from many parts of the world.

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  8. I would add Trinidad & Tobago. This twin-island nation's cuisine deliciously blends the culinary traditions and foods of African, Indian, Chinese, European and the islands' indigenous people...offering everything from street food like doubles to haute cuisine.

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  9. PEI!! Best place in the world friendly people great food and amazing beaches and scenery! Can't get much better then that!

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  10. I agree about Anguilla. Much better "lobster" than Maine. But why is no place in Italy on this list?! I can think of a dozen. At the least "La Rana" in Modena for the Tagliatelle and Francescana in Modena for the creative dishes and desserts.

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  11. I agree about Anguilla. Much better "lobster" than Maine. But why is no place in Italy on this list?! I can think of a dozen. At the least "La Rana" in Modena for the Tagliatelle and Francescana in Modena for the creative dishes and desserts.

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  12. Thank you so much for choosing my Hidden Island Paradise. (Prince Edward Island)

    http://www.hiddenislandparadise.blogspot.com

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  13. As a Chef on PEI I am so glad to see us on the list and at number 2!!!!! We strive to use fresh local ingredients on PEI and I think it shows in the food that we prepare and serve. Great work PEI and thanks for making us part of the list!

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  14. Grand Cayman should be on this list to give this article credibility.

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  15. Dear Zagat,
    You rock. Thank you for including Louisville... a FABULOUS city and one that is so often missed. It is a gem in this nation and one that EVERYONE should visit.

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  16. As a native Louisvillian and a culinary student it makes me proud to see us on a list like this.

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  17. Louisville,KY! What a joke! There are so many chain and fast food joints. I live in Louisville and unless you are part of the 1% you can't afford Proof on Main.

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    1. you obviously know nothing about the local resturants here. they are all so wonderful. Go to eiderdown, hammerheads, etc. live a little. quit eating at chains.

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  18. Hooray for Louisville! Such great restaurants and a rich local food scene. I'm proud to live in the 'ville.

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  19. Why Latin America is dangerous?
    I've lived in Latin America for 49 years and there are lot of more destinations much more dangerous than here.
    Should be an European who said that.

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  20. Proof on Main actually has a very afforable breakfast and lunch menu - with items topping out around $15 for a Salmon dish for lunch and dinner ranging between $20-$30 with enormous quantities. We're very excited to be holding a meeting there next month and I'm overjoyed I'm picking out our menus! There are so many non-chain restaurants around town; Louisville's food really is a treasure!

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  21. Wow, Louisville? It's where I was born and I live right across the River, but still...

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  22. Plus while in Louisville everyone should try 610 Magnolia. Chef Edward Lee is in the final four of Top Chef this season and his food is delicious.

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  23. Yay for Louisville! I just moved here a few months ago, and the food has been a pleasant surprise. Proof and Hillbilly Tea are some of my favorites downtown, and there are lots of great independent restaurants on Bardstown Rd and Frankfort Ave.

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  24. Unless your close minded, Louisville is a foodies dream. I'm a local chef and I know for a fact there are many gems in our beautiful city. Fast food only stands out to the folks too lazy to find great affordable food.

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  25. "Unless your close minded, Louisville is a foodies dream. I'm a local chef and I know for a fact there are many gems in our beautiful city. Fast food only stands out to the folks too lazy to find great affordable food."

    Could not put it better. Louisville is where ITS at.

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  26. I've lived in Louisville just over a decade now and love the abundant number of eclectic restaurants scattered all over the city. When family comes to town, we don't hit the chains, we look to these independent gems! You don't have to be in the 1% to enjoy Proof, they are actually quite reasonable...Jeff Ruby's on the other hand.....

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  27. Vancouver Canada is one of best Foodie place I have ver seen. Check out Gastown, for variety of food you can't do better than this concentrated 4 block area for alarge variety of culinary experiences. French? La Battior, Foie Gras do die for! Bonetas in Blood Alley, yes Blood Alley, an incredible explosion of world tastes from Poutine and a must have, Octupus Chips. Check out great pub food at the Charles Bar, incredible atmosphere. The PourHouse takes you back to the prohibition days, where drink were drinks. Libations anyone? You have have sushi when you are in Vancouver, and of course there are so many great places, but in Gastown it is Mo Mo's. Sounds Italian but eats Japanese. Now if Italian is your thing, and you want true Roman pizza like I had last year, NikLi's amazing! That should get you started!

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  28. Louisville has plenty of amazing, independent restaurants that are very reasonably priced. Check out some local blogs for ideas. And I have to say Proof is not on my top 10 or even top 25. But they do have a great PR department.

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    1. Great to hear!! I am moving to Louisville and I am excited to try out some of these great local restaurants. Please feel free to share your top 25 list. Thanks!!

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  29. Congrats to Louisville! The article only hints at what Louisville has to offer.

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  30. to the person who said that louisville is primarily fast food unless you're in the top 1%.. you're an idiot. there are tons of great "lower end" ethnic places that are absolutely delicious... maybe you should learn more about your city.

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  31. As a transplanted Louisvillian (7 years strong) I can definitely validate this article. I have travelled to five of the seven continents and spent more time than I care to mention in "It" cities. I'm still shocked when I'm home at how many amazing and creative restaurants Louisville has to offer in such a small city. It makes me very proud.

    The comment from Anonymous above about the 1% is total rubbish. Louisville has tons of restaurants that would leave your jaw on the floor and only set you back as much as the Olive Garden would.

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  32. If you live in Louisville and only know of chain restaurants it may not be the city thats the issue, its probably you. If you can't afford it look at your fast food bills and I bet you can save some money there and go out to a nicer restaurant. Great that it made the list.

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  33. Aaah, so exciting to see Prince Edward Island at the top of the foodie list (near top). You can't even capture in words the taste of fresh lobster, steamed mussels, and potato salad.

    It's not just the seafood that we are famous for that's delicious.. making cultural dishes using fresh veggies from our backyard garden.. tabouli or borscht.. delicious on PEI!

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  34. As a Louisville transplant, I have to agree that the local restaurants are diverse and absolutely fantastic! Frankfurt Ave, Bardstown Rd and downtown have so many unique options in all price ranges. Proof is just one.

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  35. The Louisville restaurant scene is amazing! I lived in three other cities before moving here 17 years ago and have traveled through Europe and the Caribean . I'm still discovering great local restaurants. Louisville originals range from nationally recognized fine dining such as Corbett's, Lily's, and the aforementioned Proof on Main to smaller, quainter restaurants serving wonderful ethnic menus. It's great to be recognized for our food as well as our bourbon and horses!

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  36. After you visit the Louisville restaurant scene, make sure to visit Woodford Reserve, THE place to experience the world's best bourbon.

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  37. 610 Magnolia soooooooooooooo overrated - for that price you could eat a much better meal in a LOT of places!
    Proof, you gotta be kidding me? Food is OK, nothing to write home about, much less to put in an article.
    Louisville is a hidden gem, but NOT because of the food. A lot of restaurant options but the quality is NOT good!

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  38. PEI is no doubt the best place ever great to see it so high up in the ratings!!! Come and visit yourself to see what great food we have!!!

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  39. Louisville have one of the most diverse food culture anywhere. You just have to know where to look. From Latin cuisine such as Mayan Cafe or Seviche, to Italian like Volare or German like Gasthaus, all the way to Vietnamese restaurants, Annie's Cafe or NamNam. Anything you can think of, Louisville has it.

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  40. Yes, anything you can think of. Just not good! Italians despise volare. The latinos hate both seviche and Mayan Etc. But I agree, very diverse just the taste sucks!!!

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  41. Totally agree about 610 since the poseur Ed Lee took over. Proof is hit or miss but there is great food here that no one will ever mention. Start lunch at the Only remaining Ollie's trolley st 3 rd and Kentucky. Proof's chef at Garage has been good. Just avoid restaurants that want to put bourbon in every recipe. The shit is for drinking. Try you some Jack Fry's. Fish tacos at elmundo with Margaritas and you will not remember you are in a red state.

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  42. It's been about 6 years since I lived in Louisville, but grew up 10 min from downtown. I've got to say, well before the term "foodie" was thrown around commonly, Louisville chefs at original establishments were creating culinary art in the sin city of the Ohio. Unfortunately, people are finding out about it now, much to my dismay, as it will surely be exploited, watered down, and mass produced. To the fast food guy and "soooooooo over rated": I can only hope that people believe the mind boggling ignorance that has so predictably spewed forth from your keyboards. If you can't find top notch dinning in Louisville, then I suggest you consider public education courses for the mentally disabled to help you cope with the rigors of life.

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  43. oh my..kindly correct them, as alam or iyan is not a word in Bahasa Malaysia.

    gulai ayam OR kari ayam (chicken curry)

    ikan bakar (grilled fish)

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  44. I knew there was something similar about my hometown of Louisville and my current home of Kuala Lumpur. Great food and great food experiences abound in each!

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  45. Wow go PEI go!! The seafood is to die for and the views, the people, beaches, top rated golf courses etc... the list goes on. The best kept secret is P.E.I. Come experience it yourself!!!
    You will not be disappointed!!

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  46. Louisville, KY. GO CARDS!!!

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  47. Never realized how much I took for granted in the Louisville food scene until I moved away. Have a craving? There's a restaurant for that. You can find pretty much anything if you're willing to go to the right neighborhood for it. And the BEST places are the hole in the wall family-owned ethnic restaurants that offer amazing food at much less than the pricey places on this list. Louisville has a great diverse population and their cultures are reflected in our food scene. Of course, a hot brown or two never hurt anybody.

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  48. Louisville? Terrible. You only list one reason! How about Asheville, NC, San Fransisco, New Orleans???? Chicago!!! Seriously, that's just a little sad. I don't trust this list at all. Feels bought by Proof.

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  49. I love that Louisville received so many positive comments about its variety of restaurants! I moved to Louisville when there was only 1 Chinese restaurant in town--the Green Dragon, and it was horrible. Canned bean sprouts, for heaven's sake! Now the city and outlying areas abound with many excellent Asian restaurants as well as some pretty mediocre ones. Bardstown Road in the Highlands is a food lover's paradise. One good restaurant after another lines both sides of the street and offers every possible cuisine. Our out-of-town guests love to visit because Louisville offers unique choices, from breads (pretzel bread) to salad dressings (Harry's house)to great steaks (marinated Hawaiian rib eye) and the original Hot Brown and Kentucky Derby pie. There is something here for every taste.

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  50. After taking some friends back to PEI, I've ruined them for lobster, scallops, oysters, Lebanese food and British curries. The usual Big city cuisine now pales in comparison. I guess we'll just have to take another trip to the Island.

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  51. Wait a minute. I actually live in Kentucky and can recommend several excellent restaurants in Louisville. But are you truly placing Louisville ahead of San Francisco, New York, Austin, New Orleans, Charleston, etc. ????

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  52. I agree with Louisville, Ky. We have amazing restaurants!

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  53. I'm sure Proof is great, but Louisville has so much more to offer. Havana Rumba, Palermo Viejo, Dakshin, Hammerhead's, Mozz, The Blind Pig, The Irish Rover...I could list them for hours.

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  54. To the one complaining about too many fast food restaurants in Louisville... You must be large and lazy or have never left the city. If all you have found in Louisville is fast food then that's all you eat. Also, if you've ever traveled to any big city IN THE WORLD they're full of fast food on every corner, get out of town and open your eyes.

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  55. I currently live in Okinawa, and I must say I agree with this article. There are so many amazing places to eat here, and many different palettes to choose from. From local, to Russian, Irish, Chinese, Canadian, even a place owned and opperated by a Native of New Orleans... where I am originally from (and why is NOLA not on the list!? Crazy!), and so much more! ....They only thing that is wrong about the Okinawan review is the pricing for the hotel. Right now it's about 7,500 yen, which converts to almost $100 per night at the current yen rate (horrible!). But maybe on a special night I'll stay there. :-)

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  56. Woodford Reserve Distillery is the perfect mix of top notch Bourbon and Kentucky Beauty. Not to be missed when visiting Louisville.

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  57. I live in Louisville AND travel to many large cities often for work. I take issue with those who don't feel that we should be on that list because we are a smaller city. I have had wonderful food elsewhere, but never felt that I couldn't get just as good or better in Louisville. We have great and diverse restaurants here. They are many in number and exist in several parts of town. Foodies here who really love their city know this without a doubt. Other people are just too lazy or cheap or negative to explore what we have to offer...Proof is a nice trendy place, but it is only the beginning!

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  58. Yay for the Ville! Finally getting the accolades it deserves. A hidden gem...Louisville has more restaurants per capita than any other US city...and most are indigenous to Lou.

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  59. Yay for the Ville! Finally getting the accolades it deserves. A hidden gem...Louisville has more restaurants per capita than any other US city...and most are indigenous to Lou.

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  60. how can you forget Parma in Emilia Romagna?
    Parmigiano Reggiano, proscuitto and culatello, porcini mushrooms, truffles (white and black), half of all pasta known to mankind, the best fruit and vegetables in Europe....and this is just for starters.

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  61. I have dined in Morelia, Mexico (really all over Mexico), I did not think it was really anything special, typical Mexican food. Mexican food in general is great though when you are getting it from the source!

    How about Singapore? Eating out is their national pass time!!

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  62. PEI sits well on this list. Over the past 10 years the food scene has erupted with a strong local food movement. Land and sea provides the chefs with fresh bounty all around them. remember folks, PEI is home to The Culinary Institute of Canada, the top culinary school in the country!

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  63. Prince Edward Island is awash in great eateries during the summertime, but many of them close during the colder months. As the Zagat article suggests, late summer and early autumn are especially good for enjoying the bountiful harvest from the land, ocean and bays. One great food hub that is open year-round is the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, a co-operative where you can buy local and organic ingredients but also feast on a great array of prepared food and drink - from soups and pierogies, to award-winning smoked salmon, sea vegetable condiments, irio, channa masala, breads and lentil burgers. Man, I am getting hungry! Steve the Baker does an oyster shucking sideline in season, and Brett's coffee will dispel the Friday night fuzz.
    It's mid-winter now, but only another few months until strawberry season...sigh!

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  64. wow they kind of all sound like totally awesome places to visit, I would love to go to anyone of them!!! :)

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  65. What about Franschhoek, Winelands, Western Cape, South Africa. Not only the food is fantastic, but it is in the middle of the winelands. It has been rated the culinary centre of SA and near the top in the world. We live there 2 months each year and the restaurants are top of the list and very reasonable in price, eg venison filet for $14. It is a destination point for the food.

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  67. The Biko is a most famous food joint in Mexico city. Tamales, Enchiladas, Tacos and Gorditas are famous delicious mestizo cuisine. find more at : http://goo.gl/nlIoEr

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