**WARNING: THIS BLOG POST HAS BEEN KNOWN TO CAUSE SEVERE HUNGER**
When you go on holiday, chances are you’ll have heard all about your destination’s best dishes. Well, if you think with your stomach (like I do), you will have. But when there are a plethora of restaurants in which to try the cuisine in question, how do you know you’re really experiencing the region’s culinary delights at their best? Below, we reveal some of the most renowned dishes in a few of our most popular destinations and, most importantly, what to eat where:
Pizza in New York City, USA
PRICES: US$6-26 (£4.20-18.30)
ADDRESS: 271 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014
Fusing Italian roots with that classic New York sass, Kesté roughly translates to ‘this is it’. And they’re not lying: This. Is. It.
With a choice of 50 wood-fired, indulgent variations to choose from, plus a buzzing atmosphere, it’s no surprise that this modest pizzeria’s offering has been named the ‘#1 Pizza in New York’ by New York Magazine – not to mention ‘Best Pizza in the State of New York’ by Food Network Magazine. This critical acclaim is what keeps the talented chefs on their toes, constantly producing delicious pizzas packed with freshness, flavour and fervour.
Don’t give up if you have to queue for a slice, it’s totally worth the wait.
Gnocchi in Rome, Italy
WHERE: Ristorante L’Arcangelo
PRICES: €13 (£10.30)
ADDRESS: Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, 59 00193 Rome
Simple, honest and bold, gnocchi is beloved across Italy, but it’s best sampled in Rome, and on a Thursday for ‘Gnocchi Giovedi’. Why Thursday, you ask? Well tradition states that this day is reserved for these tricky-to-master potato dumplings, which are cooked fresh and eaten by the locals at lunch… and dinner. This means you’re more likely to find the best flavours on this dedicated day.
And, on Thursdays, these little gastronomic delights await by the plate-load at L’Arcangelo, a modest Michelin Guide-recommended restaurant in Trastevere. They’re not heavy like the gnocchi you get here in the UK – they’re light and fluffy. Deadly really, as you won’t realise you’re full ‘til you’ve eaten the entire serving.
Steak in Buenos Aires, Argentina
WHERE: La Brigada
AVERAGE PRICE: 450 Argentine pesos (£30)
ADDRESS: Estados Unidos 465, C1101AAJ Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina is all about meat, which is why visitors to Buenos Aires are spoilt for choice when it comes to steak. But La Brigada is something else entirely. Here, the steaks are so tender that the servers have been known to slice them with a spoon. We’re salivating just thinking about it. The restaurant is often celebrated by TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet – to name a couple.
Pho in Hanoi, Vietnam
WHERE: Pho Thin
AVERAGE PRICE: 50,000 Vietnamese dong (£1.60)
ADDRESS: 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Wherever you go in Vietnam, it’s impossible not to walk the streets without spotting a steaming bowl of pho out of the corner of your eye. And this delicious yet simple concoction of stock, beef, rice noodles and herbs doesn’t taste better than when you grab it from local favourite Pho Thin, in Hanoi’s French Quarter.
The restaurant itself is entirely no-frills – we’re talking a sidewalk joint with metal park-style benches and a tiny kitchen – but it makes up for that with its traditional feel, delicious pho and inexpensive prices.
Tacos in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
WHERE: Los Aguachiles
AVERAGE PRICE: 25-35 Mexican pesos (£1-1.40) for tacos, 100MXN (£5) for entrees
ADDRESS: Calle 34 Nte, Downtown, 77720 Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico
Stop me if I go on, but tacos are, without question, one of my favourite things on earth. So it stands to reason I’m pretty fussy when sampling this quintessentially Mexican dish. Unlike the Old El Paso knock-offs we’re used to in the UK; the original taco is made with soft, floury tortillas, and can be stuffed with chicken, beef, pork, cheese or vegetables. Basically, they’re delightful. And in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya’s famous beachside shopping town, there are hundreds of taquerias peddling these tasty treats.
One of the best-kept secrets is Los Aguachiles. Lauded for its fish tacos, both locals and tourists alike flock here for the tostadas, tacos and also a range of fuller seafood entrées. And if seafood isn’t your thing, you can enjoy plenty of other variants too – from chicken to chorizo.
Ramen in Osaka, Japan
WHERE: Ramen Yashichi
AVERAGE PRICE: Up to ¥1,000 (£6.50)
ADDRESS: 3-4-8 Toyosaki, Kita-ku, Osaka
Ramen is undoubtedly the ultimate Japanese food. Despite having a reputation as fast food, it really is anything but. The ingredients may be simple but the work that goes into making this dish taste blissful is complex. Mostly a bowl is made up of tare (seasonings like miso or soy sauce), broth, noodles and toppings – usually roasted pork and/or a melt-in-the-mouth egg. Getting every element perfect and in tune with each other is an art. An art that Ramen Yashichi really has down.
Ranked among the top ramen restaurants worldwide, Ramen Yashichi serves three types of ramen: shoyu (soy sauce-based), shio (salt-based), and tsukemen – a variant which separates the broth and the noodles. All are equally scrumptious and you don’t have to sit and wait or queue for any of them; just like at the deli counter, take a ticket number when you arrive, then go off to explore the area before coming back at your allotted time.
Pad Thai in Bangkok, Thailand
WHERE: Thip Samai
AVERAGE PRICE: 90 Thai baht (£1.80)
ADDRESS: 313 Th Maha Chai | Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Thip Samai has been in the business of selling traditional, quality Pad Thai – a far-cry from its greasy reputation – for nearly half a century. As soon as the clock hits 5pm, the experienced chefs throw heavy handfuls of rice noodles into woks before adding the remaining ingredients, searing the dish to perfection, with each wok serving up around 15 glorious platefuls. It’s messy, yet delectable. Essentially, it’s just how Pad Thai should be.
Have we whetted your appetite for foodie travel? Speak to one of our Travel Experts about organising your gourmet holiday today.