Everyone knows you can enjoy wonderful meals in cities such as Paris, New York, London and Tokyo. But what of other dining destinations, with fabulous dishes that are more likely to be found in casual bars or bistros than in fancy restaurants?

We asked some of the world’s leading chefs about their favorite food cities, from the markets of Ghana in West Africa through the crowded and noisy streets of Kolkata to a tiny island off Auckland, in New Zealand.

Here are their recommendations.

Buenos Aires
Mauro Colagreco is the holder of the title of World’s Best Restaurant at Mirazur, in the south of France. But he still misses the food of his native Argentina.  “The country and cuisine are both incredibly close to my heart,” he says. “I often return to La Plata and Buenos Aires to see family and spend time there. In Buenos Aires, I always recommend Parrilla Don Julio, it offers the best Argentinian meat cooked with unparalleled expertise.  For brunch or a relaxed lunch, Narda Comedor is comfort food with fresh ingredients.”

Melbourne, Australia
British-born Ashley Palmer-Watts is the executive chef of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London and Melbourne, where he has fallen in love with the dining scene. “Melbourne is great because of the range of types of restaurants,” he says. “They are just so approachable, with good tasty food. My go-to restaurants are Cutler & Co. and MoVida. I love sitting at the bar. Also Marion wine bar, which is run by Andrew McConnell of Cutler. You can have great food, great wine, great service. It is just so easy and diverse.”

Accra, Ghana
“There is amazing street food in Accra,” says chef Selassie Atadika, where she celebrates Africa’s culinary heritage at Midunu. “There is everything from bofrot (donuts) and hausa koko (spiced millet porridge) and waakye  (rice and beans) to afternoon snacks of fried yam  stick with shito (preserved chili sauce with dried shrimp). Then there is kenkey (fermented corn) in the Osu night market and an ice-cold akpeteshie (a spirit made from palm wine or sugar cane juice) cocktail with live music at the Republic bar.”

Kolkata, India
Chef Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express in London savors the food of her native Kolkata, or Calcutta as it was formerly known. “There is a unique food experience not to be missed if you are in Calcutta over a weekend: Terreti Bazar on Sun Yat Sen Street. It is fascinating, with Chinese and Indian stalls selling breakfast.” Her other recommendations include Arsalan, Park Circus, for biryani and Shiraz for classic Mughlai. “And no trip is complete without kati roll (kebab). The original place is Nizam’s behind New Market.” (My personal favorite restaurant in Kolkata is Mocambo, which traces its history to 1956.)

Mumbai, India
Ravinder Bhogal of Jikoni, in London, loves Mumbai for the food. “It’s a mosaic of old and new and such diversity,” she says. She enjoys the vegetarian dishes at places like Shree Thaker Bhojanalay and Swati Snacks; and Trishna or Mahesh Lunch for Maharashtrian seafood. Then there is Wasabi at the Taj Mahal Palace for Japanese. “What is currently thrilling is young chefs like Thomas Zakaria at Bombay Canteen who have traveled the world and worked at big-name restaurants in London and New York.”

French chef Pierre Koffmann is a new convert to Dublin after two visits to Ireland from his London base. “I was amazed by the food,” he says. “And the service is even more impressive. The Irish are so friendly and welcoming. They love eating and drinking and they love life. We went to two particularly good places. Aimsir is a long drive, but it is worth it. Everything was fantastic and the welcome was among the best I’ve had in my life. The GreenHouse was was more classical  and the cooking was very good.”

Bari, Italy
Chef Francesco Mazzei, of Sartoria in London, is a champion of southern Italian cuisine, and picks the Puglian capital of Bari as a favorite dining destination. “Puglia is very fertile, with amazing produce,” he says. “Go to a restaurant like Giampà and you can taste amazing seafood, as well as the pasta and the olive oil. It’s a great city. The cucina povera of the south (of Italy) is finally gaining the respect it deserves overseas. Another favorite restaurant of mine is Lo Scoglio, right near the airport. They cook with passion.”

First « 1 2 » Next