By Katie Chang
Located approximately 60 miles southeast of Mexico City, this colonial charmer is as easy on the eyes with its colorful Baroque architecture as it is on the palate. Though Puebla’s historic center was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the city’s greatest contributions are culinary-based – with mole poblano being the most famous one. There’s no set recipe for the rich sauce, but it typically includes chiles, warm spices, chocolate, nuts, and toasted bread. And the top spots to indulge in the local specialty are Augurio by famed chef Angel Vázquez, El Mural De Los Poblanos, and Casa Reyna. The sophisticated Rosewood Puebla Hotel offers a mole poblano cooking class, should you want to whip up some in your own kitchen.
Seoul, South Korea
Bustling, sprawling, and vibrant, South Korea’s capital city is home to a thrillingly diverse culinary landscape. The street food alone warrants a visit, as you’ll discover food carts and tents on practically every block. Among the snacks you can’t miss are tteokbokki (chewy rice cakes stir-fried in a spicy sauce), sundae (blood sausage), and gimbap (seaweed rolls filled with rice and assorted meats and vegetables). Though barbecue and kimchi might be Korea’s claim to fame, Balwoo Gongyang, a Michelin-starred spot lauded for its vegan temple cuisine, and Doore Yoo, a vegetable-centric restaurant featuring foraged ingredients, showcases how nuanced and subtle Korean food can be.
Formerly an industrial hub in Spain’s Basque country, Bilbao is finally stepping into the spotlight as a gastronomic destination of its own right. No longer overshadowed by San Sebastian, Barcelona, and Madrid, the port city offers up an enticing range of dining options, from casual nooks serving up pintxos – small pieces of bread topped with various ingredients – to haute cuisine establishments. If you’re looking to splurge, look no further than the Michelin-starred restaurants Mina, Etxanobe, and Nerua, the minimalist-chic restaurant helmed by Chef Josean Alija in Frank Gehry’s architectural masterpiece, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
With its intoxicating and heady mix of scents, sounds, and sights, this Moroccan city offers endless epicurean delights. But if it’s your first sojourn here, place Al Fassia at the top of your list. Located in the chic Guéliz neighborhood, the restaurant is run by the Chaab sisters, whom specialize in traditional North African dishes, including pigeon pastilla and pumpkin tagine. And if you want to try your hand at preparing an authentic meal, book a cooking class with Souk Cuisine. Led by Gemma, an expat from Holland, the all-day experience commences with shopping for ingredients in a souk, and concludes with cooking in the courtyard of a Riad, a traditional Moroccan house.
In the past few years alone, Peru’s capital has transformed into one of the world’s buzziest dining destinations. For starters, the city boasts three restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (only New York, London, and Mexico City share the same bragging rights). But for more casual, everyday eating, partake in a traditional lunch of ceviche, for which locals recommend Mercado de Surquillo, Chez Wong, and Sonia’s. But whatever you’re eating, wash it all down with a refreshing pisco sour. The national Peruvian cocktail is shaken up at countless bars throughout the city, but the best ones can be found at Hotel Maury, Antigua Taberna Queirolo, and the Gran Hotel Bolívar.
While most visitors linger on the cluster of islands home to popular attractions like St. Mark’s Square and Doge’s Palace, step away from the crowds and venture past Venice’s city center to the lagoon’s hushed outer islands. Oenophiles will flip for Venissa, a luxury eco-resort featuring a winery and Michelin-starred restaurant. And nearby, on the tiny island of Torcello, is where you’ll find Locanda Cipriani. Owned by Cipriani family, it’s the sophisticated mainstay that’s lured in luminaries and locals alike since opening in 1935. But for a Venetian dining experience like no other, reserve a meal with local legend Mauro Stoppa, who prepares local favorites like risi e bisi and sarde in saor, and serves them on one of Venice’s last remaining bragozzi (flat bottom sailing ships).