It would take a lifetime to discover the entirety of the world’s culinary treasures. But you’ll be well on your way to becoming a certified foodie with these seven bucket list-worthy experiences.
Snag a reservation at Mirazur
In 2019, this seaside restaurant finally ascended to the top of the World’s Best Restaurants list. It was a journey 10 years in the making; Mirazur, located in the colourful French Riviera town of Menton, has been climbing the list since it debuted at position 35 in 2009. A meal of treats like salt-crusted beetroot with caviar cream, oysters with tapioca, and lemony anchovies, is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience—if you can get a reservation.
Go truffle hunting in Piedmont
Few ingredients get top chefs and passionate foodies as riled up as white truffles, the rare pungent tubers that can fetch around €4,000 per kilo. Shaved atop risotto and pasta, they add an earthy complexity that can move gourmands to tears. You might not be able to afford a taste, but you can join the pursuit. Head to Piedmont, Italy, where you can shadow seasoned truffle hunters as they scour for the hidden morsels. The season peaks in October and November.
Take a self-guided pizza tour in Naples
While you’re in Italy, hop on a plane southbound for the historic city of Naples, and more importantly—the birthplace of Neapolitan pizza. Pizza is such serious business here that a special organization, Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), certifies pizza-makers that are using the proper traditional ingredients and methods for authentic Neapolitan pizza. In a city so pizza-crazed, there is, of course, no shortage of truly excellent spots. Embarking on a mission to find your favourite is a food adventure you won’t soon forget.
Eat pinxtos in San Sebastián
The culinary jewel of Basque country, San Sebastián has one of the highest densities of Michelin-starred restaurants per inhabitant. Choosing where to eat in the coastal city is a challenge. Fortunately, there are pintxos. These small snacks are the Basque version of tapas; they typically take the form of sliced bread topped with a drool-worthy combination of toppings such as marinated anchovies, cured ham, sheep’s milk cheese, and olives. They’re small, plentiful, and meant to be eaten alongside a small glass of beer or wine, before moving on to the next pintxos spot. For a foodie desperate to sample as much as possible, pintxos-hopping is the solution.
Make a pilgrimage to Noma
This experimental Copenhagen restaurant, helmed by visionary chef René Redzepi, has been named the World’s Best on four occasions. Noma’s experimentations with foraging, fermenting, and aging, and their use of strange, often unheard of ingredients, place it in a category all of its own—one with a months-long waiting list. Noma is currently in its second iteration; Redzepi closed the original in 2017 and reopened in a new location in 2018, to much fanfare. Nearly all chefs and food connoisseurs speak of Noma with reverence. For a foodie, a meal at Noma is the ultimate bucket list experience.
Experience Canadiana at its finest at Sunfish
Toronto advertising executive Derek Blais was on a solo motorcycle trip through Death Valley, California, when he crashed at 100 kilometers per hour. He broke his back, and spent his recovery time at his family cottage in Georgian Bay where he rediscovered his Indigenous roots through cooking with his mother. The experience inspired him to open a tiny, ten-seat restaurant in a prospector tent on the rose-flecked rocks of Georgian Bay in 2016. Today, he serves up a Chef’s Table-worthy dining experience—all sourced within a 100 kilometer-radius. If you’ve ever wondered what reindeer moss, frozen buffalo yogurt, or birch bark tastes like, Sunfish is for you.
Take a taco crawl through Centro Histórico
Anyone who points you in the direction of the best taco in Mexico City clearly doesn’t understand how a taco is meant to be enjoyed—in mass quantities, messily mixed-and-matched, debated over at length, and chased with swigs of crisp cervezas under sweaty night skies. Take your foodie on a taco tour of Mexico City’s historic city center long after the shops have closed, gobbling down freshly pressed tortillas topped with fragrant meat and a simple slaw of cilantro, salsa, onion, and a squeeze of lime—exactly as they should be. Hole-in-the-wall spots like El Rey de Pavo (also known as “The King of Turkey” in English—and for good reason) and Los Cocuyos are must-stops.
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