The five cities below represent hugely varying culinary offerings. But, whether you’re headed for the rustic pizzerias of Rome’s Renaissance downtown, or the garish milk bars of post-communist Poland, you’re sure to find a treasure or two on the menu.
The Earthy and Ancient Tastes of Rome
Simplicity and freshness have long been the hallmarks of this Mediterranean culinary king-pin. But while it’s Naples to the south that claims the trophy for Pizza, Italy’s capital and its bustling centre of family-owned trattorias has a few tricks of its own. From March to Aprilcarciofiromaneschi (Roman artichokes) are one of the top local delicacies; they are pan fried and usually supremely tasty when in season. More traditional dishes are served all year round, so expect plenty of oily bruschetta, creamy carbonara and homemade gelato to boot.
Out With the Old and in With the New in Paris
Forfine-dining enthusiasts, Paris has long been something of a mecca. Known for its mix of meticulously crafted dishes and earthy rustic offerings, the culinary scene here is now apparently in the throes of a new revolution. Young and innovative chefs are twisting and reworking the gastronomic classics, from the iconic soupe à L’Oignon (French onion soup) to the ubiquitous Coq au Vin, and all the while creatively conceived menus are gradually taking the place of their traditional predecessors. That said, the timeless conventions of this old city die hard, and no foodie should leave without sampling the pungent blue provincial cheeses, cheap dry wines, fresh baguettes and sweet croissant pastries of the street-sidepâtisserie.
Street food and High-Society Eating in Bangkok
The Thai’s have done well to infuse the energy and flair of their culture into the dishes of their national cuisine. For most travellers the first pad Thai on Khao San Road is enough to get them hooked; a simple and tasty mix of rice noodles, peanuts and lime juice to set the ball rolling. But while Bangkok is hailed as the king-city of Asian street food, there’s been a marked increase in fine-dining here, which has gone hand-in-hand with a veritable boom in food tourism. Today, from the steamy backstreets of Banglamphu, to the classy eateries in Sukhumvit and the riverside, this is a city literally oozing with culinary choice.
A Multiplicity of Taste in Downtown London
Variety and diversity are the two great features of London’s culinary scene. Amidst the patchwork of traditional British diners and greasy spoons serving the ubiquitous full English, a real cocktail of exotic restaurants has taken hold, with everything from fusion-Thai to Danish hotdogs peppering the menus. It’s a gastronomic trend that’s grown up with London’s new-age and modern-chic image, one that’s helping to turn eating out into an arty experience of culture in this bustling city. From the Indian eateries of Shoreditch’s Brick Lane, to the multiple Michelin Star holders of The City and the west, prepare to be surprised by the sheer variety that’s on offer here and the quirky character of the places that serve it.
Burgers, Borscht and Warsaw’s Burgeoning Culinary Arts
Since the fall of communism here the gastronomic offering of Poland’s capital has come leaps and bounds. Today locals still savour the national classics, strolling the street with a foot-long zapiekanki (baguette pizza bread) or blood-red kielbasa sausage doused in fried onion garnish. Warsaw’s reconstructed old town is a curious mix of the old and new, where rustic restaurants serving żureksoups rub shoulders with Italian trattorias, Turkish kebab joints, and hip burger bars. If you’re looking to get to the real heart of authentic Warszawian cuisine though, the locals will tell you there’s really no substitute for the bar mleczny(milk bars); gaudy remnants of the pre-communist country, serving cheap food that’s loaded with Polish flavour.
This article was written on behalf of No.1 Traveller a luxury travel company who operate a range of airport lounges across the country.