“First we eat, then we do everything else,” M.F.K. Fisher, the American food writer, once said.
If that’s the natural order of things, then food is worth planning your travel itinerary around – that is, if it’s not the entire reason for jet-setting itself. And Kayak and OpenTable have found evidence that people are doing just that.
On Tuesday, the food and travel sites released a joint list: 25 hidden-gem restaurants around the world. All of which, are “worth flying for,” they claimed in a release.
Both Kayak and OpenTable want to help people experience the world, Caroline Potter, OpenTable’s chief dining officer, tells USA TODAY. Dining, she says, seemed like a very logical “meeting of the minds.”
The team at OpenTable had heard anecdotal evidence about people who make their restaurant reservations before booking a flight or hotel.
“Food has become such a bigger part of the culture for everyone, we’re a nation – or a world – of foodies,” says Potter. “I think food is a universal way for people to get into culture, even if you don’t speak the language.”
The two companies wanted to create a guide that could give foodie travelers all the best tips in one place.
The list was pulled together from user reviews collected by OpenTable between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. And the cities included were pulled from Kayak’s list of top 50 most popular destinations around the globe between July 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019.
OpenTable also conducted a two-question survey between June 19 and June 24. They asked users whether or not they had ever “flown for food.”
USA TODAY Wine & Food Experience in NYC: Antoni Porowski, Bella Twins bring latkes, laughs
They found that 1 in 5 Americans plan getaways around how good the food is expected to be. And in a separate survey administered by YouGov, Kayak found that 73% of Americans choose local restaurants over a high end restaurant while on a trip.
Kayak’s study also found that:
- 44% of Americans would book a ticket on a plane, bus or train for a particular restaurant.
- 61%of Americans would travel for an hour or longer to dine at a “wish list” restaurant.
- 62% of Americans prefer to eat local cuisine over food they are familiar with, while traveling.
The restaurants deemed flight-worthy span the globe, ranging from New York to Barcelona to Dubai to Toronto to Mexico City to Sydney.
While the eateries needed to be tagged as “neighborhood gems” by verified OpenTable users who reviewed the restaurants after eating there, Potter says the only common denominator is that the restaurants are all popular with locals.
Aside from that, they all feature different price points, different cuisines and different cultures.
“They’re not big, bucket-list, once-in-a-lifetime restaurants,” Potter notes. Instead, these are “the places to go to get a good flavor of where locals go, to get what the vibe is.”
The full list, presented in alphabetical order:
- 12th Avenue Grill (Honolulu, Hawaii)
- Alux Restaurant (Cancun, Mexico)
- Battista’s Hole in the Wall (Las Vegas)
- Bistro Campagne (Chicago)
- Cafe Luxembourg (New York)
- CRUST (Miami)
- Frances (San Francisco)
- Gilda by Belgious (Barcelona, Spain)
- Mamma Maria’s (Boston)
- Musso & Frank Grill (Los Angeles)
- Nusret Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
- Omonia Taverna & Bar (Frankfurt, Germany)
- Osteria Savio Volpe (Vancouver, British Columbia)
- Paddock & Vine (Sydney)
- Rosetta (Mexico City)
- Schnitzelei Charlottenburg (Berlin)
- Serafina by the Water (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
- Stella Cocktail Club (Dublin)
- Terroni Queen (Toronto)
- Tatel Madrid (Madrid)
- The Tap Room at Dubsdread (Orlando, Florida)
- Van Speyk (Amsterdam)
- Westerns Laundry (London)
- Wirtshaus in der Au (Munich)
- Kakaiya by the Sea (Tokyo)
When you sit down at a local restaurant, Potter said, there is more opportunity to find out about other local restaurants and delicacies to hit on your trip. Waiters and waitresses and other diners will have suggestions, she said.
There are other ways to immerse yourself in food culture too. Potter recommends visiting food markets (and night markets in some countries), food walking tours or taking a cooking class.
“You’ll walk away with a 360-degree view from fine dining to street food,” said Potter.
Follow Morgan Hines on Twitter: @MorganEmHines.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2019/09/17/opentable-25-hidden-gem-restaurants-worth-flying-for/2340307001/