Travelin’ foodies on the hunt for prime foodie destinations: assemble. As we all know, eating is an essential part of any adventure — whether you’re dining fine or noshing down night-market fodder.
Lucky for us, Restaurant Awards assembled a short list for the “ultimate foodie travel bucket list,” so you can let your tastebuds be your guide as you hightail it to Peru, South Africa, and beyond. Drooling yet? We are, too.
Mil – Maras, Peru
Mil is 11,500 feet above sea level, high up in the Peruvian mountains. It’s a full 45-minute topsy-turvy drive from Cusco, just at the edge of the ruins at Moray.
Everything about Mil is local — from the icy water, collected from the Andean snowmelt, to the harvested potatoes, to the local pink salt.
Because Mil is so far above sea level, the dishes at this most beautiful of foodie destinations edge on the “lighter” side. Apparently, higher altitudes affect hunger levels (although we know that won’t stop you!). Mil showcases lamb tartare with crunchy white quinoa salad. Further, they feature tubers like mashwa and leona, baked in an adobe brick oven, and other essential grains and veggies that represent Peruvian culture.
Restaurant Bootshaus – Traunkirchen, Austria
Award-winning executive chef Lukas Nagl, chef Michael Kaufmann, and the rest of their crew support the idea of “Loslassen.” In German, this means “letting go.” As such, while there, you have to put your faith in their super-capable hands, since they change the menu daily, depending on what’s available from local suppliers.
Wine-guzzlers, listen up. Their wine cellar is a goldmine: Austrian in focus and mostly from the 1980s and 1990s. Furthermore, each bottle lends its own flair and personality — making each meal unique. And the surrounding mountains, water, and fields craft a perfect backdrop for foodies like yourself.
Wolfgat – Paternoster, South Africa
The teensy 20-seater Wolfgat is a must-stop for award-winning seafood foodie destinations, and was named the “Best Restaurant in the World” at The World Restaurant Awards in Paris back in February 2019.
Chef Kobus van der Merwe is innovative and sustainable, tossing together things like indigenous succulents and local herbs. Dishes change like — and with — the weather.
The restaurant was named after the nearby cave and archaeological wonder, which contains relics from an ancient people. Paternoster itself is one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast of South Africa, tucked between St. Helena Bay and Saldanha Bay.
Riley’s Fish Shack – Tynemouth, United Kingdom
Just a half-hour drive from Newcastle, find Riley’s Fish Shack — two glorified shipping containers, all steampunk-ed and rusted, overlooking the beach. It offers one of the best dining experiences in the world.
The menu isn’t excessive. Think: fish of all sorts, grilled perfectly. Garlic potatoes. Tantalizing bread. A few salads; some pasties. It’s all messy, served in little wooden boxes with wooden forks and knives, with a fine selection of craft brews and wine. If you don’t leave all greasy and grinning, you did something wrong.
Tokuyamazushi – Shiga, Japan
Shiga’s Lake Yogo isn’t exactly “close” to typical Japanese destinations. But for some foodies, the restaurant Tokuyamazushi is reason enough to make the pilgrimage into the mountains, thick with forest.
Chef Tokuyama upholds the tradition of Shiga sushi, using an ancient preservation tactic called narezushi. This means making the fish fermented and stinky, like blue cheese. It’s one of the last places in the world where this kind of food tradition survives. Luckily, Tokuyama is a master, pairing this stinky-fish with umami, offsetting the odor.
Tokuyamazushi is located in a beautiful non-touristic village, with an incredible view of the lake. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, completely unique and unchartered. It’s waiting for you.