New global foodie capitals

By Mina Holland

Photography by Getty

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May 2017

At the start of this year, Copenhagen’s famed restaurant Noma shut its doors after 14 years of pushing the boundaries of the dining experience. So where now in the world can we sate our appetite for original, creative dishes? Our global travel panel insider, Mina Holland, serves up some suggestions for getting our foodie fix.

Oakland and the Bay Area

College Avenue, the long road connecting Berkeley to the city of Oakland – just 20 minutes’ drive from San Francisco – on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, is a food Mecca. Ramen Shop is great for (you guessed it) imaginatively-executed ramen of eye-watering goodness, served with local beers or natural wine. Berkeley’s San Pablo Ave has an epicurean nook where you can get your morning coffee or a Persian breakfast, while at Bartavelle grab bread from a Bay Area institution, Acme, and peruse the wines at celebrated merchant Kermit Lynch. Oakland is, of late, awash with the achingly trendy – try Trouble Coffee Co, tucked in just off the freeway, and order whole coconut and cinnamon toast.

Fly to: Oakland

Stay: Pullman San Francisco Bay

The Ramen Shop is great for (you guessed it) imaginatively-executed ramen of eye-watering goodness, served with local beers or natural wine

  • Enjoy big bowls of noodles at Ramen Shop, Oakland © Aya Brackett.

    More than ramen

    As well as its standard opening hours for noodles, Ramen Shop also serves coffee, tea, and pastries from 08.00-12.00 on weekends.

    Discover Oakland
  • Explore the coastal as well as the culinary landscape in Galicia, Spain © Getty.

    End of the road

    Spain famous pilgrimage Camino de Santiago, typically starts in the Asturian city of Oviedo and ends in Galicia’s Santiago de Compostela.

    Explore Spain
  • Try dishes such as rib eye with pepita-lime butter at Hartwood Tulum, Mexico © Gentl & Hyers.

    Save your seat

    It’s best to make a reservation for Hartwood, which serves dinner only, from 18.00-23.00 Wednesday to Sunday, but walk-ins are also available on a first-come first-served basis.

    Fly to Mexico

New Orleans and the Deep South

It’s not just music that’s good for the soul here, but the food as well. Reputed to have America’s very best fried chicken is Willie Mae’s in New Orleans. It’s a big claim, but one that the bronzed, perfectly crisp drumsticks yielding velveteen meat can live up to. If you’re after festivities, try one of the city’s annual food festivals like the Crawfish Festival in early May, or one of the perfect food/music combo festivals such as Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival in mid-October.

Fly to: New Orleans

Stay: W New Orleans French Quarter

Northern Spain

San Sebastian has been on every glutton’s visit list for the last few years (if you haven’t got there yet, it’s totally worth it). However, one place I’m dying to get my tentacles on is Galicia. This north-western nook of Spain, home to Santiago de Compostela, has rugged coastline rich in spoils of the sea: razor clams, scallops, goose barnacles and, most famously, octopus, which has its own festival in August, when mountains of it are cooked and served with boiled potatoes and smoked paprika.

  • Experience exceptional waiter service on the helipad at the St Regis Abu Dhabi.

    Did you know…?

    Abu Dhabi boasts over 2,000 parks and gardens and benefits from more than 240 miles of coastline.

    Flights to Abu Dhabi


Mexico’s no stranger to octopus either. Hartwood restaurant in Tulum is known for roasting the cephalopods whole, as well as a host of other dishes that change according to what nature provides. Super restaurant Noma has a pop-up in Tulum until the end of May 2017, too, so fine dining opportunities abound – and let’s hope the residency gets extended.

Head inland and up to the capital, Mexico City, where there are days upon days’ worth of delicious, and sometimes challenging, food ops. Try breakfast at Lalo near Roma, where eggs are served with ant eggs – or try guacamole with grasshoppers at Corazon de Maguey or pre-Hispanic Don Chon (which also serves rattlesnake). Mezcal fans will love La Clandestina in Condesa, where owner Karla Moles serves up hundreds of different specimens of the spirit from demijohns, garnished only with oranges and chilli worm salt.

Fly to: Mexico City

Stay: Emporio Reforma

Best of the rest

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Experience: Dine 255m in the air on top of a helipad at the St Regis.

Stay: Emirates Palace

Fly to: Abu Dhabi


Seoul, South Korea

Experience: Learn to make traditional-style kimchi at Seoul Kimchi Academy

Stay: Aloft Seoul Gangnam

Fly to: Seoul

Santiago, Chile

Experience: Take a tasting tour at Viña Cousiño Macul in Santiago.

Stay: W Santiago

Fly to: Santiago