Every time we travel to a new place, I always get at least one person who asks me about the food. I have to admit, food use to not be important to me when I traveled. I was there to see things and didn't really care what I ate. It wasn't until starting to travel more that I realized the local cuisine is also important to the overall experience. You can meet a lot of wonderful people, expand your food horizon's, and can get to know a culture better when sitting down to a meal in a new place.
Now when planning a trip I also always do research on top rated places to eat in the area. I usually try to find at least 2-3 different options in that area that may offer some different styles of food. Especially when traveling internationally. I do this so we have choices that can vary depending on our mood or the crowd. Sometimes we still do wing it that day if we come across something that smells or looks fantastic (or recommend by a local). Other times we just refer to Yelp or Trip Adviser for something with good reviews nearby. Planning ahead helps us though because if not, my husband and I can spend an hour arguing about where to eat.
Anyways, I wanted to give you a list today of some of my favorite food places that we have dined at during our travels. Most of them are more of a traditional sit down restaurant, but some are a few little snacks or treats we found along the way. Side note for the photos. I am not very good at taking food photos, so sharing some that these business's have shared on their social media accounts of their food or business (the food is not necessarily what we ate while there).
Location: Sólvellir, Grundarfjörður Iceland
Iceland is a stunning country known more for its beauty than its food. Fish and lamb are staples here and food can get really expensive. Who would have thought that one of my best meals ever would be here? First you have the setting of this establishment. A cozy place with a view of the water and the famous Kirkjufell mountain. We happened to be here the night of a bad storm which added to cozy atmosphere. We opted for a pre-set 5 course menu. It varies based on the season as they use fresh seasonal products, but every course was almost orgasmic. Wonderful flavors and not to mention an equally awesome staff.
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
As a rule when I travel, I never eat at the same place twice. Unless its a place I visit often, such as Boonsboro. When I am in places like Scotland where I know I may never go again, I try to get a variety. Well we broke this rule at this place. This restaurant is located at the Taigh Ailean Hotel, where we stayed while visiting the Isle of Skye. The first night in Skye we ate here due to the convenience of eating at the bar on site. The one night convinced us all our dinner would be there while we stayed. A lot of the food we tried was more of the hearty pub style food (and some great seafood) but perfectly done. I remember having a roast beef that melted in my mouth. Oh and make sure to save room for dessert (or pudding), as that is just as awesome. Added bonus the staff. When we were there in 2016, the bartender was this older Scottish gentleman who made jokes and told us of his worldly travels. A can't miss place if you are ever in Skye!
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
When it comes to places to eat in Vegas there are countless options. Everything from your every day chains, to restaurants run by world renowned chefs. If you are willing to go off the strip you can find some good priced local places. However, I picked a place on this strip. This restaurant is inside the New York New York Hotel and Casino. I really like pubs and this one doesn't not disappoint. First the setting is impressive, as you feel like you stepped into an Irish bar. The food is traditional in that you will find bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, and fish n' chips. All excellently prepared and goes best with a pint.
Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery
Location: San Antonio, Texas
I heard one time that if you want good Mexican food in Austin, you get in your car and drive to San Antonio. Honestly I would agree with that. Every time I have visited this city, I eat a lot of Mexican food (and bbq). I don't think I've ever done the same place twice either, as their are so many options. I picked this place for a few reasons. One its located in the famous Historic Market Square. The food of course was yummy, but the setting is why I picked this one over a few others. It was wonderfully decorated in vibrant colors, and items of Mexican culture. Their was a mariachi band that came around and performed. Not to mention they had a huge bakery that we could take some sweets with us to go on the way out.
Note: Casa Rio is the famous Mexican restaurant along the Riverwalk with the colorful umbrellas. I did enjoy a meal there as well, but am told that not all places on the Riverwalk are as good.
Location: San Antonio, TX
I think this place is located outside of San Antonio and we visit here when visiting our family in that area. BBQ is usually the other thing besides Mexican food that we eat when in Texas, as you can't beat a good Texas BBQ either. This place has something called a chop that I love. I can't remember what it is but I think its a combo of the brisket, pork, and other meats all mixed into one. Plus they have an amazing BBQ sauce. Get it with some cream corn and you are set at this place.
Location: Barra Castle in Inverurie, Scotland
From their Facebook page, this establishment is more of a traditional café now with lots of food items. When we were there, it was more limited. I remember they sold berries and produce grown on their farm and ice cream. However, that ice cream left an impression; as over 4 years later I think of it as the best ice cream I have ever had. When we ordered it we had to take a number and there was wait. I couldn't understand why soft serve ice cream in a cone from a machine seemed to have a 15-20 minute wait. Well I watched and it appears they blend fresh berries with the ice cream when they serve it. I had a raspberry cone. The ice cream was smooth, creamy and bursting with that fresh raspberry flavor.
Location: Wiscasset, Maine
Their website says its the world's best lobster shack, and they are repeatedly voted the number one lobster roll in Maine. I can say it was the best lobster roll I've ever had. I have to admit, I am not a huge lobster person. I am more crab, but coming around. However, when in Maine you are getting the fresh stuff and its too good to say no. A toasted roll with some lobster and butter sauce seems simple but sometimes that is all you need. The line can be long for this place but its worth the wait. My husband opted for the shrimp basket and it was also delicious. Hope to see this place again some day!
Location: Volcano, Island of Hawaii
When I think of Hawaii, I tend to think of loco moco's or the worlds best pork served with rice and mac salad. While I stand by that these dishes are a must try while visiting the islands, this food truck is my dinner recommendation. It is located in the town of Volcano, near Hawaii Volcano National Park. They serve delicious and world famous Thai food. The portions are large and easily shareable. My husband and I ate here for dinner both nights we stayed in Volcano. As an FYI if you happen to be in the Volcano area. The town itself is small with not a lot of food options. A lot of the place in town (including this food truck), close early so make sure to check out their website and plan in advance.
Location: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii made this list twice. I wanted to give a shout out to the malasadas. These delights are Portuguese donuts that are usually puffy, rolled in sugar, and have a custard filling. This location is famous in Honolulu and they also offer some other delicious and more savory breakfast offerings. We hit this place up on the way to Pearl Harbor from our hotel. However, be warned parking is limited and it gets busy.
I also want to give a shout out Punalu'u Bake Shop on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was actually torn between Leonard's and this place. They had just as delicious malasada's and some great café and pastry treat. Plus this place had a nice outdoor seating area and gardens, so you get nice scenery with your food. Either or is a must depending on what island you may be visiting.
Location: San Francisco, California
San Fran is a total food lovers dream. There are so many wonderful options and its hard to find a bad meal in this town. However, it is not a cheap city. When planning to go I did research on more affordable and high rated options in the city and found this place. If you Google this place, there are two. We ate at the one on Irving Street. They specialize in southeast Asian cuisine. I can't say know what that type of cuisine is, but I can say its was phenomenal. I think about my curry noodle dish often. The portions were enough we could have shared 1 meal and the price was just as impressive. Oh and this picture below is one we took of our food that day.
Honorable Mention for the San Fran area, is Causwell's. One of the best hamburgers I have ever had (and my husband says the same). Whatever the causwell sauce is, it is magic.
Location: Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Orlando Florida
I have only been to Disney World for the first time in 2019 and loved it. Disney does everything well and that includes the food. Yes you can find you regular deep fried theme park items; but they offer so much more. There are a lot of great places to eat at both the parks and Disney Hotels. We only sampled a small variety and hope on future trips to find more. However, this was one of my favorites at Magic Kingdom. Most of the food is either African, Asian, or Latin inspired. My husband and I shared these delicious dumpling appetizers followed by a Thai noodle chicken dish. The setting reminds you of the Jungle Boat ride Disney's offers and even some of the corny jokes on the menu. What is not silly is the food, the service, and the experience. All top level Disney style!
Honorable Mention is Mama Melrose's located in Hollywood Studios. We only went for light appetizers but what we had was delicious and the place smell's like Italian Heaven. Would love to go back and try an actual pasta dish sometime.
So there a few places that have stuck out in my brain over the years. Tell me some of yours from your travels.