When I travel I have to try everything because I think enjoying or tasting the local food is half the fun of exploring foreign places. That being said, I have some all-time favorite places to eat, snack, or indulge.
1. Bibi Sucos, Rio de Janiero, Brazil– Av. Ataulfo de Paiva, 591-A, Leblon, Rio de Janiero –
The best açaí I have found in Brazil. This little juice and sandwich cafe on the corner in the Leblon neighborhood of Rio serves up a mighty delicious and big bowl of açaí with an assortment of topping–my favorite is the classic banana, granola, and honey.
2. Poë, Granada, Spain– C/ Verónica de la Magdelena 40. 18002, Granada, Spain –
Free tapas with beer? Why not! Bar Poë is an amazing tapas bar in the heart of Granada, Spain. I often wandered (mostly because I could never figure out what street it was on!) to this little nook of a bar to drink and eat an amazing selection of tapas inspired by different cultures, countries and tastes. With every drink ordered you get to choose a tapa. I recommend the famously hot Portuguese Piri-Piri or the Feijoada (traditional Brazilian bean stew). Bar Poë is a great place to meet interesting people and the owners, an English and Angolan couple, are entertaining people to chat with if you are just grabbing a drink at the bar.
3. El Noble (Repulgue), Buenos Aires/Rosario, Argentina– http://www.elnoble.com.ar/index/sucursales –
Now with several locations scattered throughout Argentina, this empanada and ice cream take-out serves up some steller empanadas. They have a wide assortment of empanadas to choose from, from traditional beef to some unique flavors such as chicken with plums, chicken with a honey and beer sauce, and Patagónica de cordero.
4. The Cheese Board, Berkeley, California– 1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, California –
I used to love heading to The Cheese Board early morning for $1 coffee and amazing pastries from the bakery. The currant oat and cornmeal cherry scones are to die for. After you enjoy your cheap delicious coffee and amazing pastry you can head next door to get their pizza of the day. They only make one type each day, and the line may be out the door and around the corner, but it is well worth the wait. Grab your slice of pizza and enjoy it on the grass median if there are no tables open. Amazing baguettes and cheese to boot–this little gem in Berkeley deserves to be on my top eats list.
5. La Luchas, Lima, Peru– Óvalo Gutiérrez, Miraflores District 15073, Peru –
This is not your average sandwich shop. I wandered across this place while walking back to my hostel in Lima. Very popular among locals, and raising the bar on sandwich making world wide, La Lucha is well worth indulging if you are visiting Lima. While standing in line to order, a man recommended that I try Lechon a la Lena–a phenomenal and slightly spicy pork sandwich on crispy bread. Be sure to order some french fries, and of course a granadilla, a Peruvian passionfruit shake to go with your sandwich.
6. Inti, Cuenca, Ecuador– Antonio Borrero 8-44 and Sucre, Cuenca, Ecuador –
Every now-and-again even the hard-nosed budget backpack traveler has a need to splurge…for me it was when I was visiting Cuenca, Ecuador. Raining outside, the options for what to do for the day were limited, so I stumbled into the beautiful colonial Hotel Santa Lucía to take a peek. My parents had recently stayed at the hotel and recommended that I stopped by to look at the old colonial building when I walked around the central historic area of the city. Little to say, it didn’t take much to convince me to sit down and enjoy a drink for happy hour, and then head into the restaurant for some fine dining. My delicious meal with traditional Ecuadorian flavor and a bit of contemporary infusion, a bottled water, and a beer was under $15. Well worth living the high-life for a moment while still on a backpackers budget.
7. Muffin Bakery, Stockholm, Sweden– Drottninggatan 73, Stockholm, Sweden –
Stop in here for great coffee and tasty muffins. The muffin options are great–I tried the ginger/raspberry and rhubarb with white chocolate topping–but they have many flavors of muffins displayed in cute baskets. The staff is very friendly and welcoming, and the outside tables are perfect to kick back with your coffee and muffin on a sunny day.
8. Doña Luisa Xicotenca, Antigua, Guatemala– 4a Calle Oriente 12 City Center, Antigua, Guatemala –
One of Antigua’s best-known restaurants is a perfect place to enjoy breakfast or a light meal with colonial patio ambience, but don’t forget about the bakery on the corner. It sells many kinds of breads, including whole grain, and as far as I know, is the only place in Antigua where you can get home made yogurt. The best part is the hot-from-the-oven banana bread daily at around 2:00 pm. Pick up a loaf and head over to the plaza across the street, but watch out…you might have a hard time not eating the whole loaf.
9. Pizzaria Do Cica, Florianopolis, Brazil– Rodovia Doutor Antonio Luiz Moura Gonzaga, 577, Florianopolis, Brazil –
Located well of the beaten path in Floripa, this place offers an amazing festival de pizzas. Basically, they bring around 7-8 different pizzas throughout the night and you either take a slice, or wait for the next topping to come around. You pay a set price and eat as much as you want. They make small pizzas throughout the evening, so the pizza they bring around is always fresh and piping hot! To top it all, their pizzas are made on a delicious whole wheat crust, and you can finish with two dessert pizzas included in the festival de pizzas.
10. Portos, Glendale, California– 315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, California –
This is a very popular Cuban bakery will make both your eyes and your gut pop. It serves up an assortment of sandwiches and meals, but I always just stop in for a coffee and some great pastries. Even if it is busy (which is likely), you move through the line quickly by ordering and then following you server to the checkout. The potato balls and guava cheese rolls will always hit the spot.
Riz Raz – Copenhagen, Denmark
Porcão – Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Andina – Portland, Oregon
Where are some of your favorite places to grab a bite to eat? Share them below!