For many foodies, visiting a Michelin-starred restaurant is not only a highlight of their trip; it’s often the primary reason to travel in the first place. Whether it’s tucking into a 12-course tasting menu or sampling local delicacies from a street vendor, the fastest way to the heart of a country’s culture is often the food on your plate.
With 81% of Vietnamese travelers wanting to experience new foods when traveling*, Booking.com has delved into its reviews from real travelers** to present a bucket list of gourmet travel experiences for those in search of exceptional quality and stellar VIP service. From superstar gourmet capitals to hidden gastronomic gems, these six delicious destinations will have your mouth watering in no time.
One of the most exciting gastronomic capitals in the world, São Paolo is the most recommended destination for fine dining according to global Booking.com travelers. Home to an impressive nine of the 14 Michelin-starred restaurants in Brazil, the food there is an experience not to be missed. Must-tries include the Brazilian delicacy ‘coxinha,’ a golden shredded chicken croquette shaped to resemble a drumstick, and the ‘feijoada,’ a rich black bean stew – both found on the menu in many of the vibrant cafes, bars and food markets. Visitors can improve their street food smarts with a São Paulo Markets Private Tour tasting local delicacies and learning about this city’s best food markets.
Where to stay: With its Milan-meets-Manhattan sense of style and prime position in the heart of the exclusive Jardins neighborhood, the elegant Hotel Fasano São Paulo is the ultimate place to stay for an incredible fine dining foodie experience in the city. Complete with indoor pool, jazz bar and one of Brazil’s best spas, the hotel also boasts a Michelin starred modern Italian menu of hand-made pasta and seafood. Nearby lies D.O.M. regarded as the ninth best restaurant in the world, reviving the most authentic flavors of Brazilian cuisine and run by world-renowned chef Alex Atala.
This dynamic capital city, known for its world-class museums and laidback lifestyle, offers a fabulous food scene, full of internationally trained chefs experimenting with novel ingredients and cooking techniques. With over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants from world class chefs, Madrid is the place to visit for those wanting an exclusive food experience. For a culinary adventure, try the Private Guided Food Tour where visitors can visit numerous eateries, tapas bars and food markets, taste the local specialities and gain insights into Madrid’s culinary traditions.
Where to stay: The modern and Travel Sustainable accommodation NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding, with its minimalist yet colorful interior, takes the fine dining experience to the next level. The hotel is home to three Michelin star restaurant DiverXO, the brainchild of Dabiz Muñoz, who has been critically acclaimed around the world for his daring approach to dishes and creativity. ‘Galician lobster waking up on the beaches of Goa’ combines tandoor cooking with sushi rice and a lobster head vindaloo – and looks like a work of art on the plate.
With stunning golden beaches on the Adriatic Sea, beautiful historic architecture and a flourishing food scene, Rimini is one of Italy’s greatest hidden gems. It’s little wonder this coastal city, where life revolves around fine dining, is one of the most recommended destinations for gourmet cuisine according to Booking.com travelers. Visitors can explore its gastronomy with a Small-group Street Food Tour roaming around the cobbled streets and chic piazzas of Rimini, accompanied by an expert guide to discover Italy’s culinary classics. Street food ‘temples’ offer scrumptious local delicacies such as Rimini’s signature ‘piada,’ unleavened bread served hot and filled with soft cheese.
Where to stay: The stylish Un Open Space in Centro Storico is a beautifully furnished large studio apartment in a 17th century building in the heart of town. A few streets away is Abocar Due Cucine, the only Michelin starred restaurant in Rimini. Situated in a delightful courtyard, it boasts a menu which fuses Italian and Argentinian flavours. Full of technique and local tradition, the must-try soyotta – soy sauce with Romagna shallot – has become a signature dish.
Known as France’s gastronomic capital and home to a staggering 17 Michelin-starred restaurants, this dynamic city is one of the most recommended destinations for gourmet food according to Booking.com travelers. Its cuisine merges ingredients from the north with fresh, seasonal vegetables, wine and olive oil produced in the valleys further south. Visitors can savor traditional dishes in the checked table clothed bistros in Vieux Lyon, or immerse themselves in a Guided Food Tour to learn about France’s culinary culture and stop at five locations to sample delicious local delicacies.
Where to stay: The tastefully decorated Quai-Royale, a two-bed apartment overlooking the banks of the river Rhône, features all the latest appliances. Just a stone’s throw away is award-winning two Michelin star restaurant La Mère Brazier where guests can experience the very soul of Lyonnaise cooking. Established in 1921, this address has become a haute cuisine institution with its tables graced by politicians and celebs over the years. Now, with a modern spin on classics – including the signature black truffle stuffed chicken – all dishes are accompanied by an impressive wine list.
Located on Vietnam’s eastern coastline, surrounded by beaches and mountains, Da Nang is a rising city which has something for everyone. Seafood lovers would adore the city immediately for its fresh dishes, endless choices to match anyone’s taste. On top of that, the city offers the heart and soul food of the Central region of Vietnam. Look for ‘bun bo Hue’, the royal’s beef noodles; ‘banh xeo’, the sizzling cake; or a fresh roll of pork and vegetables dipped into specialties fish sauce and enjoy the true taste of local, indigenous ingredients made from time-proof recipes that got passed down from generation to generation. Culinary enthusiasts could also explore the local market to learn more about the local culture and fresh produce as well as participate in traditional Vietnamese cooking class in Da Nang
Where to stay? InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, a hideaway amid the Son Tra Mountain Nature Reserve, home to a number of critically endangered species. InterContinental Danang is one of the few resorts on the planet to have a full-time staff zoologist who oversees all the sustainability initiatives and offers complimentary workshops to guide guests on the integrated ecosystem surrounding them. Within the resort lies a hidden gem, La Maison 1888, the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Vietnam where the delicacy of Vietnam’s indigenous ingredients and French cuisine are combined into a symphony of extremely delicate, flavorful dishes.
Dubai is famed for its Friday brunch buffets – lavish events with live cooking stations and copious amounts of drinks – and there’s an evolving focus on home-grown cuisine. The city is made for foodies, with a plethora of insta-worthy restaurants, street kitchens and food trucks presented from almost every nationality around the world. To further explore its foodie scene, check out the Dubai Street Food Tour where attendees get to journey through the streets of Dubai’s old quarter and discover its traditional food culture, trying out a range of Arabic, Indian and Asian dishes on this four-hour private tour.
Where to stay: Within walking distance of the Jumeirah beach and overlooking the iconic Dubai Marina, the stylish InterContinental Dubai Marina, an IHG Hotel offers a health club, spa and outdoor pool along with nine plush restaurants and bars. Notably, Marina Social run by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton serves Mediterranean-inspired plates with fabulous views over the marina. Crowned Dubai’s Best European Restaurant 2021, there’s everything on offer here from 15-hour barbecue short-rib to lobster linguine and creative twists such as the ‘tomato and burrata’ – a whole tomato with a burrata inside.
For those travelers inspired to get a taste of fine dining cuisine, Booking.com is sharing Getaway Deals for travelers to use when booking their next trip. Discounts start at 15 percent and are valid for stays between 4 April until 30 September 2022. In addition, Booking.com is bringing the great value of its Genius program to even more customers by giving all account holders access to the program’s Level 1 benefits, with no minimum number of previous bookings to qualify, including access to exclusive 10% discounts at hundreds of thousands of participating properties around the world. All travelers have to do is download the Booking.com app, log in and look for the Genius logo to identify associated benefits, discounts and perks.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 48,413 respondents across 31 markets (2,000 from USA, 1,864 from Canada, 1,999 from Mexico, 2,003 from Colombia, 2,005 from Brazil, 2,002 from Argentina, 1,020 from Chile, 1,777 from Australia, 818 from New Zealand, 1,999 from Spain, 2,002 from Italy, 1,998 from France, 1,990 from UK, 2,005 from Germany, 2,003 from Netherlands, 985 from Denmark, 999 from Sweden, 910 from Croatia, 918 from Switzerland, 1,986 from Belgium, 998 from Russia, 953 from Israel, 1,999 from India, 1,990 from China, 901 from Hong Kong, 1,775 from Thailand, 1,001 from Singapore, 975 from Taiwan, 1,800 from Vietnam, 1,757 from South Korea, 1,001 from Japan). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and planning to travel in 2022 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in January 2022.
**Endorsement data from Booking.com based on the most recommended and relevant destinations by global travelers for fine dining and gourmet food