I’m not a foodie, per se. Sure, I love food, and I eat it basically every day, but that doesn’t mean that I plan trips around restaurants. The problem is that, as a freelance writer, my fancy restaurant budget is practically non-existent. Usually it works out OK because I’m not particular picky and I’m pretty easy to please, but I definitely embarrass myself when I try to order foods in French.
With all of that being said, I should clarify that I’m not exactly a food dunce either. I can tell when a meal is extraordinary or bad. I can sniff wine before sipping it like a pretentious nerd with the best of ‘em. I can wax philosophical about “mouth feel” and only crack a small sardonic smile.
I like food, it’s just not my first concern when I’m planning out a trip. Even though I don’t seek out food as a destination, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t found some really nice eateries on my travels. In fact, quite the opposite. I’ve found some incredible restaurants that I love and I proselytize them from the mountaintops. Just because I personally don’t seek out destinations for food, you might, which is why I’ve made a list of my top 5 restaurants that I’ve found in my travels. Place like:
- Spatznhäus’l, Grainau, Germany - There are few meals in my life that I can think of that were truly transformative experiences. This restaurant is one of them. I rode in a car for six hours down to the Alps through a snowstorm. When we got to the small town of Grainau, my family and I were famished. We traipsed through snow three feet tall to get to the Spatznhäus’l. This family-owned restaurant is true German goodness that’s packed with flavor, served in portions that would make King Louis XIV blush, and plenty of Pilsner to wash it all down. What a place!
- Main Street Meats, Chattanooga, TN - Chattanooga is an awesome town. It’s great for tourists of all kinds, and the restaurants are awesome too. Main Street Meats is one of those places. With the most fulfilling and mouth-watering burger I’ve ever eaten, this all-local restaurant is affordable, comfortable, and delicious. Best of all, it’s also a butcher shop, so you can pick up some steaks for grilling out yourself after you treat yourself to their crispy brussel sprouts and bread pudding. Oh lawd!
- Dottie’s True Blue Cafe, San Francisco, CA - Get to this breakfast establishment early! If you don’t, you’ll be met with a waiting line that extends around the building. Dottie’s makes fresh squeezed orange juice, really tasty scrambles, and insane pastries. If you’re in the mood for a real treat, order their Blueberry Whiskey Crumble with homemade cool whip. It’s so good, you might have an out of body experience. If you leave Dottie’s hungry, you’re either Joey Chestnut or it’s your own dang fault. This restaurant is rad.
- Nepenthe, Big Sur, CA - I have a hard time believing that any restaurant in the United States has a better view than Nepenthe. After a long day of cruising down the incredibly picturesque California Highway 1, this restaurant lets you drink in views of the Pacific Ocean and its dramatic coastline while you chomp on traditional American fare. The food is pretty good, but it’s really the view that can’t be beaten.
- The Omelet House, Las Vegas, NV - Most flights into Vegas arrive really early in the morning or late at night. Either time is perfect to visit the Omelet House. This breakfast joint has some of the most insanely delicious egg-based dishes you’ll eat. After a long flight, there’s not much better than a giant 6 egg omelet covered in cheese and other toppings. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
If you’re looking for unique places to chow on, and you’re not afraid to put some frequent flier miles on your card, these restaurants are worth the travel. These are some of the most seriously delicious places I’ve ever eaten. From their ambiance to food, I can’t think of many other places I’d rather eat. If you want some bonus points, don’t forget to snap a few photos or take a video of your experience. I’d love to live vicariously through you!