Travel To Taste

It’s crazy how many people travel the world purely for the food, right?!

Wrong. It’s not crazy at all, not when dishes like the ones we’ve listed below exist just a few thousand miles away.

Here are BTR’s five best meals that are worth the price of a plane ticket to get to them.

El Celler de Can Roca
Girona, Spain

This three-Michelin-starred restaurant was recently named the best in the world (like, the whole world) so it’s not a stretch to add a visit to your bucket list. It’s run by the three Roca brothers (Joan, Josep, and Jordi) who were quite literally born into the industry–their parents still run a restaurant nearby called Can Roca.

We’re going to venture an educated guess here and say that anything you eat at El Celler will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted, but there was one dish in particular that caught our eye, aptly named: “The World.”

(Photo by of e_calamar)

The World is an appetizer that consists of five bites nestled within a black paper lantern, which the waitress opens table side. Each taste represents the trademark cuisine of a different country, such as a mini burrito for Mexico and a stuffed vine leaf for Turkey. Simple, yes, but critics rave about these tiny morsels.

The entire meal is a prefix that will set you back $300, and there’s an eight-month waiting list, so put your name down now and then you have plenty of time to work on becoming independently wealthy before your reservation.

Tokyo, Japan

If you’ve yet to join the ramen craze we suggest you get on that, and those ten cent packages from the grocery store don’t count. In our opinion, there’s nothing as delicious as a big bowl of homemade noodles swimming in pork broth with fresh veggies, and that’s why we recommend heading to Tokyo, Japan, where the dish quasi-originated.

Ichiran is a small authentic noodle shop where you’ll not only be served some of the world’s best ramen, but also a little taste of Japanese culture. You select ingredients from a vending machine so you can tailor your soup to your exact cravings, and then sit alone in a one-person booth to eat—so nothing can distract you from savoring each flavor-packed bite.

El Figon de Eustaquio
Caceres, Spain

This restaurant lies hidden within the carved cobblestone alleyways of Caceres, a village in Western Spain known for its incredible Gothic and Renaissance architecture–and yeah, the buildings are cool, but you’ll be going for the pork. El Figon de Eustaquio serves jamon Iberico in nearly every dish, the region’s speciality and what is commonly considered to be the best ham in the world.

(Photo by Evan)

Iberico pigs are an ancient breed and pride of Spain. They are raised in an open field environment and fed a grain-free diet consisting primarily of acorns. Chefs say that it is this diet, happy life, and exercise, combined with the naturally high-fat content of their muscle, that makes the meat suitable for the extra curing that sets this ham a cut above the rest (pardon our pun).

The Fat Duck
Bray, UK

If you’re a foodie, you are no doubt already familiar with the genius that is Heston Blumenthal–and if you are not, allow us to enlighten you.

Blumenthal is to chefs what Michelangelo is to painters; arguably, the best. His trademark creativity focuses on new textures and reinventions of classic flavors. His surprising dishes make you say “what?!” but also “mmm,” like his bacon and egg ice cream, or his cauliflower risotto with chocolate jelly, both of which are on the menu at The Fat Duck.

(Photo by Sergio Coimbra)

Don’t be fooled by its humble exterior, this restaurant earned three Michelin stars in just under six years, the fastest UK establishment to achieve that rating. While you should absolutely order that crazy-sounding ice cream, the real jewel here is Blumenthal’s famous Sound Of The Sea dish, which showcases both his culinary talents and his flare for the dramatic. The seafood sampler is served with a side of iPod, so that while you feast on fresh oyster, clam, eel, shrimp, tapioca, three kinds of edible seaweed, and more, the sound of the ocean purrs in your ears.

Piemonte, Italy

When you open a restaurant within one of the most renowned contemporary art galleries in the world, you probably aren’t going to be serving up burgers and fries. But David Scabin’s Combal.Zero, in Piemonte, Italy, is built into the Castello di Rivioli contemporary art museum and takes artistic appreciation to the next level. Scabin pays homage to the aesthetics of his bistro’s environment by designing dishes that are both the tastiest paintings you’ve ever seen and the most beautiful food.

Photo courtesy of Mike Fleming.