Top 10 Foodie Cities Exclude Chicago, New York, Los Angeles

Which is America’s best city for foodies? New York, Los Angeles and Chicago immediately come to mind, but they surprisingly didn’t finish in a new report’s Top 10.

Portland, Oregon, ranks No. 1, followed by Orlando and Miami, the report by personal-finance website WalletHub finds. The report evaluates 29 criteria — including high-quality restaurants, food festivals, craft breweries and wineries — in 182 cities, including the 150 most populated.

Portland sits atop the rankings because, among other criteria, it has no sales or food taxes and a large number of high-quality restaurants, craft breweries and wine bars, says WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

“Other factors that make Portland, Orlando and Miami the best foodie cities include the large number and diversity of restaurants, the large ratio of full-service restaurants to fast-food establishments and the large number of food trucks per capita,” Gonzalez says.

Another recent WalletHub report also rated Portland and Orlando No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, of best cities for vegans and vegetarians.

In the new report of the best cities for foodies of all stripes, three California cities — San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego — rank in the Top 10. Others in the Top 10 are Austin, Seattle, Tampa and Las Vegas. The Top 10 cities and No. 11 Denver rank higher than No. 12 Chicago, No. 15 Los Angeles and No. 18 New York.

Affordability kept New York from ranking higher. “The costs of groceries, restaurant meals and beer and wine are some of the highest in the country,” Gonzales says.

New York and Los Angeles, though, offer lots of excellent options for foodies.

“Los Angeles has a lot of affordable high-quality restaurants, no food tax and a large number of very diverse restaurants,” Gonzalez says. “It also has restaurants with Michelin stars and plenty of farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture programs. Other factors that contributed to its ranking include a high number of herbs and spices stores, kitchen supplies stores and cooking schools. Like New York, affordability kept Los Angeles from ranking higher. Restaurant meals and groceries are expensive, and there is a high sales tax — 9.5%.”

New Orleans has a distinguished, unique culinary scene and history, but it ranks No. 41 in the WalletHub report.

“The city has affordable high-quality restaurants and a large number of food festivals, coffee and tea shops and cooking schools,” Gonzales says. “New Orleans didn’t rank higher because of its small number of international grocery stores and high sales and food taxes — 9.45% and 5.1%, respectively.”

Here are WalletHub’s Top 25 foodie cities:

1. Portland, Oregon

2. Orlando

3. Miami

4. San Francisco

5. Austin

6. Sacramento

7. Seattle

8. Tampa

9. Las Vegas

10. San Diego

11. Denver

12. Chicago

13. Washington

14. Atlanta

15. Los Angeles

16. Pittsburgh

17. Portland, Maine

18. New York

19. Charleston, South Carolina

20. Oakland

21. Cincinnati

22. St. Louis

23. Richmond, Virginia

24. Milwaukee

25. Grand Rapids, Michigan

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