Time Out reveals the World’s Best Cities for Food right now

Naples in Italy tops the list of locals’ top foodie cities, followed by Johannesburg, Lima and more

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Time Out PR
Ho Chi Minh City: credit_Pot Aa Pho by Anan
Ho Chi Minh City: credit_Pot Aa Pho by Anan

Time Out has released its first ever ranking of the World’s Best Cities for Food according to locals, with Naples taking the crown as the world’s food capital. 

To compile the list, Time Outthe global brand that inspires and enables people to experience the best of the city surveyed thousands of people around the world about food in their city. Each city was ranked on how locals rated the quality and affordability of their food scene, and they were also asked about their favourite restaurants, must-try specialities and best-value dishes. Time Out editors included only the highest-scoring city for each country to ensure the list reflects culinary cities globally. 

Naples is a city with a diverse cuisine that celebrates simplicity, where land, sea and history meet. The city is, after all, the birthplace of pizza – you’ll find iterations of this staple dish all over the city – but offers so much more when it comes to culinary experiences. Locals named pizza a portafoglio the city’s best-value food, a grab-and-go folded slice that costs around €1 a pop. It’s not just pizza that Neapolitans love; there are also piping hot plates of pasta alla genovese, Neapolitan ragù or the sugar rush from ricotta-filled sfogliatella or rum-soaked babà. Unsurprisingly however, locals named pizza margherita – invented in Naples according to legend – as the city’s must-eat dish.

Next on the list is Johannesburg, South Africa. While Cape Town might steal the limelight for its international cuisine (and the newly opened Time Out Market Cape Town on the V&A Waterfront is testament to the outstanding culinary talents in the Mother City), it’s time to also put a spotlight on Jo’burg as a worthy rival for the title of South Africa’s food capital, a city where you can eat your way across the continent from Ethiopian cafes to Nigerian and West African restaurants. The city’s traditional South African delicacies, like the Sowetan kota sandwich, bunny chow and mala mogodu got the locals’ vote as the best dishes to try in the city.

Completing the top three is Lima, which is not only the culinary capital of Peru, but of the whole of South America. Locals said that citrusy ceviche, lomo saltado (Peruvian beef stir fry) and tangy pisco sours were all highlights – but they named the simple, hearty arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) the city’s most affordable dish. 

Grace Beard, Travel Editor at Time Out, says: “Our inaugural list of the world’s best cities for food is a celebration of culinary culture the world over, based on the feedback of Time Out’s city-dwelling readers. While some cities on the list are well-known for their food scene, others might surprise you; this ranking is fully informed by input from on-the-ground locals, who had their say on everything from how affordable it is to dine in their city to the one must-eat dish. Add in our chef’s picks – three culinary capitals nominated by our very own Time Out Market chefs – as well as recommendations on where to eat from our global network of local Time Out editors and writers, and you have a definitive guide to the most exciting places to eat and drink in 2024.”

For the full list of the world’s 20 best cities for food right now along with details from Time Out’s local experts on why they have made the grade as well as recommendations from some of Time Out Market’s chefs, please visit

  1. Naples, Italy
  2. Johannesburg, South Africa
  3. Lima, Peru
  4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  5. Beijing, China
  6. Bangkok, Thailand
  7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  8. Mumbai, India
  9. Dubai, UAE
  10. Portland, USA
  11. Liverpool, UK
  12. Medellín, Colombia
  13. Seville, Spain
  14. Porto, Portugal
  15. Marrakech, Morocco
  16. Lyon, France
  17. Sydney, Australia
  18. Montreal, Canada
  19. Osaka, Japan
  20. Copenhagen, Denmark

Time Out Market Chef’s Picks

Time Out Market is a food and cultural market that brings the best of the city together under one roof: the best chefs, restaurateurs and cultural experiences – based on Time Out’s curation. There are currently eight Time Out Markets around the world with more to come. For this list, Time Out turned to the experts – a selection of Time Out Market chefs – to nominate culinary capitals that deserve a spotlight for their food scenes: 

  • Seoul, South Korea - picked by Chef Reif Othman from REIF at Time Out Market Dubai
  • Los Angeles, USA - picked by Chef Tim Cushman from Ms. Clucks Deluxe at Time Out Market Boston
  • Madrid, Spain - picked by Chef Michael Ayoub from Fornino, Time Out Market New York
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