Many a food lover would consider New York City to be the foodie capital of the United States. And indeed, among U.S. cities it has the highest number of restaurants and grocery stores (and, of course, Michelin stars).
Yet New Yorkers often find themselves booking reservations months ahead of time or waiting on obscenely long grocery store lines. Blame the population of nearly 9 million residents—or at least the portion with the time and money to obsess over gastronomy.
With that in mind, MONEY looked a different metric to determine the best cities for people who really enjoy food: the proportion of eateries to people. These five metropolises have the highest number of restaurants and groceries relative to population, at least among urban centers with more than 300,000 people. With thousands of fabulous, creative places to eat—and some Michelin stars of their own—these cities are ideal for foodies who love a great meal but would like a little breathing room at their table. (Source: Trulia data.)—Susie Poppick
Top-notch dining options abound in our nation's capital, and the city offers a comfortable ratio of 3.5 restaurants or grocery stores for every 1,000 people.
Pizza-lovers can enjoy Neapolitan pies at 2Amys, while those seeking an upscale experience can try foie gras at Estadio or delicate pastas and crème brûlée at Mintwood. For a serving of history with your dinner, there's Old Ebbitt Grill, D.C.'s oldest bar and restaurant, clocking in at more than 150 years old.
Prefer cooking? The metro area has more than 200 farmer's markets selling fresh produce and other treats.
But with 3.63 restaurants or grocery stores for every 1,000 people, there's also no shortage of more sophisticated dinner spots, whether you prefer the seared tuna at Higgin's or the quinoa "laced with truffle oil" at Andina.
Portland's bigger brother to the north might not get as much media attention for its food scene, but Seattle chefs tend to clean up during awards season.
And residents have plenty of deliciousness to go around, with 3.86 restaurants or grocery stores for every 1,000 people.
Given the city's proximity to ocean, it's no surprise seafood is a big draw: You can pair a beer with seared scallops in brown butter at Some Random Bar, or wine with crab risotto at The Pink Door. Residents have also been known to go wild for the chowder and fish at Pike Place Market.
And, with 4.39 restaurants or grocery stores for every 1,000 people, you won't be elbowing people out of the way as you sample island seafood or authentic Chinatown noodles.
The city offers many elegant options for dining, including New American eatery Town, Alan Wong's—where you can order lobster lasagna or "kalbi-style" twice-cooked short rib—and an outpost of the popular Sushi Sasabune.
But many of Honolulu's most interesting local foods are very inexpensive, including the $5 kalua pork at Helena's, the malasadas (Portugese-style "donuts") at Leonard's Bakery, and the noodle soups at Dillingham Saimin.
San Francisco, Calif.
With a generous 4.44 restaurants or grocery stores for every 1,000 people, the city by the bay is awash with food options, from Mission street snacks (hello, El Farolito) to Japantown sushi to Cowgirl Creamery cheese at the Ferry Building.
Grocery stores also abound, and they include plenty of ethnic and independent operations, in addition to the nationally-branded usual suspects.
Dessert, of course, has got to be one of the mind-boggling ice cream flavors (prosciutto??) at Humphry Slocombe.