1. Bordeaux, France
What you're looking for: Oysters from Arcachon Bay, duck confit at La Tupina
While Paris rested on its buttery laurels, Bordeaux, the place you always knew for its wines, silently rose to be the more interesting food destination for France and, we think, the world. From the basics, the rich French dishes you’re totally thinking of pairing with your glass of red are from here: fatty duck confit and, well, also fatty foie gras. Grab either at La Tupina, arguably the most famous restaurant in the city.
The City You Think Is Just The Name Of A Wine also embraces the simple roast meat dishes of Southwestern France, like the entrecôte at Brasserie Bordelaise. But Bordeaux’s real quality comes from its diversity -- its location right by the Atlantic means seafood and heaping raw platters of oysters (France’s most famous bivalves come from nearby Arcachon Bay), clams, mussels, shrimp, and langoustines are plentiful. Bistro Le Petit Commerce offers all that fishy bounty with fresh catch choices crawling into the teens daily, plus platters of the raw goods. But you can stay simpler at Chez Phillipe with a plate of oysters served with sausages: a land-and-sea combo that’s a traditional snack in the region we wish they'd export everywhere. Oh, and did we mention the 700 million bottles of wines produced in the region around the city?
Kevin Alexander is Food/Drink executive editor and still mildly frightened of the street cats in Istanbul and he hasn't been there in seven years. Follow his ban from entering Paris airspace: @KAlexander03.
Liz Childers is Food/Drink associate editor and she'd like eight dozen oysters in Bordeaux now, please. Follow her quest to adopt all the street cats in Istanbul: @lizchilders1.