Many travel to experience different cuisines and take advantage of the best restaurants throughout the country. However, foodie vacations are not cheap. Eating out is almost always more expensive than you want, but in these 25 US cities, the final bill can be painful.
1. Pearl City, HI
Pearl City isn’t even the best foodie city in the US but is the most expensive. Don’t be surprised to pay upwards of $20 for a sandwich or $50 for a piece of fish. The city mostly has delicious Asian restaurants worth checking out, but they come at a high price.
2. Seattle, WA
Seattle is one of the coolest up-and-coming foodie cities. Its food scene has been criminally underrated for decades, but now people are noticing all the fresh seafood and innovative takes on classic dishes. And Seattle is charging a lot, making up for all those years their food scene was ignored.
3. Santa Rosa, CA
While most people would assume LA, San Diego, or San Francisco are California's most expensive dining spots, Santa Rosa takes the number one slot as the priciest food scene in the Golden State. This idyllic area has many enticing restaurants, but their menu prices can be outrageous.
4. New York City, NY
On the other hand, I don’t think anyone is surprised that NYC is the most expensive place to eat in New York. Frankly, I’m amazed it wasn’t number one. Pizzas cost $30, coffee costs $8, and the prices only get more painful and shocking from there.
5. Nampa, ID
Not many people know that Nampa, Idaho, is one of the trendiest food spots in the country. It has a distinct upscale food scene with sparkling bistros, fancy Italian joints, and diverse Asian eateries. It’s like a little foodie haven in the middle of potato country.
6. Oakland, CA
It’s also surprising that Oakland ranks higher on this list than other major cities in California, but here we are. It’s unclear why Oakland is so expensive for foodies, but the city has an impressive assortment of cuisine, from Asian to New American to BBQ and more.
7. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco comes in at number seven as the most expensive city for foodies to visit. The food and atmosphere in San Fran are unbeatable, with plenty of fabulous restaurants. Everything is impeccable, from the seafood to the pasta to the sushi, but it’s all quite pricey.
8. Hialeah, FL
Hialeah, Florida, is another expensive spot, and some people question the high prices. It’s not a popular tourist spot, but it attracts some foodies because of the Latin restaurants. Honestly, there are much more affordable and better cities to eat in.
9. Honolulu, HI
As the capital of Hawaii, it’s not shocking that Honolulu makes it into the top ten of this list. The restaurants in the city are exotic and enticing, but one of the top reasons the town is so pricey is that most ingredients need to be imported, which is very expensive.
10. Juneau, AK
Juneau, Alaska, is another place where eating out is expensive due to importation. However, the farm-to-table restaurants are worth the high menu prices. Juneau dining has a charming authenticity but will cost you a pretty penny.
11. Miami, FL
Miami is one of Florida’s most popular tourist destinations, with vibrant clubs and beautiful weather. There are plenty of high-end restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood and decadent dishes. Many foodies think this city is worth the high prices.
12. Fremont, CA
Fremont is another city in California with an abundance of high-end restaurants that charge an arm and a leg. The city has fancy steakhouses, classy seafood joints, and lavish Italian restaurants, so foodies have much to look forward to in Fremont. It’s also the number one most expensive city to buy groceries.
13. Mobile, AL
Mobile, Alabama, has a lot of history, making it a popular vacation destination for history buffs, but foodies can also enjoy this area. It’s home to some of the country's best Southern restaurants, seafood eateries, and innovative new American spots.
14. San Jose, CA
San Jose is one of the top places in the US to indulge in different cuisines, from Italian to Mexican to BBQ to French. The Latin food here is extraordinary, but the city also offers many global delights. However, many foodies experience intense sticker shock here.
15. Bridgeport, CT
Connecticut is generally affluent, so the restaurants aren’t afraid to charge high prices. That is not to say the food in the Bridgeport area isn’t worth the price, as the city has some sensational restaurants. There are dazzling Latin restaurants, delicious Turkish eateries, and much more.
16. Nashville, TN
Nashville is still the US country music capital, if not the music capital. So, many people flock here to watch live shows and immerse themselves in music history, and restaurants make loads of money off these visitors. But you will find some of the best southern dishes in the country here.
17. Yonkers, NY
For some reason, Yonkers is in the top 2% of the nation’s most expensive cities. They capitalize on their proximity to NYC, charging almost New York City prices for Yonkers food. There are many amazing restaurants that foodies adore, but the menu prices can be a significant deterrent.
18. West Valley City, UT
West Valley City, Utah, makes it into the top 20 of the most expensive cities for foodies, but it’s unclear why. The city is relatively expensive compared to the rest of the country, but the restaurant prices take it to another level. And there are much better US cities for foodies.
19. Rapid City, SD
Rapid City ranks high on the expensive scale but is not even close to the top of the rankings for best foodie cities. They have excellent steakhouses, as a South Dakota city should, and many charming pubs and diners. However, it’s not impressive enough to be charging people so much.
20. South Burlington, VT
South Burlington, on the other hand, is a fabulous place for foodies to explore new and high-quality cuisine. They’re all about local ingredients and farm-to-table dining, making it a unique experience. Most foodies think the high prices are worth the authentic experience.
21. Boston, MA
Boston is one of the best cities in the country, if not the world, for foodies to explore. However, it’s also one of the priciest. While the restaurant bills can be unpleasantly high, it’s impressive that Boston isn’t higher on this list, as it’s one of the best major cities for food lovers.
22. Tacoma, WA
Tacoma lives in the shadow of Seattle, but its food scene is fantastic. It’s home to an impressive collection of restaurants, including quaint coffee chops, charming bistros, fancy farm-to-table spots, extravagant steakhouses, and much more. The variety is a big draw for many foodies.
23. Baton Rouge, LA
Louisiana, especially New Orleans, is considered one of the best food scenes in the US. However, Baton Rouge beats out New Orleans when it comes to high prices. The cost is often worth it, though, as you can taste exotic and creative flavors you won’t find elsewhere.
24. Chattanooga, TN
Behind Nashville, Chattanooga is the priciest city in Tennessee for food enthusiasts. Chattanooga is an exciting and diverse place for foodies, from lavish raw bars to adorable diners to irresistible pizza parlors. And they charge a high price for their versatile cuisine.
25. Los Angeles, CA
Finally, we have Los Angeles, which I know you were all waiting for. It’s incredible that the City of Angels isn’t higher on this list, but don’t expect to save money by eating out here. Even the worst restaurants in LA will empty your wallet. Luckily, most dining spots in LA are top-notch and won’t disappoint.