Dining out is a huge part of travel, and many of us choose our next vacation destination based on favorite foods and culinary curiosities. There are some cities around the world that have become famous for their traditional meat dishes, including steak, kebobs, burgers, and much more.
If you love meat, then definitely consider adding these cities to your travel bucket list. They each offer something unique in terms of sourcing and preparation, but all serve up delicious specialties that have come to define their culture. These are our top picks for travel destinations for meat lovers. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might want to skip this list and move on to one of our other articles!
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Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Brazil is one of the most well-known destinations for meat lovers, especially barbecued meat. Churasco involves seasoning and grilling picanha beef to medium-rare and serving it on skewers. Another local favorite here is feijoada, which is pictured here. This is a stew with sausage, pork, and black beans that makes for the perfect comfort food. Coxinha is a delicious Brazilian snack that involves minced chicken that’s shaped and deep fried. You can find all of these Brazilian meat specialties in Rio de Janeiro when you take a trip to South America. Recommended meat restaurants in Rio include Churrscaria Palace, Vikings, and Braseiro de Gavea. Another great place to visit in Brazil if you love meat is Porto Alegre.
Kansas City, Missouri (Hotel Prices & Photos)
One of the largest meat events takes place in Kansas City, the American Royal, which is a barbecue competition that attracts huge crowds. There are dozens of other meat-focused events that take place in this meat-loving Midwestern city as well. The local favorites here are steak and barbecue, which has been the case since Kansas City was a stock yard town. Recommended meat restaurants in town include Jess and Jim’s Steakhouse, Gates Bar-B-Q, Danny Edwards Blvd Barbecue, and the Savoy Grill.
Takayama, Japan (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Japan is best known for Kobe beef, and this is a type of meat worth traveling for. Meat connoisseurs love Kobe because it has a marbling effect that melts in your mouth like butter. Head to Takayama for Kobe beef in the Gifu Prefecture. This is where you’ll find Hida beef, which is high-end, expensive, and totally worth it for true meat lovers. Find a local restaurant that lets you grill it yourself at a table-side grill with veggies and sauces. Tonkatsu is another popular meat dish in Japan and is a type of pork cutlet that is deep-fried, breaded, and traditionally served with rice, onion, and egg. A final favorite in Japan is Karaage, which is a deep-fried chicken that’s served with ginger and soy sauce.
Chicago, Illinois (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Union Stock Yards in Chicago once produced more meat than anywhere in America. Although you don’t see cows in the city streets anymore, the Windy City is still a top meat destination. One amazing place to stop by in Chicago if you love meat is the Chop Shop. It’s a butcher, salumeria, and restaurant all wrapped into one. Specialties include lamb, hanger steak, prosciutto, and beef roast. This is a must-stop spot because all the meats served here are locally sourced and butchered in-house. Italian beef is another Chicago favorite, so stop by Johnnie’s Beef for an Italian beef sandwich. Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods, each with its own festival. Many of these festivals are meat-focused, such as Ribfest and the Kosher BBQ Festival.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina is one of the largest meat producers in the world and famous for its barbecues. Head to Buenos Aires and The Pampas to experience the very best of Argentinian beef. There are local festivals here that celebrate beef ribs, skewered lamb, and other types of meat. There are so many steakhouses in Buenos Aires that it can feel nearly impossible to choose just a couple to dine at during your stay. Recommended restaurants to add to your eating itinerary include The Argentine Experience, Steaks by Luis, Santos Manjares, and The New Brighton.
Seoul, South Korea (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Another top meat destination in Asia is South Korea, which is famous for Korean barbecue. Korean beef known as hanwoo is fresh and high-quality. And a traditional meal of barbecue meat is usually accompanied by noodles, fried rice, or stew. When you visit Seoul, check out these restaurants for Korean-style beef: Daedo Sikdang, Saebyukjib, and Gombawui. Korean-style fried chicken is also a very popular dish in Seoul and throughout the country. The Daegu Chicken and Beer Festival takes place each year at Duryu Park in Dalseo-gu in Daegu and is called the Chimaek Festival in Korean. In addition to great food, the festival also brings in live music, cultural performances, an EDM party, and a water slide.
Omaha, Nebraska (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The state of Nebraska is a top beef producer in America, so it should come as no surprise that some of the best meat is served in the restaurants here. Omaha is a great destination for meat lovers to visit and is also home to the iconic Omaha Steak brand. One recommended restaurant here is called Johnny’s Café, which is a local and historic steakhouse near the old Omaha stockyards. The prime rib is especially popular here. Plan your visit around the Septemberfest BBQ and the Rib Eye Steak Cookoff Challenge to get your meat fix in Omaha.
Sardinia, Italy (Hotel Prices & Photos)
A beautiful coastline and bright blue waters are what draws most travelers to the Italian area of Sardinia. However, this is also a surprising haven for meat lovers. Head inland a bit to find Su Porcheddu, which is a local tradition that involves suckling pigs on a grill. You’ll also likely see whole pigs being roasted and pigs roasted on a spit over an open flame here. Top restaurants recommendations for meat in Sardinia include Aruana Churrascaria, the Red Steakhouse, El Sabor Argentino, and Red Lyon.
Austin, Texas (Hotel Prices & Photos)
When you take yourself on a meat sampling tour in Austin, don’t miss Franklin Barbecue. This is an incredibly popular spot that sometimes leaves patrons waiting hours to get a taste. That’s because the restaurant’s wood-fired smoker creates amazing meats that are worth waiting for. The favorite here is the brisket, which pretty much sells out every day. Other favorite meat-focused restaurant in this area are La Barbecue, the Salt Lick, John Mueller Meat Co., and the Kreuz Market. In addition to barbecue, burgers are also superb in Austin, especially if you visit the Hopdoddy Burger Bar or P. Terry’s Burger Stand.
Montevideo, Uraguay (Hotel Prices & Photos)
There are quite a few top meat destinations in South America, and Uruguay is another one of them worth mentioning. Asados are the famous meat dish here and a local specialty in Montevideo. This style of meat is slow-roasted over a fire, and there are hundreds of asado restaurants around the country. Local favorites are the beef short ribs and sausages. Steakhouses to try in Montevideo are Primuseum, La Pulperia, Uraguay Natural Parrilla Gourmet, and Don Andres.
Nairobi, Kenya (Hotel Prices & Photos)
African destinations rarely make it on lists of top foodie destinations, but Nairobi is a great exception here. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and famous for nyama choma, which means “grilled meat” in Swahili. This is Kenya’s national dish and has come to define the region’s cuisine. Make sure to get a meal at Carnivore when you visit because this is a legendary open-air restaurant that serves everything from beef to pork, chicken, wild boar, camel, and crocodile. Other meat-themed restaurants to eat at in Nairobi are Fogo Gaucho, which is known for steak, crocodile, and picanha, and Graze, which has a great ribeye steak. The Pwani Pool Restaurant and The Spur Restaurant at EKA Hotel are worth trying as well.
Prague, Czech Republic (Hotel Prices & Photos)
A somewhat unexpected meat destination for hungry travelers is Prague in the Czech Republic. Tavern fare is the way to go when you dine in Prague, and there are lots of great options in the city’s taverns for meat lovers. The local specialty here is Klobasa, which is a smoky sausage. Other meat dishes to try in Prague include roast pork, skewered cutlets, and wild boar and venison. If you’re looking for a great steakhouse in Prague, try Bila Krava, Cestr, or Beef Bar Prague.