As I said in my last post, I’ve been extremely busy and I’ve got a ton of blogging to catch up on, but right now my top priority is food! My food Instagram (@eatdrinkrunrepeat) hit 4,000 followers this weekend, and I’m realizing more and more how much food is a part of my life, specifically my travels. So, in no particular order, here are 18 of the best things I ate in 2018. It was pretty hard for me to narrow down, but these are all dishes I will continue to talk about for many years to come.
Carbonara – Tonnarello – Rome, Italy
I wouldn’t say this is the most authentic pasta I’ve ever had, but it is the single best thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. The bucatini pasta was doughy but still had a nice bite and the cream sauce was so unbelievably cheesy. I won’t complain about a lack of authenticity in Italy when it tastes this perfect.
Pizza – Al Solito Posto – Sliema, Malta
This is hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had, and I’ve traveled all over Italy. The tomato sauce was fruity and paired perfectly with the prosciutto and mushrooms on top. No pizza I’ve had in the past year has compared to this one. The restaurant is run by Italian immigrants, so you can tell it’s super authentic.
Nutella gnocchi – Al Solito Posto – Sliema, Malta
And to go along with the delicious pizza, Nutella “gnocchi” or little bits of pizza dough that are baked and then drizzled with Nutella. So it’s obvious that this is the best restaurant I’ve ever been to in my life, and even the salad was delicious! I’m planning a trip back to Malta and will include a minimum of two meals here.
Feta appetizer – Oineas – Athens, Greece
We had feta as an appetizer at pretty much every meal in Athens, however this one was my favorite. The salty cheese was wrapped in Phyllo dough and topped with honey and black sesame seeds, which the Greeks believe are the key to good health. I’m a sucker for a good salty/sweet combo, especially when it involves cheese!
Popcorn mousse with pear ice cream – Citrus – Nice, France
This one was yet another masterpiece of salty and sweet flavors—and of presentation as well! All of the components, which are served kind of deconstructed on the plate, came together in harmony when eaten all in one bite. Leave it to France to be able to make a popular snack into an upscale dessert.
Pancakes – Annabatterie – Mainz, Germany
I feel so fortunate that one of the best things I ate in 2018 is only a 15-minute drive from where I live. Annabatterie continues to impress me every time I visit, but I don’t think anything will ever compare to their pancakes I had the first time I ever went. Like the dessert I described above, these pancakes also come with popcorn and are drizzled with honey so again, the salty/sweetness really satisfies me.
Classic ceviche – Huacas – Wiesbaden, Germany
This is another dish that I can get just about whenever I want it because Huacas is actually in my town! I can’t say I’ve tried a ton of ceviche in my life, but I know for a fact that this is a good one because the fish tastes so fresh and it’s doused in lime juice which makes an amazing acidic pop. It’s the perfect meal for when I want to treat myself by going out to eat but don’t want anything too heavy.
Bulgogi burger – momotaro tavern – Berlin, Germany
This place sells a variety of rice and noodles dishes, but the standout for me was their Asian-inspired burgers, particularly the Bulgogi one. It had all the familiarity of a burger, but with more interesting tastes brought on by ingredients like the marinated beef strips, pears and chili mayo.
Tacos – Takos al Pastor – Madrid, Spain
It could be that I’m going through withdrawal because Germany lacks any sort of decent of decent Mexican (and even the Chipotle is terrible), or that the tacos were only €1 each, but these tacos really hit the spot. With the low price tag, I was able to choose different kinds, including Al Pastor, mushroom and even cactus! No wonder we waited 45 minutes in line for them!
Berries whipped cream gelato – Della Palma – Rome, Italy
Everyone probably has their own favorite place to get gelato in Rome, but I swear this flavor was crafted specifically for my taste buds. Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts because I love how the bland custard goes with the tart berry sauce, and this literally tasted like panna cotta in ice cream form. We went to this place twice and they have 150 different flavors to choose from, but I ordered this one both times.
Greek salad – Souvlaki Story – Mykonos, Greece
I can’t believe I’m putting a salad on this list but the mountain of feta on this one was absolutely to die for. This was my first time eating feta in Greece and I literally didn’t know that it could taste that salty and creamy and perfect. Maybe I would actually eat my vegetables more often if they looked like this all the time!
Truffle spätzle – Restaurant Sova – Bled, Slovenia
We were fortunate enough to be staying at an Airbnb right next door so we ate at this restaurant twice and the second night, the truffle pasta really blew me away. I’ve had truffle pasta at least 10 different times throughout the year, and several times in Italy, but this one was most memorable for me. The sauce was nice and creamy with the strong flavor of truffles, and although the dish is called “spätzle,” I would say the noodles were chewier (which I prefer) than the typical soft German spätzle that I’m used to.
Pork cheek stew – Du Progres – Ghent, Belgium
I had Flemish stew in Bruges in 2017 and I knew I needed to get more when we went to Ghent for a weekend. It was at this moment that I got hip to cheek meat, and I’ve had it several more times in 2018. I love how you can cut it apart with only a fork and it melts in your mouth along with the comforting beer gravy. Served with French fries, this is the ultimate comfort food in my opinion.
Honey barbecue boneless wings – Mother’s – Baltimore, Maryland, USA
It feels kind of weird to me to put a Federal Hill neighborhood bar on this list, but I ate a ton of wings during my 12-day trip home and I have to say that these were the best. We went for happy hour so the little bowl of them was only $5 and they had $6 beer flights! Happy hour is probably one of the things I miss most about America.
Pierogies – Przystanek Pierogarnia – Krakow, Poland
Eating pierogies on my Poland trip was really important to me because my great grandparents were Polish immigrants and these dumplings were a staple for our family at every holiday gathering. I liked ordering them best at this cute little hole-in-the-wall type place because you could get a plate of 10 and mix and match different fillings, so I got potato bacon, sauerkraut, spinach and mushroom. It took me right back to my childhood!
Duck breast – Barack & Szilva – Budapest, Hungary
This year was the year of duck for me, as it was the first time I really started ordering it off menus. Of all the duck I tried, this one served with crispy noodles fried with sauerkraut and paprika sauce was the best. I could’ve eaten an entire plate of just the crispy skin, and although it was served on a bone and I’m terrified of bones, the meat was cooked perfectly.
Roast pork – Gastätte Flößerstube – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Another dish I had quite frequently was the German classic, schweinebraten, served with beer gravy and kartoffelknödel, or dumplings. I usually order it whenever we’re in Bavaria, but it was tastiest at this charming restaurant in my favorite town in Germany.
Cheesy pasta (?) – Ieri, Oggi, Domani – Naples, Italy
My favorite food is macaroni and cheese and this is the closest I’ve come to finding it in Europe. I wish I could tell you what it was actually called, or even what was in it, but this restaurant did not have an English menu and though I can usually read Italian menus, I quickly learned that Italian in Naples is different from Italian in other regions. The vocabulary was completely different and the service staff wasn’t helpful at all so I kind of just pointed to something that had cheese and pasta, assuming I would like it, and ended up with this comforting plate. The pasta was super al dente and it also had potatoes mixed in so it was like cheese and carb heaven!