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Top Summer Food Destinations

© Courtesy of Whole Foods Journeys/ Kathy Dragon

Outdoor dining, fresh ingredients and local festivals make summer the perfect season for food lovers to explore the world.

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It’s June in Istria, Croatia’s northern peninsula, and the land is bursting with all things green: Vineyards flank winding roads; trees, heavy with figs and peaches, hang over garden gates. In inlets like the deep blue Lim Fjord, anglers in fishing boats cast nets for scallops, mussels, and clams, and locals look forward to truffle hunting, suckling pig festivals, and sipping newly released Malvazija wines.

Beyond Croatia, summer’s food groups are as distinctive as countries themselves. The weather in northern Italy might be similar to neighboring Croatia, for example, but altitude and Austrian influences in the Dolomites means regional specialties include pork sausages and apple strudel. In farm-to-table–focused Oregon, on the other hand, foodies hone in on heirloom tomatoes, rainbow char, and fresh Pacific seafood.

Global capitals also vie for attention. “Madrid is the place—do not hesitate!” says Virginia Irurita of Made for Spain tour company, based in the Spanish capital. Her enthusiasm isn’t just rooted in particular chefs and dishes, but also in Spain’s summer food traditions: Café tables spread out along sidewalks and in park squares, and boisterous crowds sip Tinto de verano, a refreshing wine spritzer, until late at night.

Dining also heads outdoors in Colorado, where crisp, dry air and 75-degree days invite foraging excursions and food festivals. Here, cozy lodges’ winter comfort foods and après-ski hot toddies have given way to farmers’ markets and restaurants with sprawling terraces.

Restaurant access alone is what defines summer dining to many New Yorkers. In Brooklyn, where up-and-coming restaurants are overrun by travelers in fall and spring months, hotter temps mean saying goodbye to tourists and finally getting seated at popular restaurants such as Battersby and Runner & Stone.

No matter what the season, you might still get denied entry to Dubai restaurants such as At.mosphere, the world’s tallest at 1,350 feet, where doormen ask for a reservation code. With a $122 per person minimum, rejection might be a blessing in sleek disguise—and there are plenty of other posh options to choose from in the Middle Eastern culture capital.

For more of the top food destinations this summer, read on.

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