America's 20 Best Cities For Food

America is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet, and the incredible variety of its cuisines reflects that. You'd be hard-pressed to name a single food item that exists on earth that's impossible to find somewhere in America (unless it's illegal for import, and maybe even then...), and some cities are absolute food-lovers' paradises. When it comes to food, these 20 cities have the best in America.

America's 20 Best Cities for Food (Slideshow)

There are dozens of criteria you can use to judge a city for its food. The sheer number of restaurants, for one, is certainly an important factor. But equally important is the diversity of restaurants, the number of good restaurants (including those that are exceptional enough to earn Michelin stars, in the few U.S. cities the Michelin Guide covers). Also worth taking into consideration is the renown of a city's native foods, how thriving its food "scene" is in general, how ahead-of-the-curve it is when it comes to culinary trends, and how many great chefs are drawn to it. In a great food city, a top-notch rendition of just about any dish or specific style of cuisine is never far away.

Every American city, to some extent, is a great one for food. Wherever there's a large population and plenty of natural resources, there's bound to be some great food to be found. But these 20 cities are nothing short of essential culinary destinations, where in some neighborhoods it's impossible to throw a rock and not hit a great restaurant. If you haven't visited any of these cities and love food, then you should start booking your trip. And if you happen to live in one of these towns, then you should do yourself a favor and go exploring.