For those that have taken multiple RS tours, say, more than 5, which tour had the best food?
Your going to get a lot of different responses on this topic! For me, I loved the food the most on the Best of Greece tour. We’ve enjoyed the food on all seven tours but the Greek’s know how to make great meals!! Second place would be the Sicily tour, food is practically a religious experience there. Third place would be the Venice, Florence & Rome tour, Italians love good food and we had some outstanding meals.
One of the things I love most about Rick Steves tours is that they expose you to local culture (including food), and often we ate where the locals ate and very much enjoyed the experience.
I've been surprising happy with food on RS tours, probably because the guides familiar with their countries/areas choose restaurants.
I'd probably say the Basque tour had the best, perhaps because I wasn't very familiar with the food, and found I like it a lot. Or, maybe Sicily, because I love eggplant and it was on almost every menu.
Though I've only done 4 tours, I'll still weigh in. My Best of Spain tour had the best group meals. That was in part because our guide was a foodie and selected fantastic restaurants and usually good wine was included as well. Many great food memories from that tour. I really loved many places I ate on my own while on the Best of Eastern Europe tour, especially in Poland (milk bars!), Hungary (goulash!), and Slovenia (cream cake!). That tour's group meals were fine but not spectacular. My other two tours (Best of Italy and Best of Ireland) had fine food but nothing but the breakfasts in Ireland stand out as memorable.
I've only done 3 tours, but I don't see how Sicily could be topped. Wonderful Opening Night dinner in Palermo. The meal with Maria Grammatico on the way to Erice was incredible. The picnic on Mozia was top notch, and the dinner at the winery was great, as well. Each hotel seemed to offer three different types of cake for breakfast. Great food options when we were on our own.
I haven't taken that many RS tours but I've been on others that are similar. My guess is that it depends much more on the local cooking and personal preferences.
Sicily tour was the best. But make no mistake, they're not foodie tours. Restaurants are not chosen for gourmet experiences, but for convenient locations and a local vibe. Local dishes prepared well, but not the focus of the day.
The initial Village Italy tours in 2003. Fondly referred to as “the food and wine tour” by 2003 alumni. The next year the tour agenda was drastically changed. Rome city tour and Heart of Italy also was great food. Least impressive was Switzerland - a lot of sausages and salmon.
Donald and I must have similar palates but I would put them in reverse order…Sicily first (after all these years, found I LIKE eggplant, but only in Sicily) and then Greece.
If you are foodies (we are) you’ll likely not be impressed by group meals on RS tours. Some of the best were the least expected-a lunchtime spread in Bosnia, first and last dinners in Greece, dinner at a pub in London. A final dinner in Spain was the worst; poached salmon with steamed vegetables. Tragic when you know what’s available there. But we’ve come to appreciate RS tours for what they are and are not, so we look forward to our free evenings where we research and book, especially in places that are known for fine cuisine. We were booked for the new Tuscany tour in 2020 and scheduled time in Bologna and Parma with food-centric activities, but you know what happened there. We were not going to travel to Europe in 2022 but, feeling a bit braver, we’ve booked a Tauck tour to Northern Spain. We will see how we like touring with more of an emphasis on upscale accommodations and dining.
Like Chani, I think it depends on personal preferences. I’ve taken 4 RS Tours & 2 Culinary Tours with Earthbound Expeditions. The culinary tours were in Italy- 1. Tuscany/Umbria 2. Southern Italy/Sicily. Both exceeded our expectations. That said, enjoyed the cuisine on the RS Adriatic, Greece, Portugal, & France in that order. Overall our preferences were in Sicily. Enjoyed the mix of cultures that Sicily has to offer.
Surely the answers to this are subjective! People have different tastes and preferences.
A final dinner in Spain was the worst; poached salmon with steamed vegetables.
Seriously? In a country where you can get a delicious free tapa with a gin and tonic?
I’ve been on 5 Rick Steves tours and the food on the Sicily tour was the best. Just wonderful!
When I weighed myself after I got home, I braced myself for a weight gain (figuring that that great vacation was worth some post-trip dieting), but I was very pleasantly surprised to see that I had actually lost three pounds. :-)
I’ve done 9 RS tours and so far the best food was on the Best of Switzerland tour. We experienced Swiss, German, French, and Italian culture and cuisine all in one tour. Loved it!
We have taken six RS tours. Village Italy and Sicily had the best food. I expected great culinary experiences on Village Italy, since it was billed as a food and wine tour. Sicily was also excellent, and we still reminisce about the breakfast cannoli in Palermo and the sea bass that fed the entire tour group for dinner.
Village Italy was the best with Scotland a close second.
In no particular order:
Barcelona & Madrid
I am thrilled that so many of you have mentioned Sicily as we are taking that tour next year. The Greece tour still sticks in my memory as having wonderful food, followed by Eastern France. In many cases, guide referrals have led to delicious memories.
The only tour where I found the food really disappointing was Eastern France (2010). With the exception of a lovely lunch in a vineyard, I found most of the group meals very mediocre. I think the low point there was a Beef Bourgignon that tasted like a very bland tv dinner. I had much better meals when I was on my own. I’ve heard that finding restaurants that will serve groups is a challenge in France.
In general, I’ve enjoyed the group meals in Italy the most, but the last time I took a RS tour to Italy was 2007.
Tammy, we've taken 14 RS tours (12 different tours, two of which we did twice) and I can say we've enjoyed the food on all of them. I think my favorites though, foodwise, were Barcelona/Madrid and Village Italy.
I notice a lot of people mentioning the Sicily tour as their favorite. I enjoyed the food in Sicily, but I tended to prefer the food we had on our own, rather than the group meals. There was nothing wrong with the group meals, and some of them were quite sumptuous, but they tended to focus on several food items of which I'm not very fond.
Most of the meals I remember on the Barcelona/Madrid tour were outstanding, and on the Village Italy tour we were very impressed with the variety of foods, and how they reflected the local environment.
Of the three tours I've been on, the two France tours had the best food (Eastern France, and what is today called Paris to the South of France in 13 Days).
We have taken 6 Rick Steves tours and would declare Greece as our favorite food-wise. Surprisingly, we would put Best of Italy as last place.
Thanks everyone! I am adding all the tours to my list! Lol
I have to agree, with all those that said, the Sicily tour was the best, after 6 tours, it is still my favorite! The food in Greece and Turkey was wonderful too, as was Portugal. Not sure how you can go wrong in Italy, but I would say the food I had in northern Italy, was better than the Southern Italy RS tour. Best food tours may have more to do with the season, as to food items on the menu, or the guides choices? I have enjoyed all the food on RS tours, and you eat very well!! k
We have been on a number of RS’s tours and the last group dinner always seems to be the best. The rest weren’t really all that memorable but you have to remember that it’s usually for 24 people and it’s more about the socializing than the food. I still have no desire for another Greek salad because we were served so many of them on the Best of Greece tour but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t find great seafood or small local cuisine restaurants on our free nights. I still have wonderful memories of seeking out and finding great food in restaurants in France, England, Switzerland, Germany and Ireland. Our best resource seems to always be the clerk at the hotel front desk and the one in Dublin outdid herself with her recommendations and sharing the best of her city.
Speaking just for my husband and me, we both agree that, of our five tours, we most enjoyed the group meals /snacks/wine (!) on the Village Italy tour. And all five in Italy, so yum! That said, we have read feedback from tour members from tours that we have taken (after ours) and, in the case of one tour in particular, we were amazed that people mentioned outstanding meals and restaurants. We didn’t have that experience on that particular tour. The guides have so much latitude in their choices…I think that, to a point, the difference is in the guide for your particular tour.