New Study Reveals The Most Popular Cuisine Worldwide

If there is one thing that most of us enjoy, it is food — not just as a form of sustenance, but as a source of joy and pleasure, too. As writer Elizabeth Somer put it, "There has been a growing body of evidence, both animal studies and human studies, to support that we really are what we eat, physically and mentally. And, that makes sense considering that the only place where the brain gets its building blocks is from the diet" (via First We Feast).

And while some ingredients can only be described as divisive (we're looking at you, cilantro and durian), there are a few dishes and cuisines that we wouldn't disagree over — one that can boast of levels of cooking that can go from street-level comfort food to fine dining and haute cuisine; and it seems we all have the same favorite.

To figure out the cuisine that could unite us all, the firm Radical Storage decided to carry out a study based on data from TripAdvisor's lists of the most popular restaurants across the 50 most-visited cities around the world. That data revealed Italian food to be the most popular cuisine, a point of view surely shared by others. The British travel media company Rough Guides, for instance, conducted a readers survey along similar lines in 2021 and found Italy to be No. 1, too. As one respondent explained: "The pasta, the pizza, the fish, the meat..."

Pizza is the most popular meal around

Radical Storage reports that Italian food beat out its next-most-popular rival (and cousin) Mediterranean cuisine by a wide margin, with Japanese food coming in third, and American and Spanish cuisines coming in fourth and fifth respectively. Further, when it came to what it was that people ordered the most, TripAdvisor's members named the Italian classic "pizza" as the dish they were most likely to go for, leaving "seafood" in second place and "steakhouses" in third. 

While Italian cuisine may dominate the food scene, the restaurant data that Radical Storage collected revealed a very different story. According to the data, over 10% of the restaurants found in the world's top cities are Chinese, followed by Italian restaurants in second and Japanese restaurants in third. American and Indian restaurants also made it to the Top 5 most commonly found restaurants, coming in fourth and fifth respectively.

As for anyone hankering for Italian, it turns out Venice may not be the best place to visit, as the study found that the city's restaurants on average were the most expensive in the world. For context, it said the data showed the Chinese city of Guangzhou to be the least expensive, with Venice costing an eye-watering 87% more.