The Foodie President: President Obama’s International Restaurant Picks

by | Jan 12, 2023

The 44th President of the United States was a real foodi.! During his time in office, President Obama traveled to many different countries and took the chance to try some of the best food in the world. He didn’t limit his choices to only fine dining, he also explored street food and other local foods.

True to form, President Obama interest in high-quality, sustainable food and global culture is visible in his restaurant choices. Many of the restaurants he visited during his travels are known for using fresh, local ingredients. He was known to enjoy multi-course meals that showcased the chefs’ creativity and skill. For example, he visited The Fat Duck, known for its experimental and creative cuisine and enjoyed a meal that included the restaurant’s famous “Sound of the Sea”.

In addition to high-quality food, Obama also showed a love for regional cuisine. During his trips to Asia, he visited several restaurants that are known for their local specialties. He visited Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu in South Korea and Din Tai Fung in Taiwan. He was also known to enjoy the local street food in many of the countries he visited, such as the delicious Peking duck dishes at Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing, China.

President Obama wasn’t afraid to try new foods and was always open to experiencing the local cuisine of the places he visited. Whether he was enjoying a fancy meal or trying street food, Obama’s passion for delicious and sustainable food will be remembered by many. Here’s a list of 31 restaurant picks from his numerous trips as president. Bon appetit!

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

Located in Seoul, South Korea, Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is a restaurant that President Obama visited during a trip to Asia on April 25, 2014. The restaurant is known for its delicious tofu dishes, prepared with the freshest ingredients and a unique blend of seasonings and spices. During his visit, Obama tried a variety of dishes, including their signature soon tofu, a popular Korean dish made with soft tofu and a savory broth.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung is a popular Taiwanese restaurant that President Obama visited in Shanghai, China during a trip to Asia on September 3, 2016. The restaurant is known for its xiaolongbao, a type of steamed soup dumpling filled with flavorful ingredients and served in a traditional bamboo steamer. Obama was impressed by the quality and taste of the xiaolongbao, and even took the time to watch the skilled chefs at work in the kitchen.

Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant

During a trip to Asia on November 10, 2014, President Obama visited Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing, China. The restaurant is known for its Peking duck dishes, which are prepared using a traditional roasting method and served with pancakes, scallions, and hoisin sauce. Obama was blown away by the flavor and tenderness of the duck, and even took a photo with the restaurant’s famous duck-shaped sign.

The Fat Duck

President Obama visited The Fat Duck, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, England outside London during a trip to Europe on April 1, 2009. The restaurant is known for its experimental and creative cuisine, and has been awarded three Michelin stars. During his visit, Obama tried a variety of dishes, including the famous “Sound of the Sea,” which is a dish that combines seafood and edible sand in a unique and memorable way.

El Celler de Can Roca

President Obama visited El Celler de Can Roca, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Girona, Spain during a trip to Europe on May 27, 2010. The restaurant is known for its avant-garde cuisine, which blends traditional Spanish flavors with modern techniques and ingredients. During his visit, Obama was treated to a multi-course tasting menu that showcased the restaurant’s creativity and skill.

Kitcho

President Obama visited Kitcho, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Arashiyama, Japan during a trip to Asia on April 24, 2014. The restaurant is known for its kaiseki cuisine, which is a traditional Japanese style of multi-course dining that emphasizes seasonality and presentation. Obama was impressed by the delicate and intricate dishes, and even took a photo with the restaurant’s owner, Chef Kunio Tokuoka.

Osteria Francescana

President Obama visited Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Modena, Italy during a trip to Europe on June 4, 2016. The restaurant is known for its modern Italian cuisine, which combines traditional flavors and techniques with creative and unexpected ingredients. Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in Different Textures and Temperatures.”

Tetsuya’s

President Obama visited Tetsuya’s, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Sydney, Australia during a trip to the region on November 16, 2014. The restaurant is known for its modern French-Japanese cuisine, which blends the flavors and techniques of both cuisines to create unique and delicious dishes. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course tasting menu that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as confit of ocean trout with wasabi and caviar.

L’Arpege

President Obama visited L’Arpege, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, France during a trip to Europe on June 6, 2016. The restaurant is known for its vegetable-focused cuisine, which uses the freshest and most flavorful ingredients to create dishes that are both elegant and delicious. Obama was impressed by the creativity and skill of the chefs, and enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s most famous dishes, such as “Eggs and Soldiers,” which is a dish of poached eggs served with soldiers made from fresh vegetables.

Geranium

President Obama visited Geranium, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark during a trip to Europe on September 5, 2016. The restaurant is known for its modern Scandinavian cuisine, which emphasizes local ingredients and sustainable sourcing. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “The Landscape of Bornholm,” which is a dish that showcases the flavors of the Bornholm region in Denmark.

Mugaritz

President Obama visited Mugaritz, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain during a trip to Europe on May 29, 2010. The restaurant is known for its innovative and avant-garde cuisine, which pushes the boundaries of traditional Spanish flavors and techniques. During his visit, Obama was treated to a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s most famous dishes, such as “A Radical New Approach to a Traditional Dish,” which is a dish that reinterprets a classic Spanish dish in a modern and unexpected way.

Jungsik

President Obama visited Jungsik, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Seoul, South Korea during a trip to Asia on April 25, 2014. The restaurant is known for its modern Korean cuisine, which blends traditional flavors and techniques with a contemporary aesthetic. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Soy Sauce Ice Cream,” which is a dish that incorporates the flavors of soy sauce in a unique and unexpected way.

La Cabaña

President Obama visited La Cabaña, an Argentine steakhouse in Buenos Aires, Argentina during a trip to South America on March 23, 2016. The restaurant is known for its delicious grilled meats and is a favorite among locals. Obama enjoyed a meal of Argentinean beef and other grilled meats, and was impressed by the quality and flavor of the food.

Chez L’Ami Louis

President Obama visited Chez L’Ami Louis, a French bistro in Paris, France during a trip to Europe on June 5, 2009. The restaurant is known for its classic French dishes and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Obama enjoyed a meal of traditional French dishes, such as roast chicken and pommes frites, and was impressed by the quality and flavor of the food.

The River Café

President Obama visited The River Café, an Italian restaurant in London, England during a trip to Europe on April 1, 2009. The restaurant is known for its delicious Italian cuisine and its stunning location on the banks of the River Thames. Obama enjoyed a meal of Italian dishes, such as pasta and seafood, and was impressed by the quality and flavor of the food. The restaurant’s beautiful riverside location added to the experience, and Obama took a photo with the river in the background.

Sukiyabashi Jiro

President Obama visited Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three-Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan during a trip to Asia on April 24, 2014. The restaurant is known for its sushi, which is prepared using the freshest and highest-quality ingredients, and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a sushi tasting menu that included some of the restaurant’s most famous dishes, such as “Toro” (tuna belly) and “Shima-aji” (striped jack).

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

President Obama visited Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in London, England during a trip to Europe on April 1, 2009. The restaurant is known for its modern British cuisine, which blends traditional flavors and techniques with a contemporary aesthetic. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Meat Fruit,” which is a dish that dates back to the reign of King Henry VIII.

The Ledbury

President Obama visited The Ledbury, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in London, England during a trip to Europe on April 1, 2009. The restaurant is known for its creative and innovative cuisine and has been awarded two Michelin stars. During his visit, Obama was treated to a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Red mullet with Jerusalem artichoke, black truffle, and cep” and “Venison with red cabbage, elderberry, and lovage.”

India Jones Chow Kit

President Obama visited India Jones Chow Kit, a Malaysian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during a trip to Asia on April 27, 2014. The restaurant is known for its delicious curries and noodle dishes, which are prepared using the freshest ingredients and a blend of spices and seasonings. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a meal of Malaysian dishes, such as chicken curry and mee goreng, and was impressed by the quality and flavor of the food.

Arzak

President Obama visited Arzak, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain during a trip to Europe on May 29, 2010. The restaurant is known for its modern Spanish cuisine, which blends traditional flavors and techniques with a contemporary aesthetic. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Deconstructed squid ink paella” and “Rice with shrimp and green beans in a tempura batter.”

The Test Kitchen

President Obama visited The Test Kitchen, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa during a trip to Africa on June 30, 2013. The restaurant is known for its modern South African cuisine, which incorporates local ingredients and flavors in creative and delicious ways. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Springbok with sour figs and pomegranate” and “Chicken liver parfait with apple, smoked bacon, and macadamia nut.”

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

President Obama visited L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, France during a trip to Europe on June 5, 2009. The restaurant is known for its modern French cuisine, which blends traditional flavors and techniques with a contemporary aesthetic. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Lobster ravioli with black truffle” and “Turbot with turnip and leeks in a bouillabaisse sauce.”

Noma

President Obama visited Noma, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark during a trip to Europe on September 5, 2016. The restaurant is known for its modern Scandinavian cuisine, which incorporates local ingredients and flavors in creative and delicious ways. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Fermented grasshoppers with buttermilk and herbs” and “Beef tartare with egg yolk and mushroom.”

Sushi Saito

President Obama visited Sushi Saito, a three-Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan during a trip to Asia on April 24, 2014. The restaurant is known for its sushi, which is prepared using the freshest and highest-quality ingredients, and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a sushi tasting menu that included some of the restaurant’s most famous dishes, such as “Otoro” (fatty tuna belly) and “Akami” (lean tuna).

Mirazur

President Obama visited Mirazur, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Menton, France during a trip to Europe on May 29, 2010. The restaurant is known for its modern French-Italian cuisine, which incorporates local ingredients and flavors in creative and delicious ways. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Langoustine with white asparagus and lemon” and “Ravioli with black truffle and parmesan.”

Pujol

President Obama visited Pujol, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Mexico City, Mexico during a trip to Central America on April 14, 2014. The restaurant is known for its modern Mexican cuisine, which blends traditional flavors and techniques with a contemporary aesthetic. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Taco with black mole and chicken” and “Octopus with avocado and salsa verde.”

Restaurant Tim Raue

President Obama visited Restaurant Tim Raue, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Berlin, Germany during a trip to Europe on April 3, 2014. The restaurant is known for its modern German-Asian cuisine, which blends traditional flavors and techniques with a contemporary aesthetic. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Red prawn with coconut, lime, and chili” and “Beef with mushrooms, yuzu, and bergamot.”

The Nihonryori RyuGin

President Obama visited The Nihonryori RyuGin, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, Japan during a trip to Asia on April 24, 2014. The restaurant is known for its modern Japanese cuisine, which incorporates local ingredients and flavors in creative and delicious ways. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Turbot with matsutake mushroom and truffle” and “Beef with pickled wasabi and yuzu.”

De Karmeliet

President Obama visited De Karmeliet, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bruges, Belgium during a trip to Europe on April 2, 2014. The restaurant is known for its modern French-Belgian cuisine, which incorporates local ingredients and flavors in creative and delicious ways. During his visit, Obama was treated to a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Lobster with cauliflower and caviar” and “Wild duck with black currant and gingerbread.”

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

President Obama visited Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, France during a trip to Europe on June 5, 2009. The restaurant is known for its modern French cuisine, which focuses on high-quality ingredients and classic techniques. During his visit, Obama was treated to a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Lobster with black truffle” and “Pigeon with foie gras and figs.”

Cantonese at the Shangri-La Hotel

President Obama visited the Cantonese restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore during a trip to Asia on April 27, 2016. The restaurant is known for its Cantonese cuisine, which is prepared using the freshest and highest-quality ingredients, and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. During his visit, Obama enjoyed a multi-course meal that included some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as “Braised abalone with mushroom and bamboo pith” and “Steamed fish with ginger and scallion.”

Conclusion

President Barack Obama’s restaurant choices were always interesting and diverse. From Michelin-starred establishments to local favorites, Obama’s dining choices, his love of high-quality, sustainable food is clear from his choices and which chefs he chose to visit.

Are you planning your next travel adventure and looking for a new restaurant to try? You could do worse than one that President Obama visited. Are you adding any of his choices to your plans? Let us know!

Frances Benaglia

ad516503a11cd5ca435acc9bb6523536?s=150&d=mm&r=gforcedefault=1 - President Obama,restaurants

Frances Benaglia is an Italian-American native of Milan, Italy. After earning her degree from Bocconi University during which she did an ERASMUS exchange in Stockholm, she embarked on a journey of discovery and took a gap year to travel to over 20 countries. She's now a management consultant and is known for her meticulous planning research skills, making the most of her time off by finding the perfect places to unwind and relax.

Frances Benaglia is an Italian-American native of Milan, Italy. After earning her degree from Bocconi University during which she did an ERASMUS exchange in Stockholm, she embarked on a journey of discovery and took a gap year to travel to over 20 countries. She's now a management consultant and is known for her meticulous planning research skills, making the most of her time off by finding the perfect places to unwind and relax.
All posts by Frances Benaglia

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