10 Great Places for Foodies to Retire

Chef-recommended culinary havens that will tickle your palate without cracking your nest egg.


[See 10 Bargain Retirement Spots.]

In cities where top culinary schools are located, you'll often find restaurants with innovative young chefs. Izard, a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, says many of her former classmates have opened restaurants in Scottsdale, Ariz., and offer meals priced far below similar dishes in New York. "You can get dinner for two, including a glass of wine, for $60 at an upscale place," she says. "If you just want to grab a couple of tasty tacos with lots of spicy peppers and cilantro and a few beers, you can probably do that for $25." To find more bargains, visit pricey restaurants at lunch, when you'll find less expensive dishes.

Food festivals allow you to sample a variety of exotic delights for a set price. Each March, McMinnville, Ore., showcases its gourmet foods and 90 nearby wineries at the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic. It also hosts the International Pinot Noir Celebration in July and pays homage to its turkey-producing roots with the annual Turkey-Rama barbecue, which costs just $8 for seniors. In Houston, more than 100 wineries and chefs offer up tantalizing samples at the Grand Wine and Food Affair. "The food was consistently executed with good consumer pricing and good flavor, and you're made to feel hospitable," says Victor Gielisse, associate vice president of Culinary Institute of America Consulting and coauthor of In Good Taste: A Contemporary Approach to Cooking.

But beware: Dieting isn't easy in these culinary havens. Burlington, Vt., home of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, is chock-full of temptations including Vermont cheddar cheese, maple syrup, and truffles, which you'll find at Lake Champlain Chocolates. "I don't think you can find a restaurant without apple pie, and it comes with a slab of sharp cheddar cheese, which makes the pie taste sweeter and the cheese taste more bitter," says Barbara Corcoran, author of Nextville: Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life. "Provided you are not overweight and have no heart conditions, I think Burlington is a perfect place to retire."

[See Healthiest Places to Retire.]

Check out these 10 chef-recommended places for foodies to retire:

  • Burlington, Vt.
  • Cincinnati
  • Houston
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • McMinnville, Ore.
  • Miami
  • San Francisco
  • Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Walla Walla, Wash.
  • Washington