Whether you love your pancakes pillowy and smothered in a sweet syrup or thin with a savoury filling, these flat cakes are no doubt a delicious treat. Most popular as part of a morning feast, pancakes are a regular feature on breakfast and brunch menus across the world. The USA is probably most famous for its tempting stacks of buttermilk pancakes, while in France you’ll find delicious crepes filled with a rich chocolate sauce.
Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day is annually celebrated in late February or early March on the day before Ash Wednesday – as the last day of indulgence before Lent begins.
So, whether you’re on your travels and adventuring around the globe at this time of year (or any other time for that matter) where should you travel to for the best pancakes? From Morocco to Japan and beyond, we’ve selected the best spots to visit for your pancake fix.
There really is only one place to start this pancake bucket list and that’s the USA. America is a must-visit destination for many travellers around the world – whether they wish to drive the iconic Route 66, take a selfie in front of the Statue of Liberty or walk the Golden Gate Bridge.
Many countries have their own variations of pancake, but the USA is renowned for its thick and fluffy buttermilk variety.
The USA’s love for pancakes runs so deep, you’ll find that there are numerous spots in each state to grab a glorious stack and even a nationwide restaurant dedicated to the food itself. IHOP, or International House of Pancakes is a restaurant chain specialising in all things breakfast. If you spot an IHOP on your American adventure, don’t hesitate to step in and sample the indulgent New York Cheesecake Pancakes or Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Pancakes – but where else should you try?
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Best places for pancakes in the USA
Florida – Doreen’s Cup of Joe
Based in Marco Island, Florida, Doreen’s Cup of Joe boasts an enviable pancake menu. This ranges from the simple, but delicious, buttermilk pancakes topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream to the more deluxe pumpkin cheesecake pancakes.
Grab a freshly squeezed Florida orange juice or Miami-produced Kana Coffee to accompany your pancakes to really round off the experience.
New York – Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant
This is a not-to-be-missed dining venue on any trip to New York City. Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant started out as a small wholesale bakery and is now a spot famous for co-owner Neil Kleinberg’s pancakes. The amazing thing about this Manhattan restaurant is you can have your breakfast in the morning or alternatively for dinner, all the while being serenaded by southern-blue note jazz.
Thinking of holidays in France conjures up images of lazy afternoons in charming cafes, sipping coffee and sampling buttery pastries and warm crepes oozing chocolate. The country is known for its elegance in many aspects of life, from fashion and architecture to cuisine, and there’s nothing much more elegant than France’s cafe culture.
The crepe originated in Brittany and is France’s sophisticated pancake. Thin and light, crepes are known to be accompanied by a variety of fillings. If you have a sweet tooth then look no further than a fruit, chocolate or jam filling. Alternatively, you could opt for a ham and cheese-filled crepe or even spinach and eggs for the perfect savoury snack.
You’ll discover a huge variety of eateries where you can sample this French speciality – especially in Paris where you’ll discover quaint cafes, creperies, vendors and restaurants at every turn. Whether you want to grab a crepe cone on the go or sit down and savour every mouthful, Paris is the place to be.
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Best places for pancakes in France
Paris – La Creperie de Josselin
Set in the centre of Paris’ Montparnasse district, La Creperie de Josselin is a fabulous option for those wanting to take their time over their crepe rather than grabbing one from one of the many vendors in the area. Famous for their savoury options, choose a great window seat, order a fresh, hot crepe and observe the Parisian way of life.
This East Asian gem is renowned for being a culinary hotspot. From tangy sushi and steaming bowls of ramen to fluffy tempura and delicious dishes of soba noodles, Japan is foodie heaven. But if you’re travelling through Japan’s breathtaking mountainous landscapes, there’s another dish you must try along the way – okonomiyaki.
These Japanese savoury pancakes are unlike any other food you’re likely to come across in the country. They can be filled with many different things such as seafood, meat, cheese and even wasabi (hence the name of the dish translating to ‘whatever you like grilled’) but they tend to be packed with pork and cabbage. On top you’ll often find mayonnaise, dried seaweed, flakes of fish and a type of Worcester sauce. If you enjoy getting hands-on, this is the dish for you as many restaurants in Japan have a hotplate on the table meaning you grill your own pancake. Japan is brimming with restaurants to try okonomiyaki – here are two of the very best.
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Best places for pancakes in Japan
Osaka – Mizuno
Widely considered the birthplace of okonomiyaki, it’s little wonder one of our top picks is based in Osaka. Mizuno is a family restaurant with 70 years of history under its belt. As the eatery is located in the busy tourist area of Dotonbori, Mizuno is usually buzzing with customers – and for good reason. This is the best spot for your Japanese pancake experience and the chefs will even griddle your meal at your table.
Hiroshima – Okonomimura
Okonomiyaki is made in a different style in Hiroshima. While the Osaka-style mixes the ingredients, the Hiroshima-style layers them and always uses a fried egg and noodles, so this venue is a must-try for foodies in search of variety. Okonomimura is a bustling mall of sorts filled with a number of shops selling the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. Mix with locals and tourists alike in this vibrant culinary village for an authentic experience.
Another destination famed for its love of food, it’s little wonder that tourists flock to India year after year to taste their way around this country. Synonymous with spice and famous for its rich depth of flavour, Indian food is diverse with each region boasting a range of dishes packing a punch. Dosa originates from South India and is a flat and thin rice batter pancake – more like a crepe than any other form of the flat cake. There are many variations of dosa throughout the country, some are stuffed with things such as spiced potatoes and others come hot with a chutney and sambar on the side. If you’re visiting Goa on your adventures, whether you’re searching for breakfast or supper, ensure you stop for dosa.
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Best places for pancakes in India
Panjim – Sanyog
Sanyog is a vegetarian restaurant based in Panjim offering delicious Indian main dishes and snacks. Head upstairs for a long, relaxing dining experience or downstairs for a quick snack. If you’re travelling with a companion, we’d advise you to order a different dosa dish each and share to sample the variety of flavours from South India. Order a steaming cup of their special tea to perfectly wash down your delectable dosa.
Subtle spice, bags of flavour and brave combinations – Moroccan food perfectly incorporates sweet notes in savoury dishes to tantalise the taste buds of people from all walks of life. One staple of food in Morocco, and North African cuisine in general, is msemen or rghaif, which is a rich and traditional pancake or flatbread. These are often served at breakfast or as an afternoon snack with sweet accompaniments such as honey or jam, however they can also be stuffed with meat. Msemen are best served warm and with a hot mint tea or coffee and you’ll find some fabulous spots in Marrakech to taste them.
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Best places for pancakes in Morocco
Marrakech – Fine Mama
Open from 8am-12am every day, Fine Mama is a great spot for meals throughout the day, but especially breakfast. This relaxed, family-friendly restaurant serves up everything from crisp salad bowls and crunchy falafel to creamy hummus, cous-cous and tagine, but it’s the msemen you’ll want to enjoy here at breakfast time.
What’s your pancake preference – are you looking for something sweet or savoury? A stack to go at with a knife and fork or a dosa to tackle with your hands? No matter what you’re looking for from your flat cake, ensure you try something new as you taste your way around the globe.