Buenos Aires: Place for wine, great food, great architecture, and even a bit of sexy romance. Try the Centro restaurant, known for its grilled meats, Southern Argentinean rolls, and creamed corn-and-tortilla sandwiches. If you can shake away your habit of ordering the whole platter (just the tortilla, beans, beans and salsa), you’ll get plenty for your $9.95. Too strong for you? Start with a street salad of poached egg, black beans, steamed veggies, homemade tortilla chips, and homemade guacamole—there’s even a cucumber-mango dipping sauce. If you have the stomach for it, order the sandwich of chopped steak, grilled onions, carrots, and mozzarella on toasted bread. And finally, drink a glass of wine from the vast list of 100 bottles. 913 Maryland Ave., NW; 202-986-2600. Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.
Melbourne, Australia: A laid-back island town with some of the best big-city food you’ll find anywhere on the globe. Keep your eyes peeled for Pies Steakhouse, the village’s highest-rated eatery, where some of the country’s best raw-bar dishes are served (the seaweed wasabi bacalao dish is particularly fine). Of course, everyone goes to St. Kilda for the big clubs and the revolving door of surfers-celebrities—visit for the Aussie actors Kinky Boots at Customs House or Papermill for sliders and funny drinks from Harry Enfield. 445 St Kilda Rd., Melbourne; 1300 808 611. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
New York City: You wouldn’t want to hang out with a group of New Yorkers—more like a police lockup. At Metro Bar, an unassuming bar and restaurant in downtown Manhattan, everyone is allowed to order a drink, and each visit can be a little like someone’s random high school reunion. Instead of the usual mix of older guys with overly large beer cans who wait in turn for the first table at the bar, the whole place is filled with young whippersnappers who, if they’re not at a club somewhere, are a foot away from one. And if you ask where the odd bartender in your group should go, most of the best you’ll get will be a wave or a shrug. Happy hour lasts all night, so put down a nickel here and there to send your friends to the dance floor; order some tapas at Zero Zero to help out with the fittingly named bill. 16 W. 47th St., New York; 212-840-1167. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Hong Kong: New York’s not the only place that reigns supreme as a mecca for cheesy, fishy, sub-chauvinistic sushi. Just outside of Heng Sheng City—that’s Mong Kok in Cantonese—plenty of New Yorkers patronize Hong Kong Sushi, where the handsome young servers who wave in the cooks for appointments are actually night-owls who took off the last minute of work after dinner. If you want to actually dine at the restaurant, get it special—check the restaurant’s website in advance for a definite-name-in-cahoots event for $70 per person or $85 if there’s something extra like a dim sum buffet. 638 Henderson St., District 3; open daily for lunch and dinner.