Gourmet Journeys: The Best Luxury Train Dining Experiences

Embarking on a luxury train journey is akin to entering a moving gourmet restaurant, where each dish is a reflection of the landscapes rolling by your window. For food-loving travelers, these trains offer an unparalleled dining experience, combining the art of cuisine with the romance of rail travel. From the freshest local ingredients to world-class chefs and opulent dining cars reminiscent of a bygone era, the culinary journeys these trains provide are as diverse as they are delicious. In this listicle, we explore the top luxury trains renowned for their exceptional dining experiences, ranked by the quality of their cuisine, the exclusivity of their service, and the overall dining ambiance. Prepare your palate for a journey through flavors, cultures, and landscapes as we uncover the best gourmet journeys on rails.

A Taste of the Scottish Highlands

Traveling through Scotland's breathtaking landscapes, the Belmond Royal Scotsman offers an intimate dining experience, with its onboard chefs using local produce to create traditional Scottish dishes with a contemporary twist.

Signature Experience: Indulge in a formal dinner in the mahogany-clad dining car, featuring specialties like venison and Scottish salmon, paired with a selection of fine whiskies from across the country.

Why It's #1: The train's commitment to showcasing Scottish culinary traditions, along with its use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, makes dining on the Belmond Royal Scotsman a sublime experience.

European Elegance on Tracks

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is synonymous with luxury and has a dining experience to match. Serving European cuisine across its routes that span from London to Venice and beyond, meals are prepared in the train’s galley kitchens, showcasing the finest ingredients from the regions the train travels through.

Signature Experience: Dine in one of the beautifully restored 1920s art deco dining cars, where chefs serve up specialties such as lobster from Brittany and salt marsh lamb from Mont Saint-Michel. The experience is enhanced by the train's extensive wine list, featuring selections from France, Italy, and beyond.

Why It's #2: The dining experience on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a culinary journey through Europe, offering dishes that are as refined and sophisticated as the train itself. It's a testament to the golden age of travel, combining gourmet cuisine with the romance of rail.

3. The Ghan, Australia

An Australian Epicurean Adventure

Crossing the Australian continent from north to south, The Ghan offers passengers a taste of Australia’s culinary diversity. Its Platinum and Gold Service guests enjoy meals that incorporate native ingredients and showcase the country's contemporary cuisine.

Signature Experience: Relish in a three-course lunch featuring Australian delicacies such as barramundi and kangaroo, paired with premium wines from renowned Australian wine regions like the Barossa Valley and Margaret River.

Why It's #3: The Ghan's focus on Australian cuisine provides a unique dining experience that reflects the country's rich culinary heritage and innovative spirit. It's a flavorful journey through Australia's heartland, complemented by impeccable service and stunning outback views.

Photo by Rovos Rail

4. Rovos Rail, South Africa

A Culinary Safari

Rovos Rail, traversing the varied landscapes of South Africa, offers an unparalleled dining experience that mirrors the richness of the continent. The train’s meals are a celebration of South African culinary traditions, made with fresh local ingredients.

Signature Experience: Dine in Victorian elegance on dishes that might include game meats and traditional South African fare, accompanied by a selection of South Africa's finest wines. Dining on Rovos Rail is as much about the atmosphere and setting as it is about the food.

Why It's #4: With its focus on traditional and contemporary South African cuisine, Rovos Rail offers a dining experience that is deeply rooted in the local culture and landscapes. It’s a gourmet journey that complements the visual feast of the African scenery.

5. Eastern & Oriental Express, Southeast Asia

An Asian Culinary Expedition

The Eastern & Oriental Express takes guests on a sensory journey through the heart of Southeast Asia, from Singapore to Bangkok. The train's chefs craft dishes that reflect the flavors of the regions it passes, offering a unique dining experience that merges tradition with innovation.

Signature Experience: Enjoy a fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine in the dining car, adorned with intricate woodwork and soft lighting, providing a backdrop for meals that might include Thai curries, Malaysian satays, or Singaporean seafood specialties.

Why It's #5: The Eastern & Oriental Express stands out for its ability to blend diverse culinary traditions into a cohesive and memorable dining experience. It’s a journey that not only captivates the eyes with stunning landscapes but also delights the palate with complex flavors.

The fusion of gourmet dining with luxury rail travel creates an unparalleled experience, where every meal is a destination unto itself. These trains, with their exceptional culinary offerings, not only transport you across stunning landscapes but also take you on a gastronomic journey that is as integral to the adventure as the destinations themselves. From the refined European cuisine aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to the innovative dishes of The Ghan and the cultural richness of Rovos Rail’s South African menu, each train offers a unique window into the soul of its region through its culinary delights. For couples and food enthusiasts alike, these gourmet journeys offer an unforgettable way to explore the world, one exquisite meal at a time.