The Best Foodie Movies Of All Time

Hello, foodies, chefs, home cooks, wine snobs, restaurant critics, and anyone who knows the difference between a sauce, a reduction, and a coulis.

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Hello, I suppose, as well to those of you who just eat pizza every day.

In case you missed it, one of the greatest films of the year, and the best restaurant-themed horror film of all time, arrived in theaters last week. Yes. I am talking about The Menu.

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Which, of course, stars my beloved Anya Taylor-Joy as well as Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, and others.

In honor of this auspicious day for food in film, I have put together a 24-course tasting menu (or BuzzFeed listicle if you want to be dull about it) detailing some of our finest forays into filmic food culture.

Columbia Pictures / Via giphy.com

And obviously, Julia figuring out that pizza is more reliable than a man will be on the list.

From restaurant films to cooking montages to particularly noteworthy entrées, movies love to dish out Michelin star-worthy food content for cinema goers, and I bring to you the best of the best.

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Including a potential murder plot via peach fuzz.

So, without further ado, here is your menu of foodie films:

Searchlight Pictures / Via giphy.com

With optimal food pairs because I'm good at what I do.

1.Bao (2018)

A woman holds a dumpling to her face

Let's start our list of delectable food movies with this Pixar short about the cutest little bao you ever did see. The film, which ran before Incredibles 2 in theaters, is an allegory for the mother/child relationship as a Chinese Canadian woman creates the little steamed bun and then raises it as her son. What begins as an incredibly charming, sweet relationship grows more complicated as the boy/bun grows up. One of the best Disney shorts to date, it won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2019 and director Domee Shi went on to create this year's hit Turning Red.

Perfect Food Pairing: NOT BAOS. You'd think they would be the perfect dish to eat while watching a bao-themed film, but no. Perhaps go with scallion pancakes instead.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Big Night (1996)

Stanley Tucci talks to Tony Shaloub in the kitchen

The restaurant business is a cutthroat one, especially when family is involved (just ask the characters from The Bear). In Stanley Tucci's directorial debut, which he also happened to write, produce, and star in, he plays one of a pair of Italian brothers attempting to make a go of it with an authentic restaurant on the Jersey Shore. He and his perfectionistic chef brother (played by Tony Shalhoub) are struggling to keep the business afloat, and it all seems to be riding on an evening when a famed singer will be visiting the restaurant (aka "the big night"). Watching the brothers bicker about the menu while trying to fend off a rival restaurant will remind you never to work with a sibling but that you are in fact hungry for pasta.

Perfect Food Pairing: If you are talented enough to cook timpano, or live close enough to an authentic Italian restaurant, it's sure to hit the spot.

The Sam Goldwyn Company/Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Birds of Prey (2020)

Margot Robbie eats a breakfast sandwich

Some foodie movies are movies about restaurants, cooking, and chefs. Others, like this Suicide Squad sequel, are foodie movies for one specific scene — in this case, it's tribute to the bodega egg sandwich. As a New York transplant, my understanding of a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich growing up was defined by McDonald's and their microwaved folded egg (which I cooked in my stint as a McDonald's breakfast cook). Moving to the city, however, I discovered the incredible invention that is a bodega BEC, which can be procured 24/7 at any of hundreds of locally owned corner stores. There is nothing more delicious (especially when drunk at 2 a.m.), and this montage is a glowing tribute to the food genre. I, too, would go ballistic if someone interrupted the euphoric moment of eating one.

Perfect Food Pairing: A BEC, duh.

Warner Bros. Pictures

4.Bottle Shock (2008)

Alan Rickman looks at a glass of wine

Once upon a time, I was home for the summer from college and rented this film from the library because I love Alan Rickman (Harry Potter, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sense and Sensibility; I could go on). I found the movie captivating and demanded the DVD for Christmas. Rickman stars as a snobbish connoisseur of French wine who decides to throw a competition between the lauded French wineries and the looked-down-upon Californian upstarts (the leads of whom are Bill Pullman and Chris Pine). Rickman is an absolute delight, and I (someone who buys $4 watermelon rosé from Trader Joe's) was mesmerized by the true story that put Napa Valley on the map in the ’70s. Perhaps, uncork a bottle of wine, and settle in for the evening?

Perfect Food Pairing: A Napa Valley Chardonnay and NOT a French one.

Freestyle Releasing/Courtesy Everett Collection

5.Chocolat (2000)

Juliette Binoche holds a tray of chocolats

I'm sure this will be a shocker to you based on the title, but this is in fact a film about chocolate, or as the French say, chocolat. The Best Picture nominee follows Juliette Binoche (who is incredible in everything but especially Clouds of Sils Maria) as Vianne, who moves to a small repressed French town and starts to awaken the desires of its people when she opens a chocolate shop. There are lots of lush shots of melted chocolate, and the swoony adult romance feels emboldened by the candy. After all, chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Hard not to watch without your mouth watering.

Perfect Food Pairing: While not featured in the film, I'm going to say a Butterfinger.

Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Eat Pray Love (2010)

Julia Roberts eats a piece of pizza

Not enough people are talking about the "eat" in the "eat pray love" self-discovery journey. Based off Elizabeth Gilbert's 2006 memoir about her post-divorce trip to reconnect with herself, the Julia Roberts-helmed film follows Gilbert to Italy, India, and Bali. She discovers new romantic connections, she unlocks new forms of spirituality, and she eats plenty of delicious-looking food. I cannot stress enough how much the food portion of this led to transformation. Enjoying great food is one of the best treats of human existence, and if you are in a funk of just eating kale caesars, no wonder you aren't feeling good about life. You gotta eat good to feel good, and Julia Roberts taught us that.

Perfect Food Pairing: Either pizza or chicken tikka masala with a hefty side of garlic naan.

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

7.The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

Jessica Chastain holds a can of Diet Coke

The Eyes of Tammy Faye is not in fact a food movie in really any sense of the word, BUT Tammy Faye does enjoy a Diet Coke...in a can...with a straw in it (ooo stunnin'!). As Diet Coke is also my drink of choice, I appreciated watching Best Actress winner Jessica Chastain guzzle down can after can while wearing insane amounts of makeup as the televangelist. She likes gay people and carries around cans of Diet Coke in her purse. A modern-day hero.

Perfect Food Pairing: A chilled can of Diet Coke. Pop the tab and listen to that delicious fizzle.

Searchlight Pictures

8.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe eat candy in a train car

Although he did get to finish Dudley's Knickerbocker glory at the zoo, Harry Potter lived most of his life deprived of sweet treats. The Dursleys weren't giving him a damn thing, and he thought he was poor. Upon finding himself loaded with wizard gold then, it made total sense that he splurged on the entire Hogwarts Express snack trolly. Chocolate Frogs. Fizzing Whizzbees. Sugar Quills. "He'll take the lot!" In addition to Harry's binging on the train, we also get Hagrid's iconic birthday cake, the delicious Halloween feast, and Harry choking down a Snitch in the series' first film. Stick around for Butter Beer, Polyjuice Potion, and whatever that poison was that Dumbledore had to be force-fed. Harry Potter is a food-conscious series from start to finish.

Perfect Food Pairing: Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans...if you dare.

Warner Bros. Pictures

9.Home Alone (1990) & Home Alone 2 (1992)

Macaulay Culkin eats pizza in a limosuine

Don't get between a boy and his cheese pizza is the basic takeaway of the Home Alone franchise. (That and the love of family yada yada yada). Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is frustrated that Buzz eats all his cheese pizza in the original film. He then orders one while home alone and scares the living daylights out of the delivery man. In the sequel, he orders one for his limo ride around New York City, and Tim Curry says "pizza" in the weirdest way humanly possible. While microwavable macaroni and cheese, a giant ice cream sundae (I'm not driving), and bird seed also make prominent appearances in the films, it is topping-less pizza's showcase.

Perfect Food Pairing: An extra large cheese pizza.

20th Century Fox

10.The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal talk to Om Puri at a table

Back to actual chef movies, and one about a Michelin-starred restaurant no less. In this Lasse Hallstrom film (The man loves food. Chocolat. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. The Cider House Rules. Whats Eating Gilbert Grape.), a family of refugees from India including Hassan, a hot chef played by Manish Dayal, arrives at a tiny French town. They open an Indian restaurant across the street from Helen Mirren's fancy French bistro (with a Michelin star), and a rivalry begins. The pair go head to head in a (stove) heated culinary battle until they obviously realize that by joining their culinary talents, they'll be better off. We love a feel-good romantic dramedy and especially one with hot people cooking hot food.

Perfect Food Pairing: An omelette, and it better be a damn good one!

Francois Duhamel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

11.Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Jiro Ono prepares sushi at his restaurant

I could make a whole list of just food documentaries, but to spare you that and keep this from becoming a Food Network lineup, I'm only picking the best. Sushi may seem fairly simple, especially if you regularly partake in grocery store California rolls as I do, but this documentary about perhaps the greatest living sushi chef Jiro Ono, will teach you it is the highest of arts. Ono runs a 10-seat sushi restaurant in a Tokyo subway station with a sushi-only menu. The no-frills establishment, however, became the first ever sushi restaurant to receive three Michelin stars, and the documentary follows the eccentric 85-year-old chef who earned them. The fish. The rice. The hand-softened octopus. Everything is meticulously crafted; you will never look at the Japanese dish the same way again.

Perfect Food Pairing: I shudder to suggest any sort of takeout sushi while watching this master of the craft. Perhaps just some sake.

David Gelb/Magnolia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

12.Julie & Julia (2009)

Meryl Streep stands in a kitchen cooking

As someone who can barely cook a sandwich I saw off TikTok, the thought of attempting to cook my way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year feels like an endlessly daunting task. However, that is what Julie Powell did on her blog, which was eventually turned into a memoir and then this film (the first major motion picture based on a blog FYI). Amy Adams and Meryl Streep shine as Julie and Julia respectively, as the pair cook their way to literary and culinary fame. While I have no desire to eat an aspic or make my own mayonnaise, I appreciate the fine-tuned skills that French cooking requires, and am endlessly impressed by both of these culinary giants (literally in the case of Child).

Perfect Food Pairing: A homemade boeuf bourguignon is a must.

Jonathan Wenk/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Lady and the tramp eat spaghetti

While I have seen Lady and the Tramp in its entirety several times, the only things I really remember from the film are the evil Siamese cats and the spaghetti scene. Dare I say that this is the most iconic food scene in all of cinema? I'm sure I'm forgetting something important, but I'm going to stake my claim. When the bougie cocker spaniel and her lovable mutt boyfriend arrive at an Italian restaurant, a piece of history was formed. "Bella Notte" setting the stage. The checkered cloth. And then, the infamous "we're chewing on the same piece of spaghetti so now we gotta kiss" moment. Every Italian restaurant since has been trying to live up to this moment, and the shot has been recreated endlessly on Instagram. A dinner date has never gone so well.

Perfect Food Pairing: One very long piece of spaghetti to share with your crush.

Walt Disney Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

14.Last Holiday (2006)

Queen Latifah feeds Gerard Deparieu and LL Cool J

IMHO, this film is a holiday great on par with The Santa Claus and Home Alone. How it was relegated to B-tier status, I'll never know. When Georgia, an aspiring chef who works as a kitchen supply demonstrator at a department store (Queen Latifah, who is effortlessly funny as usual) bumps her head on the job, the store manager decides she should get a CT scan at the machine they have at the mall. As much as I love malls, I would never trust a CT scan machine that is just chilling in the back room of a department store. Why is it there? How reliable is it? Where did it come from? So many questions. Georgia asks none of them. When the machine tells her she's dying, and thus, this will be her last holiday, she's got to live it up. Off to a grand European resort, a new hotel chef bestie, and the perfect holiday adventure we go!

Perfect Food Pairing: Poulet Tchoupitoulas.

Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

15.The Menu (2022)

Ralph Fiennes oversees a kitchen

Finally a movie for foodies that also lampoons the highbrow, my-palate-is-so-sensitive, it's-ramps-season, oh-you-must-get-a-reservation, I-went-there-before-it-was-mainstream restaurant goers. Mark Mylod (whose recent work includes Succession) skewers the world of fine dining in this delectable horror film in which the food world's elite descend upon a secretive island restaurant only to realize that things more sinister than dinner are on the menu. Head chef Ralph Fiennes (aka Lord Voldemort) faces off against Anya Taylor-Joy in this smartly executed romp with each course more deadly than the last. Janet McTeer is perfection as a waspy food critic, and Hong Chau's brutal maitre d' is just another addition to her résumé for Best Supporting Actress this year (with The Whale and Showing Up). Hopefully, your next dinner date is a little less bloody (unless, of course, you like your steak rare).

Perfect Food Pairing: S'mores. Just trust me.

Currently in theaters. Buy tickets at Fandango or Cinemark.

Eric Zachanowich/Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

16.My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Nia Vardalos serves coffee to Ian Gomez and John Corbett

Perhaps the polar opposite of The Menu's sleek, sophisticated Hawthorne is the cozy Greek diner, Dancing Zorba's, that serves as the backdrop for this rom-com. Toula (Nia Vardalos) is a shy, frumpy waitress at her family's restaurant when she meets Ian (John Corbett), a suave teacher who sends her into a panic. A romance between the two slowly forms, and Ian is swallowed up by Toula's big fat Greek family, full of characters (and their signature dishes). The film is laden with Greek dishes, although much to the chagrin of the Portokalos family, Ian is a vegetarian, and lamb does in fact count as meat.

Perfect Food Pairing: Baklava, unless, of course, you like lamb.

IFC Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

17.Parasite (2019)

Jang Hye-jin serves a drink while Choi Yeon-gyo eats a dish with chopsticks

While Parasite is not a movie about food per se, there are plenty of food-related scenes. First, of course, is the diabolical use of the peach to get the old housekeeper fired. Second, is the massive birthday cake that features into the film's climax. And then, there is the ram-don. The noodle dish that Chung-sook prepares for Choi Yeon-gyo on the fateful night when the Park family comes home early from vacation. The dish looked so delicious on screen that it sent the masses trying to replicate it in their own kitchens. If you'd like to learn more about the dish and give it a try, here is the recipe.

Perfect Food Pairing: Some homemade ram-don, or otherwise some peach rings.

CJ Entertainment

18.Pig (2021)

A bloodied Nicolas Cage carries plates

While utterly ridiculous in so many ways, Pig is mostly a movie about the Oregon food scene (and its supply chain from start to finish). Nicolas Cage, in one of his best performances in recent memory, plays Rob, a grizzled reclusive forager who hunts for truffles with the help of his trusty pig. When the pig, Rob's sole companion and love, is stolen, he reenters the Portland restaurant world he escaped, hellbent on rescuing is curly-tailed love. As the film progresses, we learn that Rob knows more about food than nearly anyone else in Oregon, and he prepares some exquisite-looking dishes (with locally sourced ingredients) as he attempts to barter his way to his pet. Cage may be blood-stained while doing most of his cooking, but I'd eat the food anyways.

Perfect Food Pairing: I'm gonna say some truffle fries even though that's a little low brow in comparison to the dishes made in this film.

David Reamer/Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Ratatouille (2007)

A rat holds a piece of cheese

The main takeaway from Pixar's France-set cooking adventure is "anyone can cook," and that would include rats (and possibly raccoons). Parisian sewer rat Remy has dreams of being a world class chef, but alas, he is a sewer rat. Alfredo Linguini (yes, that's his name) is a garbage boy who works at the restaurant and can't cook to save his life. Yet, the pair together, with Remy marioneting Alfredo from beneath his tall white chef's hat, become a formidable cooking combination. Facing off against the restaurant's paranoid chef and a miserably jaded food critic ("if I don't love it, I don't swallow"), the rat/human duo attempt to serve up the perfect ratatouille, a dish that looks like it mostly involves incredible knife work. If I was a rat, I would definitely be opting for the Chuck E. Cheese school of thought and just make pizza.

Perfect Food Pairing: Since ratatouille appears a bit time-intensive, I'm just gonna say get some wine and cheese at Trader Joe's.

Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

20.Soul Food (1997)

Vanessa L. Williams, Irma P. Hall, and Vivica A. Fox cook in a kitchen

In our long list of white (and usually European and most often French) people cooking in movies, it's frustratingly hard to find a film about Black people in the kitchen. Soul Food, from legendary producer/director George Tillman Jr. (The Hate U Give, Barbershop, Roll Bounce), is a notable exception (especially for the '90s). When the Joseph family matriarch passes away, her three daughters fall into disarray, neglecting the time-honored Sunday family dinner tradition that has kept them together for years. Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, and Nia Long play the three feuding daughters, who after some pretty off-the-rails fights (including pulling a knife at an anniversary party) eventually reconnect and get their dinners back on track. I would not recommend watching this film hungry as the dishes will have you salivating in two seconds.

Perfect Food Pairing: Soul food. Duh. Or, Popeyes if you are lazy.

20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

21.Spencer (2021)

Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana eats at a long dinner table

As Spencer was my favorite film of 2021, I am contractually obligated to include it here. Kristen Stewart, giving the best performance of the year, plays Princess Diana, who attends Christmas festivities with the royal family which include weighing herself, changing outfits dozens of times, and eating disgusting looking green soup. The soup scene is especially memorable but not perhaps for the best of reasons. More exciting for us fast-food lovers is her final escape from the stuffy palace and its miserably fancy entrées to the KFC drive thru, a place of solace, warmth, and oil. God, I want to dip some chicken fingers into mashed potatoes and gravy.

Perfect Food Pairing: KFC.

Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

22.Triangle of Sadness (2022)

Charlbi Dean poses for a photo with pasta while Harris Dickinson takes a photo

Like Spencer, one of this year's Oscar hopefuls is a bit of a mixed bag food-wise. The film, which focuses on a group of wealthy elites on a Below Deck-style yacht vacation that quickly goes wrong, has plenty of delicious food shots. The guests, after all, are posing with pasta for their Instagram followers, sipping the finest champagne, and eating 5-star-level fare with the ship's Captain (Woody Harrelson). When a storm brings on tumultuous waves and a group of pirates board the ship, however, the food scene quickly deteriorates into mass nausea and fighting for scraps. If you're going to eat during this film, might I suggest finishing your meal in the first half.

Perfect Food Pairing: Pretzel sticks. IYKYK.

Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

23.Uncorked (2020)

Mamoudou Athie and Courtney B. Vance stand in a kitchen together

Another movie for the winos! In this one, Elijah (Mamoudou Athie from Jurassic World: Dominion) desperately wants to be a master sommelier, something which I learned involves taking several tests, studying in France, and a lot of money. Elijah's parents, Louis and Sylvia (Courtney B. Vance and Niecy Nash), however, would prefer he stay stateside working at their barbecue joint. Elijah and Louis butt heads constantly as Elijah buckles under his father's expectations while trying to follow his own dreams. With plenty of gorgeous wines and scrumptious barbecue closeups, this film is the perfect mashup of high brow restaurant and good ole home cooking. I will say, I have never wanted to be a sommelier less, however, than while watching this film.

Perfect Food Pairing: Barbecue ribs and a cabernet franc.

Nina Robinson/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

24.Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

The cast of Willy Wonka stands in a garden

There is no more iconic food movie front to back than the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (although I do love the Johnny Depp version, too. Jury is out on the Timothée Chalamet prequel.). A eccentric candy-maker. A quest for the golden ticket. A factory tour resulting in five children nearly dying. Musical numbers. Oompa Loompas. A riverboat ride from hell. This adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic novel is one for the ages, and the perfect way to end this list. BRB, going to stick my head in the chocolate river.

Perfect Food Pairing: Give me a melted chocolate, some chewing gum, a golden egg, a TV Wonka Bar, some Fizzy Lifting Drink, and an everlasting gobstopper. I'll be eating them all in my bed with three other elderly individuals.

Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

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