Last year I went for the first time in my life to dine in a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant. I have to admit it, it was a great experience. I liked it so much that I remember I thought: “I could do this once a week (if someone else pays!)”. The “Michelin Star” is probably considered as the most prestigious recognition for a restaurant and restaurant owners and chefs around the world proudly promote their Michelin Star status.
Basically, Michelin awards 1 to 3 stars according to the quality, mastery of technique, personality and consistency of the food. Interior design, table setting and service quality are not taken into account in awarding stars, though the guide displays forks and spoons to describe how fancy or casual a restaurant may be.
The number of stars makes reference to a specific category:
If you have never had a Michelin Star experience and it’s on your bucket list or if like me you were amazed by it and have decided to take a tour of all the awarded restaurants, I have simplified your research task. I gathered the top 5 cities which are home to the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.
- New York City, USA
99 stars in total (★ 61; ★★ 10; ★★★ 6)
New York is the most Michelin-starred US city, with 77 restaurants receiving awards. Chef’s Table is one of the most prestigious of the city and invites you around the kitchen counter to share a dining experience featuring the cuisine of its Chef, César Ramirez. A famous name is missing though, since Michelin Guide stripped the stars from Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, calling the food “erratic”. Ops!
- Osaka, Japan
117 stars in total (★ 68; ★★ 20; ★★★ 3)
Reading this list it’s easy to understand that Japan is quickly becoming the world’s top culinary destination, with the presence of three of its main cities in this top five. Osaka is home to 91 Michelin-starred restaurants. One of the best is Hajime, a three stars Japanese restaurant, preparing and serving food according to the aesthetic philosophy of its founder, Hajime Yoneda, who wants to represent the beauty and harmony of nature, the earth and space (in the picture above the signature dish, “Planet Earth”).
- Paris, France
134 stars in total (★ 72; ★★ 16; ★★★ 10)
Paris is considered as the European capital when it comes to food and cuisine and is currently home to 98 Michelin-starred restaurants. One of the most exclusive and unique among them is with no doubt Alain Ducasse’s au Plaza Athenee, serving a “humble” cuisine based upon locally sourced vegetables, cereals and fish, good for the body, the mind and the planet.
- Kyoto, Japan
135 stars in total (★ 64; ★★ 25; ★★★ 7)
Kyoto has always been considered as the center of culture, religion and cuisine of the country and its international recognition and prestige in the culinary world is increasing year by year. In Kyoto you will find some of the oldest restaurants in the world, as Nakamura, currently run by the 6th generation of owner-chefs. This family-run restaurant offers Kaiseki dishes, a type of Japanese cuisine created in Kyoto, based on a philosophy that balances taste, texture, appearance and colour, all served in a traditional setting where guests sit on tatami mats and eat at low tables.
- Tokyo, Japan
302 stars (★ 160; ★★ 53; ★★★ 12)
Considered as the food capital of the world, Tokyo is the perfect destination for food lovers and for those who want to have a Michelin Star experience. You can choose among 225 Michelin-starred restaurants, serving typical, international and fusion cuisine. One of the most intriguing is definitely Yamadaya, creating unforgettable dishes with the potentially poisonous puffer fish.
After this virtual trip around the world to find out which are the top 5 cities with most Michelin-starred restaurants, it’s more than clear that Japan is leading the way in culinary tourism, with three cities in the country sharing a total of 554 stars between 312 restaurants. I am already booking a ticket, what are you waiting for?
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