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These are the cities with the most Michelin star restaurants for food lovers

Keto dish
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A Michelin star is one of the highest honors a restaurant can achieve. These stars, which are awarded by the prestigious Michelin Guide, have become a coveted trophy for gourmet dining globally. In this article, we’ll explore what it takes to earn a Michelin star and conclude with the top five cities with the most Michelin-starred establishments.

What does it take to have a Michelin-star restaurant?

Mediterranean meal of greek salad, seven grain salad, salmon fillet and a small bowl of blueberries, surrounded by Mediterranean diet foods.
Carey / Adobe Stock

The Michelin Guide was originally developed by the Michelin tire company as a way to encourage road-tripping and, consequently, tire sales. Since then, it has evolved into one of the most respected food rating systems in the world. Here are the key factors that inspectors consider when awarding Michelin stars:

  1. Quality of Ingredients: Michelin inspectors look for chefs who select the best produce and ingredients for their dishes.
  2. Mastery of Flavor and Cooking Techniques: Chefs must demonstrate a high level of technical ability and consistency in their cooking. This includes mastery over various cooking techniques and the ability to bring out the best in each ingredient.
  3. Personality in the Cuisine: The food should reflect the chef’s personal style and creativity. It should be distinctive and not easily replicable.
  4. Value for Money: While Michelin stars are often associated with expensive restaurants, the guide also considers the value offered by the establishment. This doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, but rather that the quality of the food is worth the price.
  5. Consistency Over Time and Across the Entire Menu: The quality must be consistent not only throughout the menu but also over time. A restaurant that serves exceptional dishes one day and mediocre ones the next is less likely to be awarded a star.

It’s important to note that Michelin stars are awarded to the restaurant, not to the chef or owner. The ratings are revisited annually, and stars can be gained or lost based on changes in the quality of the restaurant’s offerings.

These cities have the most Michelin-starred restaurants in 2024

Dining table
Jay Wennington / Unsplash

The Michelin Guide awards up to three stars, with one star indicating “a very good restaurant,” two stars denoting “excellent cooking that is worth a detour,” and three stars signifying “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey.” Today, there are about 3,300 Michelin stars across the globe. Here are the top 5 cities in the world right now with the most to offer.

1. Tokyo, Japan (180 Michelin-Starred Establishments)

There’s no doubt about it: Tokyo deserves its number one spot. It’s not even close. With an astounding 180-starred restaurants, the capital of Japan won’t lose its crown for a long while yet.

Tokyo’s dining scene ranges from high-end sushi bars and traditional Japanese cuisine to bustling ramen shops and casual izakayas (Japanese pubs). The city is also famous for its street food, including fresh seafood from the Toyosu Market and popular bites like takoyaki. With its embrace of international cuisines, themed restaurants, and a strong emphasis on seasonal ingredients, Tokyo provides a unique dining experience that blends meticulous culinary craftsmanship with a vast array of flavors. This attention to detail and quality, alongside the city’s embrace of both tradition and innovation, makes Tokyo’s food scene an unforgettable experience for food enthusiasts worldwide.

2. Paris, France (125 Michelin-Starred Establishments)

Paris, often considered the epicenter of the culinary world, is home to 125 Michelin-starred restaurants. This city’s culinary landscape is as rich in history as it is in flavor, offering a blend of traditional French cuisine and contemporary creativity.

Characterized by its iconic bistros and brasseries serving classic French dishes, the city also delights with its world-famous bakeries and patisseries, offering an array of exquisite bread and pastries. Parisian markets buzz with fresh local produce, while the ubiquitous café culture provides a quintessential Parisian experience of leisurely sipping coffee or wine. There’s no doubt about it: Paris is no stranger to fine dining.

3. Kyoto, Japan (100 Michelin-Starred Establishments)

Kyoto’s food scene is deeply intertwined with the city’s rich cultural heritage, securing its spot on the list with 100 Michelin-starred establishments. It’s most renowned for kaiseki, which is an artful and seasonal multi-course meal that showcases the refined flavors of shojin ryori, the Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, and beloved local specialties like Kyoto-style sushi and pickles.

On the other hand, markets like Nishiki offer a lively glimpse into local life, featuring street food and regional delicacies. Tea, particularly matcha, plays a crucial role here, with numerous teahouses and modern cafes providing tranquil spaces to enjoy this traditional beverage and accompanying sweets. In essence, Kyoto’s food scene reflects the elegance, subtlety, and seasonal rhythms of Japanese culture.

4. Osaka, Japan (85 Michelin-Starred Establishments)

We’re not surprised that a third Japanese city is in the top five. Osaka, fondly referred to as “Japan’s kitchen”, is home to 85 Michelin-starred restaurants. Famous for originating dishes like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), the city is a paradise for those who enjoy hearty, flavorful meals.

The Dotonbori area bustles with eateries and street vendors that will make your tastebuds sing! Markets like Kuromon Ichiba showcase the city’s access to fresh, quality ingredients, especially seafood. Osaka’s dining experience extends to izakayas for relaxed, informal meals, but has a significant number of Michelin-starred restaurants too. Osaka’s chefs are known for their innovative and bold flavors, capturing Japanese cuisine at its finest.

5. London, UK (81 Michelin-Starred Establishments)

With 81 Michelin-starred establishments, London slides into fifth place on our list. As a diverse global metropolis, London is known for its eclectic mix of international cuisines from all around the world, as well as traditional British fare like classic fish and chips and hearty pub grub.

London’s dynamic food scene is also marked by the presence of renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsay, whose restaurants, such as the acclaimed Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, offer exemplary fine dining experiences and contribute significantly to the city’s reputation as a culinary capital. With regular food festivals and events, London’s food scene is continually evolving, making it an exciting and inclusive destination for all food lovers.

Was your favorite city on this list? If not, adding one of these cities to your bucket list could be an opportunity to explore new culinary horizons. After all, in the world of fine dining, every city has its own unique flavor to offer.

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