When traveling, we often encourage you to be on the look out for cheap, but authentic local establishments. We all love to save money on food but what about the other side of the spectrum? These are the restaurants that are widely considered among the best in the world. The downside? You’re generally going to have to pay an arm and a leg to eat there.
The Michelin Guide
The Michelin Guide is published by the French company Michelin and has become the definitive ranking of the best places to eat in the world. 1 Michelin star sets you above almost every other restaurant while 3 means you are officially the crème de la crème.
According to the Michelin Guide:
- 1-star: A very good restaurant in its category
- 2-star: Excellent cooking, worth a detour
- 3-star: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
To live up to some staggeringly high price tags, the following restaurants have to deliver on every front. Luckily, the food is arguably the best on earth. All of these establishments have been awarded 3 Michelin Stars and are, in our opinion, the top 5 restaurants in the world.
It’s been hailed as the best restaurant in New York City, and even the best in the United States. Operated by French chef Eric Ripert, this Midtown Manhattan establishment focuses on French cuisine, particularly seafood. The food is prepared simply, and is sometimes raw. Among some of the favourites are Japanese Bluefin tuna, Kobe beef, and escolar (a fish).
In 2011, Le Bernardin underwent a renovation to liven up the atmosphere. Instead of an old bar, a new sleek lounge area was included. There are even some affordable bottles of wine on offer (mixed in with the more expensive ones you would expect). If you’re not a seafood fan, this isn’t the place for you but if you are, some of Ripert’s unique creations will send your taste buds into ecstasy.
If you’re looking to sample the chef’s tasting menu (the recommended way to experience what the restaurant has to offer) you’re going to be set back about $170 US – or $260 with a wine pairing. You can reserve a month in advance so plan ahead, save some cash, and enjoy one of the finest eateries this side of the Atlantic.
Like most things in the principality of Monaco, its most famous restaurant is fit for royalty. Channel your inner Grace Kelly when you dine at chef Alain Ducasse’s flagship restaurant. Found inside the 5-star Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, the dining room is as opulent as you would expect – with gold, marble, and intricate chandeliers everywhere you look.
Thankfully the food lives up to the presentation. The dishes are influenced by the French Riviera setting, and is described as “a Mediterranean and seasonal symphony of style”. The food is varied, from fresh vegetables to meat delicacies and seafood. One of the major selling points for many however is a cellar stocked with 400,000 bottles of wine.
Like most top-level restaurants, a pre-set tasting menu is the best way to sample what the chef has to offer. For €310, it can all be yours. If that sounds like a lot to you (and to be honest it is), there are cheaper lunch offers starting at about €145 per person. This may be a lot but this is Monaco we’re talking about, so it probably shouldn’t be unexpected.
When you hear the name The Fat Duck, the first thing that usually pops to mind is a classic English pub. If you’re looking for some cheap bangers and mash with a pint however, that isn’t what you’re going to get. Instead, you’ll find one of the best restaurants in the UK. Since it opened in 1995, chef Heston Blumenthal has made his establishment famous for unique dishes and entrees.
By treating cooking as a science, Heston has turned The Fat Duck into a trendsetter in multisensory cooking, food pairing, and flavour encapsulation. The combinations are not done randomly but instead designed to get the absolute most out of each ingredient.
The Fat Duck is currently closed for refurbishing until the later part of this year. Once it reopens, the 14-course tasting menu (the only thing on offer) costs £180. Some possibilities include jelly of quail, snail porridge, Mock Turtle Soup with Mad Hatter Tea (inspired by Alice in Wonderland), and seafood served in a conch shell. If you call yourself an adventurous eater – The Fat Duck will put that to the test.
Made famous by the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, this sushi restaurant hidden away in a subway station might as well be considered a showroom for an artist. Sushi master Jiro Ono and his apprentices (including one of his sons) perfectly prepare each individual piece of sushi for the customers and serve it to them in a pre-set order and presentation. Each individual piece of fresh sushi is painstakingly prepared – from the fish market in the morning to the finished article that’s served.
Jiro is famous for reading the customers in order to make the sushi experience as good as possible. Depending on whether the diner is left or right handed, he’ll serve them the sushi on a different side. He also studies the expressions on the faces of the customers for the smallest indication of how the sushi tastes. It might be a bit intimidating for the customer but if it improves the food even a little bit – it’s arguably worth it.
Even President Obama ate at Sukiyabashi Jiro – proclaiming it to be the best sushi he’s ever had, although he didn’t finish it all. If you’re just passing through and have a craving for sushi – look elsewhere. Prices run around $300 US for a meal that will generally last only about 30 minutes maximum. Also, you have to reserve at least a month in advance, though it’s recommended to do so sooner. Plus, if you don’t speak Japanese, it may be tough to get a reservation or even get served sometimes. If you do get a spot at Jiro’s counter though, you’ll have a front row seat to a great artist at work – with arguably the best sushi in the world on your plate.
For more on Sukiyabashi Jiro, check out this clip from Jiro Dreams of Sushi highlighting the different parts of the meal:
French chef Joël Robuchon has opened various gourmet restaurants all across the world. Paris, Monaco, Bordeaux, London, Las Vegas, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Macau are all home to various enterprises. Many of his restaurants fall under the name L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (meaning workshop of Joël Robuchon). In Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Macau, and Tokyo – he has achieved 3 Michelin Stars. In total, Joël has accumulated 25 total Michelin stars – more than any other chef.
For the purposes of this list, we’ll focus on the one closest to home – Las Vegas. Simply named Joël Robuchon, this exclusive restaurant is located in the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino – specifically the ‘Mansion’ within. Book a table at Joël Robuchon and you’ll get a gold limo to chauffeur you to a glass atrium – because why not? Once your table is ready, a concierge will arrive to take you into the restaurant proper. From here, you can start your 16-course meal, starting with a magnificent bread cart. From then on, you can expect an endless procession of French delicacies – from truffles to foie gras.
How much does this cost? Well it’s been called America’s priciest restaurant since a meal for one person starts at $425 US. Looking to impress on a romantic dinner for two? Well you’d better have more than a grand on you – because that’s what you’re going to be paying after tax, tips, and wine. If you do happen to have money to burn, Joël Robuchon offers a luxury dining experience like no other. Plus you can always just win back the money at the blackjack table…right?
Joël Robuchon’s other 3-star establishments are equally stunning. In particular, the Hong Kong L’Atelier has been previously named as Asia’s best restaurant, and can usually be found among the top 3. As Zagat says, “Spend your children’s inheritance for a fabulous experience…”. While you may have may have some explaining to do to your kids, you’ll get to sample great food along with some of the best wine in the region, all with a front row seat to the chefs work. You really can’t go wrong with any of Joël Robuchon’s restaurants no matter where in the world you are (unless you consider how you afford a ticket back home).
These 5 restaurants are just some of the 3 star establishments around the world. While the guide has been accused of favouring French cuisine above others, Japan is actually home to the most Michelin starred restaurants. You’ll find Michelin starred places in major cities you would expect but also more obscure, out of the way areas. Plan ahead and make sure you intend to eat all your food before dropping several hundred on one of the world’s best meals.
If you don’t want to spend the money however – bangers and mash with a pint sounds pretty good too.
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