In the restaurant industry, one of the highest recognitions is the Michelin star. While restaurateurs and chefs try to ace their game with signature dishes, décor, ambience and impeccable service and hospitality, only a few in the world are decorated with this accolade. Owing to their phenomenal dining and gastronomic experience, Michelin-starred restaurants command a price tag so high that not everyone can afford it and a waiting list of perhaps months.
However, Chef’s Pencil found out in research conducted in September 2021 that shows an ample number of both expensive and affordable Michelin-starred restaurants in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
But all this amounts to nothing for a food connoisseur. A Michelin-starred restaurant is certainly among the A-listers that they would want to visit at least once in their lifetime. And if you are one of them or a food enthusiast, this list of Michelin-starred restaurants is all the inspiration you need to pack your bags and set on a journey to remember.
[Hero and featured image credit: Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris]
Five Most Expensive Michelin-Starred Restaurants Around the World:
Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
Price range: CNY 4,000-8,888 (USD 627-1,395 approx.)
Opened in 2012 by renowned French chef Paul Pairet, Ultraviolet is one of the most expensive Michelin-star restaurants in the world where the high price tag matches the sensory delight of its avant-garde fine dining. With just 10 seats, the restaurant interiors look like an art project created with lights, scents, sounds and steel.
The three-Michelin starrer restaurant takes pride in having “no décor, no artefacts, no paintings, no views” in the dining room. However, the room comes technologically equipped with LED floor strips, computerised RGB lights, UV bulbs, wall and table projectors, dry scent diffusers and surround sound. These are used to enhance the experience of dining and create something like a gastronomic show for its guests.
Its 20-course set menu, with dishes selected by Pairet, boasting various textures, aromas and flavours, is what diners will remember.
Address: 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Masa, New York City, US
Price range: USD 650-800 (excluding taxes and beverage)
Specialising in Japanese cuisine, Masa is a paradise for the most incredible oriental dishes spread over a 26-course pre-set menu.
This three-Michelin star temple of gastronomy is all about the freshest seasonal delicacies, crafted meticulously by its legendary chef-owner Masa Takayama. Like an artist creating one masterpiece after the other, Takayama presents a line-up that perhaps cannot be rivalled by any of his contemporaries.
The fish is always served fresh to ensure the best dining experience guests ever have. Deserving of its Michelin stars, the interiors reflect the aesthetic significance of simplicity and purity that is the hallmark of luxurious sushi restaurants. Be prepared to be absorbed by the ethereal beauty of the sushi counter made of Japanese cypress known as Hinoki, which is sanded every day.
Diners can opt for Takayama’s Omakase menu, priced at USD 650 per person, or the Hinoki Counter Experience, costing USD 800 per person, for sushi, along with Masa’s signature A5 Wagyu Ohmi Beef Tataki and freshly shaved seasonal truffles.
Reservations are released 60 days in advance for the ease of guests who would want to enjoy a peaceful lunch or dinner at this restaurant.
Address: 10 Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019, United States
Azabu Kadowaki, Tokyo, Japan
View this post on Instagram
Price: JPY 26,000-70,000 (USD 228-616 approx.)
At Azabu Kadowaki, diners can watch owner-chef Toshiya Kadowaki masterful control over the knife, as he prepares a Japanese nouvelle cuisine that arrests all five senses.
Truffle is an important ingredient found in many dishes at the restaurant. While the highlight is truffle rice, other delicacies include truffle whipped cream cheese and aged black truffle honey.
Western ingredients, such as foie gras, are used liberally and new methods are developed for dishes that no one thought was possible. Shark fin is prepared in markedly unique style from what is known and served.
Kadowaki appears to be on a quest to find the most optimal point where East and West combine to create the most exemplary cuisine in culinary history. That is the reason Azabu Kadowaki got its three Michelin stars in 2020.
The minimum price is for the tasting menu. On an average, the per person cost comes to around USD 450.
Address: 2-7-2 Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0045, Japan
Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris
Price: EUR 190-380 (USD 213-427 approx)
Three Michelin stars, and why not? Legendary Alain Ducasse honed his skills to become the Jedi grandmaster of the culinary world at this restaurant.
To many, this is Ducasse’s most famous restaurant, serving the best of French cuisine in an establishment housed inside the architecturally exquisite Hôtel de Paris. The dining room, named Le Louis XV, looks like the interiors of a French palace, with painted ceilings and the colour of gold dominating the hues.
The ingredients come from some of the best places in the European neighbourhood of Monaco. Try the baked, locally caught fish, Swiss chard, squid and shellfish or the sea scallops from Dieppe. You might find it difficult to pick between lamb from Pyrénées and guinea fowl from les Landes. The tender apple from Lagrand and the fire-roasted blue lobster are a couple of other exquisite delicacies you must try.
Although the dishes appear simple, the burst of flavours, freshness and colours can easily take patrons to a Mediterranean universe defined by gastronomic luxurious dining.
Chef Dominique Lory, who started working with Ducasse in 1998, has been helming Le Louis XV since 2013.
The tasting menu starts at USD 270.
Address: Hôtel de Paris, Place du Casino, Monte-Carlo, 98000, Monaco
Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland
Price: CHF 238-272 (USD 257-294 approx)
This expensive Michelin-starred restaurant also has the distinction of having three stars, with one Michelin Green Star for its emphasis on sustainability. It also won the 50 Best Sustainable Restaurant Award 2019.
Schloss Schauenstein is a castle located at the top of the small Alpine town of Fürstenau. The restaurant opened here in 2003. Schloss Schauenstein also doubles as a hotel with nine boutique bedrooms. The oak-panelled dining room is simple, yet classy.
Meals are served in three, four and five courses and are prepared as per the menu designed by Chef Andreas Caminada, a local who understands the best of Swiss cuisine.
The least priced is the three courses menu and the highest is for five courses.
Address: Schlossgass 77, Fürstenau, 7414, Switzerland
Five Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants Around the World:
Hostellerie la Montagne, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, France
Price range: EUR 28-110 (USD 31-125 approx)
The village where Hostellerie la Montagne is located has an important place in the history of France. This is where World War II military icon and former president Charles de Gaulle is buried.
The dining area is a one-Michelin star establishment and is aptly named A la table du Général (At the Genera’s table). Chef Jean-Baptiste Natali conjures a delightful French cuisine in his À la carte menu. And if you visit the restaurant during the Christmas holidays, a special menu, comprising canapés, coquilles Saint-Jacques truffles, beef lobster breaded with almonds and pine nuts, candied celery and seasonal mushrooms with Mont Blanc châtaigne cassis (chestnut blackcurrant), will enhance your experience manifold.
Hostellerie la Montagne is also the perfect place to stay. The hotel looks like a charming European stone cottage. But wait till you enter any of its nine bedrooms, each of which has a different decor that seems like straight out of a fairy tale.
Address: 10 rue Pisseloup, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, 52330, France
Picchi, São Paulo, Brazil
Price: BRL 170-460 (USD 30-81 approx)
Tasting the best of Italian in Brazil at an affordable price is what Picchi guarantees. Opened and run by chef Pier Paolo Picchi, the restaurant combines Italian home delights with Brazilian ingredients.
Picchi redefines fine dining at an affordable price. Try their appetisers such as grana padano and green salad or lamb tartar, oyster and green apple. Their first courses include risotto acquerello duck gizzard and saffrom, as well as Tuscan bone marrow and rosemary crostino. For the second course, why not try the rack of lamb with aubergine parmigiana or sole, shrimp, heart of palm and green grapes?
This is where you can get a good meal for an average price of USD 45 per person.
Address: Rua Oscar Freire 533, São Paulo, 01426-001, Brazil
Reservation can be done here.
Lao Zheng Xing, Shanghai, China
View this post on Instagram
Price: CNY 150-300 (USD 23-47 approx)
Lao Zheng Xing is an illustrious restaurant in Shanghai, intricately connected to the cultural fabric of the city with its food and decades-long presence. It was one of the first restaurants in the city to be awarded a Michelin star when the rolls were first extended to the People’s Republic of China.
Named after the original restaurant, which opened in 1862, the current Lao Zheng Xing is the only one of the many establishments that operated under the same name during the 1930s.
Housed in a six-story building, the 400-seater restaurant is always bustling with people. In fact, when it was awarded a Michelin star, its executive chef, Hu Bing, told China Daily that it meant “trouble”, as there will be more diners for them to serve when they were already working without a break for months.
Lao Zheng Xing is known for its original, classic dishes. They do not alter their dishes in any way other than reducing oil to cater to health-conscious customers. The restaurant follows a very strict preparation style, which ensures that the food served is not only of the highest quality but also to maintain the originality of the dishes.
What is Lao Zheng Xing famous for? Its two most famous items are fried river shrimps and braised sea cucumber, but also worth trying is drunken wine chicken.
Address: 556 Fuzhou Road, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Raan Jay Fai, Bangkok, Thailand
Price range: THB 300-1,500 (USD 8-44 approx)
The restaurant got its name from its legendary owner Supinya Junsuta’s nickname “Jay Fai”.
Already commanding a cult following in the city over almost 40 years, the restaurant became the first street-food stall in Bangkok to be awarded a Michelin star in 2018. American television personality Martha Stewart has been a fan of this restaurant for years and dubbed Jay Fai as “the best cook in Thailand.”
Jay Fai, the owner and the sole chef, is in charge of the kitchen dressed in her trademark black apron, beanie and ski goggles. With some help from her daughters, the septuagenarian produces wok-fried seafood dishes for the endless number of food lovers who throng to her restaurant.
Of the many items that are famous here is phad kee mao talay, or drunken noodles, with whole prawns, squid and cuttlefish. There is also the delicious tom yum goong, with shelled jumbo prawns.
However, the star attraction is the kai jeaw poo, or crab omelette. The simple dish made with crab meat enveloped in egg is so impressive that it guarantees a repeat visit. Perhaps this is why it commands the high price tag of THB 1,500.
Raan Jay Fai was most recently honoured by the 50 Best Discovery’s Asia’s Icon Award 2021.
Address: 327 Mahachai Road, Samran Rat, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
Book over email at [email protected] or phone +66 2 223 9384. Walk-in waiting time is three-four hours.
Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong
View this post on Instagram
Price: 50-100 HKD (USD 6-12 approx)
Tim Ho Wan has many branches around the world and each has a Michelin star. The original one at Mongkok was opened as a 20-seater dim sum restaurant in 2009 by chefs Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keung. The one at Sham Shui Po, which was the second establishment, has more space — there is a better chance at getting a seat here to taste the restaurant’s prized dim sums, yet queues are endless.
Besides the 20 different types of dim sums, the restaurant also has unforgettable BBQ pork bun, shrimp dumplings and steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce, bean-curd skin with pork and shrimp, steamed egg cake, and pan-fried carrot cake.
Address: G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong
To book a table, go to the store or order online here.