The Michelin Star is an award that every chef and restaurant owner aspires to, yet few are lucky enough to receive. As a sign of culinary excellence that indicates a mastery of cooking techniques and a truly memorable dining experience, restaurants with a Michelin Star are often some of the most expensive out there. After all, enjoying cutting-edge gastronomy is a luxury that requires the finest ingredients and true dedication from the chef and their team.
Michelin-starred restaurants represent the pinnacle of fine dining, yet not everyone is lucky enough to be able to experience them, both due to their often hefty price tag and their uneven distribution across the world. While the restaurants that earn these awards can be found in many different countries on the majority of continents, they are much more common in certain locations.
With this in mind, we wanted to explore the cost of dining at these establishments to reveal the countries where enjoying a Michelin-starred meal is the most expensive, as well as where it is the most affordable. We also wanted to find out which countries are the most prominent culinary hubs, being home to the largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants.
The Most Expensive Countries for Michelin-starred Dining
While many of us dream of experiencing the world-class food produced by Michelin-starred restaurants, the cost of such experiences often makes it hard to imagine. A single-tasting menu often costs hundreds of pounds, a price the vast majority of us simply cannot afford, which is why dining at one of these restaurants is treated as such a special event.
With this in mind, we have created a Michelin Dining Cost Index to rank countries by the average cost of dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant. In this section, we can see the countries where a Michelin-starred experience is the most expensive.
1. Canada Michelin Dining Cost Score: 9.76/10
Canada is the country with the most expensive Michelin-starred restaurants, based on information taken from the Michelin Guide website, earning a Michelin Dining Cost Score of 9.76. The majority of Canada’s Michelin-starred restaurants can be found in Toronto, meaning those lucky enough to enjoy this experience can further test their fortune at some of Ontario’s best online slots. The food offered at Canada’s Michelin-starred restaurants is varied, with many focusing on foreign cuisines such as Japanese, which reflects the large Japanese population that calls the country home.
2. Hungary Michelin Dining Cost Score: 9.72/10
Hungary has the second highest Michelin Dining Cost Score at 9.72, indicating that the cost of Michelin-starred dining in the country is almost as high as in first-place Canada. The most famous Hungarian dish is goulash, a delicious paprika-infused stew the origins of which can be traced back to 10th-century shepherds. The majority of Hungary’s Michelin-starred restaurants can be found in the capital, Budapest, offering creative modern cuisine that won’t fail to excite your taste buds.
3. Luxembourg Michelin Dining Cost Score: 9.69/10
Luxembourg is the country with the third highest Michelin Dining Cost Score, just a fraction less expensive than Hungary at 9.69. Despite the country’s very small size, fewer than half its Michelin-starred restaurants are located in the capital, Luxembourg city, giving culinary enthusiasts a good reason to explore some of the country’s lesser-known locales.
The Most Affordable Countries for Michelin-starred Dining
Not all Michelin-starred dining has to cost the earth, and there are many examples of top restaurants that price their food at more affordable rates. Here we can see how each country compares for affordable Michelin-starred restaurants, revealing the best places to enjoy world-class food on a budget.
1. Hong Kong Michelin Dining Cost Score: 7.64
Hong Kong has the lowest Michelin Dining Cost Score in our study at 7.64, making it the cheapest location for Michelin-starred dining, on average. The food most common in this small, semi-autonomous region of China is Cantonese, a variant of Chinese cuisine found in the southeast of the country. Hong Kong also has had plenty of outside culinary influence, being a global trade hub and tourist destination, as well as its British colonial history.
2. Japan Michelin Dining Cost Score: 7.84
Japan has the second most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants, receiving a Michelin Dining Cost Score of 7.84. There are 344 Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan, with virtually all of them located in three of the country’s most important cities, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. While the vast majority of these restaurants serve Japanese favourites such as sushi, soba, ramen or teppanyaki, foreign influences are still present, which is especially evident in the high number serving French-style cuisine.
3. China Michelin Dining Cost Score: 7.90
China is the country with the third-lowest Michelin Dining Cost Score of 7.90, making it one of the most affordable locations for world-class dining. Shanghai has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the country, followed closely behind by the capital, Beijing.
The Countries with the Most Michelin-starred Restaurants in each Price Category
The Michelin Guide assigns each restaurant a price category based on the average cost of dining there. ‘Luxury’ restaurants command the highest price from customers, while ‘affordable’ restaurants have the lowest prices. In this section, we reveal which country has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in each category.
Michelin-starred restaurants in category: 235
France has the highest number of the most expensive ‘Luxury’ Michelin-starred restaurants at 235. Diners at these establishments expect the chef to spare no expense when crafting their culinary masterpieces, which is certainly reflected in the final bill. Over half of all Michelin-starred restaurants fall within this category.
Michelin-starred restaurants in category: 264
Japan has the highest number of ‘Premium’ Michelin-starred restaurants with a total of 264. While these restaurants are not among the most expensive, they are still relatively pricey and make an excellent choice for special events and celebrations. This is the second largest category overall, accounting for 42.8% of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Mid-range: Mainland China & Hong Kong
Michelin-starred restaurants in category: 17 each
Mainland China and Hong Kong are tied as the two locations with the most ‘Mid-range’ Michelin-starred restaurants, with both having 17 each. These restaurants are much more accessible than the upper two tiers in terms of price, representing a more moderate spend. That said, they would still make excellent choices for any celebratory meal. Only 3.42% of Michelin-starred restaurants fall into this category.
Michelin-starred restaurants in category: 3
The country with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the ‘Affordable’ category is Japan, with three in total. The only other country to have a Michelin-starred restaurant in this category is Singapore, where one restaurant qualified. The Japanese entries in this category all focus on a specific type of food, as is common in Japan, allowing them to create unique and tantalising specialty dishes at an affordable price.
The Countries with the Most Michelin-starred Restaurants
A good starting point for our study is to take a closer look at the countries that offer the most choice when it comes to Michelin-starred restaurants. With the largest selection of first-rate restaurants to choose from, there’s bound to be an option to suit every palate and occasion.
1. France Michelin-starred restaurants: 556
France is the country with the most Michelin-starred restaurants with a total of 556. France has one of the most famous culinary traditions in the world and French cuisine is known the world over for its refinement and prestige. The best location in France for Michelin-starred dining is Paris, where there are 72 individual restaurants to choose from.
2. Italy Michelin-starred restaurants: 365
Italy has the second highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants with a total of 365. Italian food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world and these fine dining establishments truly take it to another level, offering far more than the pizza and pasta that most of us are accustomed to.
3. Japan Michelin-starred restaurants: 344
Japan has the third highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, with 344 in the country. The majority of these restaurants can be found in Tokyo, which is unsurprising for the most populous city on the planet, serving up the most refined examples of Japanese cuisine available.
The Countries with the Most Michelin-starred Restaurants per 100,000 People
While these countries may not have the most Michelin-starred restaurants, they do have the highest number compared to their size. This means that they may be punching above their weight when it comes to offering some of the best dining experiences on the planet.
1. Macau Michelin-starred restaurants per 100,000 people: 2.039
Macau, the semi-autonomous region of China famous for its casinos and beach resorts, has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world compared to its population, with 2.039 per 100,000 people. Macau’s culinary culture is unique in that it combines traditional Chinese cuisine with Portuguese influences, reflecting the region’s colonial past.
2. Switzerland Michelin-starred restaurants per 100,000 people: 1.407
Switzerland has the second highest rate of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world when compared to its population, with 1.407 per 100,000 people. While many people immediately think of cheese fondue when considering Swiss cooking, this does not accurately represent the breadth of Swiss cuisine. With heavy influence from neighbouring France, Italy and Germany, Swiss cuisine often features large amounts of dairy and animal products, reflecting its alpine environment.
3. Luxembourg Michelin-starred restaurants per 100,000 people: 1.260
The small European state of Luxembourg has the third highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants per 100,000 people, with a rate of 1.260. The traditional cuisine of Luxembourg is rich and varied, influenced by German and French cooking, as well as the other low countries of Belgium and the Netherlands. So, while there are only eight Michelin-starred restaurants in total in Luxembourg, they are sure to offer a wide variety of culinary delights.
We wanted to discover the best countries for Michelin-starred dining. To do this, we used data from the Michelin Guide to reveal the countries with the most Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as those where Michelin-starred cooking is the most expensive and most affordable.
We only looked at restaurants on the Michelin Guide that had at least one Michelin Star. This means those restaurants with the Bib Gourmand distinction, Michelin Green Star, or that had only been recommended for a Michelin Star were not included in our study.
When formulating the Michelin Dining Cost Score, we only included countries with five or more restaurants that had at least one Michelin Star. Countries with fewer qualifying restaurants were left out of this section as there would be insufficient data to create a reliable average across eateries. The score was calculated by taking each restaurant’s price category score of 1-4 and finding the average for the country. This average was then translated into a score of 10, with full marks representing all restaurants having the most expensive rating of four.