What is the Michelin Guide?

What is the Michelin Guide?

The coveted Michelin Stars stand for the number-one recognition symbol for many restaurants and chefs over the world. Traditionally, a one-star rating alarms about poor quality and unsatisfied visitors. But you need to know that Michelin rating is not Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Zagat, and one-star means a very good restaurant. The ratings that the company provides are based on the food critic's reviews. 

If you think about a tire company when you hear the word Michelin, you are absolutely right as it's the same company. Today, the Michelin guide is the most reputable icon in the dining experience that may boost or hinder the establishment's success. 

The Story of the Michelin Guide

You may be wondering how a tire manufacturer started a prestigious rating guide for hotels and restaurants. The history goes back to the 1900s, when two French brothers Édouard and André, established The Michelin Guide. It was aimed to support motorists with helpful information on mapping, tire repair instruction, and petrol station over France. Recognizing the popularity of the restaurant section of their Guide, the brothers decided to team up food inspectors (critics) to rate food establishments. 

Initially, the Michelin Guide rated dining establishments based on a one-star rating system. But in 1936, the three-star ranking system was established with its built-in criteria that are relevant up to now. 

The establishment may be rated from zero to three stars depending on how its comply with these criteria:  

1) Quality of ingredients

2) Cooking techniques 

3) Chefs personality

4) Consistency between visits

5) Value for money

To the contrary belief, food critics do not rate restaurants based on interior decor or service quality. Currently, there are 28 Michelin Red Guides and Publications in the world. They cover four continents and 31 countries worldwide. Initially, Michelin Guide was published only in Europe, but starting from 2005, it expanded borders and reached New York and Tokyo. Today, Tokyo and Paris are leading the list of Most Michelin Starred Cities.

MICHELIN Guide in the United States

Traditionally, Michelin established its guide in the US only for New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Nevertheless, about a year ago the San Francisco's Guide extended its operations and included the state of California entirely.  

As of 2020, in the US, there are 14 restaurants that received coveted 3 Michelin stars. Of course, this is a pretty good result, but compared to Japan, where only in Tokyo three-star restaurants comprises over 13, the US market has plenty of room to grow.  

Three-Star Restaurants in the US

Alinea, Chicago

Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

Benu, San Francisco

Quince, San Francisco

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York City

Eleven Madison Park, New York City

Le Bernardin, New York City

Masa, New York City

Per Se, New York City

French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Manresa, Los Gatos, CA

The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA

 SingleThread, Healdsburg, CA

The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA


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