a yellow dessert on a white plate

Japan has as many Michelin starred restaurants as the entire top 10.

There’s a misconception about the acclaimed Michelin restaurant star guide. Michelin doesn’t mean expensive. In fact, a Michelin meal can cost less than $2.50 all in, but wherever you eat and however expensive that final bill, a Michelin starred meal should always mean “delicious”.

As a traveler seeking the very best palate satisfying food experiences full of umami, zip and surprise, some cities have an unfair advantage. If food travel is your thing, these 13 heavenly cities will bring you more Michelin starred dining options than any others…

a large stone structure with pillarsBerlin – The 13th Most Michelin Starred City

With chefs like Tim Raue, the high end of Berlin’s gastronomic scene is reaching new heights, almost daily. The city has added an impressive six restaurants with 2* Michelin status and 14 earning their very first Michelin star. It’s going to be one of the culinary cities to watch in 2019 and with a total of 20 stars, there’s more to be born.

a close up of foodChicago – The 12th Most Michelin Starred City

Chicago is home to Alinea, one of the most celebrated avant-garde restaurants in the world. While that’s reason enough to travel there according to the guidelines for 3* meals, the city also offers 18 restaurants with one star such as fan favorite Blackbird, and three with 2* for a total of 22 stars.

a group of people in front of a buildingBrussels – The 11th Most Michelin Starred City

Brussels offers a fusion of the very best in European cuisine and it’s such an accessible city, it’s easy to pop from one delectable meal to the next. The city brings 18 restaurants which have maintained 1* Michelin status in the latest guide, and six which have climbed to elusive 2* status, including the much adored La Paix, for a grand total of 24 stars.

a bowl of watermelon cubes with iceBarcelona – The 10th Most Michelin Starred City

Barcelona is almost unfair. With perfect beaches and stunning hills from every direction, the views alone are reason to go, and when you add in the incredible Catalan delicacies, it’s off the charts. The city offers world renowned options at every star level, like the 1* Xerta or Barra De Carles Abellan for a total of 19 restaurants with 1*, four 2* spots and two 3* gems including ABaC. The result: 25 total. You can’t go wrong.

a street with a winding road and treesSan Francisco – The 9th Most Michelin Starred City

In a city where extraordinary cuisine is a mere cable car ride away, there’s so much to admire. San Francisco is blessed with incredible produce from North, South, East and West and the seas around, and that’s lead to the revolution of American gastronomy known as “California” cuisine. From Saison to Sons & Daughters or Michael Mina, you can go in so many directions, and as long as one of them is peppered with at least one of 38 stars, you’re bound to be happy.

people standing in front of a food standSingapore – The 8th Most Michelin Starred City

Singapore may be a city regarded for opulence, but that doesn’t mean you’ll pay royal prices for delicious eats in this exciting getaway. Singapore is home to the very cheapest Michelin starred meal, and an extremely impressive 34 one star Michelin restaurants, including eclectic stunners like Sushi Kimura on the high end and Cheek By Jowl on the mid-price range. You can spend crazy money, but you don’t need to at most of these 39 Michelin starred masterpieces.

Victoria Peak skyline at nightHong Kong – The 7th Most Michelin Starred City

Cantonese food may be cheap, everyday take out in many parts of the world, but if you want to understand how deeply rich, beautiful and satisfying it can be, Hong kong is one of the finest places to start your journey. From delectable dumplings to modern presentations of Chinese classics, Hong Kong is home to a whopping 63 Michelin starred spots, including seven 3* options. Just bring your cheque book, this is a city where fine dining often brings prices to follow.

a person pouring champagne into a glassLondon – The 6th Most Michelin Starred City

People don’t think of London as a culinary capital of the world, and that’s a huge mistake. Other than Paris, there’s no European city with nearly as many Michelin starred meals, nor the diversity in cuisine. There’s sensational Indian food, elevated British gastro pubs, Italian food of the very highest Italian standards and everything in between. Some won’t even break the bank. With 69 Michelin starred restaurants, London is a foodie city not to overlook.

a close up of foodNew York – The 5th Most Michelin Starred City

When people think New York, they think huge, but Manhattan is actually just a tiny sliver of an island. That makes it all the more impressive that despite being only 2.3 miles wide at its widest point and 13 miles long from top to bottom that it manages to fit the world’s fourth best restaurant Eleven Madison Park, amongst a whopping 76 other Michelin treats like Bar Masa, Daniel, and Le Bernardin. Forget the cheque book and bring the credit card though, because Manhattan fine dining is pricey.

a street with signs and signs on itOsaka – The 4th Most Michelin Starred City

Did you know that Japan’s three best Michelin starred cities have almost as many stars as the rest of the top 10 combined? It’s true. Osaka is often overlooked for Kyoto or fan favorite Tokyo, but that’s all the more to love for those in the know. The city is regarded as the culinary soul of Japan, bringing 97 Michelin starred restaurants. Though chefs rarely agree on anything, many of the world’s most famous agree that Osaka is the most underrated foodie city in the world.

a piece of raw tuna on a plateKyoto – The 3rd Most Michelin Starred City

There’s an authenticity to almost every plate served in Japan. It’s a country where minds instantly go to “Ramen” or “Sushi” but the diversity of Japanese techniques makes the city of Kyoto one of the most captivating places to eat. From cheap street noodles to lightly grilled Wagyu delicacies, Kyoto is an outstanding bullet train side trip, and an amazing city to eat your way through. With 103 Michelin starred spots, including the late great Steve Jobs favorite sushi spot, Sushi Iwa, you can’t ask for more.

a close up of foodParis – The 2nd Most Michelin Starred City

What would the world be without French cooking? The city which brought it’s refined process and attention to produce around the world is still one of the two best places in the world to celebrate via heavenly food. Paris has all the first name basis chefs, like Alain, Guy and Joel – all with a refinement and pride that’s virtually unmatched. Of course, if you like pairing food with wine, as we suspect you may, it’s hard to think of a better place to do so. With 123 stars, there are plenty to pick from.

a city with many colorful signsTokyo – The #1 Most Michelin Starred City

Put it this way – Tokyo has more Michelin stars than numbers 5-10 on the list combined. If you love food, it’s safe to say that Tokyo is the greatest city on earth. Even if you don’t, you could probably still say that. Sure, there’s the sushi spots everyone dreams of like Sushi Saito, or Sukiyabashi Jiro but its the French inspiration like Hommage or L’Osier which make you wonder if there’s actually any better place on earth to eat a French meal. There’s only one way to find out: you’ll just need to travel. In case you were keeping score, Tokyo has 230 Michelin starred restaurants, according to the 2019 guide.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. How is food evaluated and judged and by whom? Like wine, shouldn’t there be a standard rule for every one? How do you justify judging a Bulgarian restaurant with a French or German one first you must judge each country on itself with its own culinary, in accordance to its local taste. Can you judge Beef vs. Fish vs Lamb vs. pork vs shell food. no more than apples vs oranges.

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