food on a white surface

At these prices, you’d be crazy not to…

It may sound crazy to some, but there’s a large subset of travelers who pick their destinations based purely on restaurants. That’s right, 10 hours on the plane, just for lunch or dinner. To help clue travelers in to the latest and greatest spots and avoid potential disappointment, savvy diners rely on the Michelin Guide. Earning a Michelin star is one of the most accomplished feats in all of cooking, and keeping one star or more, year after year is just truly impressive. These outstanding restaurants are not only deliciously sophisticated, they’re surprisingly affordable – especially if you go for lunch.

a plate of food with a scoop of ice creamBlackbird, Chicago

Using farm fresh ingredients, Blackbird showcases a creative and comforting twist on Midwestern cuisine. The cosy, yet sophisticated atmosphere makes for a perfect setting to enjoy beautifully curated plates of food. And, $25 for three courses is a total steal for such high quality dishes.

Price: $25 for three courses (lunch prix fixe)

Link: Blackbird

a plate of salad with flowersAl’s Place, San Francisco

Al’s place, set in the Mission district of San Francisco offers a fun, high relaxed vibe to fine quality dining. Using the best, local ingredients, which are pretty hard to beat in California, their menu showcases the finest produce the area has to offer. The slick plates of food look fantastic and with a “no stress” environment, it’s definitively Californian.

Price: From $15

Link: Al’s Place

a plate of food with meat and sauceTopolobampo, Chicago

Rick Bayless mastered the art of Mexican cuisine, and then he did it again, and again and continues to do so every day. The upscale spin on quintessential dishes will have you constantly adding to your order. If you go for lunch you can take advantage of the excellently priced prix fixe menu ($25 for three courses) or a reasonably priced a la carte menu. For dinner the tasting menu options are worth the fare, as are the cocktails!

Price: $25 for three courses (lunch only)

Link: Topolobampo

a window of a restaurantLa Vara, New York

This buzzing Brooklyn hotspot combines Spanish tapas with Jewish and Moorish influences to bring scrumptious plates of food which reflect the ever changing landscape of Brooklyn. La Vara manage to find a unique balance between original, authentic flavours and modern, stylish plates; all of which can be paired perfectly with some spectacular Spanish wines. They also do a tasty brunch menu, if you’re into that sort of thing!

Price: From $18

Link: La Vara

a group of bowls of foodKin Khao, San Francisco

Michelin star or not, ethnic food can be an excellent way of enjoying high quality food for at shockingly low prices. Kin Khao is no exception – and for the avoidance of any doubt, it has a Michelin star, too! Putting the finest NorCal ingredients through their paces, the restaurant does an astonishingly good job delivering their modern take on Thai food, with each bite bursting of exquisite, bold flavors. It’s easily one of the best bargains in town.

Price: From $16 (lunch)

Link: Kin Khao

a plate of food on a tableRose’s Luxury, Washington DC

This inventive menu will have you smiling all the way through dinner, and likely well beyond too. Rosie’s Luxury delivers dishes that are ripe with unique flavor combos that somehow manage to work magically together, like the Dream Team of 92′. You can reserve ahead for group dinners, but otherwise – get there on the early side. It’s first come first serve basis – and nobody likes to queue for too long, though this would be worth it.

Price: From $16

Link: Rose’s Luxury

a plate of food on a tableCasa Mono, New York

There’s something highly exciting about discovering a restaurant you crave for years to come, and if you’re a fan of Spanish tapas, this will be the one. Its sister restaurant, Bar Jamón, is right next door, and between the two of them you truly can’t go wrong. It’s the the perfect spot to enjoy a great NYC dinner without robbing a bank, and the environment is far from pretentious.

Price: From $18

Link: Casa Mono

a couple of slices of pieElske, Chicago

Elske translates to love in Danish. And at this quintessentially charming restaurant that’s exactly the vibe you’ll get. The minimalist, yet abundantly stylish, décor makes for the perfect setting for  wildly creative dishes to shine, with picture worthy presentation to top it off. Feel the love and try this Chicago restaurant run by husband and wife team Anna and David Posey. It’s worth the flight.

Price: From $18

Link: Elske

a plate of food on a tableRasa, San Francisco

Indian cuisine is so varied. Even within the country, each region offers unmatched takes. At Rasa the team manage to put a fun twist on diverse dishes reflecting the eclectic brilliance of Indian cuisine at it’s finest., And one thing is for certain, none of the intense flavors we crave are lacking. Rasa offers a brilliant selection of dosas and uthappams, and for a little something more, you can down some lip smacking, delicious curries, biryani and all the yummy sides to go with them.

Price: From $17

Link: Rasa

a plate of food with sauceThe Clocktower, New York

If you fancy some proper UK style fish and chips, go to England. Just kidding, save the plane ticket and pig out in this masterful gastropub. Jason Atherton, who has previously already earned a Michelin Star, is the man behind the delectable menu and it certainly does not disappoint. Think chic vibe with the greatest comfort foods of the ages. Oh, and the cocktails are on point too.

Price: $36 for two courses (lunch prix fixe)

Link: The Clocktower

Have you tried any of these Michelin starred gems?

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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