Dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant is on the bucket list of every respectable foodie out there, but it can come at a price. This is especially true for restaurants that have earned two or three of the coveted Michelin stars.
The Michelin Guide defines two-star restaurants as establishments with excellent cuisine worth a detour, while three-star restaurants are considered exceptional cuisine and a destination in their own right.
At Chef’s Pencil, we’ve decided to find out where it’s least and most expensive to eat at a top-rated Michelin restaurant (read two- and three-star restaurants).
To do that, we examined the menus of 450 restaurants that have earned two or three Michelin stars. For restaurants where prices were not readily available, we relied on media coverage or the Michelin Guide for price guidance. Our country and city ranking includes places where at least three of these top-rated Michelin restaurants are located.
from the menu, we researched the prices for the top tasting menu. Lunch, when available, is usually cheaper, as are individual dishes from the La Carte menu, although lunch or a À La Carte menu are not available in all establishments.
The top tasting menu is usually an 8-12 course served with dinner. Some restaurants offer a single tasting menu or multiple menus that are priced identically.
Drinks are generally not included in the price, although a small number of restaurants do price them in. The same goes for gratuities and other government taxes (eg service charges, TVA), which are generally not included, although there are exceptions. Government levies vary by location, for example in Singapore a 10% service charge is added to the bill as standard, while tipping etiquette also varies widely. So expect the last note to be significantly higher, especially if you have a few drinks.
Average cost of eating out at two and three star Michelin restaurants
Our analysis shows that the full tasting menu for two- and three-star restaurants costs an average of $276 (or 235 euros) per person.
There are big price differences between two and three star restaurants. On average, the full tasting menu costs $252 (215 euros) for two-star restaurants and a whopping $357 (304 euros) for three-star restaurants. Remember that prices are per person and generally do not include drinks, government taxes, or tips.
If you want a good deal, opt for the lunch menu as it usually costs considerably less than dinner, although not all restaurants offer this.
The most expensive and least expensive countries to eat out at a top Michelin star restaurant
In addition to the number of stars, geography plays a big part in pricing a Michelin star restaurant. Thailand is the most affordable country in our ranking, where the best-priced tasting menu costs less than $200 on average, $173 to be exact, which is more than half the price you’d pay in Denmark.
Ireland is coming 2nd worldwide and most affordable in Europe, where a full tasting menu costs an average of $212 (180 euros), followed by South Korea and Taiwan, which are equal for 3rd Place. Portugal and Spain are also among the most affordable in the world, with average prices of $217 and $218 respectively.
Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and Germany round out the top 10 most affordable countries, with menu prices ranging between $224 and $247.
On the other hand, Denmark is without a doubt the most expensive place to eat out in a top Michelin star restaurant. Prepare to spend an average of more than $400 (about 345 euros) at one of Denmark’s eight Michelin-starred restaurants with two or three Michelin stars.
The most expensive tasting menu in Denmark costs $552, or 3,500 in local Danish currency. Sound expensive? It’s certainly not cheap, but while Denmark has the most expensive restaurants on average, there are quite a few elsewhere that charge considerably more than this. More on this later.
Singapore is the second most expensive country, where the average full tasting menu costs $364. the city-state scores consistently one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, especially when premium items such as gourmet dishes and fine dining are taken into account.
Sweden is at 3rd worldwide and 2nd in Europe, with an average price of $327 for the full tasting menu. A full tasting menu in Sweden ranges from $242 (2100 SEK) to $438 (3800 SEK). All but one of Sweden’s five two- and three-star Michelin restaurants are in Stockholm, while the other is in Malmö.
Home to the highest number of Michelin restaurants per capita in the world, Japan is by no means a cheap dining destination. A full tasting menu costs an average of $322, excluding taxes and service charges.
The US ranks fifth globally, with an average menu costing about $313. In the US, Michelin Guide coverage is limited to three states, New York, California and Illinois, and the District of Columbia, which has a total of 47 two- and three-star Michelin restaurants.
The most expensive and cheapest cities to eat out at a top Michelin star restaurant
Denmark is the most expensive country to eat out at a Michelin restaurant, and the capital Copenhagen also tops the city rankings. Prepare to shell out $448 (DKK 2,800) for a full tasting menu at one of Copenhagen’s six restaurants with two or three Michelin stars.
Copenhagen is the city with the most Michelin stars in Scandinavia and is now considered by some to be Europe’s leading culinary destination.
Shanghai makes a surprising 2nd place ranking, with the average menu costing $406. Shanghai is home to eight two- and three-star Michelin restaurants and home to one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet.
A tasting menu at Paul Pairet’s Ultraviolet starts at 4,000 Yuan ($618) and goes up to a whopping 10,000 Yuan (about $1,547). Excluding Paul Pairet’s Ultraviolet from the calculations, the average dinner ticket in Shanghai drops to a more sober $284.
Third place in Kyoto is home to another very expensive restaurant, Kitcho Arashiyama Honten, where the top tasting menu costs 100,000 yen or about $911. This brings the city average to $401, although fine dining is very expensive in Kyoto, even excluding the expensive Kitcho Arashiyama Honten.
Bangkok is the most affordable city for dining out at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The tasting menu at a two-star restaurant costs an average of 5,677 Thai Baht, which is about $173, although you can dine at a top restaurant for as little as $105.
Bangkok’s gastronomic scene has grown spectacularly over the past 10-15 years, overtaking Asian heavyweights such as Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.
And while we’re on the subject of Seoul, South Korea’s capital is the third most affordable city in the world, with a full tasting menu costing $213 on average. Seoul is home to seven Michelin two-star and two three-star restaurants, with the most affordable tasting menu starting at $170.
If you are looking for something affordable in Europe, head to Lyon, the second largest city in France, also a city dubbed the Gastronomic Capital of the World. The average price for the full tasting menu is just 172 euros or $203, half of what you’d expect to pay in Copenhagen and considerably less than in cosmopolitan Paris.
Lyon has the highest concentration of restaurants in France and is home to legendary chefs such as Paul Bocuse, who achieved his three-star rating for 55 years.
Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, is a gastronomic powerhouse. It is home to nine Michelin star restaurants, three of which earn two of the coveted stars. For a mid-priced menu of 183 euros (about $216), dining out in Rotterdam is also very affordable compared to its international counterparts or Amsterdam, for that matter. In addition, all three top-rated Michelin restaurants in Rotterdam offer significantly cheaper lunch menus, ranging from 59 to 140 euros.
Spain is also a great destination for food, with its two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, being one of the five most affordable cities in the world for fine dining. A full tasting menu costs about $224 (190 euros) in Barcelona and just a little more in Madrid, 193 euros ($228).
You can get great deals in both Spanish cities: the 10-course tasting menu at Five senses costs only 129 euros, the most affordable in Barcelona. In Madrid, the most affordable tasting menu at two- and three-star Michelin restaurants costs just under 150 euros at Paco Roncero Restaurant.
Vienna, sandwiched between Barcelona and Madrid, stands 6e one of the most affordable gastronomic destinations worldwide. It costs an average of 191 euros ($225) to eat out at a top Michelin star restaurant, with the cheapest tasting menu at 144 euros, while the tasting menu for the city’s only three-star restaurant will set you back 265 euros ($310).
Chef’s Pencil has analyzed the menus of more than 450 Michelin-starred restaurants that have recently earned two or three Michelin stars Michelin guide. For restaurants where prices were not readily available, we relied on media coverage or the Michelin Guide.
Our country and city rankings include places where at least three of these top-rated Michelin restaurants are located.
From the menu, we researched the prices for the top tasting menu. The top tasting menu is usually an 8-12 course served with dinner. Some restaurants offer a single tasting menu or multiple menus that are priced identically.
Featured image courtesy of Elin Tabitha via Unsplash.