My Michelin Star Count

The Michelin guides rate restaurants. To be awarded one star is a big deal; to be awarded two is even more impressive; and to be awarded three stars, the restaurant must be very special. In the entire United States, there are currently only thirteen 3-star restaurants.

My tally is complicated by the fact that Michelin doesn’t always rate the same cities each year. Though I am not especially finicky about rules regarding my star count, I count the restaurant by the last rating it received (as of the year I dined there). If a restaurant was rated 2-star the same year I dined at it, and next year it gets bumped up to a 3-star or down to a 1-star, I still count it as a 2-star. If I dine in a city that Michelin hasn’t reviewed in the last few years (say, Las Vegas) but the restaurant was last rated 1-star five years ago, I still count that as a 1-star. If Michelin reviews a city for a first time and bestows a star rating at a restaurant I had previously dined at, I will count include it in my tally. Etc.

A fellow foodie got me into “keeping count” of my Michelin stars. Increasing my tally is difficult because the Michelin guides don’t rate Boston, and I don’t travel much outside the Boston area. (If you’re curious, I spoke to the Globe’s Nestor Ramos as part of his article looking at why Boston hasn’t been rated by the Michelin guides.)

Quantifying my fine dining experiences using Michelin stars is fun, but over time, I’ve become less focused on using Michelin stars. There are problems with the guide.

The Michelin list has diversity problems. (1) The ratings heavily favor French cuisine and sushi. Other cuisines make appearances, sure, but not nearly as often and not usually with as high a star count. (2) When it comes to race and gender, there is much to improve on. The lack of female chefs at the 2- and 3-star level is appalling. And at the time that I write this, almost all of the thirteen restaurants in the U.S. with 3 Michelin stars are owned by white men.

Call me a ideological millennial, but I just don’t believe that the best, most travel-worthy food in these cities is almost all by white men.

Still, there is great food on the Michelin list and I do occasionally indulge in those restaurants. I still enjoy keeping track; it just doesn’t drive my restaurant choices anymore.


NEW YORK (30 stars)

3-Star (3 restaurants)
– Eleven Madison Park
– Per Se
– Daniel

2-Star (5 restaurants)
– Marea
– Momofuku Ko
– L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon ** closed June 2012
– Aquavit (blog post)
– The Modern

1-Star (11 restaurants)
– Aureole
– Bouley
– wd~50 * closed November 2014
– Picholine ** closed August 2015
– Gramercy Tavern
– The Spotted Pig
– NoMad
– Tori Shin
– Uncle Boons
– Cafe China
– The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

CHICAGO (7 stars)

3-Star (1 restaurant)
– Alinea

2-Star (1 restaurant)
– Charlie Trotter’s ** closed August 2012

1-Star (2 restaurants)
– Moto (blog post) ** closed February 2016
– Topolobampo


1-Star (4 restaurants)
– Michael Mina
– Mister Jiu’s
– Kin Khao
– Mourad

WASHINGTON, D.C. (2 stars)

2-Star (1 restaurant)
– Minibar by Jose Andres (blog post)

LONDON (10 stars)

3-Star (1 restaurant)
– Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

2-Star (1 restaurant)
– Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

1-Star (5 restaurants)
– Arbutus ** closed July 2016
– Lima (blog post)
– Wild Honey
– L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
– Hakkasan Hanway Place

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