The 10 Most Affordable Michelin Restaurants in the US
Everything is getting more expensive, from rent to gas prices to hotel and vacation fares. Food is more expensive than ever, and together with higher staffing costs, rent and utilities costs has led to a spike in menu prices across restaurants all over the US.
And that includes upscale restaurants. Masa, for instance, already the priciest restaurant in the US, raised its prices this year by $150, which means their sushi menu now starts at $950 per person. Add in taxes, and that price tag reaches $1,034 per person.
But before you start removing a Michelin-starred meal from your bucket list, let us tell you that you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to enjoy one. You can still have a fantastic Michelin-starred meal in the United States for under $50, sometimes substantially less than that.
Chef’s Pencil has researched the menus of all Michelin-starred restaurants in America and ranked the 10 most affordable where you can enjoy an incredible meal for less than $50 per person. We’ve ranked the most affordable three-course meals on the menu, usually consisting of an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert. When desserts were not available, we have included two appetizers instead.
Keep reading to find out which restaurants made the list, and start planning your next foodie road trip.
1. Boia De, Miami | $37 per person
Address: 5205 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL
Boid De is a Michelin-starred restaurant nestled between a laundromat and a medical center in Miami’s Buena Vista shopping center. Chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer demonstrate their modern take on classic Italian dishes, but with a twist. Dishes include numerous pasta options, fried potato skins with stracciatella and caviar, beef tartare with garlic-shallot crumble, and other fun and unique options.
The most affordable combo: There are 17 dishes listed on the menu, as well as 5 dessert options. You can choose, for example, the Cappelletti alla Norma with eggplant, tomato, and ricotta salad, along with the crispy polenta and the Affogato (scoop of Frice cream topped with espresso) for $37 per person.
2. Cote Miami, Miami | $38 per person
Address: 3900 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL
Owner Simon Kim and Chef David Shim have managed to create a unique atmosphere at Cote in Miami. The ultra-modern Korean steakhouse is jaw dropping from the get-go, enticing you with its intimate, cozy, yet design-forward decor.
Once inside, you won’t want to leave, especially after tasting Chef Shim’s delicious dishes, which include mouth-watering beef stews, kimi Wagyu paella, and amazing drinks.
If you’re a meat lover, then look no further, because Cote will be right up your alley. The beef is definitely the centerpiece of this restaurant.
The most affordable combo: The Butcher’s Luncheon ($38 per person), which includes the Chef’s selection of two USDA Prime beef cuts with an array of banchan and Korean accompaniments. You get to enjoy Prime Hanger Steak and Dry Aged Ribeye, paired with banchan, scallion salad, red leaf lettuce with ssam-jang, and savory egg souffle.
3. Los Félix, Miami | $38 per person
Address: 3413 Main Hwy., Miami, FL
If you’re not a fan of uptight dress codes and ultra-formal dining, then you need to give Los Félix a try. This Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant boasts a relaxed, casual vibe that makes you feel at home from the very first moment you walk in.
It’s a small, intimate space, where the food consists mostly of Mexican small plates prepared by Chef Sebastian Garvas. There’s just no way you’ll leave Los Félix without a big smile on your face; the warm sound of vinyl spinning and live DJ sets lifts the mood and makes eating at this restaurant a complete experience.
The most affordable combo: Brunch is the best option at $38 per person. You can pick the guacamole + topotos, with serrano, onions, lime and herbs, followed by Al Pastor Tacos, which consist of pork with chilis, spices, and cider vinegar, pineapple, onions, and cilantro; finish off with something sweet, like the Mango granita or the Envuelto.
4. The Clocktower, New York | $39 per person
Address: 5 Madison Avenue, New York, NY
The Clocktower is described as “a taste of contemporary London in bustling Madison Square Park”. Led by British chef Jason Atherton and restaurateur Stephen Starr, the Manhattan restaurant is perfect for those who enjoy British cuisine, and offers dishes such as the classic fish and chips, apple tarte tatin, or plum and shallot chutney with roasted duck.
5. Oxalis, New York | $40 per person
Address: 791 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
This Brooklyn restaurant is located right next to the buzzing Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum, easily accessible to New Yorkers and visitors alike. The bistro-style restaurant is led by Chef Nico Russell, and the good part is that it welcomes walk-ins anytime!
Clients can pick either the à la carte menu served in the garden, or the seasonal carte blanche menu in the dining room. There’s something for everyone, for as low as $40 per person.
The most affordable combo: Fixed-price Sunday brunch, which features an egg dish, a starch, a vegetable or salad, and a sweet.
6. Mourad, San Francisco | $45 per person
Address: 140 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA
Located in San Francisco at the base of the landmark PacBell Building, the first skyscraper in the city, Mourad is an excellent choice if you want to enjoy Michelin-star-level food at a decent price. The restaurant offers delicious Moroccan-inspired dishes prepared by Chef Mourad Lahlou, such as couscous with savory brown butter and spicy harissa, or Moroccan basteeya.
The most affordable combo: You can pick and choose different options from the menu to create your own course; like the basteeya with a side of potatoes and ice cream or sorbet for dessert, all for $45 per person.
7. Casa Enrique, New York | $47 per person
Address: 5-48 49th Avenue, Long Island City, NY
If you’re not a big fan of the noise and bustle of Manhattan or Brooklyn, head over to Queens to taste some delicious Mexican food cooked by Chef Cosme Aguilar at Casa Enrique. The chef entices guests with his take on traditional Mexican Chiapas dishes, which he learned to make from his sister and aunts.
The most affordable combo: Brunch, from 11am to 3:30pm, features, for example, guacamole, ceviche, mexican shrimp cocktail, sandwiches, enchiladas, crispy chicken, tacos, and egg-based dishes.
8. Soichi, San Diego | $48 per person
Address: 2121 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA
For lovers of traditional Japanese cuisine, Soichi, located in San Diego, is a great option that won’t break the bank. Chef Soichi Kadoya prepares delicious and unique sushi and sashimi dishes, and guests can pick from two omakase options, as well as several à la carte items.
Finish it all off with some delicious homemade green tea ice cream – perfect for hot summer days in the California sun.
The most affordable combo: Pick the Petite Omakase menu, featuring a three-tasting-dishes appetizer, six pieces of select Nigiri chosen by Chef Soichi, followed by soup, and a scoop of the homemade green tea ice cream, all for $48 per person.
9. Al’s Place | San Francisco | $48 per person
Address: 1499 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA
Al’s Place in San Francisco is another great option if you want Michelin-level food at under $50 per person. The restaurant, led by Chef Aaron London, boasts a casual, relaxed vibe, perfect for lovers of the quintessential Cali living. The chef follows a mostly pescatarian philosophy, but there are also options for meat lovers.
The most affordable combo: Try the smoked brisket with fried green tomatoes, pickled mirepoix and mustard, alongside the yellow eye bean stew with torn focaccia, and finish off with a dessert such as Al’s Brownie, all for $48 per person.
10. North Pond, Chicago | $49 per person
Address: 2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL
Chef Cesar Murillo and manager Loretta Montelongo have paired up to deliver delicious, outstanding cuisine that respects Chicago’s roots while adding subtle global flavors. Chef Murillo prepares exquisite dishes to North Pond clients, including gold-tinted tagliatelle with saffron, tossed with mussels escabeche. There are also mouth-watering desserts available, such as whipped yogurt with cocoa nibs topped with cinnamon ice cream.
The most affordable combo: Sunday Brunch, from 10.30 am, for $49 per person. The list of items to choose from includes Tomato Toast (Nichols Farm tomatoes, grilled zucchini, preserved tomato butter, crispy garlic scrapes), Buckwheat Crepes (Werp Farm’s strawberries, cherry bomb purée, yuzu Hollandaise, hazelnuts), Tasso Benedict (johnnycake, Tasso ham, poached egg, rhubarb jam, brown butter Bearnaise), and an assortment of delicious desserts.
Bonus: The 5 Most Expensive Michelin-starred Restaurants in the US
Now that we’ve gone over the 10 Michelin-starred restaurants where you can enjoy world-class dishes at under $50 per person, let’s talk about the other end of the spectrum.
For many food lovers, splurging out on a lavish, double-digit menu at a prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant is more than worth it. If you agree, then check out these 5 most expensive Michelin-starred restaurants in the US right now, and start planning your next night out!
1. Masa, New York | $950 per person
Address: 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY
Any foodie out there will know about Masa, the most expensive Michelin-starred restaurant in the US, by far. This Manhattan high-end restaurant is also the third priciest in the world, with a three-course menu going as high as $950 per person.
Chef Masayoshi Takayama prepares some of the best sushi in the country, and in the world, so it’s definitely worth paying Masa a visit, especially if you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine.
The priciest option: The Hinoki Counter Experience, which includes the signature A5 Wagyu Ohmi Beef Tataki with freshly shaved seasonal truffles.
2. The French Laundry, Yountville, CA | $500 per person
Address: 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA
The French Laundry is the 11th priciest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, and the priciest in California. Located in Yountville, the heart of Cali’s Wine Country, this restaurant serves some of the best dishes – and wines – in the world. Chef Tomas Keller prepares absolutely delicious meals, well worth the high price tag.
The priciest option: You can book the Bay Laurel Tree Table in the courtyard, the Board Room next to the wine cellar or the Private Dining Room on the second floor and enjoy the Chef’s nine-course menu for $500 per person.
3. Sushi Noz, New York | $495 per person
Address: 181 East 78th Street, New York, NY
Sushi Noz is a must for any Japanese cuisine fan. Located in Chelsea, the restaurant is led by Chef Nozomu Abe, and serves omakase-only sushi at up to $495 per person. The location features a 200-year-old hinoki wood counter, where the sensei concocts a tasting menu that integrates Spanish bluefin tuna, Norwegian crab, Kyushu uni, and more.
The priciest option: The Omakase with Chef Noz, which includes Otsumami, seasonal nigiri, tamago, soup, and a seasonal dessert.
4. Alinea, Chicago | $465 per person
Address: 1723 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL
One of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” and Elite Travelers’ pick for “Best Restaurant in the World”, Alinea should definitely be on your bucket list if you’re in Chicago. The restaurant led by Chef Grant Achatz has won multiple awards for its innovative approach to modern cuisine.
The experience at Alinea is “part theater and pure pleasure”, which is why you’ll need to book a table roughly two months in advance. The restaurant typically releases bookings at 11 am on the 15th of each month. So, for a table in September, you’ll need to reserve (and prepay) on July 15th.
The priciest option: The private Kitchen Table for six people is your best bet when visiting Alinea. Wine pairings are an additional $145 to $395 per person.
5. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York | $430 per person
Address: 431 West 37th Street, Manhattan
The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare is the perfect destination for lovers of French cuisine. Chef César Ramirez is a master at blending traditional French dishes with Japanese flavors, all in a cool, laid-back, industrial-chic location nestled behind the Hudson Yards grocery market.
The priciest option: The 20-course tasting menu, which focuses on fish and shellfish, with one or two meat options and various desserts. Wine and service are not included in the price, and keep in mind that the dress code is formal. All reservations require a $200 non-refundable deposit per person.
Featured photo by Evan Sung courtesy of the Clocktower, New York.