9 Tips for Enjoying an Affordable Michelin-Starred Meal
Michelin restaurants are notoriously expensive with tasting menus that can cost hundreds of euros, sometimes even more. But deals can be found even in the exclusive world of the Michelin Guide, if you know where to look at.
You will be glad to learn that you don’t have to spend hundreds of euros to enjoy an exquisite meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. A mere $35 will be more than enough to enjoy a beautiful Michelin-starred meal.
However, you will need to follow certain rules and use some old-school restraint, but you can definitely pull it off. Let’s get started.
1. Choose lunch instead of dinner
For one, if you want to find a great deal, opt for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch is generally less busy than dinner and therefore many restaurants lure in guests with lower prices. Lunch menus offer the same quality but for much lower prices, sometimes even half as much as dinner tasting menus.
2. Opt for the menu of the day
Secondly, opt for the menu of the day, when available. This is the lowest priced item on the menu and while your choices are limited, the food quality is practically the same.
The dishes are prepared by the same skilled chef and kitchen staff, with the same top-quality ingredients and you’ll enjoy the same fantastic ambiance than every other guest.
3. Avoid weekends and holidays
Weekends and holidays are the busiest times for restaurants therefore some more affordable items on the menu – like the menu of the day – might not be available. In some cases, Fridays are also off-limits for affordable items.
Therefore, if you want to enjoy a great deal, go during weekdays – it’s less crowded and you can enjoy a fabulous meal in a more relaxed environment.
4. Go to small-town/rural France, Spain or Budapest
Fine dining can be very pricey in some places like Paris, New York or Scandinavia. Even if you opt for menu of the day at lunch, you might be spending 70 euros for the cheapest Michelin restaurant in Sweden, and probably much more in Denmark.
To that extent, the culinary magazine Chef’s Pencil has done the research and came up with a list of the 25 most affordable Michelin restaurants in Europe. To our surprise, France hosts the highest number of affordable restaurants on the continent.
But while France boasts the highest number of affordable Michelin-restaurants, it is actually Spain where you can enjoy the most affordable Michelin-starred meal. Head to the northwestern city of Vigo in the Galician province and you can enjoy an awesome lunch for just 20 euros.
Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is another great choice for affordable fine dining. Two restaurants in the Hungarian capital where among the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants on the continent. Moreover, these restaurants offer some very affordable items on the a la carte menu as well.
Asia is also home to some notoriously affordable Michelin-starred restaurants. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy a superb meal there. But be cautious, Asia’s full of contrasts as it is also home to some of the most expensive restaurants in the world.
5. Skip the alcohol
This might be a though one to pull off. However, drinks can put a huge dent on your final bill. It can be hard to resists those tempting wine pairings that the sommelier will lure you with, but a smaller bill will require some sacrifices.
6. Go vegetarian
Some restaurants will offer vegetarian menus at more affordable prices than meat-based tasting menus. That’s understandable as meat is generally more expensive, especially when it comes to high-quality cuts or pricey seafood.
Don’t feel bad though, your dishes will still taste incredibly well and you’ll be doing the planet and your health a favor.
7. Skip the addons
Some restaurants will offer addons (think caviar) that are incredibly expensive. Politely say no, and don’t look back.
8. Don’t pay for water
If you’d like a glass of water to your meal, ask for tap water. Bottled water is priced at a premium and in most cases, tap water will be just fine.
9. Dine out on your birthday
Well, nothing beats a beautiful birthday meal at a fancy restaurant. Even better when you get a nice discount for that. Some Michelin restaurants offer deals for birthday celebration so make sure you mention that.
We close off with a list of Europe’s most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants.
1. L’Antic Molí, Ulldecona, Spain | €20 per person
2. La Robe, Montaigu, France | €24 per person
3. Hostellerie la Montagne, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, France | €25 per person
4. Les Clefs d’Argent, Mont-de-Marsan, France | €25 per person
5. Essência, Budapest, Hungary | €25 per person
6. Hotel Restaurant Le France, Villers-le-Lac, France | €26 per person
7. Le Mascaret, Blainville-sur-Mer, France | €26 per person
8. Silabario, Vigo, Spain | €27 per person
9. Auberge du Cep, Fleurie, France | €27 per person
10. La Grange de Belle-Église, Belle-Église, France | €27 per person
Featured Photo Credit: Silabario, Vigo