How Much to Dine Out at a Top Michelin-Starred Restaurant
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 highly coveted Michelin stars.
The Michelin Guide defines two-starred restaurants as establishments with excellent cooking that are worth a detour, while three-starred restaurants are considered to have exceptional cuisine and are a destination by themselves.
At Chef’s Pencil, we decided to find out the places where it is least and most expensive to eat at a top-rated Michelin restaurant (read two and three-starred restaurants).
To do that, we researched the menus of 450 restaurants that have earned two or three Michelin stars. For restaurants where prices were not easily available, we relied on media reporting or the Michelin Guide for pricing guidance. Our country and city rankings include places that are home to at least three of these top-rated Michelin restaurants.
From the menu, we researched the prices for the top tasting menu. Lunch, where available, is usually more affordable, as well as individual dishes from the À La Carte menu, though lunch or an À La Carte menu are not available at all establishments.
The top tasting menu is usually an 8-12 course served at dinner. Some restaurants offer a single tasting menu or multiple menus that are priced identically.
Beverages are generally not included in the pricing, though a small number of restaurants do price them in. The same is true for tips and other government charges (e.g. service charge, TVA), which are generally not included, though exceptions occur. Government charges vary by location, for example in Singapore there’s a standard 10% service charge added to the bill, while tipping etiquette also varies a lot. So expect the final note to be substantially higher, especially if you have a few drinks.
Average Cost to Dine Out at Two- and Three-Starred Michelin Restaurants
Our analysis shows that the full tasting menu for two- and three-starred restaurants costs on average $276 (or 235 euros) per person.
There are steep pricing differences between two- and three-starred restaurants. On average, the full tasting menu costs $252 (215 euros) for two-starred restaurants and a whopping $357 (304 euros) for three-starred restaurants. Or to put it another way, an extra Michelin star will cost you an additional $100. Remember, prices are per person and don’t generally include drinks, government charges or tips.
If you want to get a great deal, opt for the lunch menu as it usually costs significantly less than dinner, though not all restaurants offer this.
Most and Least Expensive Countries to Dine Out at a Top-Rated Michelin Restaurant
Besides the number of stars, geography plays a huge role in pricing a Michelin-starred restaurant. Thailand is the most affordable country in our rankings, where the top-priced tasting menu costs on average below $200, $173 to be more precise, which is more than half the price you’d pay in Denmark.
Ireland comes 2nd worldwide and most affordable in Europe, where a full tasting menu costs on average $212 (180 euros), followed by South Korea and Taiwan, who tie for 3rd place. Portugal and Spain are also among the most affordable worldwide, with an average price of $217 and $218, respectively.
On the other hand, Denmark is hands down the most expensive place to dine out at a top Michelin-starred restaurant. Prepare to spend on average over $400 (roughly 345 euros) in one of Denmark’s eight Michelin-starred restaurants that have two or three Michelin stars.
The most expensive tasting menu in Denmark costs $552, or 3,500 in local Danish currency. Sounds expensive? It’s not cheap for sure, but while Denmark has on average the most expensive restaurants, there are quite a few elsewhere that charge substantially more than this. More about this later.
Singapore is the second most expensive country, where the average full tasting menu costs $364. The city-state consistently ranks among the world’s most expensive cities to live in, especially when premium items such as gourmet food and fine dining are factored in.
Sweden ranks 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 except one of Sweden’s five Michelin-starred restaurants with two and three stars are located in Stockholm, while the other is located in Malmo.
Japan, home to the highest number of Michelin restaurants per capita in the world, is by no means a cheap dining destination. A full tasting menu costs on average $322, without tax and service charges.
The U.S. ranks fifth worldwide, with the average menu costing roughly $313. In the U.S., the Michelin Guide coverage is limited to three states, New York, California and Illinois, and the District of Columbia, which are home to a combined number of 47 Michelin restaurants with two and three stars.
The Most & Least Expensive Cities to Dine Out at a Top-Rated Michelin Restaurant
Denmark is the most expensive country for dining out at a Michelin restaurant, and its capital, Copenhagen, tops the city rankings too. Prepare to shelve $448 (2,800 DKK) for a full tasting menu in one of Copenhagen’s six restaurants with two or three Michelin stars.
Copenhagen is the city with the most Michelin stars in Scandinavia and it’s now considered by some as Europe’s leading culinary destination.
Shanghai makes a surprising 2nd place ranking, with the average menu costing $406. Shanghai is home to eight Michelin restaurants with two and three stars and home to one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet.
A tasting menu at Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet starts at 4,000 Yuan ($618) and goes up to a whooping 10,000 Yuan (roughly $1,547). If we exclude Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet from the calculations, Shanghai’s average dinning ticket drops to a more down to earth $284.
Third place ranked Kyoto is home to another very expensive restaurant, Kitcho Arashiyama Honten, where the top tasting menu costs 100,000 yen or roughly $911. This brings the city average to $401, though fine dining is very expensive in Kyoto even if we leave out the high-priced Kitcho Arashiyama Honten.
Bangkok is the most affordable city for dinning out at a top-starred Michelin restaurant. The tasting menu at a two-starred restaurant is priced on average at 5,677 Thai Baht, which is roughly $173, though you can dine out at a top restaurant for as low as $105.
Bangkok’s fine dining scene has grown spectacularly over the past 10-15 years and has caught up with Asia’s fine dining heavy weights such as Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.
And while we are talking about Seoul, South Korea’s capital ranks as the 3rd most affordable city world-wide, with a full tasting menu priced on average at $213. Seoul is home to seven two-starred Michelin restaurants and two three-starred 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, a city also 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 substantially 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 held his three-star rating for a record 55 years.
Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, is a gastronomic powerhouse. It is home to nine Michelin-starred restaurants, with three of them earning two of the highly coveted stars. For an average priced menu at 183 euros (roughly $216), dinning out in Rotterdam is also very affordable compared to its global peers or Amsterdam, for that matter. What is more, all three top-rated Michelin restaurants in Rotterdam offer substantially lower-priced lunch menus ranging between 59 and 140 euros.
Spain is also an amazing food destination, with its two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, among the five most affordable cities for fine dinning in the world. A full tasting menu will cost roughly $224 (190 euros) in Barcelona and just slightly more in Madrid, 193 euros ($228).
You can get some amazing deals in both Spanish cities: the 10-course tasting menu at Cinc Sentits costs just 129 euros, the most affordable in Barcelona. In Madrid, the most affordable tasting menu at two- and three-starred Michelin restaurants costs just below 150 euros at Paco Roncero Restaurante.
Vienna, sandwiched between Barcelona and Madrid, ranks 6th worldwide among the most affordable fine dining destinations. It costs 191 euros ($225) on average to dine out at a top Michelin-starred restaurant, with the cheapest tasting menu at 144 euros, while the tasting menu for the city’s sole three-starred restaurant will set you back 265 euros ($310).
Chef’s Pencil has analyzed the menus of over 450 Michelin-starred restaurants that earned two or three Michelin stars in the latest Michelin Guide. For restaurants where prices were not easily available, we relied on media reporting or the Michelin Guide.
Our country and city rankings include places that are home to at least three of these top-rated Michelin restaurants.
From the menu, we researched the prices for the top tasting menu. The top tasting menu is usually an 8-12 course served at dinner. Some restaurants offer a single tasting menu or multiple menus that are priced identically.
Featured image courtesy of Elin Tabitha via Unsplash.