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Sunday, October 13, 2013


There can be few things so boring as a car ride and back from Las Vegas to Oxnard to stay overnight with the rest of my family, so let me instead bring you up to date on the world's  best restaurants, which, to the left, is #1 El Celler de Can Roca.  The leading headquarters for cuisine has long been France.  However, some tectonic shifts are occurring, and recently, both Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, especially) and Spain (region around Barcelona, with Catalonian and micro fusion dishes) gained equal, if not greater, eminence.  Appropriately, and surprisingly, enough, Las Vegas is now appearing on the scene!

I have been following Michelin and Pellagrino to dine at the best restaurants.  You can scroll down to my various experiences, which must number around fifty or so meals.  But how did tire and water companies become the authorities to determine the finest?  

For Michelin, tires meant travel guides, which reported on where to eat.  Bottled water is a feature of the expensive restaurants, so S. Pellagrino had an inside track, more recently produced by British magazine Restaurant.  There is now also a Chef's Choice linked to this site, based on votes from the fifty head chefs in the top 50.

Michelin started as a road atlas for tire customers. Back then, one star meant "you can safely eat here without getting the runs," two stars meant "if you happen to pass this place do stop and have some food," and three stars simply conveyed "if you're hungry, this one is worth adding twenty miles to your trip and taking a diversion."

Standards have been upgraded.

I haven't seen the complete 2013 selections, but there are 106 3-stars, 303 2 stars and 1651 1-star restaurants of Michelin.  Japan leads with 32 3-stars, followed by France 26 and the USA 12.  Tokyo is #1 with 16 3-stars, Paris has 10, Kyoto 7 and New York City 7.  Interesting that Tokyo has 52 2-star and 179 1-star eating establishments, but Paris has only 17 2-star and 52 1-star restaurants.  The Michelin Guide began in 1900 and its 3-star system in 1926.  Their Red Guide includes restaurants, while the Green Guide does not.  There is no one Red Guide of all starred restaurants.  Stories of bribes and bias are rife, and there is even some controversy on why there are so many Japanese restaurants.  A few of them were actually reluctant to accept a star because they could not manage a jump in booking while maintaining high quality.

Michelin also has a Bib Gourmand rating for places featuring cheap and good food, where two courses, a glass of wine and dessert should cost less than $40.  This is named after their Michelin Man, or Bibendum.

Michelin has a small investigative staff, said to number only seven for all of the USA.  These sites are visited only every few years.  Michelin also only reports on their specific areas, thus leaving out South American, etc.  Pellegrino is more international.

Here are the 50 best restaurants of Pellagrino (go ahead, click on them and fantasize):

1. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain
2. Noma, Denmark
3. Osteria Francescana, Italy
4. Mugaritz, Spain
5. Eleven Madison Park, New York
6. D.O.M., Brasil
7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, U.K.
8. Arzak, Spain
9. Steirereck, Austria
10. Vendôme, Germany
11. Per Se, New York
12. Frantzén/Lindeberg, Sweden
13. The Ledbury, U.K.
14. Astrid y Gastón, Peru
15. Alinea, Chicago
16. L'Arpège, France
17. Pujol, Mexico
18. Le Chateaubriand, France
19. Le Bernardin, New York
20. Narisawa Tokio, Japan
21. Attica, Australia
22. Nihonryori Ryugin, Japan
23. L'Astrance, France
24. L'Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon, France
25. Hof Van Cleve, Belgium
26. Quique Dacosta, Spain
27. Le Calandre, Italy
28. Mirazur, France
29. Daniel, New York
30. Aqua, Germany
31. Biko, Mexico
32. Nahm, Thailand
33. The Fat Duck Bray, U.K.
34. Fäviken, Sweden
35. Oud Sluis, Netherlands
36. Amber, China
37. Vila Joya, Portugal
38. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
39. 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana, China
40. Combal.Zero, Italy
41. Piazza Duomo, Italy
42. Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland
43. Mr & Mrs Bund, China
44. Asador Etxebarri, Spain
45. Geranium, Denmark
46. Mani São, Brazil
47. The French Laundry, Yountville
48. Quay, Australia
49. Septime, France
50. Central, Peru

Note that there are three Spanish restaurants in the top ten, but none from France.  Long time #1 Noma only has 2 Michelin stars.  My favorite is DOM (photo with Chef Atala).  I've been to the two Japanese entries, #20 Narisawa and #22 Nihonryori Ryugin.

Okay, want an experience of a lifetime?  How's about this?

One lucky and rather rich food lover is being offered the chance to take the ultimate culinary voyage and embark on a mission to eat at every three-Michelin starred restaurant in the world in just 6 months.

The epic epicurean journey is being offered by the luxury travel company VeryFirstTo. Costing around $275,000 the winning bider will spend 6 months eating at all 109 restaurants around the world that have been awarded the coveted three star rating.

It's a grueling itinerary that calls on the diner to eat at one of the restaurants every other day - something that may sound like a dream but that could easily lead to a Michelin induced coma.

Then again, maybe you shouldn't, as in 2008, Swiss racing driver Pascal Henry (right) attempted to eat at all the 68 3-stars.  At #40, elBulli, he snapped, vanished and reappeared.  I can almost identify with this, as in My Ultimate Global Adventure earlier this year, I got tired of caviar and Dom Perignon, plus, got supersaturated with wine.

  There is now even a new book:  Foodie Top 100 Restaurants:  Worldwide.

I didn't see a ranked list, but I was surprised on the number of Japanese restaurants, especially sushi bars.

Of course there are numerous other ratings:
In other words, globally, three of the eight top hotel restaurants are in Las Vegas.  If you travel the world, you know that the very best restaurants in most major cities and epicurean centers are in showpiece hotels.  But more than epicurean meals, Las Vegas seems to be at the cutting edge of all the latest fast food chains.  Overall, Las Vegas might today be the epicenter for the future of food.



Cris Mic said...

Thanks for sharing so informative information!! I am working as a chef from last 10 years and I have all the knowledge about top most famous Chicago restaurants. You can find the details through this website.

Michelin Tires 18 said...

For Michelin, tires meant travel guides, which reported on where to eat. Bottled water is a feature of the expensive restaurants, so S. Pellagrino ...