[A] Where did the first modern restaurant open?
November 1, 2019
Zack Creach

5 Cities With the Most Michelin Three-Star Restaurants

There's nothing quite like savoring the fine cuisine of a new city. The Michelin Guide gives you insight into where the best restaurants are. Its simple, three-star rating system is pretty straightforward. One star means "high-quality cooking; worth a stop." Two stars mean "excellent cooking; worth a detour," and the coveted three-star rating means "exceptional cuisine; worth a special journey." Here are the five cities worldwide that have the most restaurants with Michelin three-star ratings. If you're a foodie, you'll want to make a special stop to every city on this list.

Hong Kong — Six Restaurants With Three Stars

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Hong Kong has 86 Michelin stars in total, with six restaurants earning the coveted three-star rating. They are Bo Innovation, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Lung King Heen, 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo - Bombana, Sushi Shikon, and T'ang Court.

Lung King Heen, located in the Four Seasons hotel, is notable for being the first Chinese restaurant awarded three Michelin stars. Its featured menu item is dim sum (bite-sized savory dishes served in steamer baskets), which is only offered at lunchtime. Seats go fast, so make sure to book your reservation well in advance. Ask for a harbor view for a truly unique Hong Kong dining experience.

T'ang Court is another restaurant inside a hotel, this time the Langham Hotel. Its decor and menu pay tribute to the Tang Dynasty, and the restaurant is one of only five Cantonese restaurants worldwide to earn the distinction and honor of being a three-star Michelin restaurant.

San Francisco, California — Seven Restaurants With Three Stars

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While the city only has 55 Michelin stars, San Francisco gets bragging rights for being the American city with the most three-star restaurants. The honor is somewhat surprising when you consider that New York City, known the world over for its amazing restaurants, only has five restaurants that have three Michelin stars.

The seven restaurants with three stars in San Francisco are The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Benu, Saison, Manresa, Quince, and Coi, which is the most recent restaurant to get added to the list.

Foodies will love The French Laundry, which is technically in Yountville, created by the legendary Thomas Keller. Be sure to also check out some of the other six restaurants to round out your trip to the Bay Area. Benu offers a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and a set menu with a wide selection of seafood and vegetables. Call well in advance if you have dietary restrictions. You'll also have to plan at least three hours for your meal. If you've already dined at Benu, you'll get a different menu for each new visit.

Kyoto — Eight Restaurants With Three Stars

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For a city of only about 1.4 million people, Kyoto has earned an impressive 134 Michelin stars. The Michelin guide combines Kyoto with Osaka, which has four three-star restaurants. So, you'll get an added treat of dining in two world-class cities if you stay in either one during your global adventures.

The eight restaurants are Hyotei, Iida, Isshisoden Nakamura, Itamaekappo Chihana, Kikunoi Honten, Kitcho Arashiyama Honten, Kyokaiseki Kichisen, and Mizai.

Make sure to stop in for a meal at Isshisoden Nakamura, which dates back to 1827 and pays homage to Kyoto's storied past. The head chef, Motokazu Nakamura, puts a modern spin on traditional Kyoto cuisine, serving treasured delicacies with flair.

Meanwhile, Mizai offers another unique dining experience in the form of a traditional tea ceremony. It's said that about 300 unique ingredients are used daily in preparing meals at Mizai. You'll be served rice, soup, and the traditional side dishes of a traditional kaiseki meal. Diners must arrive at 6 pm for a three-hour meal that engages all of the five senses. It's an experience you won't want to miss, but you'll need to plan well in advance; it can take as long as a year to get a table at Mizai.

Paris — Nine Restaurants With Three Stars

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Paris knows a thing or two about fine dining. It boasts 141 total Michelin stars, with nine restaurants earning a three-star rating: Guy Savoy, Arpège, L'Ambroisie, Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Épicure, Le Cinq, Pierre Gagnaire, and Le Pré Catelan.

If you're looking for a little history while you dine, you'll want to check out Le Cinq, which sits on the site of General Eisenhower's former headquarters during the Liberation of Paris in 1944. The restaurant's Art Deco style dates back to the late 1920s, but Le Cinq also features furniture from the era of Louis XIV and Louis XVI.

If you're looking for a dining experience that's a little more modern, check out Guy Savoy. The owner, chef, and namesake of the restaurant has decorated the space in the style of a 21st-century cabin. It's probably the closest to "cozy" you're going to get out of the three-star restaurants in Paris. You can get a set menu here that features up to 13 courses, or you can choose to dine a la carte.

Tokyo, Japan — 14 Restaurants With Three Stars

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With two cities from Japan on the list of cities that have the most Michelin three-star ratings, foodies will want to book a trip to Japan as soon as possible. Tokyo, Japan, has an astonishing 230 three-starred restaurants in the city, making it the top destination for foodies worldwide.

The 14 restaurants in Tokyo with a three-star Michelin rating are Azabu Yukimura, Joël Robuchon, Kagurazaka Ishikawa, Kanda, Kohaku, Makimura, Quintessence, Ryugin, Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten, Sushi Saito, Sushi Yoshitake, L'Osier, and Usukifugu Yamadaya.

The latest restaurant to earn three stars is L'Osier, which is a French-inspired restaurant headed by chef Olivier Chaignon. He creates unique meals by combining French and Japanese cooking styles to perfection.

Two other three-starred Tokyo restaurants, Quintessence and Joël Robuchon, feature French cuisine, while the rest serve a combination of Japanese traditional dishes and sushi.