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Tokyo remains top gourmet city in Michelin Guide

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Who are the Michelin inspectors? I think I read that nearly all inspectors were Japanese for the Japanese editions, which might explain why they rate their own food so highly.

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JeffLee at 07:39 AM JST - 25th November Who are the Michelin inspectors? I think I read that nearly all inspectors were Japanese for the Japanese editions, which might explain why they rate their own food so highly.

I had a look at the Michelin homepage and it seems mostly U.S. focused... ironic since it was originally a French publication. They don't provide any details about the inspectors in other countries, but all the U.S. inspectors seem to be from the U.S. so I suspect their method is to use local food critics rather than going to the expense of flying critics around the world. It makes sense really. It also really helps if you want to ask the owner questions like, "Is your food organic", etc... I know that if someone dumped me in France I could just about manage, "Non parle vous froggie!", and asking complicated questions about the menu would be way out.

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What a fetish.

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Its amazing how a tire company re-branded itself to be a respected restaurant critic. That's French creativity.

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Failed to mention that restaurants are very expensive!

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Fugu? You got to be kidding me. People eat for the danger, and not the taste. It has no taste, and the way it is prepared is very limited. When people eat it, in the back of their minds they are hoping that someone over the course of a year actually gets ill prepared fugu. Always happens at least once a year. I wonder if any home made Oden restaurants made teh list.

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In absolute numerical terms, maybe the top, but at 10/60,000 vs. 14/160,000, it doesn't sound like Paris needs to be taking on an inferiority complex anytime soon.

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Sad that 90% of the population cannot afford to eat at any of the restaurants.

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"...in the world of gastronomy"...please put down the Thesaurus already.

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Regarding the restaurants being expensive, I do not remember where I read it but some of the restaurants that received high ratings were said to be like those salarymen ramen shops under the train rails. There was some critism and inquiry as to how Michelin was rating the Japanese restaurants.

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Found it. WSJ article.

Cannot post the link JT regards it as spam but if you are interested google "Michelin Stars Draw Shots" article in Wall Street Journal.

I also have to correct what I said. Apparently the restaurant mentioned is next to a subway enterance where one cannot sit down properly.

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Regarding the restaurants being expensive, I do not remember where I read it but some of the restaurants that received high ratings were said to be like those salarymen ramen shops under the train rails. There was some critism and inquiry as to how Michelin was rating the Japanese restaurants.

Aside from one or two examples, 98% of the Michelin rated restaurants are too expensive for salary men and women.

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Michelin uses the guide in part as a PR tool. They would love to sell a lot more tires in Japan and the generous star allotment to Japanese restaurants helps the cause. The WSJ article pointed out criticism from chef regarding the fact that many of the highly rated Japanese restaurants seat as few as a dozen diners at a time. Maintaining quality and consistency for a dozen diners is a different game entirely from running a restaurant serving a couple hundred.

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the stars are not only for the food but also decor and service so as you move up in stars the overhead costs rise too so that's why they get expensive. if you want just food, the lower rated places are fine.

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Not being a Michelin devotee, I have what may be a stupid question. That is, are the Michelin rated restaurants in say New York, London, Paris, HK or San Francisco more "international" in scope that the ones in Tokyo. By that I mean 12 out of the 14 three star restaurants here are Japanese, or 86%. Just two are French. Is the same relative concentration in the native cuisine the same for these other cities? Thanks.

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Restaurants in Tokyo too expensive? I went to a French Bistro in Paris last summer and had some French fries with a steak and a glass of wine. 60 euros!!!

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I wonder how many stars Jpn had before 2007.........zero perhaps, so why did michelin start making guides here & lay on the stars nice & think.......

oh yeah here it is

The first Tokyo edition sold 300,000 copies—150,000 of which were snapped up in the first 24 hours. Since then, Michelin has released guides for Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Osaka and Kyoto in western Japan.

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haha shuda been nice & thick!

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Restaurants in Tokyo too expensive? I went to a French Bistro in Paris last summer and had some French fries with a steak and a glass of wine. 60 euros!!!

The same food would have cost you 100 Euros at a Michelin rated restaurant in Japan.

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The same food would have cost you 100 Euros at a Michelin rated restaurant in Japan.

Blame the high rent in Japan.

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There was a similar thread on this a couple of months back. What is wrong with people on this forum? Going to a Michelin starred restaurant is not something people do everyday.It's a special treat, to be enjoyed occasionally. Sure, Michelin are making money from it, isn't that the basic idea of running a company. Yes, there are many fantastic, cheap local restaurants that we all enjoy eating at on a regular basis. As FDS points out above, the restaurants are rated for the whole experience, not JUST the food. For the (I presume, short stay English teachers) people making negative comments on this subject I suggest that until you have the chance to try one of these restaurants you refrain from commenting.

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Japanese restaurants are relatively inexpensive - compared to Euro or Aussie ones. As for Tokyo being the "top gourmet city"...not sure about that myself.

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I suggest that one try the Tokyo French restaurants for lunch, for the same service and ambiance, but at half or less the cost of dinner.

Chez Matsuo and Hiramatsu are fantastic, but for about one sixth the cost, you can go to Fuyotei in Inokashira Park and pay 2500 Yen to 3500Yen for equivalent service, quality, and ambiance, and be able to take a walk in the park. Also, remember that this includes tax in Tokyo and there are NO TIPS, so that Tokyo comes out really inexpensive compared to Paris.

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"It was next to a subway entrance. You couldn't even sit down properly," Mr. Job said of the restaurant, which he declined to name. "I know that I am a bit old school—but still, there are limits."

A Michelin spokeswoman said comparing Japan and France is impossible. "More stars in Japan does not mean that food here is better than that in France," she said, adding that Tokyo has 160,000 restaurants, compared with Paris's 15,000.

Some other interesting information on this out there folks.

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Japanese food is boring and shouldn't get anything over 2 stars.

The best Japanses food is fast-food style: Takoyaki, etc.. The more formal stuff is just bland bits of meat, fish and vegetables, washed, cut and served. Looks nice but tastes boring.

They claim it takes 5 years or something to make sushi rice well. If you believe that you'll believe anything.

I also love it when a restaurant doesn't get included and they say that they asked the inspectors not to include them.

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The best Japanses food is fast-food style

MrDog, I don't even know how to respond appropriately to your post, especially the part I quoted.

I am sorry to say but I really disagree with you but since it is a matter of personal taste, I'll leave it at that. In my opinion, there are many great restaurants, of all kinds, that offer something uniquely related to regional locations in Japan.

May I suggest you try something different? How about a tofu restaurant? Quite the experience if I may say so.

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Traditional Japanese food is the best in Japan which of course is to be expected. But, Japanese also prepare western food better than most restaurants in western countries.

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Yes expensive, but top end food is all over the world. And not just Japanese - some of the starred Western cuisine place are just fabulous. As for it being a fetish, sure. for some it is a hobby and a great pleasure to be pampered and eat great food and drink fine wine. No different to spending koney on extreme sports or cycling stuff or holidays or whatever. Tokyo has great restaurants - another facet of being a truly great city.

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Wow, the Japanese padding their own stats, didn't see that coming...

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Lots of great restaurants all over (Japan and elsewhere) that don't come onto the Michelin radar. My favorite is a little place in Koishikawa, it's brilliant, haven't been shown a menu in years, just talk directly with the chef and work out a combination of what he feels like making and what I feel like eating, never been disappointed, and unless you really dig into the wine list, quite affordable often < 3,000 yen for dinner (with the house wine).

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At least you don't have to pay stupid tips in Japan.

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Anyone who pays attention to this michelin guide has rocks in their head, and french food is nothing special, sure there are some great restaurants in Tokyo but there are great restaurants in many cities.

Because some tire company gives the place a star or two means nothing, most of the fancy restaurants that are supposed to be good are actually rubbish, bad service bad food and small portions that are too expensive for what you get. Cant see the point in all the BS that goes on to be honest.

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@PeaceWarrior

I'll go to a tofu restaurant when I start hugging trees ;)

No, I've actually been to quite a few- good ones too. Other Japanese food as well. But, my point about "fast food" can be misinterpreted, which is my fault. What I meant was that Japanese food is bland and boring (compared to food in most other countries), stuff like takoyaki, okonomikayi, monja, tonkotsu ra-men, etc , you know, food that actually has taste, are a lot more interesting but wouldn't get a Michelin star.

What annoys me is the chef's of most Japanese restaurants talk about the food they make like you have to have a doctorate to make the stuff and half the time it's just something like tofu with ginger and soy sauce on.

I thought the Michelin "3 Star" restaurants were meant to be places that you SHOULD go to, even if it's out of your way. 1 Star for "if you're in the town and want something to eat go here", 2 Stars for "if you're near the town, make a little diversion and go there, and 3 Stars for "OMFG you HAVE to eat here!". Who would literally, detour and drive out of their way to eat some tofu?

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@Mr.Dog: I think you are totally missing the point. I LOVE my local Ramen, Yakitori and Tonkatsu restaurants. But come on, are you telling me White Truffles in season do not have taste , or a beautiful piece of Japanese Beef Sashimi does not have taste? Would I drive an hour out of way to eat Tofu, no. But I did drive an hour out of my way a couple of weeks ago to visit a Matsutake restaurant. Well worth it. If you have no interest in this topic please stop leaving silly posts.

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I suggest that one try the Tokyo French restaurants for lunch, for the same service and ambiance, but at half or less the cost of dinner

Even more affordable in Sapporo. The best-kept secret up here is that you can have food roughly equivalent to that of Tokyo French restaurants for half the price.

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@rainman1

Japanese beef is overrated. A prime example of the Japanese hyping-up something.

White Truffles in season do not have taste?

Yeah, they do have taste, it's just that the stuff they serve it with here tastes like wet cardboard.

Would I drive an hour out of way to eat Tofu, no. But I did drive an hour out of my way a couple of weeks ago to visit a Matsutake restaurant. Well worth it.

I'm clapping for you inbetween typing this. Driving an hour out of your way to eat some mushrooms sounds great. Do you work for Michelin by any chance?

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i guess a lot of folks here never get out.

anyway, for those finding it hard to believe that tokyo outdoes paris, just think of it numerically. the number of restaurants in tokyo has to be at least double that of paris. during waking hours, it has to feed not only tokyoites, but also the daily commuters from the surrounding prefectures. combine that with the food-madness that goes on in a country like japan, i'm surprised they don't get more stars!

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I think Japanese restaurants are not expensive...and they are very good with alot of range.

Food is a big part of Japanese culture..so that's why they are among the best. For example in other countries for young adults food is just fuel and socialising around beer is the standard.

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I gotta support rainman on this one... heavily flavoured does not equal delicious. And yes, I would go out of the way to eat tofu. If anyone is interested I suggest going to 梅の花, it is a tofu place with branches all over the country. There are so many ways to prepare and serve it, it is a very versatile ingredient.

The Michelin guide is a guide to gourmet restaurants, which is why it doesn't feature cheap but good eats. That is referred to as B級グルメ, or B-level gourmet... and is affordable and delicious. As other people have posted, people don't go to these restaurants all the time... rather usually on special occasions or celebrations.

I've been to two Michelin star restaurants in my life... one in Tokyo and one in Hong Kong.... and they were both absolutely amazing.

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梅の花 = Ume no Hana

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I'll go to a tofu restaurant when I start hugging trees ;)

You made me chuckle here, thanks for that.

And rizaric, I second that recommendation about 梅の花, it is wonderful. Try it for lunch, it is much cheaper.

Cheers

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I have been to all the 2 and 3 stars in Tokyo and they are almost all fabulous. great service, delicious food, good wine lists and more. Worth every penny.

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