Dining out at an exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant is on every foodie’s bucket list, but as you may have heard this does not come cheap.
Masa, the famed NYC sushi bar, and three-starred Michelin restaurant made headlines recently when it increased its prices to just shy of $1,000. Well, the final bill will actually pass $1,000 when you add the service charge and VAT.
But this should not put you off. Masa’s sky-high prices are not representative for Michelin-starred restaurants, but these are the news that make headlines so we tend to believe that dining out at a Michelin-starred restaurant will almost equal financial bankruptcy.
The good news is that you can find incredibly deals in the world of Michelin Guide. But depending on where you live, you might have to travel a few hundred or thousand miles to enjoy them. So where are these affordable Michelin restaurants?
Culinary magazine Chef’s Pencil has analyzed prices for Europe’s Michelin-starred restaurants and build a map showing the cheapest Michelin-starred meals in the Old Continent. Most of them are in France, the home of the Michelin Guide, and the country with the highest number of Michelin restaurants.
Might sound counter-intuitively as France, with its capital city of Paris and French Riviera, is not the most affordable place to visit and dine out, quite the opposite. To find those great bargains you need to venture outside the big cities and further away from its touristy hot spots.
Northwestern France is where most of France’s affordable Michelin restaurants are located. If you haven’t already, put a visit to the scenic regions of Normandy and Brittany on your to-do list. They are incredibly beautiful and less expensive than Southern France.
La Robe in Montaigu, a town a few miles south of Nantes, is the most affordable Michelin-restaurant in France. The cheapest meal on the menu is just 24 euros, which includes a starter, main dish and gastronomic coffee. If you want desserts as well, you need to pay an additional 5 euros.
This 24-euro menu is only available for lunch, excluding weekends and holidays.
Further south, at Michelin-starred Les Clefs d’Argent, in the town of Mont-de-Marsan, you can enjoy a delish lunch for just one euro more. The interior is contemporary, and the cuisine is all about colour and inventiveness, according to the Michelin Guide. Chef Christophe Dupouy creates original and meticulous dishes, the key ingredients being examples of the wonderful Landes produce.
While the top-prices tasting menu at Les Clefs d’Argent costs 88 euros, you can enjoy the daily lunch menu for just 25 euros. Add an extra 7 euros to enjoy your meal with a glass of wine.
On the other side of the country, in Easter France, at Michelin-starred Hostellerie la Montagne, you can also enjoy a very affordable lunch for the same 25 euros. The restaurant is located in the village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, which is where former French president – Charles de Gaulle – is buried. At age 27, Chef JB Natali was the youngest chef in France to have received the coveted Michelin star, so be prepared to be wowed by a contemporary take on the traditional French gastronomy.
While France presents lots of opportunities for affordable fine dining, you must travel to Southern Catalonia, to the historic town of Ulldecona, to enjoy the most affordable Michelin-starred meal in Europe.
L’Antic Molí is the perfect gourmet destination, where you can enjoy the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in Europe. It only costs 20 euros per person, though more expensive options are available if you want to splurge.
From Tuesday to Friday, in the Bistro venue, you can enjoy three appetizers, a main dish and a dessert for just 20 euros. Nothing beats this!
On the other side of the country, on the Atlantic Coast, you’ll find Silabario. It is a one-Michelin-star restaurant situated right beneath a massive avant-garde glass dome that houses the headquarters of the Real Club Celta de Vigo football club.
For just €27 you can enjoy the menu of the day that Chef Alberto González Prelcic prepares from fresh ingredients bought from the local market.
Spain and France are not the only European countries where you can enjoy affordable fine dining. For some of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants you need to head to Central Europe, Hungary, more precisely.
Its beautiful capital city – Budapest – is a foodie paradise and dining out is generally much more affordable than in Western capitals. Budapest is home to two of Europe’s most affordable Michelin restaurants and the best part is that you don’t need to settle for the menu of the day. There are plenty of affordable options that you can enjoy at both lunch and dinner from the a la carte menu.
Lastly, Italy is also home to one of Europe’s most affordable Michelin restaurants. Located in the capital of Piedmont, Turin, Vintage 1997 offers foodies a fantastic lunch priced at just 30 euros. Quite a steal for Northern Italy, which is quite an expensive area for fine dining.