The Stars: The Best restaurants
Every year, the Michelin guide recognizes the most outstanding restaurants by awarding them stars.
Because these stars honor the World’s best restaurants, those for which customers are willing to travel great distances to enjoy an exceptional dining experience, their allocation is a unique moment in a chef’s career and complies with strict criteria applied for all inspectors around the world. If Michelin often says that the stars “are in the plate and only in the plate,” it’s because only the quality of the cuisine is evaluated. The restaurant’s location, decoration, service, equipment or other features are absolutely not taken into account.
– these are instead indicated by the number of ‘covers’ it receives, represented by the fork and spoon symbol.
Stars are awarded to a restaurant for the achievements of its chef and his or her team, regardless of the type of cuisine. Stars are classified in three levels.
Exceptional cuisine, worth a spécial journey
Excellent cooking, worth a detour
A very good restaurant in its category
Not quite a star, but most definitely not a consolation prize, the Bib Gourmand – named after Bibendum, the friendly Michelin Man and the official company mascot for the Michelin Group – is a just-as-esteemed rating that recognizes friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices.
As Michelin Guide inspectors travel and taste their way through fine dining establishments around the globe, they are also on the constant look out for restaurants that offer high-quality food at pocket-friendly prices. These accumulated observations resulted in the creation of a separate rating category to recognize such restaurants.
Initially, restaurants were flagged with a red “R” symbol to indicate to readers that they were destinations that served “good cuisine at reasonable prices” – namely, a three-course meal with starter, main course and dessert, within a fixed price range (which today stands at €36 in most European cities, USD 40 in American cities, HKD300 in Hong Kong, JPY 5,000 in Tokyo and KRW 35,000 in Seoul).
In 1997, the Bib Gourmand symbol – the image of the Michelin Man licking his lips – was debuted in the Michelin Guide for the first time. Since then, Bibendum has become a well-loved beacon for value-seeking diners looking out for good deals.
Pictograms: A convenient, international language
To help readers make their decisions, the MICHELIN guide in 1900 introduced a universal language of symbols. Known as pictograms, these symbols have the advantage of being concise, saving space, providing objective, non-judgmental information and being understandable regardless of the reader’s language.
Although there were only around 20 symbols at the beginning, today there are more than a hundred, all of which can be understood by everyone around the world. Pictograms give very precise information, not only about the services offered but also more general information, making it possible to rate hotels and restaurants according to their level of comfort or the quality of the cooking.
Ratings extend from to for hotels and from to for restaurants, meaning from “Quite comfortable” to “Luxury in the traditional style.”