Food & Drink

Are Michelin stars overrated?

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  • Dec 24th, 2019 12:53 am
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Are Michelin stars overrated?

Now let me preface this post by stating that I'm not saying Michelin star places are bad, or that I "know better"; I'm wondering about the more recent popularity of the Michelin star restaurants and whether people accord a high degree of importance to them when visiting/traveling to a city and finding dining options.

Also, I noticed that Michelin Bib Gourmand, their other award based on ‘good quality, good value restaurants’ is almost completely in the dark for most people, despite it being the one that should be for the more accessible foodies.

I've dabbled in both and I've had my share of good, bad and amazing places with both stars and bibs, but was wondering at other people's experiences.
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I've dined at 5 Michelin-macarooned restaurants (all except one were 1-macaroon, and excluding the descendant of Yong Kee in WanChai) in France and Italy. Other than service, the quality of food and the depth and complexity of flavour is what, I think, makes it.

One of them a few times (relatively-cheap lunches) over a couple of decades and the quality and style has never been a let down, even with the sons of one of the co-founding chefs succeeding their father. OTH, the restaurant run by the children of the father founding chef (he took over their parent's hotel restaurant) was a bit of a let down for a single cheap lunch. Also went to one in marsh and it was good but the local penchant for bitterness in flavours wasn't to my liking.

One at a hotel (3 macaroon, never been to any 2s) was superb but very expensive. Then again, it was the price of 4-5 good restaurant meals, and I think it's better to have1 superb meal than 4-5 merely-o.k. ones at home (it costs well over $100/2 persons for a 2-3 course in my locality, without wine and before taxes/tip). The other 1-macaroon in nearby but seemingly remote locallity was superb in its understated presentation of fresh produce (in November). So good we ate there 2x during our 3 day stay. Very reasonably priced for what you got.

Don't have a Michelin guide so don;t know which recommended places I've been to (there have been some).

Michelin does not macaroon Canada but only 2 restaurants I've been to would have been candidates (IMO). First was a meal at Toqué in your neck of the woods over 10 years ago. 2nd visit 2 years ago was a let down (could be seasons, autumn vs early spring) and the other Sooke Harbour House in my locality.
Last edited by thriftshopper on Dec 19th, 2019 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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I still find it surprising that no Canadian restaurant has received a Michelin Star.
Sharing is Caring - Without people sharing info, these forums would not exist and no one would benefit from it. Don't be selfish.

They really need to show who downvotes so we can find out the mofus is
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Pochacco wrote: I still find it surprising that no Canadian restaurant has received a Michelin Star.
Methinks Michelin just doesn't think we're worth the cost and resources other than an old tyre factory.

Might to too small and too widely-dispersed a market (not concentrated enough) and just not have the money.
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I was lucky enough to have visited a few in my travels, mostly in Europe. My experience has honestly been mixed, some were very good, best meals I ever had... Others felt way over hyped and expensive, probably got a star for being unique, not solely because they have the greatest food, I imagined.

Keep in mind too there are a lot of places that trick you as well, they would stay open long enough for the Michelin Star status but then the chef that got the star would move on and no longer there on a permanent basics. They would then just be running under the direction/recipes but the food is cooked by other chefs.

So now I would confirm with travelling sites, local dinning reviews and so on for a real sense of the place and not just trust a single source or however busy/expensive/highly rated the place may appear.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
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Mostly no. Not overrated.

I've been to about 10 michelin starred restaurants and most are outstanding. There were a few 1 starred restaurants that were good value too (mostly in New York and Chicago).

I'm sure there would be quite a few michelin starred restaurants in Canada if they were to rate it here.
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Is called The Curse of The Michelin Star, it totally is a double-edged sword.
UrbanPoet wrote: I heard some restaurants ask for their michelin star to be removed!
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
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Aug 22, 2006
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UrbanPoet wrote: I heard some restaurants ask for their michelin star to be removed!
It's true.
it's a stressful thing because your popularity is going to explode overnight.
So you have to maintain that quality except now you're doing 5x the covers.
It's a bunch of added pressure which if you're not chasing stars can just add to your workload.
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UrbanPoet wrote: I heard some restaurants ask for their michelin star to be removed!
So over-rated that executive chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White, who had tutored the likes of Gordon Ramsay; had given back his Michelin 3 stars he had received as the youngest chef ever to achieve a rating due to the overly demanding pressure it brought upon running his restaurants. Since, he is still regarded as among the best in the business.
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Strafe1 wrote: So over-rated that executive chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White, who had tutored the likes of Gordon Ramsay; had given back his Michelin 3 stars he had received as the youngest chef ever to achieve a rating due to the overly demanding pressure it brought upon running his restaurants. Since, he is still regarded as among the best in the business.
Wow gordon rAmsay. He is super famous.
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UrbanPoet wrote: Wow gordon rAmsay. He is super famous.
I had just randomly come across seeing MPW on YouTube this past year. Absolutely love his presentation style. Gives the open-mindedness in cooking dishes in terms of options that Ramsay has always opposed and insists on doing things only how he sees them. A cool customer. Though he was quite tough in his younger days when he was a rising chef and teaching guys like Ramsay. So much, that one time he made Ramsay actually cry! Imagine having the ability to do that to a guy like Ramsay from what we have known him over the recent years.
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I find it really depends on the place. It's a case by case basis. I visited 4 Michelin star places when I visited Taiwan this year. They ranged from 'Good' ("Din Tai Fung") to life-changing ("Liu Shandong Beef Noodle"). Surprisingly, I found that the cheapest ones were the most enjoyable.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
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Pochacco wrote: I still find it surprising that no Canadian restaurant has received a Michelin Star.
Immature restaurant industry. You'd need to have around 300 mature stable restaurants worth zero to 3 stars across Canada to make a guide viable. The whole industry has to be at a certain level, not just one restaurant.

(Sushi) Masaki Saito left NYC where he had 2 stars to come to Toronto. I am sure the quality is here, just not the quantity.
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death_hawk wrote: It's true.
it's a stressful thing because your popularity is going to explode overnight.
So you have to maintain that quality except now you're doing 5x the covers.
It's a bunch of added pressure which if you're not chasing stars can just add to your workload.
I know. Just imagine having to expedite a whole kitchen, an entire restaurant front and back end for 16-18 hours a day, 6 or even 7 days at times a week. I don't blame those who give them up or don't bother chasing these things. They are smart enough to see the bigger picture in the long run on how to live and maintain a happy and successful life in the restaurant industry.
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Strafe1 wrote: I know. Just imagine having to expedite a whole kitchen, an entire restaurant front and back end for 16-18 hours a day, 6 or even 7 days at times a week. I don't blame those who give them up or don't bother chasing these things. They are smart enough to see the bigger picture in the long run on how to live and maintain a happy and successful life in the restaurant industry.
That's the thing. If they were good enough to get one in the first place, that's probably already their day.
Now imagine having to try to do that twice or even 3 times in a 24 hour period.

You gotta hire new staff and get them up to speed plus you basically have to hire 2 receptionists just to manage new reservations.
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The restaurants that decline starts are probably in new markets where people are besotted with ratings, and the operators can't get enough staff (and probably are in high-rent localities where the restaurants have to be open every day to pay the rent.

I am (pleasantly) surprised by small restaurants in France (and also Italy) where the proprietors also own the property so there's no pressure to keep the restaurant open every day to pay rent. Many restaurants (macarooned or otherwise) are closed at least one day entirely, and at least closed half day (usually dinner) for another (unless it's in a summer resort where they're open daily for two months and closed for most if not the rest of the year. That way, the "A team", which often includes the chef proprietor, is always on and gets a rest and can have a life. You don't have North America where, if the A team isn't there, everything can fall apart.
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Jucius Maximus wrote: I find it really depends on the place. It's a case by case basis. I visited 4 Michelin star places when I visited Taiwan this year. They ranged from 'Good' ("Din Tai Fung") to life-changing ("Liu Shandong Beef Noodle"). Surprisingly, I found that the cheapest ones were the most enjoyable.
Liu Shandong Beef Noodle is not a Michelin Star restaurant. It is in the Michelin "Guide". I was there earlier this year. It was OK, not mind blowing, and super uncomfortable to dine in there.

I had good and bad experiences with Michelin Star restaurants. Bad because you had so high expectations but they usually fall short and end up disappointed due to the price paid.
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ak-47 wrote: Liu Shandong Beef Noodle is not a Michelin Star restaurant. It is in the Michelin "Guide". I was there earlier this year. It was OK, not mind blowing, and super uncomfortable to dine in there.
Thanks for the info.
My personal experience is that Liu Shandong's broth was definitely on another level compared to anything else I tried.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?

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