In accordance with 107-year old and world famous “Guides Rouges”, a food connoisseurs’ bible published by the French company Michelin, the capital of Japan is ranked the best gourmet city of the world, leaving behind Paris, New York, and London. The first Michelin Guide for Tokyo lists 150 Tokyo restaurants, all of which are rewarded with at least one star and eight are given a high three-star estimate. This impressive amount of stars beats total restaurant ratings listed in the guides for such “gourmet cities” of the world as London and Paris, which officially makes Tokyo the world leader in fine cuisine and dining.
Such gourmet triumph of Japan’s capital should not be surprising – the country is famous all over the world for its biggest fish market, fresh seasonal produce, best-quality foods, and long-established love of the Japanese for exquisite and perfect dishes. Interestingly enough, about half of all TV programs is Japan are somehow related to food and the total amount of registered restaurants, canteens, sushi bars, and other eateries in Tokyo alone is over 190,000!
The initial work to create a list of the 1,500 most popular Tokyo restaurants was accomplished by a group of five food inspectors – both Japanese and European. During the second stage of evaluating, Michelin inspectors for 18 months were paying anonymous visits to the selected restaurants to taste the food and rank the service and interior.
Over two thirds of the Michelin list of fine Tokyo restaurants mention traditional Japanese dining, yet classic French cuisine is also well represented, especially among three-starred dining establishments. According to Michelin, the best French restaurants in Tokyo are: Joel Robuchon, L’Osier, and Quintessence.
Michelin’s turn towards Japan reflects this bible of French gastronomy’s desire to modernize its a bit heavy old-fashioned image and broaden its range of international culinary experience. Besides Japan, the guide has been recently expanded to 21 countries, with the latest published list featuring the finest dining locations of Los Angeles.