Michelin-starred dining is synonymous with dollar signs – and for good reason. The luxe ingredients used in multi-course tasting menus don't pay for themselves. And while we'll gladly pony up for a special occasion, we still have rent to pay next month.
Savvy diners know that not all Michelin-starred restaurants charge an arm and a leg – in fact, if you're willing to dig around, you can find plenty of incredible meals under $50 per person. (That's cause to throw in a bottle of bubbly.) The folks at financial insights hub Top Dollar did the legwork for us with this handy new map of the most affordable Michelin-recognized eateries in every country.
They reviewed all one-, two- and three-star spots (more than 500 in total) and cross-checked their menu prices to mine out the cheapest options. Non-traditional menus (think tapas) were tossed out to keep things fair. The world's least expensive Michelin-starred spot? Hostellerie la Montagne in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, France, where the seasonal menu goes for a cool $25.
In total, the list details 25 one-starred restaurants where the menu rings up under $50 – they range in location from Budapest and Taipei to São Paulo and London. There are another 75 entries that fetch less than $100 per person.
Now, we know what you're thinking: Are there any coveted three-star spots in the bunch? While you won't find any of these more exclusive restaurants on the under-$100 set, researchers did compile a separate roundup of the 10 most affordable three-star destinations. Leading the pack is Le Palais in Taipei, Taiwan, where the set menu costs $138 a head and includes eight courses. Second and third, respectively, go to Le Calandre in Italy ($163) and Le Bernardin in New York ($175).
It should be noted that although Michelin awarded stars in certain parts of the world for 2021, other cities have been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. We expect that this list will change as new spots are added, existing restaurants reopen, and menus are adjusted. Even so, the data offers a unique look at some of the best dining deals around the world – perfect fodder for our post-pandemic wanderlust.