Cities & Countries with the Most Michelin Restaurants per Capita


Why does this matter? The Michelin Guide has long been used as a marketing tool to promote cities, regions and countries as prime fine-dining destinations. The recognition and prestige associated with Michelin stars can significantly boost a city’s, and country’s, tourism appeal and culinary reputation (Denmark and the Basque Country being prime examples). With the global culinary tourism market estimated at $11.5 billions (and growing), there is a significant opportunity at stake.

The Michelin Guide is also ‘on the move,’ with the addition of new restaurants and a geographic expansion now covering over 40 countries and territories. So, what are the current cities and countries with the highest number of Michelin restaurants per capita?

Kyoto, Paris and Washington D.C. top the global city rankings

Donostia-San Sebastián, the beautiful Basque city in northern Spain, is often mistakenly labeled the city with the most Michelin restaurants per capita (sometimes the second highest ranking city) based on information from a decade-old study. While San Sebastián is indeed a fantastic global fine-dining destination and home to two three-starred Michelin restaurants, which is remarkable for a city of roughly 160,000, it doesn’t rank among the very top cities in this category.

Note that for these rankings, we’ve taken into account restaurants in cities with populations of 500,000 or more, located within city limits and not in the larger metropolitan area. This approach differs from other studies as well as the Michelin Guide website, which often includes restaurants from the broader metropolitan region when searching for restaurants in a city. We have also observed numerous instances where per capita statistics are incorrectly calculated by using metropolitan restaurant data in conjunction with city population statistics.

While Tokyo is the city with the most Michelin restaurants in the world and Osaka is often regarded as Japan’s culinary capital, it is Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital, that holds the title for the highest number of Michelin restaurants per capita in the world.

There are 100 Michelin restaurants in Kyoto, including five three-starred restaurants, for a population of roughly 1.4 million—the highest concentration on the planet! With 122 Michelin restaurants for a population of 2.1 million, Paris ranks 2nd worldwide for both the highest absolute number of Michelin restaurants and the highest concentration of Michelin restaurants.

Washington D.C. emerges as the most unexpected highlight of this report. Unlike its well-known peers—New York, San Francisco, and Chicago—the American capital less frequently appears among global fine-dining destinations, yet it proves to be a formidable contender.

Antwerp, the 2nd largest city in Belgium, known worldwide for its diamond industry, is another surprising entry ranking 4th worldwide and 2nd in Europe. The Belgian city is home to 17 Michelin restaurants and is one of the most affordable cities in Europe in which to enjoy a Michelin-starred meal.

Coming in 5th and 6th are Osaka and Lyon, renowned as the culinary capitals of their nations. Lyon is renowned for its rich gastronomic heritage, which includes a high concentration of top-rated restaurants, traditional bouchons, and celebrated chefs such as Paul Bocuse, the father of modern French cuisine.

The 2nd American city in the top 10, San Francisco (and the larger Bay Area), has long been among the world’s top fine-dining destinations. San Francisco has also the 2nd highest number of Michelin restaurants in the Americas, after New York.

If you needed one more reason to visit Lisbon, here it is. Lisbon, Portugal’s uber-trendy capital, ranks 8th globally and 3rd in Europe for the highest concentration of Michelin restaurants, above heavyweights Copenhagen, Barcelona and Milan. Lisbon is home to 14 Michelin restaurants, including two with two of the coveted Michelin stars.

Dutch cuisine may not be renowned for its fine-dining appeal, but the Netherlands, with its 121 Michelin restaurants and its capital city Amsterdam, are a hotbed for Michelin-starred restaurants. Amsterdam ranks 9th worldwide and 4th in Europe for the highest density of Michelin-starred restaurants.

What is more, dining out at one of Amsterdam’s Michelin restaurants is quite a bargain compared to other European cities. The median tasting menu price is €158, substantially less than Paris, Munich and even Lisbon.

The small, but wealthy, Macao ranks 10th worldwide and 3rd in Asia. The world’s gambling heaven is home to 16 Michelin restaurants, including two three-starred Michelin restaurants—Robuchon au Dôme and Jade Garden.

Please find the full list below:

Mid-sized Cities with the Highest Concentration of Michelin Restaurants

While most Michelin restaurants tend to be clustered in large cities, some mid-sized cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000 are punching above their weight in the fine-dining scene. However, none of these mid-sized cities can match Kyoto and Paris for their high density of Michelin restaurants.

Country Rankings: Switzerland retakes first place; Luxembourg, Belgium rank 2nd and 3rd

While France continues to be the country with the highest number of Michelin restaurants in the world, it is the Swiss who have the most Michelin restaurants per capita. Switzerland has long used this fact to promote itself as one of the top fine-dining destinations in the world, being home to 134 Michelin restaurants, including four three-starred establishments.

The small but wealthy Duchy of Luxembourg comes in 2nd, only just missing first place. Luxembourg has outranked Switzerland for the past few years, but while both countries saw a steady number of Michelin restaurants and experienced fast population growth—Switzerland to a record 8,960,800 at the end of 2023 and Luxembourg to a record high of 672,050 at the beginning of 2024—Luxembourg’s population grew just that bit faster. And fast population growth doesn’t work in your favor when it comes to per capita stats.

Malta and Belgium come in 3rd and 4th, and besides boasting a high number of Michelin restaurants per capita, both countries offer some of the most affordable fine-dining venues in Europe. Our Michelin pricing analysis, published in April 2024, shows that the median tasting menu costs €125 in Malta (lowest in Europe and 3rd lowest worldwide) and €135 in Belgium (4th lowest in Europe).

Asian culinary powerhouse Hong Kong SAR ranks 5th worldwide (and 1st outside Europe), with 79 Michelin restaurants, that is roughly one Michelin restaurant for every 95,000 of its citizens.

Note: For many countries listed in the Michelin Guide, geographic coverage is limited to a few regions or metropolitan areas. This is true for some of the largest countries covered by the guide such as Brazil, the United States, China, and Japan, but also for smaller ones such as Greece.

In a report published three years ago, we calculated the density of Michelin stars solely based on the population of the regions or cities covered by the Michelin Guide. However, this led to confusion among many of our readers. We therefore decided to base our report on the entire population of a country, even though the geographic coverage of the Michelin Guide is limited.

Moreover, we have not included in our country rankings micro-states and territories such as Monaco, Andorra, and Macao.

Please find below the full list.

Methodology

The data was researched from the Michelin Guide’s official website in May and June 2024. We’ve ranked cities based on the number of Michelin restaurants located within city limits. Restaurants located in the larger metropolitan area of their respective city were not included in the stats. We’ve used Wikipedia as the source for the population stats (population stats ranged between 2020 and 2023).


Related: Exploring Michelin Dining Costs Across 40 Countries

Chef’s Pencil Staff

Our editorial team is responsible for the research, creation, and publishing of in-house studies, original reports and articles on food trends, industry news and guides.



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