When it comes to luxury cuisine, there’s only one true mark of quality – the Michelin star. This pinnacle of dining accreditation is only awarded to the highest calibre of restaurants, with just 169 in the United States. So what if you wanted to visit all of them? How far would you need to travel? And which cities have the most Michelin-starred restaurants? Using an algorithm created by data scientist Randal Olson, travel site Orbitz has plotted the location of every Michelin-starred restaurant across the country to provide a helpful guide to the whereabouts of top eateries, along with the shortest routes between them.
Highlights of the routes
If you’re looking to cut down on mileage, the most efficient place to start is Commis on the west coast. This restaurant boasts two Michelin stars ( ‘excellent cooking, worth a detour’ in the words of creators Edouard and André Michelin) and is famed for its eight-course menu, boasting intriguing caramelised onion financier with bee pollen and an appetising main of beef cheek.
Before you leave California you should visit Sushi Yoshizumi – named after its owner Akira Yoshizumi and famed for its selection of seafood dishes, this restaurant’s ‘omakase’ menu (translated: ‘I’ll leave it up to you’) is supplied by the owner himself, and changes daily – offering everything from simple, light umami dishes to rich squid, octopus and crab.
Moving east, one must-visit location is Grace (top image) in Illinois. Chicago’s only three-starred restaurant features a varied menu catering to every taste, with traditional meat dishes paired with more modern ideas including broccoli with hazelnut and a chocolate and grapefruit dessert.
Once you hit Washington, you should take in Minibar on your adventure – this establishment describes itself as ‘a study in avant-garde cooking’ which combines ‘art and science to deliver an imaginative and progressive tasting menu’. Minibar backs up its words with results – the Pizza Margarita is as basic as it gets, but the dishes get progressively left-field until you meet the ‘rubber ducky’ – a bath toy filled with foie gras ice cream.
Elsewhere in the capital, Pineapple & Pearls offers an expansive 13-course meal with an array of global influences – Mexican beef ribs are followed by Japanese asparagus okonomiyaki, with French mushroom duxelles also available. The restaurant’s owner, Aaron Silverman, also owns another Michelin-starred location in Washington – the exclusive Rose’s Luxury, which presents high-class dishes including vadouvan curry and mouth-watering desserts including chocolate mousse, coconut ice cream and corn crème brûlée.
As your expedition concludes over 3,400 miles later in New York, you’ll find your enjoyment reaching a crescendo – the Big Apple is the Michelin star capital with an incredible 77 starred restaurants. Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin is one of five three-star establishments in New York, with a superb fish menu featuring lobster, caviar and langoustines, while Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare offers three-star dining centred around the kitchen – chef Cesar Ramirez allowing you to watch your food cooked in front of you, with a blend of Japanese cuisine and French technique providing a unique tasting experience. Finally, you can end your journey on a high at Hirohisa – this unpretentious Japanese restaurant does simple food well, with the sushi menu sure to satisfy the appetite.
So there you have it – covering 3,426 miles and taking five months even if you visited one restaurant per day, this handy guide to the Michelin-starred restaurants of the United States is the perfect accompaniment for anyone planning the gastronomic trip of a lifetime; happy eating!