The Michelin guide is arguably the most famous of all the restaurant references out there, and even in the age of internet reviews, its recommendations carry a great deal of weight. Created in 1900 in France by the Michelin tire company as a travel guide for their customers, it evolved from offering restaurant recommendations beginning in 1933 to being the gold standard of independent, anonymous reviewing.
Their inspectors travel their particular region, revisiting restaurants they think may be worthy of inclusion again and again, grading on food, service, and décor (for a fascinating look at the review process, try this from the New Yorker [11/23/2009] and the final rankings mean instant fame for the restaurants and chefs who receive their stars—one, two, or the coveted three.
Michelin publishes 25 guides in 23 cities, but they’ve only recently expanded to what’s quickly become one of the world’s great food cities, Chicago, and they’re also in New York and San Francisco. When you’re planning a trip to these great American cities, those in the know will be queuing up for reservations at these very special restaurants:
Chicago 2011 Three-Stars:
Alinea, Lincoln Park and Old Town
L20, Lincolm Park and Old Town
San Francisco 2011 Three-Stars:
The French Laundry, Napa Valley
The Restaurant at Meadowood, Napa Valley
New York 2011 Three-Stars:
Daniel, Manhattan, Upper East Side
Jean-Georges, Manhattan, Upper East Side
Le Bernardin, Manhattan, Upper East Side
Masa, Manhattan, Midtown West
Per Se, Manhattan, Midtown West