Michelin stars are the highest honor a restaurant can achieve in the culinary world. The Michelin Guide has been awarding restaurants in Europe for more than a century, and today there are over 3,000 restaurants with at least one Michelin star.
The first edition of the Michelin Guide was released in 1900, and it was originally intended to be a travel guide to help motorists find their way around France. Over the years, it evolved into a guide to high-quality restaurants, with the first stars being awarded in 1926. Since then, Michelin stars have become an international symbol of excellence and an indication of a restaurant’s quality.
The criteria for receiving a Michelin star is stringent and includes factors such as quality of ingredients, level of creativity, techniques used in cooking, value for money and overall dining experience. Only the very best restaurants are awarded one or more stars; two-star restaurants being considered “excellent” while three-star restaurants are considered “exceptional” and serve some of the finest cuisine in Europe.
Currently there are over 3,000 restaurants with at least one Michelin star across Europe; France leads the way with 542 starred establishments followed by Germany (251), Italy (229), Spain (174) and Switzerland (128). Other countries with notable numbers include Belgium (103), Austria (86), Denmark (51) and Norway (44). Some cities have seen remarkable growth over recent years; London now has 63 starred establishments compared to just 10 back in 2006 while Madrid’s tally has risen from 11 to 45 over the same period.
It is clear that Michelin stars remain highly sought-after by chefs and restaurateurs across Europe. There are currently over 3,000 establishments with at least one Michelin star spread across many countries throughout the continent – from tiny villages to bustling cities – making it easy for diners to enjoy some of the best food Europe has to offer.