In the restaurant industry, a Michelin star is the gold standard. Some exceptional establishments hold two (or even, rarely, three) stars. In general, one star indicates that the restaurant is worth a stop if you’re in the area, two stars suggest it’s worth a detour, while three mean you really ought to think about making a special journey just to eat there!
While the criteria that Michelin inspectors use to make their judgments is a closely guarded secret, what is known is that it’s about holistic experience. While the quality and presentation of the food need to be second to none, inspectors also weigh up the venue’s overall ambiance, the service’s nature, and the aesthetic of the dining space.
So, if you’re looking for an eatery where the interior design is as gorgeous as the menu, you’ve come to the right place! Here are the places to head to if you fancy enjoying a meal in superior style.
Galvin La Chapelle, London, UK
This restaurant is located within a former chapel and boasts dramatic high stone ceilings, high-arched windows, marble pillars, exposed timber beams, and decadent chandeliers. Foliage nestles between the simple, understated restaurant tables and cushioned chairs, lending a lightness to the otherwise stately surroundings.
And the food? It’s out of this world, precisely as you’d expect from a Michelin star winning establishment that has held its star since 2011. The menu is focused on traditional French cuisine with a contemporary twist. Highlights include Fallow Deer, Oyster Emulsion And BBQ Celeriac, Duck Magret a l’Orange with Delica Pumpkin and Glazed Chestnut, and 36 Months Aged Parmesan Risotto with Preserved Lemon and White Truffle.
Masa, New York, USA
With its three Michelin stars, Masa is more than worth going out of your way to visit. Everything here is exceptionally beautiful, from the sushi counter made of solid Japanese Cypress sanded daily to retain its smooth glow to the festoons of seasonal plants to the simple, clean furnishings designed to act as a blank canvas against which the food can shine.
And shine it does. Chef Masa Takayama aims, with every dish, to bring out its essence, or umami, for diners to fully appreciate the richness of the food. The attention to detail, from the design of the restaurant through to the service and menu, is unparalleled.
The house’s signature dish is a glass toupe of minced toro served with a generous helping of Osetra caviar. Michelin inspectors also singled out the Maine Uni for its delicious caramelized custard, paper-thin white truffle, and gorgeous presentation.
Hide, Piccadilly, London
The awe-inspiring oak spiral staircase that greets you when you enter this restaurant suggests the grandeur of both the design and the food on offer at Hide. Each of the three floors presents a different dining experience and is designed similarly to an art installation, complete with a wealth of treasures and hidden details to uncover.
Wood, bronze, and brass are key stylistic motifs, and the attention to detail evident in each room is extremely impressive. Choose between a set menu or a la carte dining: Hide serves simple, seasonal, nourishing, and delicious meals. These include Roast John Dory with Smoked Bay Leaves and Wild Mushrooms, Papillote of Baked White Beetroot, and Wagyu Tomahawk Cooked Over Charcoal.
The mood here is simple yet sophisticated and attentive but informal, reflected in everything from the stunning interior design to the locally-sourced menu.
Il Tino, Fiumicino, Italy
High-quality cooking and excellent presentation are the trademarks of this Italian restaurant, where contemporary cuisine is infused with a hit of regional character. The stunningly modern, minimalist design of the decor emphasizes a sense of airiness and the deceptively light touch of the chef and makes it easy to relax and enjoy a meal and the company you’re in as the world rushes by outside.
Diners can choose to order from the set or a la carte menu – and are highly advised to leave room for dessert; both the sorbet and the cheesecake are exceptional!
The establishment’s kitchen garden is the source of many herbs that add color and flavor to the range of delicious seafood dishes served here. The wine list is worth noting, too – choose a glass of something special to pair with your meal…and why not take up the offer of starting your experience with one of the many intriguing cocktails on offer?
Quetzal, Toronto, Canada
If you’re looking for exceptional Mexican food and a beautiful space to savor it, then Quetzal could be the place!
The kitchen’s 26-foot-long wood-burning grill does the heavy lifting when it comes to the cooking and makes for an impressive sight. At one end, a chef stands before an earthenware comal, preparing tortillas the traditional way, using heirloom corn. The menu features Mexican classics with a twist, such as blue masa tortillas stuffed with lamb barbacoa and crema poblano served with charred maitake mushrooms.
The decor is warm, rustic, welcoming, and deceptively simple, and the atmosphere is convivial and festive, reflecting the flavors, colors, and style of the food on offer.