14 Cities Where You Can Eat At A Top Michelin-Starred Restaurant Without Breaking The Bank

How far would you travel for good food? Since its inception in 1900, the Michelin Guide has encouraged people to venture out for a decent bite to eat. In fact, the guide was created to entice motorists to hit the road so that the Michelin company could sell more tires. Today, the guide covers over 40,000 restaurants in more than 35 countries. When you think of Michelin-starred restaurants, fine dining establishments where a single meal could cost half your paycheck probably come to mind. After all, the average price for a tasting menu at a restaurant with two or three Michelin stars was $276 in 2021, according to Chef's Pencil. And with inflation on the rise, restaurants around the world have had to raise their prices. But that doesn't mean you can't find affordable Michelin-starred spots.

There are plenty of restaurants with Michelin stars that offer reasonably priced meals. We discovered that one way to spend less on food when traveling is to try the lunch sets. You get the same quality of food but lower prices than during dinner service. Street food is another option, as several street food vendors have earned Michelin stars. If you're planning your next trip with gastronomy in mind, we scoured the Michelin Guides to uncover cities worldwide with Michelin-starred restaurants that offer exceptional cuisine that's also affordable at $150 a meal or less. You can learn more about our methodology at the close of this article.

1. Tokyo, Japan

It's no secret that Tokyo is a haven for foodies. The city consistently tops lists of the best dining destinations in the world, and Michelin has definitely taken notice. The 2024 Tokyo Michelin Guide features 183 eateries with stars, making Tokyo the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. Top-rated options range from elegant sushi spots where you can get impossibly fresh fish to fine-dining French restaurants and rustic ramen shops serving up bowls of elevated noodle soup. Some of those venues are surprisingly affordable.

Tamawarai earned one Michelin star for chef Mashiro Urakawa's exquisite handmade soba noodles. You can get a bowl of hot soba soup with egg at lunchtime for under $15. It's a tiny spot with only room for about 15 diners, so be prepared to wait for a table. Also, be aware that it only takes cash. If you're looking for a reasonably priced Michelin-starred dinner spot in Tokyo, Nanakusa is a good bet. Chef Rika Maezawa offers an omakase menu for ¥9,680, which is about $67. Omakase means the chef picks the courses for you. Expect creative plates that feature local seafood and seasonal vegetables.

2. New York City, U.S.A.

In 2005, the Michelin Guide made its first foray outside of Europe to New York City. Today, there are over 70 restaurants with stars in the New York City Michelin Guide. The offerings are as diverse as the population of the Big Apple, with Michelin-starred restaurants serving everything from Korean to Mexican, Indian, and fusion cuisine. While some swanky spots charge precisely what you expect to pay for food in NYC at an upscale fine dining restaurant, other venues are a bit more low-key with prices to match.

Casa Mono is a cozy one Michelin-starred spot that specializes in Spanish tapas. Grab a seat at the bar or one of the intimate tables and dig into dishes like the mussels with chorizo for $21 or the creamy eggs with sea urchin for $28. If you're craving Asian cuisine, head to the one-starred Jeju Noodle Bar for modern Korean bowls and bites. The Gochu Ramyun with pork belly and noodles in a spicy pork broth will set you back $23. Michelin-recommended Don Angie is a must for classic Italian-American fare like hearty pasta that starts at $27.

3. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the capital of Spain's Catalonia region, renowned for its gastronomy. While Catalonians love their traditional cuisine, they're also unafraid to experiment with new ideas. Thinking outside the box has earned several restaurants in the city international recognition. As of 2023, there are 28 restaurants with Michelin stars in Barcelona. Many offer contemporary dishes that incorporate local ingredients in fresh, innovative ways. Even better, a few of them provide Michelin-quality food at prices that are accessible to the average diner.

Xerta is one of the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurants in Barcelona. The multi-course lunch sets start at €60 (about $65) and include dishes like tuna belly with pickled cucumber and duck egg with foie gras shavings. The restaurant is located in the Ohla Eixample Hotel and has a lovely dining room with huge windows that look out to greenery. Hisop is another Michelin-starred spot that offers contemporary cuisine at modest prices. The tasting menu costs €85 per person ($92) and includes a smorgasbord of courses featuring seasonal ingredients like sea urchin, chanterelles, and blue crab.

4. Singapore, Singapore

One of Anthony Bourdain's tips for finding the best places to eat is to look for where the locals go. In Singapore, that would be the hawker centers, which are basically food halls with multiple vendors selling street food-style dishes. Some vendors have been serving the same dish for decades, and many have a slew of loyal fans who will line up for their particular specialty. In 2016, Singapore became the first country in the world where street food vendors were awarded Michelin stars.

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles was one of the first hawker stalls to earn a star, and it still holds that distinction today. Located on Crawford Lane, the family-run shop offers what some consider the best bak chor mee in the city. This classic Singaporean dish features springy egg noodles, minced pork, pork dumplings, and pork liver in a savory broth. A bowl of pork noodles at Tai Hwa costs SGD $23 ($17.25). Chan Hon Meng also earned a Michelin star in 2016 for his stall Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, although he lost the star in 2021. You can visit the original stall (now called Hawker Chan) at the Chinatown Complex Food Centre for a plate of soya sauce chicken rice that will cost you just SGD $7 ($5.25).

5. San Francisco, U.S.A.

San Francisco is home to a multitude of cultures, all of which have contributed to the city's diverse culinary landscape. You can dine on burritos, barbecue pork buns, cioppino, or freshly shucked oysters on any given day. With such an abundance of great food on offer, it should come as no surprise that San Francisco was the second North American city to get its own Michelin guide (after New York City). There are 30 Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco, some of which are very competitively priced.

State Bird Provisions is a fun spot where the dishes are served dim sum style on carts and meant to be shared. The small plates start at just $4 and are delectable enough to have earned the restaurant a James Beard Award, a place on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list, and a coveted Michelin star. Be sure to try the namesake state bird dish featuring Wolfe Ranch quail. Kin Khao is another popular spot that earned a Michelin star for its high-quality Thai cuisine. Swing by at lunch, and you can get a fiery som tum papaya salad for $15 or khao soi style chicken curry for $23.

6. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is best known for its rich history and stunning architecture, but not so much for its dining scene. That's a shame because the city does have some excellent restaurants that don't just serve the typical Czech fare of meat, potatoes, and cabbage. Many forward-thinking chefs are reinventing classic dishes into fun, flavorful creations that are the opposite of stodgy. Two of those chefs have earned Michelin stars for their creativity, and both restaurants are relatively affordable compared to many starred restaurants in other cities.

If you want a Michelin-starred lunch that won't put you in debt, head to Field for the weekday lunch menu. The menu starts at CZK 1,100 ($48) for two courses or CZK 1,350 ($60) for three courses. It's all about seasonality at Field, so the meal could incorporate local ingredients like black trumpet mushrooms, crayfish, or elderberries. Prague's other Michelin-starred restaurant is La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, which offers a fab five-course dinner menu for CZK 2,450 ($109). The flavors are distinctly Czech but with a modern twist. Think venison with rosehip and blueberry or duck with beetroot and licorice.

7. Bangkok, Thailand

You could spend years in Bangkok trying different eating establishments and not even scratch the surface of what's going on in the city's culinary scene. Everywhere you turn, there is something new to sample, from luscious mango with sticky rice to crispy charred squid and fried rice doused in devilishly hot chili paste. You really don't need to eat at Michelin-approved spots to get amazing food in Bangkok. However, if you want to add star power to your dining repertoire, a few choices won't cost you a fortune.

Besides Singapore, Bangkok is the only other city in the world where a street food stall currently has a Michelin star. Jay Fai is lauded for its huge, fluffy crab omelet that sells for B1,400 (about $40). It's pricier than other street food spots, but the omelet is big enough to share and stuffed with crab meat. Other dishes on the menu start at THB 600 ($17) and include drunken noodles and tom yum soup with seafood. The shophouse is located on Maha Chai Road, and you'll probably recognize it from the long lines outside. You'll know you're in the right place when you see owner Supinya Junsuta behind the grill wearing her signature goggles. Supinya and her team only take walk-ins, so you might want to get there early to avoid a long wait.

8. Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

There is no shortage of great places to eat in Washington, D.C. The current Michelin Guide for D.C. lists 24 restaurants with one to two stars. As you would expect, most of them are pretty pricey. For example, the tasting menu at Jônt will set you back $375 per person, and that's before you factor in drinks, tax, and a tip. Pineapple and Pearls is another two-star spot where you could easily pay well over $350 for a meal with drinks. If you're not willing to splash out big but want a Michelin-starred meal, a few places offer good deals.

Tail Up Goat is one of the more affordable options in D.C. This easy-going spot in the Adams Morgan neighborhood offers tasty Mediterranean eats like bluefin tuna crudo and coffee-rubbed beef. The four-course dinner menu is priced at $105 and includes plenty of snacks for the table to share. If you're not into multi-course tasting menus and prefer to go a la carte, grab a seat at the bar or on the patio. It also has a sister restaurant called Reveler's Hour, where you can get delicious pasta starting at $30 and mains like pork Milanese and half a grilled chicken for $37.

9. Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.

If you're in Belfast and looking for an epic meal that won't drain your bank account, swing by OX. Set on the banks of the River Lagan, this one Michelin-starred restaurant showcases locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. You'll get the best deals if you dine at mid-day. The lunch menu is a steal at £40 ($51) for a two-course meal. You can get three courses for just £5 more ($7). Dishes could include halibut with oyster mushrooms or venison with spiced plum. OX is only open for lunch from Thursday to Saturday, and reservations are highly recommended.

The Muddlers Club is another Michelin-starred spot in Belfast that won't break the bank. Edgy and hip, the restaurant is named after a secret society that used to gather in the historic Cathedral Quarter 200 years back. The menu celebrates Irish ingredients, so you'll find dishes featuring local products like Cuinneog butter, Wicklow venison, and Mount Leister cheddar. The seasonal tasting menu costs £90 ($115) with the option to add wine pairings. There is also a vegetarian or vegan option for £80 ($102).

10. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei got its first Michelin Guide in 2018, and ever since then, restaurants in the city have been racking up stars. The 2023 Taipei Michelin Guide awarded 35 restaurants with stars, including two with the highest distinction of three stars, which means "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." A meal at one of the three-starred restaurants (Le Palais and Taïrroir, in case you were wondering) will cost you a pretty penny. Not to worry, though, because several starred restaurants are very affordable by comparison.

Shin Yeh Taiwanese Signature earned a Michelin star for its expertly executed dishes in an elegant setting at the Taipei Marriott Hotel. Appetizers start at NT $160 ($5) and are great for sharing with a group. Fujin Tree Taiwanese Cuisine & Champagne is another spot where you can grab tasty Taiwanese dishes in beautiful, leafy surroundings. The weekday set lunches start at NT $1,980 ($63) for an array of dishes like mullet roe fried rice and deep-fried tofu. Then there is Din Tai Fung, which has earned star recognition in the past for its famous soup dumplings. The flagship Din Tai Fung restaurant in Taipei no longer has a Michelin star, but it does have a Bib Gourmand rating.

11. Chicago, U.S.A.

There's no doubt that Chicago is a foodie city. The deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwich, and Vienna Beef hot dogs (hold the ketchup) were created there. Some of the best Chicago eats are easy-going and affordable, and that extends to the Michelin-starred fare. From decadent breakfasts that won't break the bank to accessible Scandinavian-style eats, there are plenty of options for penny pinchers in the Chicago Michelin Guide.

Kasama gained international recognition when it became the first Filipino restaurant in the world to earn a Michelin star. The daytime menu features enticing brunch dishes like the Filipino breakfast with fried egg, garlic rice, and your choice of longanisa sausage or bacon for $17. Galit earned a Michelin star for its inviting atmosphere and tasty Middle Eastern cuisine. The four-course menu costs $88 and allows you to choose from a variety of dishes like honey nut hummus and smoked turkey shawarma. Elske is another casual Michelin-starred spot with a delightful Danish-inspired set dinner for $125 per person.

12. Paris, France

You can undoubtedly spend a mint on fantastic food in Paris if you want to. After all, the city is home to some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world. For example, Restaurant Guy Savoy consistently wins top awards from major restaurant guides, including two stars from the Michelin Guide. However, the set menu will cost you €680 ($747) excluding drinks. For those on a budget, there are a few Michelin-starred eateries where you don't have to take out a second mortgage just for a meal.

If you love seafood, chef Gaël Orieux serves delectable fish, crustaceans, and meat dishes at his chic restaurant, Auguste. The set lunch menu costs €45 ($50) for a starter, main, and dessert. The restaurant is small, which makes for an intimate vibe, and the decor is fresh and modern. Lunch seatings are only from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., so it's best to make a reservation if you want to secure a table. Contraste is another spot that offers a great value lunch set. For €55 ($60), you'll be treated to three courses featuring whatever is fresh and in season. Add €44 ($48) for food and wine pairings.

13. Hong Kong, China

Real estate in Hong Kong may be wildly expensive, but the food certainly isn't. After all, this is the birthplace of dim sum and a haven for street food like cart noodles and egg waffles. Budget travelers will find a wealth of affordable food options all over the city, including Michelin-starred eats. From restaurants serving dim sum to roast goose spots and wonton noodle shops, there are plenty of options in the Hong Kong Michelin Guide that are easy on the wallet.

Start your Michelin journey at Ho Hung Kee in Causeway Bay. This long-running noodle shop started as a small noodle stall in the 1940s and now has multiple locations around Hong Kong. It's held on to its Michelin star since 2012 thanks to its crave-worthy wonton noodles and comforting congee. A bowl of the house specialty wonton noodles in soup costs HKD $62, which is just under $8. For another Hong Kong specialty that locals and Michelin reviewers love, head to Yat Lot. Here, you can get succulent roast goose and BBQ pork without the fine dining price tags. A roasted goose drumstick with rice noodles will cost you just HKD $120 ($15).

14. Lisbon, Portugal

Compared to many other European capital cities, Lisbon can be very cheap for dining out, even if you throw in the occasional Michelin-starred meal. The city has a thriving dining scene, so you'll find everything from casual cafes serving rustic bifanas (pork sandwiches) to fine dining restaurants that take cues from molecular gastronomy. The Lisbon Michelin Guide has two restaurants that stand out for their creative cuisine at reasonable prices: Kabuki Lisboa and Encanto.

At first glance, Kabuki Lisboa looks like a seriously swanky spot. After all, it's located in the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. The dinner menu can be slightly daunting, with dishes like wagyu beef priced at €110 ($121) per gram. However, some superb value multi-course meals are on the executive menu during lunch. The Menu Executivo Cru includes a bento box, sashimi, sushi, and dessert for just €45 ($50). If you're looking for an affordable dinner, Encanto gets rave reviews for its imaginative vegetarian fare and biodynamic wines. The tasting menu is priced at €125 ($137) for an impressive 11 courses.

How we selected the cities

The methodology we used to choose these cities was based on comprehensive research of Michelin Guides in various cities around the world. We looked at which cities had the lowest price points and those that had the most Michelin-starred restaurants where you could eat for $150 or less. We also scoured restaurant websites to ensure the prices were not astronomical and included pricing details where possible. Unless otherwise stated, all of the restaurants mentioned above have actual Michelin stars, as opposed to Bib Gourmand designations. Happy eating!