Michelin Goes Japanese – But Critics Are Skeptical

Restaurant review superstar Michelin recently released its first Tokyo edition and some are already questioning the prized reviews. The new guidebook awards a record-breaking 191 stars to 150 restaurants in the capital city – the most stars awarded to any city in the Michelin family – leaving Paris a distant second with a mere 65 stars. Some in the culinary world question whether the Michelin guide might be a bit biased, particularly with so many highly-rated French restaurants in the Tokyo guide.

“There are a lot of great cities in the world,” Tim Zagat, founder of the Zagat guides, told The Associated Press. “Tokyo is an exciting place to eat. But Paris is an exciting place to eat. So is Rome….Tokyo has the best Japanese food in the world. But it is nowhere near as diverse as other cities.”

With the new guidebook selling over 120,000 copies in the first three days of availability, it looks as though readers are anxious to hear what Michelin has to say about the Japanese city. Still, many culinary enthusiasts won’t be picking up their copies anytime soon.

Yasuo Terui, the editor of “Tokyo Ii Mise, Umai Mise (Tokyo Good Restaurant, Delicious Restaurant)” whose first edition went on sale in 1967, was also critical of Michelin, saying that it only scratched the surface of what there is to be had in Tokyo.

“I don’t think Michelin knows anything about Japan,” he said.

~Jennifer Heigl

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