Tokyo is New Culinary Capital of the World

By Alan Lodge

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Japan

Michelin Guide sees Japanese capitals restaurants awarded more stars than any other in history as Paris is knocked off its perch.

TOKYO has usurped Paris as the world`s culinary capital, according to Michelin Guides.

The publishers of the French gastronomic bible revealed details of its new Tokyo edition on Monday, November 19, which is its first publication outside of Europe and the USA.

Michelin`s Tokyo guide awarded 191 stars to 150 restaurants in the Japanese capital - the most number of stars awarded in any city. Previously, Paris had the most stars, at 65.

Eight restaurants in Tokyo, including two sushi eateries, received Michelin`s highest three-star rating. But Paris can still claim to have the most top-rated restaurants, with 10.

Michelin also crowned 82-year-old Jiro Ono of Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in central Tokyo the world`s oldest three-star chef.

"Tokyo is a shining star in the world of cuisine," Michelin Guides Director Jean-Luc Naret said at a press conference in Tokyo. He declared the city to be "the world leader in gourmet dining."

"We found the city`s restaurants to be excellent, featuring the best ingredients, culinary talents and a tradition passed on from generation to generation and refined by today`s chefs," Naret said.

A team of three undercover European and two Japanese inspectors spent a year and a half visiting 1,500 of Tokyo`s estimated 160,000 restaurants to decide on the ratings. The world-famous guidebook series rates restaurants on excellence in cooking, service, decor and upkeep.

There were so many top restaurants that all entries in Michelin`s Tokyo edition have at least one star, a first for any city, which Naret said was a first for any city. Five of the eight establishments awarded top honours served Japanese cuisine, while three were French restaurants.

In another Michelin first, two restaurants in the guide received top ratings despite getting rapped for their service, which the guidebook rates separately.

Sushi establishments Sukiyabashi Jiro and Sushi Mizutani were awarded three stars even though their "Category of Comfort" rating was just 1 out of 5.

"It`s true that Sukiyabashi Jiro has very small tables and its decor is low-key," said Taku Suzuki, spokesman for Michelin in Japan. "But that doesn`t mean its cuisine is anything less than first rate."

Related topics: Events & Awards


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