TAKING its throne as the food capital of the world, Tokyo added to its star count this year after the release of the 2018 Michelin Guide, making it the most awarded city on the globe – by far.
Snatching victory from runner-up Paris, the Japanese capital upped its total to an impressive 234 starred restaurants. The Michelin Guide Tokyo 2018 lists 166 restaurants at one star (“worth a stop”), 56 at two stars (“worth a detour”), and 12 at three stars (“worth a special journey”). This year’s selections feature a wide range of cuisines, including sushi, French, Italian, tempura, izakaya, and ramen eateries.
While no restaurants got the coveted three stars this year, all of the previous awardees managed to maintain their distinctions. The city also gained five new two-star restaurants.
Zaiyu Hasegawa’s Den joined the prestigious club for its creative spin on Japanese multi-course haute cuisine, known as kaiseki. In a traditional kaiseki meal, chefs prepare around 10 or more small dishes, which are served to diners one at a time. Hasegawa has also become much loved for his playful and unique hospitality.
Other two stars include two French spots, namely Florilège and Hommage, as well as Higuchi, and Sazenka, a Chinese restaurant.
So what is it about Tokyo that makes it such a hit with foodies and critics alike?
Centuries of deliberate isolation from the rest of the world have left Japan with a unique culture, cuisine and sense of social cohesion that remains substantially intact, even in an age of otherwise all-pervasive globalization.
For gourmets, the options are almost endless. But you don’t need to pay top dollar to enjoy incredible food in Tokyo. Whether it is sushi, ramen or tempura, Tokyo has more places to eat per square mile than New York. The hardest bit is making up your mind where to go.