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2018 Michelin/Pellegrino Level Restaurant Highs and Lows

2018 Michelin/Pellegrino Level Restaurant Highs and Lows

Old Dec 28, 18, 1:30 pm
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2018 Michelin/San Pellegrino Level Restaurant Highs and Lows

I created threads in other hotel Forums reviewing the highs and lows of past years. I thought I’d do the same with top restaurants, too.

To keep the thread simpler, I’m including only Michelin restaurants or equivalent restaurants where Michelin doesn’t rank, including but not limited to the San Pellegrino top 50/100.

HIGHEST, restaurants/dining experiences that truly blew our minds and that we will savor forever:

2* Narisawa, Tokyo
3* Sushi Yoshitake, Tokyo
3* Kitcho, Kyoto
3* Wa Yamamura, Nara
Somni, Los Angeles
3*Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
3* Benu, San Francisco
1* Tempura Mizuki, Kyoto
Table 55 at StR King Cole Bar, New York

HIGHS, restaurants that really impressed us and where we gladly would return:

3* Saison, San Francisco
2* Californios, San Francisco
3* SingleThread, Healdsburg, CA
2* Gion Sasaki, Kyoto
3* Enoteca Pinchiorri, Florence
1* Winter Garden by Caino, Florence
2* Borgo San Jacopo, Florence
1* Osteria Perilla, Tuscany
2* Ecco, Zurich
1* In Situ
Taco Maria, Costa Mesa, USA
The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Beverly Hills
Stubborn Seed, Miami
Atlas, Atlanta
Fearing’s, Dallas
La Veduta, Osaka
Boruta, Kyoto

MIDDLES, restaurants that were good but we wouldn’t go out of our way for again:

2* Sushi Sawada, Tokyo
1* Mourad, San Francisco
1* Ora d’Aria, Florence

LOWS, restaurants that truly let us down and/or to which we’d likely never return:

3* Eleven Madison Park, New York
2* Commis, Oakland
Cosme, New York
3* Hajime, Osaka
2* Aragawa, Kobe

Last edited by bhrubin; Jan 9, 19 at 2:56 pm
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Old Dec 28, 18, 3:09 pm
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Although my restaurant list isn't anywhere close to yours, Narisawa was by far the most impressive restaurant for me in 2018. Other solid restaurants for me have been Fiola (DC), Sushi Taro (DC), and Momofuku Ko (NYC).

Tim Raue (Berlin) was alright, but I wouldn't go back.

Looking forward to trying Saison next year. Disappointed to see Eleven Madison Park low on your list - will have to rethink going there. Thanks!
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Old Dec 28, 18, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Condition One View Post
Although my restaurant list isn't anywhere close to yours, Narisawa was by far the most impressive restaurant for me in 2018. Other solid restaurants for me have been Fiola (DC), Sushi Taro (DC), and Momofuku Ko (NYC).
I’m not sure we’ve ever quite had a dining year like this one, FWIW. But Narisawa was incredible, indeed!

Tim Raue (Berlin) was alright, but I wouldn't go back.
I’m sorry to hear that. Ironically, my favorite dish now at In Situ San Francisco is the Wasabi Lobster from Tim Raue!

Looking forward to trying Saison next year. Disappointed to see Eleven Madison Park low on your list - will have to rethink going there. Thanks!
I loved Saison but loved Atelier Crenn and Benu even more. My husband preferred Saison, though.

EMP had some serious cooking, presentation, and service issues for our dinner. It was so troubling that I emailed the restaurant a week later...and was quite impressed to get a response from the GM the same day. Very apologetic, very acknowledging that we didn’t get their best or even average. He actually refunded our entire wine pairings by way of real apology and invited us back whenever we could get back to NYC. If we’re back, we’d consider a return. That being said, neither of us much liked the massived dining hall/room which had absolutely no intimacy nor pleasing ambience. So we’re not 100% sure we’d return.

Last edited by bhrubin; Dec 28, 18 at 3:35 pm
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Old Dec 28, 18, 10:43 pm
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Highest:
Canlis - Seattle
** Guy Savoy - Las Vegas
*** Le Cinq - Paris
* Blue Duck Tavern - DC
* Gramercy Tavern - NYC

High:
** Jean-Georges - NYC

Mids:
*** Le Pre Catelan - Paris

Lows:
*** Pavillon Ledoyen - Paris
** Le Meurice - Paris
Bennelong - Sydney

Last edited by United747; Dec 29, 18 at 9:34 am
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Old Dec 29, 18, 11:19 am
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Highest
Heron & Grey, Dublin, 1* - 2 visits this year with 1 more to come next week before the partnership ends. Stratospheric & I hope the next incarnation doesn’t lose too much with Andrew’s departure

Gramercy Tavern, New York, 1* - a fantastic brasserie in the best sense of the word, good cooking, great service

Paste, Bangkok, 1* - outshone Nahm despite having the ambiance of, well, a fine dining restaurant in a shopping mall

Yauatcha, London, 1* - our reliable go to favourite restaurant, along with....

Bravas Tapas, London - have eaten here 30 times + and whilst tapas doesn’t lend itself to stars, I feel it’s refined & innovative enough to be rewarded


Mid
Chapter One, Dublin 1* - first visit in a few years, an enjoyable meal but too much of the menu is simply too static

Nahm, Bangkok 1* - outshone by Paste on the cooking and service was hit and miss

Cliff House, Ardmore Ireland *1, very good food, lovely surroundings, let down by wine pairings that were too tricked up (there’s a reason why Wales doesn’t make wine...) and inconsistent service from a bunch of school kids

Ox, Belfast, 1*, good food, service lacked warmth and all a little clinical

Low
No clangers, but Grand Coeur, Paris 1* was all a bit meh and does nothing to dispell the view that stars are easier to get in France

Last edited by Kgmm77; Dec 29, 18 at 11:30 am
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Old Dec 29, 18, 12:37 pm
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High was at 3-star Maeemo in Oslo. May have even been the best meal I've ever had. Stunning dishes and pairing. The oyster crème with basil and caviar is the best dish I've ever eaten.

Low was at 3-star Alain Ducasse Louis XV in Monaco. Some of the dishes were actively unpleasant, nothing was special, and even the famed baba au rhum was a dry disappointment, nowhere near as good as at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 8:22 am
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Highest
Dani Garcia, Marbella 3* - visited shortly before it was awarded 3 stars. Very nice food.

Lasrate, Barcelona 3* - I enjoyed my dinner very much. Nicest restaurant in Barcelona in my eyes.

Esszimmer, Salzburg 1* - Impressed by our vegetarian menu. High level

High
Palmgarden, Dortmund 1* - I was really surptised by this restaurant. High Quality at a reasonable price level. Will write a review later.

Moments, Barcelona 2* - Nice dinner

Ikarus, Salzburg 2* - Some dishes were on a "highest-level", simply from another world. Unfortunately some others were "only" mid. So it´s a good high.

Mid
AbAc Barcelona, 3* - not a bad meal, but service was mediocre and I was not totally convinced.

Kabuki Raw, Casares 1* - Pretty good mel, but nothing special.

Low
Schote, Essen 1* - Nelson Müller is a German TV-Chef and is considered as a "cool-guy". But this is sadly not enough if you run a Michelin-starred restaurant - you should also deliver top notch food. OK, I had a worse meal in the past and when I tired Food from his Restaurant at the Gourmetmeile Essen (https://essen-geniessen.de/veranstaltungen/) it was always not very good. This meal (I know, must write a review) was OK, but only 2 dishes of the whole menu was on 1* level. I see no reason to eat here again.

Carpe Diem, Salzburg 1* - I wasn´t impressed. Neither the service or the food were great. I was disappointed.

Last edited by offerendum; Dec 31, 18 at 2:24 pm
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Old Jan 7, 19, 12:32 pm
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Highest
La Pergola, Roma 3* - Awesome food. Awesome service. Great wine pours. Heinz Beck hung around after service to talk to people too.

La Bottega Del Buon Caffè, Firenze 1* - This place is well on it's way to earning a second star IMO. Food is top notch. Some mistakes by the servers giving the wrong dish which they got a yelling at from the chef but it let me get some extra stuff to try!

Pujol, Mexico City - Went for their lunch and dinner menus. Awesome experience from start to end and with the exchange rate you can't get anything better.

High

Mid
VUN Andrea Aprea, Milano 2* - Service just sucked. Timing between dishes were extremely long. We could fit in two restroom breaks between each dish. Their signature dish was great and their amuse bouche was awesome but other than that, nothing else was worth remembering.

Low
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Old Jan 7, 19, 9:07 pm
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Mostly NY Based--

HIGHEST

3* Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York -- Favorite restaurant ever. Eat there 3+ times a year and never disappoints
1* Atomix -- Incredible, best debut of 2018. Can't wait to go back.
3* Alinea -- Incredible, as always. Went 5 years ago and am so happy I could return.
3* Per Se -- Loved it, glad I went back despite all the controversy with the NYT review and stuff.
2* Sushi Ginza Onodera -- Went before Chef Saito left. Amazing sushi experience for NY.

HIGHS

3* Le Bernardin -- Great as always, but declining IMO (vs Per Se/Chef's Table which are improving)
2* Jungsik -- Still love for upscale Korean, but disappointed that they seem to be veering further away from Korean flavors nowadays vs. when I used to go years back.
2* The Modern -- Lovely place with delicious food, but no *wow* factor yet.
2* Ko -- Some dishes didn't work for me. But on the whole, amazing effort and unique for the city.

MIDDLES

2* Jean-Georges -- Ok. Like the dining room and the presentations, but service was mediocre and food was only good but not great.
Cosme, New York -- Not the most beloved restaurant but I'm obsessed with their duck. I could eat it every day.
1* Cote -- A fav for me to visit, but it's nothing overly special, especially for the Korean BBQ scene in NY.

LOWS

3* Eleven Madison Park, New York -- Truly the most disappointing dining experience in a long time. I LOVED Eleven Madison pre-reno. This was full of service and dining flaws, with dishes I found actively undesirable and service mistakes abound.
Countless 1* restaurants in New York -- Sigh. NY needs to clean up their 1 star selections and stop grandfathering in old selections. I go to them for the sake of completeness, but regret 50% of my visits.

LOWEST

2* Marea -- Worst restaurant I went to in 2018. Awful awful awful all around.
1* Junoon -- Terrible service, worse food. Can't believe this is the Indian restaurant they chose to star in the city over Indian Accent and Tamarind.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 5:50 am
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bsb10 I´m surprised by Marea. It´s a few years ago but this time it was very good.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 5:22 pm
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Not a great year for dining for me. I am perhaps slightly over the typical Michelin starred style and as I get older I don't have the same appetite for a 5,000 calorie meal that I did as when I was in my 20s.

Good
* Elkano. A traditional Basque seafood BBQ, this restaurant has the world's most famous turbot, a reputation which I think is potentially justified. All round good food and service with some keenly priced wine (e.g. Vega Sicilia for under 300EUR), maybe my best meal of 2018
* Tickets, Barcelona (#25 on SP Top 50). Had an enjoyable, fun meal at Tickets with great service (helped by a local connection) and interesting food. I'm not generally into molecular gastronomy, so although I enjoyed almost everything about the dinner, I do not feel the need to rush back
** Atelier de Joel Robuchon, St Germain, Paris. I felt the need for a pilgrimage to the original atelier of my favourite chef shortly after his passing. Food is even more technically refined than in other Ateliers around the world, though service was a bit grumpy French and lacked the welcome touch that I appreciate when I'm spending a few hundred Euros an hour.
"Dinner in the Sky" with the Grande Bretagne Executive Chef. A special event through SPG moments, the Chef and his team "borrowed" the crane which lifts you up into the sky and cooked a truly memorable meal
* Gordon Ramsey, Versailles. Ludicrously expensive for a restaurant which recently lost its second star, the food and service was nonetheless a cut above most other places I ate in 2018. The turbot main was potentially my best dish of the year, but at a comparable cost of 2/3* restaurants in major metropolitan city centres, I'm not sure if I will return.

Fair
* Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Las Vegas. The Restaurant was fully booked, so I took a trip to the Atelier. Service was excellent, but the food was a bit richer and lacked a bit of Robuchon's delicate touch. I guess it is Vegas.
* La Scene, Paris. The restaurant of SPG's Prince de Galle hotel, led by one of Paris's relatively few female chefs. I found her style more modern and lighter than most other Parisian cooking. This almost got a "good", except for the lack of anything especially interesting
L'Oiseau Blanc, Paris (Peninsula). Surprisingly not starred, this greenhouse on top of the Peninsula facing the Eiffel Tower is one amazing venue. Service was competent and food was more or less at Michelin starred level. Inevitably expensive, but a memorable venue.
** Patrick Gilbaud, Dublin. Rather unexpectedly, this is a capable 2* French restaurant plopped in the middle of Dublin. Nothing ground-breaking, but it's completely authentic French food and service and rather good if you want to go for a classic
* Yauatcha, London. A solid and attractive dim sum venue
* Hakkasan, Mayfair. Another solid and good looking Chinese/ dim sum place with a great Sunday brunch deal

Bad
* Tamarind, London. One of a handful of Indian Michelin starred restaurants, this food was not especially good and I got the impression this place leant on its legacy and expensive location.

Terrible
*** Le Cinq. Having been there, I thought Jay Rayner's review was pretty much spot on. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...iew-jay-rayner
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Last edited by EuropeanPete; Feb 3, 19 at 3:42 pm
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Old Jan 9, 19, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete;30629556
[b
Fair[/b]
* Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Las Vegas. The Restaurant was fully booked, so I took a trip to the Atelier. Service was excellent, but the food was a bit richer and lacked a bit of Robuchon's delicate touch. I guess it is Vegas.
Is there a guide Michelin in Vegas again? Wasn´t it a 3 star last time (As far as I know last guide was in 2009).
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Old Jan 9, 19, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
HIGHEST, restaurants/dining experiences that truly blew our minds and that we will savor forever:

2* Narisawa, Tokyo
3* Sushi Yoshitake, Tokyo
Thinking about going to both on my upcoming trip this year. How hard was it to get the reservation at Yoshitake and Narisawa?
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Old Jan 9, 19, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by phant0m View Post
Thinking about going to both on my upcoming trip this year. How hard was it to get the reservation at Yoshitake and Narisawa?
For us, very easy. Concierge at Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho got us those...and also got us Sawada a few weeks beforehand, too. But we asked for those (and for their recommendations) many months in advance, too.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Is there a guide Michelin in Vegas again? Wasn´t it a 3 star last time (As far as I know last guide was in 2009).
Ah, I see the 1* is out of date - I thought the Guide had returned to Vegas, apparently not. I ate at the Atelier which is next to the "proper" Robuchon restaurant which did indeed used to be 3*. Ateliers around the world are generally 1-2* (with the exception of Hong Kong's crazy star inflation with 3), whereas his proper restaurants are usually 3* (e.g. Ebisu, Tokyo, Vegas).
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