When most of us think of Michelin-star dining, we assume the price tag is HEFTY — and normally that's true (womp). But! There are some that'll fill your belly *without* emptying your wallet.
1.Claro (Brooklyn, U.S.) combines traditional Mexican ingredients with modern — not to mention Insta-worthy — recipes. Their Oaxacan criollo corn, cheese, and sausage are all made in-house, while their meat is organic and locally-sourced. With the majority of their meals under $20, combined with an impressive mezcal selection, this is one of the most affordable one-star meals you'll find.
2.Tim Ho Wan, 添好運 (Hong Kong, China) earned its fame for its simple, but rare mission: to offer five-star culinary experiences at an affordable price. Its skillful menu of over ~20~ dim sum recipes has won people over on a global scale — you can now find this restaurant in nine countries.
3.Luella's Southern Kitchen (Chicago, U.S.) introduces deep southern comfort food to the palates of Chicago. Chef Darnell Reed draws from his Mississippi roots (he's the great grandson of the founder, Luella) to serve up decadent jerk chicken mac 'n' cheese, buttermilk fried chicken, and shrimp and grits. And of course, you'll need to save room for their famous beignets.
4.Tiong Bahru Lien Fa Shui Jing Pau, 中峇鲁聯發水晶包 (Bukit Merah, Singapore) keeps the delicious tradition of hand-made crystal dumplings (shui jing bao) alive. You may have to wait in line with the stall's many regulars, but their crunchy fillings of sweet yam, red bean, or crunchy, savory turnip at less than a dollar per dumpling is well worth it.
5.The Coach (London, U.K.) reinvents your typical British pub experience, although the atmosphere is very much traditional. Each dish is artistically plated and deconstructed to transform typically heavy meals into something almost delicate.
6.Butchery and Wine (Warszawa, Poland) has consistently proven to be a ~cut~ above the rest, courtesy of its top-notch meat selection. Black pudding, roast bone marrow, and grilled duck heart are sure to elevate you from your typical steakhouse experience — and for a fraction of the price.
7.Ma Shu Bao Bao, 麻糬寶寶 (Taipei, Taiwan) calls to your *sweet side*, or at least when it comes to this traditional Japanese rice cake: mochi. Made fresh every day in the Raohe Night Market, this delectable combination of sticky rice and chewy mocha will have you coming back again and again.
8.Benoit (Paris, France) allows you to experience a Michelin-star, French meal at a much more approachable price than usual. In fact, it's the only Parisian bistro to earn such a distinction — and you can learn why when enjoying their €39 three-course lunch special.
9.Al's Place (San Fransisco, U.S.) mixes unexpected ingredients together (blistered squash with pickled kohlrabi + hummus + creamy burrata = surprisingly delicious) to present a tasting menu that's nothing short of innovative. Don't worry: it's one of the few places with a tasting menu that doesn't add up to a scary bill.
10.Raan Jay Fai, เจ๊ไฝ (Bangkok, Thailand) may have gotten recognition from many after its profile in Netflix's docuseries, Street Food, but this well-loved, street-side restaurant has had a line down the street for years. People don't only come for the world-renowned crab omelette — to watch head chef and owner, Jay Fai, prepare your meal in her iconic goggles and fire-y wok is truly a treat.
11.Time (Zagreb, Croatia) brings something new to the Croatian food scene: Michelin-approved sushi. It's no mystery why: sake nigiri, raw beefsteak, and upscale takes on our usual rolls make this place unforgettable. The best part: all-you-can-eat sushi costs a grand total of $30.
12.Fritz's Frau Franzi (Düsseldorf, Germany) can be found in the modern hotel, Fritz Hotel, which Chef Kriegel's trendy approach to cuisine reflects. While the presentation might be minimalist, the taste and preparation are anything but — shown best in their famous pork belly dish that's cooked for 36 hours.
13.Le Pousse-Pied (La Tranche-sur-Mer, France) offers some the freshest seafood around, thanks to its close proximity to the Bay of Biscay. And how much does it cost to experience this revered restaurant's lunch prix fixe menu? €19. MON DIEU, what a deal.
14.Feng Wei Ju, 風味居 (Macau, China) translates to "house of authentic flavors," which is well-fitting for a restaurant so invested in serving the true essence of traditional Chinese gourmet cuisine. You can even watch the chef pull handmade noodles before digging into plate after plate of authentic, hot dishes.
15.Rose's Luxury (Washington DC, U.S.) takes your taste buds on a trip when trying their seriously unconventional menu. Spicy "happy" oysters kick the meal off with a combination of hot and sweet, while their all-time favorite popcorn soup with lobster gives you a taste of luxury for just $10.
16.Vintage 1997 (Torino, Italy) combines the distinctive flavors of both northern and southern Italy and transforms them into an art form. Fresh seafood carefully splattered across your plate, perfectly molded tortellini, and a delicate display of linguini con le vongole (linguini and clam) are just some of what you can expect.
(Tarragona, Spain) conducts somewhat of a *culinary circus* while you try its unconventional tasting menu. Carefully plated sea foam over pebbles, deconstructed prawns, and precarious layers of seafood fighting gravity will keep you (and your tastebuds) on your toes. While dinner errs on pricey, you can experience its tasting menu for lunch at a much more approachable price tag.
18.Bistro Racine (Braine-le-château, Belgium) mixes casual settings with upscale, French gastronomy. Delicate plating with fresh, local ingredients juxtapose the low prices and café-like atmosphere. The most expensive menu item is €28 — an unexpected cost for pasta with truffle.
19.Laut (NYC, U.S.) brings authentic Southeast Asian food to the streets of Manhattan — and is one of the few (if not only) way to get Michelin-approved NYC takeout. Each dish represents the different culinary influences of Malaysia: from Thai, India, and Chinese, as well as original Java flavors.
20.Yong Geok Ok, 용금옥 (Seoul, Korea) has been serving their famous Chueo-tang
(loach, or mudfish, stew) for 75 years, and is now one of the only places you can still enjoy the historic dish. Everything you eat here will make their dedication to preserving traditional South Korean food abundantly clear.
21.Familjen (Göteborg, Sweden) means "family", which this restaurant takes to heart. Cheerful cocktails, generous sharing dishes, and a lively atmosphere have made this an absolute favorite of the locals.
22.Itto-an, 東菴 (Tokyo, Japan) masters the art of soba noodles, the traditional Japanese dish made from buckwheat flour. Hidden away in the northern area Kika-ku, this $18 lunch of Michelin-approved soba is worth the excursion.
23.Burritos La Palma (Los Angeles, U.S.) brings Michelin-approved food right to your ~fingertips~ — literally. Their inexpensive Mexican food, like stewed pork rind burritos, cheese and birria (a spicy meat stew) quesadillas, and shredded beef and cabbage flautas are responsible for the constant line of regulars waiting for their famous meal.
You trying to keep it together while eating these meals: