What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (2023)

You may have heard of Michelin's unique restaurant rating system, but how much do you really know what the coveted MICHELIN stars stand for? Here's a quick guide to the symbols you can find in the MICHELIN Guide.

Stars and Covers

The MICHELIN Guide conveys its restaurant reviews through two to three-line short summaries and an extensive system of symbols, the most revered of which are its globally renowned MICHELIN Stars. Restaurants may receive zero to 3 stars for the quality of their food based on five criteria: quality of the ingredients used, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his cuisine, value for money and consistency between visits.

Restaurant inspectors do not look at theinterior decor, table setting, or service quality when awarding stars - these are instead indicated by the number of 'covers' it receives, represented by the fork and spoon symbol.

Click here to learn more about MICHELIN Inspectors.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (1)

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (2)

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (3)

Bib Gourmand

Not quite a star, but most definitely not a consolation prize, the Bib Gourmand - named after Bibendum, the friendly Michelin Man and the official company mascot for the Michelin Group - is a just-as-esteemed rating that recognizes friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices.

As MICHELIN Guide inspectors travel and taste their way through fine dining establishments around the globe, they are also on the constant lookout for restaurants that offer high-quality food at pocket-friendly prices. These accumulated observations resulted in the creation of a separate rating category to recognize such restaurants.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (4)

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Initially, restaurants were flagged with a red “R” symbol to indicate to readers that they were destinations that served “good cuisine at reasonable prices”. Namely, a three-course meal with starter, main course and dessert, within a fixed price range (which today stands at €36 in most European cities, US$40 in American cities, HK300 in Hong Kong and Y5,000 in Tokyo).

In 1997, the Bib Gourmand symbol - the image of the Michelin Man licking his lips - was debuted in the MICHELIN Guide for the first time. Since then, Bibendum has become a well-loved beacon for value-seeking diners looking out for good deals.

Thanks to Bibendum and the Bib Gourmand, Michelin inspectors have noted the increase in the number of restaurateurs dedicated to providing authentic dining experiences by way of quality cuisine at affordable prices in approachable and friendly establishments.

RecognizingLocal Flavors

The MICHELIN Guide does recognize local food variance too: In territories such as Spain, noteworthy tapas bars are recognized by an additional wine and toothpick symbol, quality pubs in the UK/Ireland guide are marked with a beer mug symbol and street-food stalls are recognized with a cart symbol in Asia.

Restaurants with notable wine, sake and cocktail lists are recognized with the grape, sake bottle and cocktail glass symbols respectively.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (5)

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (6)

Street Food
The best way to experience the heart of Thai food culture is to savour hawker fare. For that, there’s the symbol of a two-wheeled cart with a little roof. This denotes the physical characteristics of the establishment rather than the quality of the food.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (7)

Interesting Wine List
If you are looking for establishments with an excellent wine list, keep an eye out for this symbol. It covers a spectrum ranging from lists presented by sommeliers in luxury restaurants to simple spaces with a passion for wine.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (8)

Interesting View
These three crimson rays indicate particularly breathtaking sceneries for diners to enjoy while tucking into their food.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (9)

Terrace Dining
The patio parasol represents the option of terrace dining for the diners, or a relaxing meal in an open-air environment.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (10)

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Simple Shop
Simple shops that offer great food despite their casual environment are to be found everywhere and that’s no different from the MICHELIN Guide. Not to be confused with the street food category (reserved mostly for hawker stalls), it denotes a humble space where the service and physical aspects are unfussy.

What The MICHELIN Guide's Symbols Mean (11)

Counter dining
The counter symbol denotes the dining option in an open kitchen concept, where chefs are observed up close from the counters; a full view of the chefs in full action.

About MICHELIN Guide Restaurant Inspectors

Food trends, cooking techniques and dining scenes come and go, but over a century, the MICHELIN Guide has held firm on its founding mission – to foster a culture of travel and eating out – and it’s this promise of helping people that puts the MICHELIN Guide above all other restaurant guides.

MICHELIN Guide Inspector’s Core values:
Anonymity: Although our inspectors are employees of Michelin, they’re above all customers first - just like you. Testing restaurants in complete anonymity in order to ensure that they do not receive any special treatment is essential to the credibility of the MICHELIN Guide.

Independence: Michelin Inspectors are employees of the Michelin Group only and are not linked to any other organisations. Inspectors always pay for their meals in full to ensure independence.

Expertise: Our inspectors are experts in food, dining and hotel sectors with many years of experience working in the hospitality industry.

Reliability: The different categories awarded by the guide are never the result of one inspector’s assessment. Michelin Stars are given by a collective of inspectors who visit the establishment multiple times.

Passion: What would be the point of so much work and such a strict approach if our inspectors weren’t passionate about food? Most Michelin Inspectors have either worked in the hospitality business or cooked in kitchens themselves – rest assured our reviews are written with passion, integrity and knowledge.

Quality: Any restaurant can be reviewed for our guides as long as the establishment is deemed high quality based off Michelin’s 5 restaurant rating criteria.

Michelin Inspector’s 5 Restaurant Rating Criteria:
1. Quality of products
2. Mastery of flavour and cooking techniques
3. The personality of the chef represented in the dining experience
4. Harmony of flavours
5. Consistency between inspectors’ visits

Click here see an interview with a MICHELIN Inspector.

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(Video) What it takes to get a Michelin star | CNBC Reports


What do Michelin symbols mean? ›

Restaurants may receive zero to 3 stars for the quality of their food based on five criteria: quality of the ingredients used, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his cuisine, value for money and consistency between visits.

What do Michelin Guide stars mean? ›

Michelin Guide Star Rating Descriptions

One star: A very good restaurant in its category. Two stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour. Three stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.

What is the Michelin plate symbol? ›

The Michelin Plate symbol is given to a restaurant which has been recognised for its quality, but one which may be still working towards those stars or even a specific award. The restaurant could be fairly new, or even have changed hands.

What do the three Michelin stars represent? ›

Three Stars: The restaurant has exceptional cuisine and thus “worth a special journey” just to visit. Rather than being a stop on the way to a destination, this restaurant is the destination. This restaurant serves distinct dishes that are executed to perfection.

How do you read Michelin? ›

Michelin tire dates can be found in the last grouping of 3 or 4 numbers in the DOT tire code. The first two digits represent the week of manufacture while the last two numbers specify the year the tire was produced. For instance, a DOT code that ends in “0512” means the tire was made in the 5th week of 2012.

What are the Michelin standards? ›

Michelin quantifies one star as being “high-quality cooking, worth a stop”; two stars is for “excellent cooking, worth a detour”; and finally, the prestigious three stars represent “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

Why is it called Michelin Guide? ›

The Michelin name comes from the Michelin brothers, Andre and Edouard. They founded the famous tire company in 1889 and produced the Michelin guide that has evolved into the star-ranking system widely used today.

Who has the highest Michelin star? ›

1. Joël Robuchon: 31 Michelin Stars. Many consider the late French chef Joël Robuchon the best chef of the modern age.

What is the Michelin Red Guide? ›

Michelin Red Guides are hotel and restaurant guides that have an unparalleled reputation for reliability and consistency, which makes extensive use of keyed information to provide detailed and concise reviews.

What do the numbers on Michelin tires mean? ›

After the DOT insignia is your tire's identification number, which begins with the tire's manufacturer and plant code where the tire was manufactured (two numbers or letters). The ninth and tenth characters tell the week the tire was manufactured. The final number(s) signifies the year the tire was manufactured.

What does Michelin Green Star mean? ›

The MICHELIN Green Star is a new benchmark for customers and professionals: inspectors assign the recognition to restaurants within their selections that are the most committed to a more sustainable approach to gastronomy.

How many 3 Michelin stars are there in the world? ›

Holding three Michelin stars is a rare honour few restaurants have achieved, with 137 restaurants from around the world making the prestigious list in 2022.

How many 5 star Michelin restaurants are there in the world? ›

As of 2022, there are about 2,817 Michelin Star restaurants in the world.

What are the two things Michelin is known for? ›

Nope! The Michelin Guide Books today give reviews on both hotels and accommodations, and restaurants. However, it is the restaurant section and culinary awards that the brand is most known for—certainly more than the tyres!

Is there a difference between Michelin star and Michelin Guide? ›

What Michelin stars actually mean. Unlike other systems ranking luxury or quality in the hospitality industry (which typically use a scale of five stars), the Michelin Guide has only three.

What does 5 star Michelin mean? ›

5 stars indicates it is an excellent restaurant, 4 stars a very good restaurant, 3 stars a good restaurant, 2 stars a fair restaurant, 1 star an ok restaurant worthy of mention. No rating means it hasn't been evaluated yet and a 0 star rating would indicate that it's not good and not worthy of mention.

How many MICHELIN Star ratings are there? ›

The annual Michelin Guide was released for California's 2022 selection on Monday night, highlighting the top restaurants in the state ”offering outstanding cooking.” This year, the travel guide recognizes 599 California restaurants. Of those, 89 are given the coveted award: a star.

Who is the #1 chef in the world? ›

Joël Robuchon: 31 stars

Joël Robuchin holds the number one spot amongst the world's top 10 chefs, making him the best chef in the world according to Michelin star ratings.

Do Michelin stars expire? ›

Technically speaking, Michelin stars do expire after the publication of a new Guide. However, most critics and consumers accept that restaurants don't lose and then regain stars year after year. In almost all cases, the decision to revoke a star will not have been taken lightly.

Does Bobby Flay have a Michelin star? ›

Bobby Flay does not currently have any Michelin Stars.

Why is Michelin Guide so important? ›

To help motorists develop their trips - thereby boosting car and tyre sales and in turn - the Michelin brothers produced a small red guide filled with handy information for travellers, such as maps, information on how to change a tyre, where to fill up with fuel, and for the traveller in search of respite from the ...

Who is the best chef in America? ›

Thomas Keller – 7 Michelin stars

He's also the only American chef to hold all six out of his total seven stars simultaneously. One of his five restaurants, three Michelin starred The French Laundry, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and was on two occasions deemed the best restaurant on the planet.

How many Michelin stars does Guy Fieri have? ›

Guy Fieri

Besides his television work, Fieri has written several cookbooks and reportedly owns more than 70 restaurants and 14 brands. And while he does not have a Michelin star to his name, Fieri has other accolades to be proud of.

What city has the most Michelin star restaurants? ›

Tokyo was the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world as of January 2022, with 203 of the Japanese capital's eateries boasting at least one of the tyre giant's coveted stars.

What is the Michelin Green Guide? ›

The Michelin Green Guides review and rate attractions other than restaurants. There is a Green Guide for France as a whole, and a more detailed one for each of ten regions within France. Other Green Guides cover many countries, regions, and cities outside France. Many Green Guides are published in several languages.

What does a red dot on a Michelin tire mean? ›

The red dot indicates the tyre's high point. Most of the time a wheel will also have a dot—either a drilled dot or a sticker to indicate its low point; if you have these marks, you should align the red dot with the mark on the wheel and ignore the yellow dot.

What color is the MICHELIN Guide? ›

About the maps: the Michelin maps are red for the whole country, yellow for regions (such as Provence, Normandy, etc.), and blue for large cities. The red Michelin guide has city plans and is very useful; the green guides also have maps and suggested itineraries.

What does T & H stand for on Michelin tires? ›

The T or H markings on Michelin tires indicate their speed rating. In total, there are 31 tire speed ratings represented by letters. The letter T and H indicate that the tire can withstand a speed of up to 118 mph and 130 mph respectively.

What do tire codes mean? ›

As an example, if a tire size has two sets of numbers (6-12, 5.00-15, 11.2-24), then the first number (5.00-15) is the approximate width in inches, and the second number (5.00-15) is the rim diameter in inches. If a tire size has three sets of numbers (15x6. 00-6, 26x12.

What do the letters on tires mean? ›

A "P" stands for p-metric, which is a tire used primarily on passenger cars. An "LT" indicates a light-truck tire. A "T" means it's a temporary spare. Some tires get a "Z" or an "F" attached to the radial indicator, denoting a Z-rated tire (see service description below) or a run-flat tire.

What is the meaning of Bib Gourmand? ›

The Michelin Bib Gourmand is earned by offering diners a three-course meal at an affordable price. The price limit deliberation varies from country to country and is based on the local cost of living, which means there are no fixed rules for a “Bib” restaurant.

Can you reject a Michelin star? ›

As Michelin Guide international director Michael Ellis told Vanity Fair in 2015: “'You can agree with it or you cannot, but you can't give it back. That's not an issue. ' The giving back of stars — that's 'kind of an urban myth.

Why are Michelin stars removed? ›

Restaurants in the guide are regularly visited by those anonymous Michelin reviewers, and depending on the consistency or improvement in service, more stars could be awarded in subsequent years. Of course if there is inconsistency and things become less than satisfactory, those stars can be taken away.

How many restaurants in the US have a Michelin star? ›

There are hundreds of thousands of restaurants in the world. Of these, under 4,000 restaurants have received a highly coveted Michelin star. In the U.S., there are fewer than 200 restaurants that have earned at least one Michelin star.

Does anywhere have 4 Michelin stars? ›

Perhaps disappointingly, the answer is no - three is still the maximum number of Michelin stars that can be awarded to any one restaurant.

How many American chefs have Michelin stars? ›

In addition, the UK comes next, pipping the US (148), Belgium (129), Switzerland (116) and Netherlands (107).

Why are there no Michelin stars in Boston? ›

“There are additional contingencies to allow a restaurant to feel comfortable without giving away the farm.” Boston lacks Michelin-starred restaurants, and the reason behind that is simple: There is no Michelin Guide for the city.

Is there a 7 star Michelin? ›

Chef Yoshihiro Murata is the only chef in the world to hold seven Michelin stars. He is the third generation of Japanese super chefs to run the century-old Kikunoi restaurant in the Japanese city of Kyoto.

Is Nobu a Michelin star? ›

awarded One Michelin Star (2005); Matsuhisa Beverly Hills and Nobu Las Vegas awarded One Michelin Stars (2007); Nobu San Diego awarded One Michelin Star (2008).

Who has the most 3 Michelin stars? ›

Alain Ducasse, 21 Michelin Stars

Alain Ducasse may easily be the most successful among the world's top 10 chefs. This is what he managed to achieve: Earned his 21 Michelin stars and kept them throughout his career. He is the proud owner of 3 Michelin Stars restaurants.

What is better Bib Gourmand vs Michelin plate? ›

To win a Michelin star, a restaurant should serve unique, boundary-pushing cuisine, while a Bib Gourmand is more likely to offer comforting favourites at their very best.

Who has 3 Michelin stars? ›

They are Alain Roux, Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Gagnaire, Clare Smyth, Hélène Darroze and Alain Ducasse. Take a look at their career to date plus find out how the other guides rate them including Good Food Guide, AA Restaurant Guide and Hardens.

Which US cities have the most Michelin stars? ›

Michelin. Restaurants in the U.S. Receiving a Michelin star is still the highest honor for a restaurant and more than 200 in the United States currently hold the distinction. Michelin-star restaurants cluster around the country's biggest metros and most can be found in New York City.


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