Michelin dining often comes with connotations of white-gloved waiters and impeccably artful dishes that are simply too pretty to eat. Thankfully, not all Michelin-starred restaurants will leave you with empty wallets, though. Whether your preference is burgers or dim sum, we’ve rounded seven of the most affordable around the world.
1. Carbone, New York
Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick bring back the wonderful excessiveness of mid-20th-century Italian-American dining in this restaurant which occupies the first floor of a red-brick building near Washington Square Park. Inside, tiled floors, azure walls and a palatial gold ceiling scream Tarantino film yet service is anything but smug. The atmosphere is more family-style diner, and classics such as the lobster ravioli, veal parmesan and artichoke hearts are superbly done.
2. Pollen Street Social, London
It doesn’t get more British than this white-walled, wood-board-floor Mayfair establishment helmed by prolific chef Jason Atherton. The menu relies heavily on seasonal produce from all over the UK and can include eel, snails, cultured butter, honey and quail. Each dish – from the Lake District lamp chops to suckling pig – is a work of art, carefully garnished with flowers, herbs and other tiny edibles. Go for the incredibly affordable three-course lunch menu, which can be upgraded to include a sommelier-selected half bottle of wine.
3. Jagger, Copenhagen
Leave it to the Nordics to make burgers desirable. Jagger proudly proclaims itself a fast food joint, but, their six outposts around Copenhagen could pass for sleek coworking spaces. Order at the counter and bring your tray to one of the long tables and slink into a high stool. The burgers are made with 100 percent Danish free-range beef and homemade brioche buns. Try the Jagger Burger, which comes dripping with cheddar cheese, or the pulled pork burger, which consists of pulled pork, red cabbage, pickles and mayo and BBQ sauce.
4. Benoit, Paris
Benoit opened in 1912 and in the more than 100 years since it’s become the quintessential Parisian bistro. Easily recognisable by its faux marble columns, red velvet seats and large paintings rendered life-like with bright lights, Benoit is known for good food served with minimal fuss. Here, you’ll find ox tongue, creamy crayfish soup and gourmet casserole with foie gras and black truffle, and of course, a beautiful selection of French cheeses and wines.
5. Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong
What started as a humble shopfront in Hong Kong’s gritty Mong Kok district has become an institution for cheap dim sum today. Chain restaurant Tim Ho Wan serves BBQ pork buns, turnip cakes and a tantalising array of freshly-made dim sums including Cantonese-style har gow and shumai and an inventive pork dumpling in hot and spicy sauce in its outposts around Asia, including its one-Michelin-star Sham Shui Po branch. Just mark your choices on an order sheet, like at any mom-and-pop restaurant.
6. Liao Fan Hawker Chan, Singapore
The first hawker to be awarded a Michelin star, fame has not gone to chef Chan Hon Meng’s head. Liao Fan Hawker Chan has since moved from its stall in Singapore’s Chinatown Food Centre to a lively, orange-and-yellow-coloured shophouse on Smith Street but serves the same delicious Hong Kong-style chicken rice soaked in soya sauce. Other standouts include the wanton soup, char siu noodles and hor fun, a local delicacy consisting of stir-fried rice noodles cooked with meat and vegetables.
7. Jay Fai, Bangkok
The goggles-sporting 70-something Jay Fai (real name Supinya Junsuta) is as much of an icon as the crab omelette she fries from her corner shophouse on Maha Chai Road. Her eponymous bare-bones eatery serving wok-fried seafood is Bangkok’s first street hawker to be awarded a Michelin star. Prepare to work up a sweat – the old fans, while charming, provide little reprieve – while noshing on football-sized omelettes, dry congee and drunken noodles with seafood.