If you’ve been anywhere near the internet today, you must have heard about how the hallowed Sukiyabashi Jiro — of ‘Jiro Dreams Of Sushi’ fame — was dropped entirely from the Michelin guide. Their rationale? Less to do with the quality of the food, but more about the opaqueness and difficulty in actually securing a seat in the 10-top restaurant: Reportedly, you have to be either a regular, book through the concierge of select luxury hotels, or “have special connections.”
But we don’t think Jiro Ono is too hung up about being dropped. After all, it’s sushi that Jiro dreams of, not Michelin stars.
For those who’ve kept a special place for Sukiyabashi Jiro in their foodie bucket lists, don’t despair: Fill the void with one of these five 3-star Michelin restaurants that are definitely worth making the trip for.
La Pergola, Rome
Some say that you shouldn’t expect to find good food at any sort of scenic restaurant: That is to say, the main focus at a restaurant with a good view is, well, the view. La Pergola subverts the trope with not only a breathtaking view of the Eternal City, but by serving up Mediterranean cuisine that’s as clever as it is comfortingly delicious.
There’s even an extensive water menu to accompany the wine, to give you an idea of the very-Italian level of flamboyance here. La Pergola is a destination in itself, built around a private rooftop garden and filled with a museum’s worth of art.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London
Given the many shows that Ramsay himself appears on, it’s reassuring to know that the man behind the memes and quotable insults is still a fantastic chef. His flagship restaurant is the aptly-named Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London, and it certainly lives up to its namesake.
The polished French restaurant serves up elegant food that’s balanced and ‘confident’, as the Michelin guide says, and the atmosphere is, thankfully, a soothing one; We’ve never been back in the kitchen, though, but we’re sure the warm staff will offer you a sneaky peek.
Le Bernardin, New York
There are some places that are so storied that some would rather rebuild the entire city around it, rather than change a brick on the original place. New York’s Le Bernardin is one of them. This 33-year-old seafood restaurant is virtually an institution famed for courting the city’s glitterati over the decades — and how.
It thrums with energy from power lunches in the afternoon and winds down in the evening for a more romantic vibe, but through it all shines Eric Ripert’s outstanding seafood that always hits the mark. There’s also an innovative vegetarian tasting menu that might convince the most die-hard carnivore to give it a try.
If Muji and Marie Kondo are anything to go by, you know that the Japanese aesthetic is characterised by a pleasing sense of minimalism and sparseness. Three-starred Kanda fits right into that narrative, with an eight-seater sushi counter and a separate private room that seats eight.
The intimate kaiseki restaurant has retained its top Michelin rating for the last 13 years running, perhaps for its personable take on food: There’s supposedly no written menu because owner Hiroyuki Kanda believes that food shouldn’t be ‘one-size-fits-all’.
Le Pré Catelan, Paris
Le Pré Catelan might be situated in Paris, but to visit it is to take a step back in time. Located in the verdant Bois de Boulogne — former royal hunting grounds — this haute French restaurant was designed by famed hospitality architect Pierre Yves Rochon, who uses a sophisticated palate of monochrome and green to give the space class, without feeling excessive.
The restaurant is a tranquil haven free from drama and set-dressing, and the food reflects this as well. Dishes are poised and carefully crafted — there are no pretences here, only good old French cuisine.