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Luxe Life Guide To Michelin Star Restaurants

What’s the difference between a 1 Michelin star restaurant, 2 Michelin star restaurant and a 3 Michelin star restaurant?

You may think that at that level, the distinction between food at the Michelin Star Restaurants would be comparable. You would be very wrong.

Although I grew up in rural Illinois, about 45 minutes outside of Chicago, I have become a HUGE food snob. Dinners of mac and cheese, fish sticks, taco Tuesday, and the like, have given way to decadent dallies at the finest restaurants in the country. 

I have eaten at La Bernadin, Aquavit and the lovely French Cafe Boulud near Central Park in New York. Pineapple and Pearls, Blue Duck Tavern and Fiola Mare in DC, Le Cirque and Joel Robuchon’s Restaurant in Las Vegas. And the coup de gras has to be the Inn at Little Washington. We ate here on December 23rd and it was a dinner that was truly unforgettable.

One Michelin Star Restaurants

The following restaurants have one star. The Blue Duck Tavern in DC is a fantastic breakfast spot. The menu is creative, fun and delicious. Service in a one Michelin Star restaurant is much better than you would normally receive. The attention to detail is there but lacking. The ambiance is good but the restaurant holds a lot of tables. I prefer the solace of dining with only a few other patrons. NYC Cafe Boulud is a quaint, french restaurant with the most amazing bread cart you have ever seen. Fiola Mare in DC is the quintessential seafood restaurant. I tried plaice for the first time here. It’s delicate flavor was perfect. Le Cirque is one of the places that you have to go to when in Vegas. The classic cuisine was great. It was however, unremarkable. I quite honestly can’t even remember what I ate here. The food is excellent, the decor is elegant, the service was very good. Attention to detail is what is lacking at one star Michelin restaurants. The food is amazing, the service is great but I’ve had better.

Two Michelin Star Restaurants

2 Michelin Star restaurants are clearly better than the one. Aquavit, a Scandinavian favorite was beautifully decorated. We had a large staff devoted to our table. They wore black and stood at the rear of the room at all times. I have to say, it was sort of unsettling. They seemed stiff and austere. I prefer a quiet, a little spot where my other half and I can forget about the rest of the world and get taken away by the ecstasy of what we’re eating. The fish was tasty, their signature dessert bird’s nest was beautiful. However, there was more thought put into the presentation than the taste. Ideally, it should be a marriage between the two. I found it a bit lacking.

Pineapple and Pearls in DC is a gem. We ate there recently and were seated at the bar. The alcohol pairings were on point and brought out the rich nuances of everything we ate. It was a leisurely, relaxed dining experience. The food was spectacular. The staff was friendly and not intimidating in the least. It is one of my new favorite places to eat!  The plates were the perfect size, the timing was right and the fellow patrons conversed easily. I highly recommend it. 

Three Michelin Star Restaurants

Joel Robuchon is the only 3 Michelin Star restaurant in Vegas. It is also touted as the “most expensive restaurant in the country.” I loved the small, intimate setting here. The decor was decadent, luxurious. The food was amazing, the timing was perfect and the service was out of this world. 

La Bernadin in NY is a cut above the rest. My other half loves French food so this was right up his alley. The sommelier paired the wine perfectly. The food was amazing and tasted perfect. We did have to hurry through dinner a bit because we had tickets to a show. The rush we were in dimmed the experience for me but that only means I will have to go back 🙂

My all time favorite thus far was the Inn at Little Washington. Tucked away in the mountains of Northern Virginia, this hotel and restaurant are a once in a lifetime experience. We were there near Christmas so it was dressed up in holiday lights and had a beautiful holiday feel. It was a perfectly executed delight. Every detail was attended to. The timing of each plate was impeccable. The taste was beyond description. The presentation was immaculate. The truffle popcorn is to die for. The recipe is luckily on their website! And the dessert was perfect, absolutely divine. Usually overlooked, for me it was a sign that every last bite mattered to this monument to taste buds and elegance. I will remember this dinner for years to come. It was truly something unexpected and wonderful. 

A 3 Michelin Star Restaurant to me is like an elegant ballet. From the moment you walk in and sit down, you are treated like royalty. No detail is left to chance. It is a beautifully orchestrated dance of taste, presentation, timing and perfect service. If you have never been to a 3 Michelin Star Restaurant, it should be on everyone’s bucket list. Save your money as you would for a trip to Hawaii. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of and worth every single penny.