A Michelin star is synonymous with exquisite food served in an amazing environment. Whilst many of us would like to try the Michelin dining experience, we worry that it is simply out of our price range!
We believe the best food must cost a fortune, but is this true? How much does it cost on average to eat at a Michelin star restaurant?
I completed some research comparing prices from different Michelin star level restaurants to put together this comprehensive guide on how much it costs to eat the finest cuisine. Be warned though, some of the price tags are eye watering!
How Much Does It Cost To Eat At A 3 Michelin Star Restaurant?
The average cost to eat in a 3 Michelin star restaurant in the UK is £192 Per Person. This is the cost for a meal, plus any gratuity the restaurant automatically adds to the bill. Some of the restaurants we looked at have many extra costs that must be factored in.
As we can see from the above table there is a large range in prices between how much the different three star restaurants charge per customer.
Throughout this article, the gratuity percentage has been added on when a restaurant specifically states that a ‘discretionary gratuity’ will be added to a diner’s bill. If they do not add it automatically, or they are not as upfront about this charge, then I have listed the gratuity as N/A.
It is wort pointing out though that a fine dining establishment such as these will expect a tip at the end of the meal. It would be a very brazen customer, or someone who had a very poor meal, to not tip the staff!
Heston Blumenthal’s ‘The Fat Duck’ is the most expensive restaurant to eat at in the UK with an eye watering price of £325 per person! That doesn’t include the gratuity or the cost of the drinks!
The cheapest 3 Michelin star restaurant to eat at in the UK is CORE by Clare Smyth, with a very reasonable (by comparison to the others) £125 per person. There is no automatically added gratuity here, but the drinks are still an extra expense.
In reality, anyone hoping to enjoy a 3 Michelin star restaurant experience for two will expect to spend at least £300 including tips and any small drinks they have.
This kind of price tag for a meal puts the finest cuisine out of the reach of many people!
Perhaps we can find some lower priced, but still excellent cuisine at the two Michelin star level?
How Much Does It Cost To Eat At A 2 Michelin Star Restaurant?
The average cost to eat in a 2 Michelin Star restaurant in the UK is £160 Per Person. This is the cost for a meal plus any gratuity the restaurant automatically adds to the bill. There is a wide range of prices in the restaurants we surveyed, which is worth exploring further.
As we can see from the table above the range in prices can be quite dramatic. The lowest priced 2 Michelin Star restaurant in our sample of the UK was Le Gavroche at £80 per person.
The most expensive 2 Michelin Star restaurant in the UK according to our sample was Midsummer House at £230 per person. A meal for two, plus any drinks or gratuities equates to around £500 or more.
We notice that the cost to eat at a 2 Michelin star restaurant can be significantly cheaper than a 3 star restaurant. Whilst it is still a very large sum of money and out of the reach of most people, for others this does provide some access to the finest dining.
2 Michelin Star restaurants are still relatively rare in the UK as it is an extremely high level for a place to achieve. As such the cost of travelling too, or possibly an overnight stay at the venue should not be overlooked.
These kind of price tags are still far beyond what most people would feel comfortable paying for a meal.
Maybe we can find prices that are more accessible for the general public down at the 1 Michelin star level?
How Much Does It Cost To Eat At A 1 Michelin Star Restaurant?
The average cost to eat in a 1 Michelin Star restaurant in the UK is £98 Per Person. This is the average cost for a meal plus any gratuity the restaurant automatically adds to the bill. However, our survey showed a wide range of prices between the various venues.
As readers can see from the table above, there are more dining options in the £70-£80 range than the £100 and above range, so the average figure given may be slightly higher than is fair. This number could be skewed by the few places that charge significantly more.
One Michelin star restaurants vary so much that it can be difficult to get an accurate reflexion of price. The type of cuisine offered can vary from very formal, white linen table cloth style settings, to much more relaxed gastro pub type venues.
In my home town of Bristol there is an excellent tapas bar Paco Tapas, that has been awarded a Michelin Star. This type of cuisine makes excellent food a lot more accessible.
The prices are clearly stated on the menu so diners can order as much or as little as they are comfortable with.
One Star cuisine is still very pricey though. Many people cannot justify to themselves spending a large sum of money on something they eat. For others it is the dining experience that justifies the cost, not just the actual food which goes in their mouths!
We’ll end this article but looking at why Michelin star cooking carries the high price tag that it does. Are the prices justified, or is it a case of the restaurant cashing in on the notoriety that a Michelin star brings?
Why Is Michelin Star Food So Expensive?
The main reason why Michelin star restaurants are so expensive is the time that it takes to prepare each dish. Many hours of love and labour go into creating each element on the plate and the high prices are needed to offset some of this cost.
High level restaurants, whether they have a Michelin star or not, will have a large kitchen brigade working long hours to produce the dishes which end up in front of the customers. This equates to a larger wage bill than places offering simpler cuisine that can be produced by fewer chefs.
This higher wage cost is offset in some ways by the higher prices which are charged.
The type of meal and experience the customer is receiving is also a big factor in the high prices that are charged.
The prices quoted in this article are set prices for menus of at least 3 courses. The idea being that the customer usually has restricted choice. The diners sole job is to sit back and enjoy the food that the Head Chef sends out to them.
Looked at this way it begins to make sense why many see it as an experience and much more than a simple meal. Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck is known for wowing guests with the theater of the meal. The aim being that they leave having had an unforgettable experience.
It is this marketing as an experience, rather than food on a plate, that allows restaurants to charge the high prices they do.
One thing to point out here is that a Michelin star is no guarantee of success. Plenty of Michelin star restaurants fail each year along with other restaurants in the wider catering industry.
The high prices charged are necessary to offset the high costs these restaurants carry. It is not a given that a Michelin star restaurant will produce a profit.
In fact, for many years some of the best restaurants where known for running at a financial loss. Instead of concerning themselves with making a profit, they were used as flagships for the celebrity chefs that own them to show case their talents.
On a personal note I do find it a shame that the prices charged make the experiences out of the reach of many. My only experience of trying 2 Michelin Star cuisine was when I worked in the kitchen for some experience! I’ve never been able to sit in a restaurant of that quality and take it all in as a customer would.
That does lead us on to a big perk of being a chef and that is the ability to try great cuisine without actually having to pay for it!
Anyone who is reading this hoping to one day try 3 Michelin star cuisine, why not apply to do one weeks work experience in the kitchen? That way we get to try all the great food, learn lots of techniques and are effectively working for our dinner. Brilliant!