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City receives culinary nod with Michelin guide

Copies of the 2003 Michelin Red Guide. (file) (AP Photo/Laurent Emmanuel)

November 10, 2010 10:11:01 AM PST
Chicago will join the travel elite when Michelin releases a city guide in November.

The exclusive travel guide that rates restaurants and hotels is offered in only two other U.S. cities- New York and San Francisco. The guide, whose rating system is internationally recognized among the culinary elite, is created in France.

The Michelin Guide Chicago 2011 will rate Chicago restaurants on comfort, food, prices and more.

"We are eagerly anticipating the MICHELIN guide's entry into this wonderful city known for its cuisine, culture, beauty and innovative spirit," said Michelin guide Director Jean-Luc Naret, in a statement.

Chicago has long been a hotspot in the culinary climate with well-known restaurants like Charlie Trotter's namesake restaurant, chef Grant Achatz's Alinea and Rick Bayless' Topolobampo.

A two-year, anonymous inspection of Chicago hotels and restaurants will decide which establishments will be included.

"The Michelin inspectors are the eyes and ears of the customers, and thus the anonymity of our inspectors is key to ensure they are treated the same as any guest would be treated," Naret said.

Selected hotels and restaurants will be listed by Chicago neighborhood and cross-referenced by category. All establishments mentioned in the guide are considered "a quality restaurant that stands out from others", but some will receive distinctions.

The Michelin Ratings

  • Comfort rating: Restaurants receive 1 to 5 forks and spoons on the furnishings, service and ambiance. Hotels receive 1 to 5 pavilions in the same way. Red forks and spoons or red pavilions denote especially pleasant surroundings.
  • Restaurant Stars: Restaurants receive 1 to 5 stars for the quality of food they serve. The rating is specifically just 'what's on the plate.'
    • The star ratings are as follows:
    • One star indicates "a very good restaurant in its category," a place offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.
    • Two stars denote "excellent cooking, worth a detour," skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality.
    • Three stars reward "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." One always eats extremely well here, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.

According to Michelin, a restaurant that receives one or more stars is not only one of the best in its country-- but also one of the best in the world.


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