While many would expect Paris to have the best restaurants in the world, there are currently more Michelin starred restaurants in Tokyo, including fourteen restaurants with a coveted three star status. In comparison, as of 2012, Paris had only ten restaurants with this status.
These stars are awarded by the French tire company Michelin, as a means of distinguishing excellent cuisine in their famous hotel and restaurant guides. Michelin guides have been published for over 100 years. During most of the 21st century, the Michelin company concentrated chiefly on Europe, but released a guide to the United States in 2005 and a guide to Tokyo in 2007.
The number of Michelin stars awarded in Tokyo has led to controversy, as some Westerners have accused Michelin of courting Japanese brand recognition in order to sell tires.
More about Tokyo cuisine:
- Several of the restaurants in Japan that were awarded Michelin stars refused them, fearing that they would be overrun by new customers and quality would suffer.
- Japanese chefs have enjoyed a long association with French cuisine and several of the restaurants in Tokyo with Michelin stars serve French food.
- Tokyo has about 160,000 restaurants, while Paris has only about 15,000.