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Aug 9, 2014 11:30 PM

Michelin vs Tabelog - Tokyo Edition

For people who are interested in this sort of thing.


It seems like michelin three stars are, on average, significantly favored on tabelog over one or two stars with an average score of 4.22 but also a sticker price of $320pp.

* - **

One and two star restaurants are indistinguishable - tabelog rating wise - with both categories scoring approximately 3.89. However, two starred restaurants cost $250pp while one star restaurants cost only $166pp, which should teach us that each michelin star is worth about $70-$80 but that you get nothing in terms of quality with the second star.


Finally, in line with this observation, Bib Gourmand places cost an average of $75 and score 3.6 on tabelog.

In each category there are some clear errors by michelin, and the standard deviation is high enough that you can safely make the statement that:

Michelin agrees with Tabelog voters when it comes to the best and most expensive restaurants, but below that level it seems to generally offer mostly the assurance of higher prices for additional stars.

p.s. The high spend is just arbitrarily set to 50000 in the high end places.

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    1. And what about coverage?

      There are 120 restaurants on tabelog that receive food scores above the michelin average for a three star restaurant. There are only 13 three star restaurants listed in the guide.

      What then, does michelin offer?

      1. Higher prices.

      2. A listing of about 10% of the restaurants that are very highly regarded. (***)

      3. Another listing of restaurants that are good, but overall indistinguishable in terms of quality except if they are ** they cost more than if they're *.

      4. A list of Bib gourmand restaurants that seem to be generally above average for their price level.

      I would say using michelin as a guide in Tokyo seems certainly counterproductive (and as described on the board, leads to undue focus on a small set of establishments in each category), except for the fact that restaurants scoring highly will generally tend to be better at dealing with tourists.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Gargle

        For me, the Michelin Guide is just that, a guide. I look at it, research what peaks my interests and make my own decision. End of the day, taste is subjective and you know what you'll like.

        1. re: Sushi Otaku

          Well, yes and no. You see on this board the height of emotions that not being able to get into *** restaurants is evoking in some, and provably an additional star is worth $70pp in Tokyo, so the guide's subjective proclamations are having objective (and it seems generally harmful to diners) effects.

          eta: and of course to say "taste is subjective" seems dismissive of an entire category of reviewing and criticism applied to anything outside the realm of science.

          1. re: Gargle

            It's not dismissive. Subjectivity does not mean that we can't find people with similar likes and within that community can compare notes on where to go to eat.

            I certainly don't expect you to like everything I like but we can certainly find common ground and learn about new places from each other. Food should be enjoyable without having arrows shot at us for expressing a varied opinion

            1. re: Sushi Otaku

              That is exactly being dismissive of the idea of critical analysis :)

              1. re: Gargle

                To me subjectivity means accepting that life is grey and not entirely black and white as you are insisting I accept. Isn't this forum to share discoveries and ideas and not to crap all over someone because they don't share your philosophy?

                Embrace the grey.

                1. re: Sushi Otaku

                  I really don't think it's going to be a productive discussion, so let's just agree that you can embrace the grey (unless it's meatloaf!) and move on.