Travelling the world and indulging in diverse cuisines has long been a key motivation behind why we travel and is a thrilling aspect of globetrotting. From savouring Asian street food bursting with flavours, to relishing the timeless classics of European cuisine, exploring different dishes allows us to embark on a cultural journey through taste.

But what if we told you that you can experience the finest culinary delights from around the world, without emptying your wallet?

As a travel money provider, we analysed over 16,000 restaurants listed within the MICHELIN Guide to help reveal the ultimate cities for budget-friendly, quality dining around the world.  We looked for the places with the cheapest MICHELIN recommended restaurants that can make your foodie adventures not only delicious but also affordable, helping your holiday cash go further.

What is the MICHELIN Guide?

The MICHELIN Guide is an internationally renowned symbol of culinary excellence, with a legacy spanning over a century.

Guided by a team of anonymous and experienced inspectors, the MICHELIN Guide evaluates restaurants using a meticulous process that focuses on the quality of ingredients, the skill of the chef, the harmony of flavours, the creativity of the cuisine, and consistency across multiple visits.

The MICHELIN Star (or Stars) is the most well-known of accolades awarded by the guide. But they also give awards such as the Green Star which acknowledges sustainable practices, and the Bib Gourmand, a distinction given to restaurants deemed to be exceptional value for money.

For our research all restaurants included within the guide, not just those with MICHELIN Stars or Bib Gourmands, have been included within our findings.

Using MICHELIN’s own pricing criteria, we only included restaurants where on average diners can get a full meal for less than £25, $25 or €35.

The top cities for budget-friendly MICHELIN dining in Europe

With the most popular tourist destinations for us Brits being closer to home, we wanted to start by taking a look towards our neighbours in Europe, to find the best cities for affordable MICHELIN dining on the Continent.

Paris and Copenhagen serve up affordable taste sensations.

Our research found that Copenhagen and Paris are the best European cities for budget-friendly MICHELIN dining, each home to 14 affordable restaurants listed in the Guide.



Known for its innovative and quirky food scene, Copenhagen is home to a diverse range of quality restaurants that suit any budget. You’ll find everything from traditional Scandinavian cooking specialists, preparing recipes passed down for generations, to restaurants serving modern and highly experimental dishes not found anywhere else.  There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants dotted around Copenhagen, making it a great place to visit for those who follow a meat-free diet

If travelling to Copenhagen, be sure to try a Smørrebrød, Denmark’s famous open-faced sandwich built on a thin layer of dense sourdough rye bread and often topped with cold meats, fish or cheese. For one of the best places to try the dish, look no further than budget-friendly and MICHELIN recommended Restaurant Carl Nielson – a ‘lunch-restaurant’ famous for top quality Smørrebrød that’s packed with colour and flavour.


A Parisian restaurant

Sharing the top spot and famed for its Nouvelle Cuisine, traditional cooking, and being the training ground of some of the world’s most revered chefs, Paris has a reputation as the epicentre of gastronomy. However, as with many restaurants featuring within the research, the findings show that fine dining doesn’t have to cost the earth.

If you’re after classic French dining without the price tag, then look no further than À la Biche au Bois on avenue Ledru-Rollin. Located slightly off the beaten path, you’ll find many local regulars giving the restaurant a lively and welcoming atmosphere. Come hungry as the restaurant specialises in hearty French cooking, with big portions and even bigger flavour.

Top 10 European cities for budget-friendly MICHELIN dining

City No. of restaurants
Copenhagen 14
Paris 14
Prague 13
Lyon 10
Naples 9
Vienna 8
Milan 6
Warsaw 6
Belgrade 6
Florence 5

The top cities for budget-friendly MICHELIN dining around the world

Tokyo takes the crown

Ramen dish

Expanding our search further across the globe, we found that the Japanese capital of Tokyo takes the number one spot with a whopping 77 budget-friendly restaurants listed within the MICHELIN Guide.

Famed for its vibrant food scene consisting of bustling food markets, high-end restaurants and highly skilled chefs, Tokyo is one of the most exciting culinary destinations in the world.  And the sheer volume of affordable MICHELIN restaurants in Tokyo makes it the ultimate city for quality dining on a budget. 

In fact, there are three restaurants included in the list that have even been awarded the highly coveted MICHELIN Star: Sosakumenkobo Nakiryu, Konjiki Hototogisu and Chukasoba Ginza Hachigou.

All three of these restaurants specialise in ramen, a traditional Asian noodle dish served in a broth, and are the only three ramen restaurants in the world to be awarded a MICHELIN Star. As such, they are extremely popular amongst locals and tourists alike. So, expect a queue!

A word of warning though – all three of these restaurants are cash only, so be sure to bring some travel money with you to avoid disappointment.

Second for Seoul

Securing second place is Seoul, South Korea’s vibrant capital. With 59 budget-friendly restaurants featured in the MICHELIN guide, Seoul's culinary scene offers a vast array of cuisines and culinary options. From the high-end establishments that line Gangnam’s streets to the local vendors and street stalls at Dongdaemun’s markets serving local cuisines such as Bibimbap, Kimchi and Korean BBQ – there’s something for all tastes and budgets.


Seoul is also home to two budget-friendly restaurants that have been awarded the MICHELIN Green Star, an award that symbolises the marriage of culinary excellence with sustainable practices. Hwanggeum Kongbat, a restaurant tucked away in Ahyeon-dong and specialising in rustic homemade bean curd, was given the award for its ongoing commitment to sustainability and its use of fresh local ingredients sourced directly from suppliers which are delivered straight to the restaurant.

The other Seoul restaurant that holds the Green Star is A Flower Blossom on the Rice, a health-conscious eatery serving vegan and vegetarian food. The restaurant sources 95% of its ingredients from farms which have been awarded organic, eco-friendly, animal welfare, non-pesticide, organic processing, and biodynamic certifications.

Top 10 cities for budget-friendly MICHELIN dining worldwide

City No. of restaurants
Tokyo 77
Seoul 59
Osaka 46
Bangkok 43
Kyoto 40
Taipei 40
Tainan 35
Guangzhou 24
George Town 23
Taichung 22

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