May 27, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

Famous Restaurants That Have LOST Michelin Stars


The Michelin Man

Getting a Michelin star is considered the ultimate achievement in the world of fine dining—but once you have it, you have to keep up appearances. These famous restaurants proved that Michelin can give...and Michelin can take away.

Msgallery

The Araki London

Mitsuhiro Araki already had a three star restaurant back in Japan, but when The Araki London got its third star in 2018, it was the first Japanese restaurant in Britain to earn the distinction. It has since lost those stars—and the reason why is a matter of controversy.

The Araki LondonChrispictures, Shutterstock

Fair or Not?

The United Kingdom no longer has a three star Japanese restaurant, because when Araki left his longtime protege in charge of his restaurant, Michelin decided to have the restaurant start from scratch. Many, such as Eater London, were frustrated by the decision.

owner and chef of the Sushi restaurant TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA, Getty Images

L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges

They called Paul Bocuse "The Pope of French Cooking," and his cathedral was L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges, located below the same room that Bocuse was born and died in. L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges was considered a three Michelin star restaurant for 55 years. 

When it lost a star in 2020, it created a massive controversy.

L'auberge Pont De CollongesArnaud 25, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Was It The Right Move?

Chef Paul Bocuse passed in 2018, in the same room above his restaurant in which he was born. Two years later, the Michelin guide downgraded his restaurant from three stars to two, ended its record 55-year streak at the top. 

While inspectors claimed the food was "no longer at the level of three stars," chef Marc Veyrat called the decision "pathetic".

Star chef Paul Bocuse Gordito1869, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Blue Duck Tavern

The Blue Duck Tavern quickly changed the face of the Washington DC fine-dining scene with its farm-to-table offerings sourced from the local Chesapeake watershed. 10 years after it opened, the Blue Duck earned a star when Michelin finally came through DC. 

Then, in 2020, Michelin removed it from their DC guide without any further comment

The Blue Duck TavernEQRoy, Shutterstock

Baumé

Husband and wife Bruno and Christie Chemel are the only two employees at Baumé, one of the Bay Area's finest French restaurants. The restaurant earned a Michelin star after its first year, and a second star after that. Bruno used to call their restaurant "the only two star restaurant with two staff members".

He used to—and they didn't hire more staff.

Baumé restaurantYngvadottir, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Covid Cost Them

In 2020, the Chemels pivoted to offering four course takeout meals before returning to limited dinner service in 2021. Apparently they were still off their game, because Baumé didn't make the Michelin list in 2021.

2 Michelin starsMircea Moira, Shutterstock

Craft

Before Top Chef, Tom Colicchio started some of the most popular restaurants in New York City. The Gramercy Tavern is the most popular, but the nearby Craft, which opened in spring 2001, offered simple "comfort cooking" that New Yorkers—and the Michelin Guide—adored. At least, for a while.

Craft RestaurantEdwin Land, Flickr

Nothing Lasts Forever

Tom Colicchio was doing juuust fine in 2007, but one thing that had to sting was when Craft lost its Michelin Star in that year's guide. At least the Gramercy Tavern still has one.

Tom ColicchioDavid Shankbone, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Gordon Ramsay at The London - Two Stars

Gordon Ramsay got his first two Michelin stars at Aubergine in 1993, followed by a full three stars for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. In 2006, he opened Gordon Ramsay at the London, his first American restaurant, in New York City. It quickly got two Michelin stars. Then things went downhill.

 Gordon RamsayRoidRanger, Shutterstock

Ramsay Only In Name

After getting his stars, Ramsey sold his restaurant at the London, on the agreement they could keep using the name. The quality plummeted immediately, and when the Michelin guide next came through, they gave it zero stars.

It's the first time ever a restaurant went from two to zero stars, and Ramsay reportedly wept when he found out.

Gordon RamseyJo-h, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Hawker Chan

The soya chicken and rice plate at Hawker Chan in Singapore only costs $2.25 USD—but they only make 200 dishes a day and you have to wait in line for hours to get it. Apparently, it's worth the wait, because Chef Chan Hon Meng's food stall became the cheapest-ever Michelin starred dish in 2016, with one star.

Hawker ChanChoo Yut Shing, Flickr

What Happened

After earning the Michelin star, demand for Hawker Chan exploded. The brand has been franchised to both Thailand and the Philippines since that first Michelin star. Did the food get worse in the expansion? Well, when Michelin returned in 2016, Hawker Chan was not featured, though no one from Michelin has explained why.

Hawker ChanAlpha, Flickr

La Maison des Bois

Chef Marc Veyrat is no fan of the Michelin guide, and it's not hard to see why. His restaurant La Maison de Bois high in the French Alps received three stars in 2018—but the following year, they downgraded it to two stars for the cardinal sin of using cheddar cheese in a soufflé. Then things got messy.

la maison des boisDaniel Jolivet, Flickr

I'll See You In Court

When Michelin removed their star, Veyrat hit back by demanding La Maison de Bois be removed from the guide altogether. When Michelin refused, a long court case ensued, with both Veyrat and Michelin trading lawsuits. The end result? Veyrat paid $30,000 in damages to Michelin...and La Maison de Bois remains in the guide. Two stars.

Marc VeyratArnaud 25, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Restaurant Marco Pierre White

Getting two Michelin stars only made Marco Pierre White want more. He opened Restaurant Marco Pierre White in London's Hyde Park Hotel specifically to try and get three stars. He got his third star, becoming the youngest chef ever to do it at age 33, but it still wasn't enough. 

London's Hyde Park HotelAnother Believer, CC BY-SA 4.0 , Wikimedia Commons

The Stars Retired With Him

After getting three stars, White next wanted to earn Michelin's five red forks and knives, five for the most luxurious restaurants in the world, and red for achieving a "pleasant atmosphere". White achieved everything you can with the Michelin guide, so when he retired, each of his accolades was returned.

The Restaurant Marco Pierre White had to re-earn its stars under new chef Robert Reid. This time, it only got one star, and it closed not long after.

English chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre WhiteJohn Downing, Getty Images

Spago

Wolfgang Puck's Spago was at the center of a revolution in American food focused on fresh, seasonal farm-to-table ingredients. It being a hot spot of Hollywood celebrities didn't hurt either. It eventually spread to multiple locations in Los Angeles, but was still worthy of two Michelin stars when the guide came to Los Angeles for the first time in 2008. But the relationship between the Michelin Guide and Los Angeles is...complicated.

Spago Los AngelesAlan Light, Flickr

Michelin and LA Do Not Get Along

Not long after Michelin first toured Los Angeles, they slandered LA diners as "not real foodies" and abandoned the city for nine years. They finally returned in 2019—and Wolfgang Puck joined Gordon Ramsay on the list of celebrity chefs whose restaurants lost all their Michelin stars.

Wolfgang Puck at the original SpagoAlan Light, Flickr

The Star Inn at Harome

British pubs and the French Michelin Guide aren't exactly close buddies, so it was a big deal when The Star Inn at Harome—so-named because of chefs Andrew and Jacquie Pern's goal—became the second British pub ever to get a Michelin star. 

The Star Inn subsequently shaped the evolution of the modern gastropub—but is that a good thing?

The Star Inn at HaromeChris Heaton, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Are Gastropubs Over?

As the style of the Star Inn became more and more ubiquitous, it's not too surprising that Michelin left the pub out of their guide in 2011. By then, 10 pubs made the guide, and apparently the Star Inn was behind the times. But there's a happy ending: The Star got its star back in 2015.

The Star Inn at duskcolin grice, Shutterstock

Sukiyabashi Jiro

The Michelin Guide wasn't ready for Tokyo. When they released their first Tokyo Michelin Guide in 2007, they gave the city even more three star restaurants than Paris. But the very first three star award went to Sukiyabashi Jiro, Jiro Ono's 10-seat sushi bar in a Tokyo subway station, subject of the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams Of Sushi.

Inside Sukiyabashi JiroCity Foodsters, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Does Not Apply

Sukiyabashi Jiro is still considered the best sushi restaurant in the world—but it no longer has any Michelin stars because of a technicality. Michelin only included restaurants that are open to the general public. Since 2019, seats at Sukiyabashi Jiro are only available through a concierge at a luxury hotel, so it is no longer eligible for Michelin status.

Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurantThe White House, Wikimedia Commons

Le Suquet

Le Suquet, chef Michel Bras' in the countryside of the south of France, is considered a pioneering restaurant in the modern world of fine dining. It earned the coveted three stars from the Michelin Guide in 1999—but for some people, Michelin stars can be more like a blessing that a curse.

French chef Michel Bras in the kitchenJean-Marc CHARLES, Getty Images

Spread Your Wings

The Michelin Guide's expectations are incredibly rigorous and rigid. They have always favored certain kinds of restaurants over others, and some chefs say that trying to maintain stars is restrictive. 

When Michel Bras' son Sébastien took over Le Suquet, he kept up with the Michelin guide for eight years, but the pressure was so intense that in 2017 he actually requested to be left out of the guide, so it lost its three star status. (They came back in 2019. Two stars.)

French chef Sebastien BrasAFP Contributor, Getty Images

Tour d'Argent

There aren't many restaurants that can claim a medieval king dined there. Tour d'Argent overlooks the river Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral. Centuries after King Henri IV allegedly got lunch there, Tour d'Argent earned the full three stars in the first ever Michelin guidebook. But maybe it's starting to show its age.

Tour D'argent Paris FranceRiggwelter, CC BY-SA 4.0 , Wikimedia Commons

Showing Your Age

Maybe Tour d'Argent is getting a little too old. In 1996, Michelin downgraded it to two stars. The owner assured the press that they'd get the star back...but since 2016, Tour d'Argent has been a one star restaurant.

La Tour d'argentÉole Wind, Flickr


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