Michelin Tokyo 2012


At sfreelife, Tokyo is THE ultimate gastronomic destination. Hence, the annual release of the Michelin guide was much-anticipated. The Michelin Red Guide 2012 cover ,in addition to  Tokyo, Yokohama and Kamakura, new areas such as  Shonan. , Yokosuka, Hayama, Zushi, Fujisawa, Chigasaki, Hiratsuka, Oiso, Odawara, and Yugawara. Highlights include:

– 17 restaurants earned three stars (o): 16 in Tokyo, 1 in Shonan
– Sushi Yoshitake in Tokyo joins the selection with direct three stars – Ryugin is promoted from two stars to three stars – Koan in Shonan (Fujisawa) joins with three stars
– 57 restaurants earned two stars (n): 52 in Tokyo, 3 in Yokohama, 2 in Shonan
(including 1 ryokan)
– 5 restaurants in Tokyo join the selection with two stars and 4 restaurants are promoted from one star to two stars – 1 restaurant in Yokohama is promoted from one star to two stars – 1 restaurant in Shonan (Kamakura) is promoted from one star to two stars
– 1 ryokan in Shonan joins the selection with two stars – 1 Korean restaurant in Tokyo joins the selection with two stars (and becomes the first Korean restaurant in the world to achieve this award)
– 219 restaurants earned one star (m): 179 in Tokyo, 14 in Yokohama, 26 in Shonan – 54 restaurants join the selection with one star (34 in Tokyo, 2 in Yokohama, 18 in Shonan)

-Japanese-influenced cuisine dominates, making up 70% of the list. The remainder is mostly Italian, Spanish and French cuisine.

More significantly, with these new 3-star additions, Japan has now 32 3-star restaurants as compared to 25 in France (2012 edition yet to be released).

(source : Michelin, WSJ)

As to Sfreelife’s view on this new list , RYUGIN certainly surprised us in gaining the 3rd star , although scouring around the web would find most reviewers (notably from the western world) seeming to agree with Michelin inspectors. We’ve been to RYUGIN twice and there really wasn’t glimpse of a 3-star calibre. Make no mistake – it’s one of the best place you could eat in Tokyo but we’ve been to many 3-stars and we wouldn’t consider RYUGIN deserving.

Sushi Yoshitake ,which had hitherto been unheard of, joins the top-most echelon of sushi-ya including Jiro, Mizutani, Araki and Saito. We’ve been to all , and several more 2-star places including the incomparable SAWADA, and if Yoshitake could be mentioned in the same breath as these, we wish we could fly over and taste right now! Certainly a sfreelife 2012 new-year resolution!

Here’s a tabelong link to Sushi Yoshitake http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130103/13024076/

We are disappointed that several ‘certainly deserving’ 2 star restaurants , namely KIKUNOI , SAWADA, KODAMA, KADOWAKI did not get the 3rd star, although in Kikunoi’s case, there seem to be an ‘unspoken rule’ that restaurant outposts (branch) are capped at 2 stars. Chef Murata mentioned this to us and even suggested that he would definitely get the 3rd star for his Akasaka branch if he’d done a ‘thomas keller’ by completely renaming his 2nd restaurant as opposed to being simply a ‘branch’ of the Kyoto Kikunoi. L’Atelier concepts, following the same reasoning, have never been bestowed more than 2 stars as the Joel Robuchon fine dining restautants are considered the ‘main’ in each country.




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