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Episode 13 – what its like to eat at a michelin rated restaurant


Episode 13 - what its like to eat at a michelin rated restaurant

and how to chose your next experience

Show Notes

What it’s like to eat at a Michelin rated restaurant and how to choose so your next visit is not a disappointment. You’re listening to the daidokoro video podcast. Hi, I’m Pat Tokuyama and you’re about to discover some of the tastiest ways to feed your mind, body, and soul. A pharmacist by training, you may know me as the founder of all day I eat like a shark, the food blog, YouTube channel, or as author of several Japanese cookbooks. If you desire to live a healthy life and are looking for a different way forward with a hunger for growth, then this video podcast is for you!


 Daidokoro is a Japanese term for kitchen. And I’m glad you’re here! With each episode, we’re going to be bringing clarity to your cooking by blending Japanese tradition and life lessons into bite-sized bits that even a shark would enjoy. Ready to make some magic happen?


So one of the things that I have started to appreciate, as I have gotten older and started to really enjoy food is fine dining. When I was younger, like in high school college, when I didn’t really care about food fine dining would have been the last thing on my list of things that I wanted to do. But ever since I have, I guess sort of developed my palate and really gotten into food, not only cooking it, but as well as eating it and enjoying it things that I have started to appreciate is fine dining to define fine dining. 

So we’re on the same page, I would say that it is a restaurant, usually where there’s a white tablecloth, you have either a set meal or a tasting menu. 

So it’s something like a prefixe, maybe three to five courses or more than that, or a tasting where you have a lot of different plates. And generally you’re going to be spending at least one plus hour there to enjoy the food. I remember one of the first Michelin rated restaurants that I ate at was actually in France. 

So if you’ve ever been to Paris, in France, you might have heard of a restaurant called The Sink, actually, I think it has only two stars. And that was actually our first Michelin dining experience. So we didn’t really know what to expect, when we walked in. As you might expect, it was definitely probably one of the most memorable eating experiences of our lives, Emi and I. If you’ve never gone to a fine dining restaurants or Michelin rated restaurant, for example, I think there’s a few things that usually happen, at least with the two in the three star restaurants. The first is going to be service, let’s talk about service, get it out of the way, I think they’re going to be very hospitable, they’re going to welcome you address you by name, thank you for coming. 

And they’re also going to ask you if you’re going to be celebrating something like anniversary or birthday, what have you. And then also double check to make sure if you have any allergies or things that they should be aware of dietary restrictions. 

For example, when you walk in, they’ll be welcoming you into their little, I guess check in desk and then they’ll take you to your table. Usually everything is pretty prompt, I haven’t really had to wait beyond more than like a few minutes past my reservation time. I know that’s not always the case when you have a reservation at like a normal restaurant. 

But usually for these types of places, the service is pretty quick as far as getting you to check in getting you to your table, and also giving you the menu for you to decide what it is that you’re going to be ordering if that’s an option, or which set course you’re going to be having to enjoy. 

So as far as service, I think there is a big difference between a one star restaurant versus a three star restaurants as far as attention to detail when it comes to this service. So for example, if you have to go to the bathroom, and you believe your napkin on the table, somebody is going to come and fold it up nicely so that when you return, it’ll be there for you to unfold again. 

So that’s one thing. The second thing I think is kind of funny is also how quickly they come and refill your water cups are your whatever it is that you’re drinking maybe a little bit more attentive with regard to that. So if it’s gonna fall below a little level, or a certain level, they’re gonna come and refill it. And also, when they’re doing that, they’ll also have like a towel to make sure that you know, there’s no water that drips on the table, things like that. 

Or if it does, then they’ll they’ll wipe it up right away. In addition, in between courses, you may have seen them come with their little scraper crumb scraper. So it’s like this metal device, which is flat on one edge. And basically it helps them clean the table of any crumbs that might have fallen off. So that’s another thing that I think separates some restaurants apart from others as far as the service goes. And also they’ll come and check on you to make sure that the dish that they just brought out is is good or if it’s not good, then maybe they’ll offer to fix it or substitute or change it. 

So that’s the service. The second thing I think that makes Michelin restaurants unique is with regard to the ambience or the environment. Usually some of the nicer restaurants like two or three star restaurants have a very nice surroundings. So they might be at a garden they might be within a hotel, and a dedicated space. Usually the decorations like the furniture, they have curtains, things like that, or there might be a really nice view are all pretty memorable and make the place a little bit unique, giving it a little bit of character and something that you can sort of remember and also enjoy at the same time while you’re there eating. And another important thing is with regard to the toilets. 

So they say you know, if the toilets are dirty, chances are you don’t want to eat at that restaurant because probably the kitchens dirty too. And there’s one restaurant I remember in Nice in the south of France, it was a two star restaurant, which shall remain nameless, where they had a bunch of fruit flies and flies flying around the bathroom. It wasn’t a very pleasant thing to discover when I went there, but there they were, the food was okay. 

But that was probably one of the more surprising things that I’ve experienced that a Michelin rated restaurant as far as a bathroom goes, usually they’re very clean, they have a nice aroma or fragrance in there. So the most important thing, of course, is the food and your experience eating. So obviously, probably went to this Michelin rated restaurant where you’re going to go to a restaurant like this for the food. 

Depending on how many courses you have, and how many stars at the restaurant is, you may have like pre meal course like a teaser or appetizer for you to enjoy. And then also in between your courses, you might also have palate cleanser. So some sort of like a citrus or acidic dish to cleanse your palates in between courses. So if you get like a five course meal, it could turn out to be something like a seven to 10 course meal, depending on how many in between courses they serve. 

Plus, at the end of the meal, they may give you some dessert, and a gift to hit take home after you’re done eating and about to leave, which is always a pleasant surprise. And then I almost forgot one of my favorite parts of eating at these types of places is always the bread. So depending on the restaurant, sometimes you’ll get one or two choices of bread, sometimes we’ll get an assortment of five or six different choices, whenever the bread comes out, I’m always ready. And I’m always sure to ask for more. 

So if I only tried one or two of those six types of bread, I’ll make sure to get 345 and six, because that’s like so good. The red is always amazing. And you should take advantage because you’re paying for it. And don’t worry, it’s not going to fill you up that much. So maybe you’ve experienced some of those things that a Michelin rated restaurant yourself, or if you haven’t yet, maybe you will in the future. Or maybe you’ve even had some of those things happen to you at a non Michelin rated restaurant. So knowing what it’s kind of like to eat at a place like that, here are five of the things that I usually look for when trying to decide where to eat. 

So the first thing that I’m going to be using for making my decision so that my experience is not going to be a disappointment is the Michelin Guide. Not every city or country has the Michelin Guide available, but when it is available. That’s definitely one of the first things that I’ll be looking at as far as trying to figure out what my options are for eating at a fine dining restaurant. 

Second thing that I’ll be looking for when I’m doing my research for where to eat is the reviews. So this is going to be on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google are probably my top three places for doing research as far as where to eat and what to eat. And I’ll be looking for consistency. So consistency with regard to the food, and what people say what they liked about it, what they didn’t like about it, were the portions sufficient, because you don’t really want to be paying a lot and still be hungry at the end of the meal. Fortunately, I’ve never had that happen to me. But it’s always something that’s on my radar, and not so much the service. I think service is one of those things that can be hit or miss. And of course, people have different expectations with regard to service. But fortunately for me, we haven’t had any issues with service eating at these types of restaurants. Not to say it could happen in the future. But so far, that hasn’t really been one of the things that have really deterred me from eating at a restaurant. So there’s consistency as far as the food goes. And what people say about it. Was the food good. Was it interesting was a unique was it memorable, that’ll be a plus in my book. 

The third thing that I’ll be looking for is with regard to the history of the restaurant. So this might be just myself and my limited experience eating at these types of places. But I have found since I started getting into fine dining and Michelin rated restaurants is that usually the restaurants that are more established, in that they’ve been in business for a longer period of time where the chef has been working for a longer period of time tend to be a little bit better, as far as the quality of the food, the presentation, and the overall memorability and the experience. But without those experiences, then we wouldn’t have any contrasts really appreciate the two in the three stars that were memorable. I guess the point is to look for a restaurant that has been in the guide for a long time, if possible, my experience has been longer is better. But of course that’s going to vary and maybe you have experienced something different fourth suggestion that I have for you to make sure your next experience is not a disappointment is to start with a three star restaurant. 

So set the bar high to make sure you’re going to get a very good experience. Usually the three star experiences are very different from a two and a one star and you’ll know sort of what to expect having had that experience at the top level what you might be able to expect two star or a one star or a no star, or you could do it the other way around. And that way, maybe you’ll be continually impressed until you reach that three star level. 

And the last tip that I have for you, number five, is if you’re a price sensitive, are you concerned about spending too much on the meal, don’t go for dinner, go for lunch, which usually tends to be a little bit cheaper. As far as the price goes either way, lunch or dinner, you’re going to be full by the end of the meal. And lunch usually is maybe half of the price or even less depending on where you’re eating. And the food is going to be just as delicious as if you were to eat dinner. And a lot of times some of the dishes or the courses are the exact same thing that you get for dinner as well. 

So hopefully those five things that I just reviewed with you will help you to make sure your next experience fine dining maybe at a Michelin rated restaurant will be a delicious and memorable experience. If I missed anything, make sure to let me know in the comments. If you’re watching the video. Send me a voicemail if you have any questions or suggestions for this episode or a future episode. So now you have an idea of what it’s like to eat at a fine dining, Michelin rated restaurants and a few of the ways that I go about choosing where to eat.


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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

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