The highest achievement any restaurant in NYC can obtain is receive a Michelin Star.
Many of these Michelin Star restaurants come at a heavy price, but fortunately there is a way to experience cuisine that has earned a Michelin Star without having to break the bank. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 most affordable Michelin Star rated restaurants in New York; they have earned the honor and privilege of earning one Michelin Star.
Ask me what my favorite restaurant in New York City is and I’ll tell you…that’s an unfair and ridiculous question. However, Casa Enrique certainly comes to mind as I ponder this unanswerable question. Not because it is in the fanciest place in New York (it’s located in Long Island City, welcome Amazon), not because it has the fanciest décor and certainly not because it is the most expensive. The atmosphere at Casa Enrique could not be more familial, it’s a Michelin Star restaurant that welcomes you with open arms. My favorites here are the extremely flavorful enchiladas in a verde tomatillo sauce, the mouth-watering rajas con crema (roasted chilies poblanos, onion, wrapped in a corn tortilla, tomatillo sauce, crema fresca, queso fresco and avocado) and of course the to-die-for, juicy, tender carne asada (a skirt steak marinated in tequila, roasted poblanos and beans). At $20-30 a plate, this restaurant serves up value and quality that simply cannot be beat. Don’t skip out on their tres leches cake!
Carne asada con rajas con crema and tres leches; photo credit: Yelp users Eric A. and Akira D.
A traditional Szechuan style restaurant “where the East is embracing the West for the first time.” One walk past Café China, and you won’t think twice about coming in…one smell of what they have to offer and you’ll be hooked. With classic dishes such as Ma Po Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken, Wonton Soup, and Steamed Soup Buns along with less traditional dishes such Spicy Diced Rabbit, Slow Braised Ribbonfish and Pickle Fish Stew, there truly is something for everybody at Café China. We recommend, the Dan Dan Noodles, the Pork Buns and the Spicy Cumin Lamb, but go on and be adventurous, your taste buds will thank you. Most dishes range from $12-22 so get multiple dishes, try new things and be astounded by the flavor profiles of some of the best Szechuan that New York City has to offer. They even deliver, yes a Michelin star meal delivered right to your apartment.
Photo credit: Yelp users Lucy Xue F. and Xinting Y.
Gotham Bar and Grill
Google Gotham Bar and Grill and you’ll come face to face with the dreaded four dollars sign. However, like many Michelin Star Restaurants, it serves a very affordable lunch, but unlike other Michelin Star Restaurants it’s lunch menu might be better than it’s dinner menu. One item in particular stands out on the lunch menu and is not even available at dinner time. The Gotham Burger is a classic style burger that comes with nothing but Plymouth cheddar and the slightest bit of aioli along with a side of pickled vegetables to cleanse your palate between bites and Kennebec potato French fries. This is what a pure burger looks like and at $22 it’s an absolute steal. If you’re looking for that classic “New York” feel (whatever that is), there is no better place to come than Gotham Bar and Grill. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (especially if you’re a dark chocolate lover) leave without getting the Gotham Chocolate Cake which is served with salted almond ice cream and is regarded as one of the best desserts in New York.
Photo credit: Yelp users Alexander W. and Benz M.
Jeju Noodle Bar
Jeju Noodle Bar earned it’s first Michelin star in the 2019 edition. Like many first-time winners that came before it and will come after it, Jeju’s prices do not reflect their Michelin Star status. Jeju serves Ramyun (no, not a typo). Ramyun is the Korean equivalent of Japanese Ramen and “is a comfort dish enjoyed by Koreans of all social class and ages.” Chef Douglas Kim has worked at multiple prestigious Michelin Starred Restaurants in the business (Chef Ramsay’s Gordon Ramsay NYC, Nobu, Per Se, amongst many others), and we are so glad he opened up one of his own. Chef Kim breaks away from the traditional Korean cuisine, importing chilies from Italy and incorporating them into his Ramyun. Anytime you can get four different classic Ramyuns for less than $20, it’s a win, throw in the fact that you’re eating America’s only Michelin Star noodle restaurant and it feels like stealing. Opting for the fancier Wagyu Ramyun or Truffle Bibim Myun and you’ll be charged at $39 and $35, respectively, but trust New Yorkers, it is well-worth the price point. Start out with their famous chicken wings, throw in another appetizer or just jump straight to the noodles; we recommend adding a Sooran (poached) egg and if you’re up for it, adding uni…yes, uni.
Photo credit: Yelp users Go B. and Tom. Y
Another newcomer to the Michelin Star 2019 edition, Oxomoco boasts amazing quality food at affordable prices in a tranquil, upscale setting. Oxomoco serves Mexican cuisine from areas all over Mexico. They serve a variety of tacos with amazing fresh tortillas; favorites are lamb barbacoa, arrachera flank steak and for vegetarians, the beet “chorizo.” They also serve some of the freshest and most delicious guacamole in the city and even serve burritos during brunch…that’s right a Michelin Star burrito. Most of their dishes area around $15-30, but nobody would blame you for getting the Carne Brava, a 32oz dry aged bone in ribeye, salsa roja, chimichurri, charred poblano, chorizo beans and cilantro, which costs a cool $99. Their mouth-watering Hambuerguesa Pambaza is a unique fusion of an American favorite with Michelin quality Mexican accompaniments, it is an 8oz dry aged beef with smoked onions, queso asado, salsa macha; add a fried egg for only $3. Greenpoint, Brooklyn has added another gem.
Chorizo burrito and Hambuerguesa Pambaza; photo credit Yelp users Emily B. and Megan C.