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Restaurant Dining Guide

They say that everyone dreams about setting up a restaurant, at least once in their lives. Debatable. I for one, only ever dream of eating in restaurants. However, thereís none that can deny the important role restaurants have played in our lives, right from the days of the inns and the taverns, thinkers mulling philosophies over a cup of coffee, revolutionaries hatching plans in cafes and why, I hear that JK Rowling gave wings to Harry Potter in a small bistro in Scotland. We all have those days when we feel that the world is conspiring against us, our jobs are impossible, bosses even worse and then we go to our
favorite restaurant with a couple of friends, and all worries just seem to dissimilate in that comfort zone. Could it be the food alone? No Sir, its all about hospitality!

Over the years has emerged the bible of all restaurant ratings, the small red book, Michelinís guide of famous and influential gastronomical ratings in the world. The guide awards one to three stars to a small number of restaurants of outstanding quality. Stars are awarded sparingly; for instance, in the UK and Ireland 2004 guide, out of 5,500 entries, there are 98 with one star ("a very good restaurant in its category"), 11 with two stars ("excellent cooking, worth a detour"), and only 3 with three stars ("exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey"). Michelin stars are taken very seriously in the restaurant business, where the addition or loss of a star can mean a difference in turnover of millions of euros. Some three-star restaurants are able to charge hundreds of euros for a meal on the strength of their reputation.

The Michelin guide made its foray into the American markets in 2006, and came under severe criticism because of their refusal to award any stars to the erstwhile bigwigs of the American Restaurateurs world. As the Michelin guide is published by a French company, many international food critics have denounced the rating system as inherently biased toward French Cuisine. This issue was bought up in New York too when the majority of the restaurants that received three stars were found to be restaurants that served french food. However, I do wonder why people must object to that. French cuisine by far is considered the most superior in the world and for good reasons too. Michelinís inspection of establishments has also seen quiet a few controversies revolve around it primarily because of their secretive way of conducting an inspection and not disclosing the criterias on which the stars are given. Though, the fact remains that any restaurant given a Michelin rating will always provide you excellent food and ambience and have you coming back for more.

Some of the notable Michelin starred (3 stars) restaurants are The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire (UK), run by the enigmatic HestonBlumenthal who is widely acclaimed as the Food Alchemist for his indepth study into molecular gastronomy. Gordon Ramsay in London too is rather popular particularly after a bunch of stockbrokers spent £44,000 there in a single night and that was only on the wine. The food bill was bought out seperately. For more information on Michelin starred restaurants visit http://www.homestead.com/andyhayler/files/3_Michelin_Star_Restaurants.htm.


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