For over a century, chefs have hoped their restaurants would be awarded Michelin stars. Only the very top tier of restaurants around the world get them, however, so earning a star is a huge accomplishment. Restaurants in only four cities in the U.S. are rated by Michelin, making them rarer still -- with prices to match. But there are ways to have a cheap Michelin-starred meal, especially if you visit one of these 34 starred restaurants in the cities where they're available -- New York, San Francisco, Chicago, or Washington D.C.
The menu prices at La Vara, a Spanish restaurant with Jewish and Moorish influences, are just plain inexpensive. Choose from all types of tapas, like crispy eggplant with honey and cheese, for around $9. Even if you want to splurge a bit, a Valencia-style seafood paella will only set you back $21.
Make a meal out of dim sum and cold dishes at Cafe China. Four steamed soup buns are only $8, or grab eight spicy pork dumplings in chili oil for a little more than a buck apiece. Some entrees, like kung pao chicken and ma po tofu are priced $15 or under for a more substantial meal.
Dinner at Sushi Taro is served kaisekistyle -- there's no menu and the chef brings you what's fresh that day, meaning it can get super expensive. At lunch, however, you can get a reasonably priced bento box for $15. It includes tempura, sashimi, a choice of entree, miso soup, rice, and pickles.
Yakitori is a Japanese dish of skewered chicken, but it's generally used to describe a style of eating where you order lots of little skewers of various items, all grilled over open flames. At Torishin, you can order four or five skewers of various meats and vegetables for under $25 total. Just be sure to hit their $20 per person minimum.
Dinner at Masseria is a tasting menu affair for at least a cool hundred bucks, but like many of these spots, you can take advantage of the bar menu. The prices on the Italian-inspired bar menu here are downright cheap, like arancini rice fritters for $2 a piece, or calamari with cherry peppers and for only $9.
The most expensive things on Commonwealth's dinner menu are $22. So while your budget may only allow you to get one course, at least you know it's going to be Michelin star-worthy. The menu changes often, but expect entrees like grilled swordfish with plums and turnips, and pork belly with blood pudding and green strawberries.