Tokyo has confirmed its position as the capital of world gastronomy by leaping ahead of Paris as the city with the most three-star Michelin restaurants.

The Japanese capital now has 11 three-star eateries, compared to 10 in Paris, according to the newly-published 2010 edition of the Michelin guide to Tokyo.  The city also has a total of 261 stars divided between 197 restaurants, more than any of the cities covered by Michelin in 23 countries.

However, France still has more three star restaurants than anywhere else in the world, with 25 compared to 18 in Japan.

The size and scale of the restaurant industry in Tokyo helps to partly explain its success when it comes to Michelin stars.  There are 160,000 restaurants in the city, compared to about 40,000 in Paris.

Two-thirds of the starred restaurants in the Tokyo guide serve Japanese food, including tempura, sushi, fugu, soba and sukiyaki.  French restaurants, including one run by Joel Robuchon, accounted for three of the 11 three-starred restaurants.

While the first two editions of the Michelin guide to Tokyo, published in 2007 and 2008, were criticised for using non-Japanese inspectors, the latest guide was compiled by Japanese inspectors.

The restaurants awarded three stars are: Esaki, Ishikawa, Joel Robuchon, Kanda, Koju, L’Osier, Quintessence, Sushi Mizutani, Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten, Sushi Saito and Yukimura.

Also newly published are the 2010 Michelin guides to Switzerland and Germany.  The Swiss guide sees one restaurant - Anne-Sophie Pic in the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne – being promoted to two-star status, with eight restaurants being awarded a single star for the first time.

The German guide highlights one new two-star restaurant – Le Pavillon im Hotel Dollenberg in the Black Forest – and 23 new one-star establishments.  With nine three-star restaurants, the guide, which is the centennial edition, includes nine three-star restaurants which means that Germany ranks just behind France as the European country with the most fine-dining outlets.

First Michelin guide to Tokyo is published >>

Second Michelin guide to Tokyo is published >>

Recession prompts Michelin to drop three guides >>

By Emily Manson

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