This Is the Most Affordable Michelin-starred Restaurant in the U.S.

Aquavit in Manhattan has a tasting menu ringing in at $175 per person.

<p>NICK HUNT/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images</p>

NICK HUNT/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Ah, Michelin Stars. Love them or hate them, they set the standard for dining trends whether that be for vanity diners collecting stared restaurant experiences as if they’re Chanel handbags, or intrepid diners looking to expand their palettes. The Michelin Guide first introduced its three-star system back in 1931, and nearly 100 years later, it’s still the gold standard for recognizing restaurants that consistently meet impeccable presentations of cuisine and hospitality.

A new report by Restaurant Furniture looked at the 45 restaurants in the U.S. with either two or three Michelin Stars and analyzed their menu prices. None of them would be considered “cheap eats,” and you would not be surprised to know that the most expensive Michelin-starred restaurant in the country is in New York City. (Bar Masa with an average meal topping in at a whopping $750.) But you will probably be surprised to learn that NYC is also home to the most affordable Michelin meal. (It’s all relative, right?)

Aquavit, in Manhattan’s well-heeled midtown east neighborhood, is the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the country, with their tasting menu ringing in at $175 per person. The wine pairing will run you another $145.

A fixture in the city since it first opened in 1987, Aquavit earned its first star in 2013 and quickly added a second in 2015. The Scandinavian restaurant, which moved in 2005 to its current midtown location, is a high watermark of fine dining cuisine. But its dress code is a relatively relaxed smart casual so you’ll find a mix of business suits and tourists strolling in from nearby MoMA.

True to its Nordic roots, Aquavit’s dining room is minimalist in tone, with blonde wood fixtures and crisp white tablecloths, but we’re fairly certain you’re not going to find any Ikea pieces here. The restaurant’s executive chef, Emma Bengtsson, hails from Sweden and at just 42, is the first Swedish chef in the world to hold two coveted Michelin Stars.

Bengtsson’s five-course tasting menu invites you to discover why. The menu is a tour-de-force of Nordic cuisine without leaving midtown’s skyscrapers and changes seasonally to match what’s available on the East Coast and reflective of the Swedish palette across the ocean. In spring that means a first course of yellowtail and sea buckthorn followed by scallop and rhubarb, cod and apple, duck and broccoli rabe, and a finale of almond and maple. The paired-down aesthetic is reflected in the menu which lists just the main ingredients rather than a diatribe on ingredients.

You can reserve with a $50 deposit per person.

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