Michelin Guide To Highlight Atlanta's Best Restaurants For The First Time

In big news for the Southern culinary scene, Atlanta, Georgia will be joining the likes of other locales like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa as a Michelin-reviewed city. The Michelin Guide, the esteemed fine dining reviewer, has undercover critics already deployed at the top restaurants in the bustling city, gearing up to extol coveted stars on an elite few. The results of its assessment will debut in the fall of 2023. 

Like all other Michelin-starred restaurants, the Atlanta dining scene will be evaluated by the five tenets of the Michelin grading system: "quality products, the harmony of flavors, the mastery of cooking techniques, and the voice and personality of the chef as reflected in the cuisine, and the consistency between each visit and throughout the menu." In addition to the classic Michelin one-, two-, and three-starred ratings, an Atlanta restaurant could receive the Green star, a prize awarded to sustainable gastronomy, and the Bib Gourmand distinction, which highlights affordable quality food. 

According to a press release from the Michelin Guide, the reviews are already glowing. As Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide, claims, "Atlanta is brimming with innovation and talent, which is evident in the dining scene, according to our anonymous inspectors."

A tasty boon to Atlanta's tourism

What does this Michelin distinction mean for the city of Atlanta as a whole? Many are betting on a serious uptick in tourism, based on the positive results for states like California and Florida that have secured multiple guides for their cities. In recent years, Michelin has entered into financial agreements to add guides to countries looking to boost their tourism, including South Korea, Estonia, Malaysia, and even Canada. While some consider this an unfair exchange, Skift noted that the Michelin organization loses over $21 million a year and that said countries and states are just helping recoup some of its traveling and dining costs.   

Some restaurants find it a burden to keep up with the costs and standards required to maintain its stars. But in the short term, the Michelin Guide is a proven boon. As Joël Robuchon claimed to Food & Wine, winning Michelin stars can increase business by 20%, 40%, or even 100% depending on how many you get.

For now, Atlanta seems excited about its chance to be evaluated at the Michelin level. William Pate, president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau said in a press release, "We are proud of the recognition the Michelin Guide will bring to our destination as it highlights our local chefs and cuisine."