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Michelin 2011
Michelin 2011




How does it work then? Michelin versus AA,  stars versus rosettes, bib gourmands versus knives and forks? France - it would appear - versus broken Britain.  Bite magazine humbly sets out, on your behalf, to make sense of the non-sensical.


The AA

One AA Rosette: Excellent restaurants that stand out in their local area - food prepared with care.                                                                            

Two AA Rosettes: The best local restaurants in their area (some of us may fail to see the distinction from the last entry) - food prepared with precision (Ah, now I get it).

Three AA Rosettes: Restaurants that demand (I like that demand) recognition in their local area - food prepared with sympathy (what, are they catering a funeral)?                                                                           

Four AA Rosettes: Restaurants that demand (here we go again with the demands, bolshie restaurants these) national recognition - food prepared with intense ambition.        

 Five AA Rosettes: Restaurants that (one guess only) are comparable with the best in the world - food prepared with breathtaking culinary skill.    So you started out as a humble local eatery and you ended up master of the universe. Congratulations!                                                           



The first Michelin star appeared in 1926, stars two and three slipped into the firmament in the 1930s. Michelin award stars through clenched teeth; of 5,500 entries in the current guide, 98 have one star (a very good restaurant - enigmatically - in its category), 11 have two stars (excellent cooking, worth a detour - that would be Gleneagles then), and 3, appositely, have three stars (excellent cuisine - it's cuisine now - worth a special journey). Bib Gourmands, named after the wee fat tyre man, are awarded to establishments that offer good food at reasonable prices (less than £28). The fork and knife symbol denotes over-all comfort and luxury on a scale of one to five; when coloured red, it means that an establishment is considered 'pleasant'. Damned by faint praise indeed. 


Both guides insist the ratings are based purely on the food; this is at best disingenuous and at worst, well, a downright lie. One of the best meals I have ever eaten in Edinburgh was at Chop Chop in Haymarket, sublime food served in transport cafe surroundings. It is an empty threat, but if Chop Chop ever gets high-end Michelin or AA recognition, I will eat last year's Michelin Guide with a side order of AA route maps, in the stodgiest beer batter you can muster.  (W. Gould)


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