Bib Gourmand, one of the famous Michelin restaurant guides, recognises restaurants that offer great food at reasonable prices. Bib Gourmand restaurants may not have a Michelin star, but the food must still be delicious, and the total cost for three courses should come to under a certain amount, depending on the local cost of living.
For many, Michelin stars, awarded annually in the Michelin tyre company’s iconic red guide, are the ultimate recognition of dining excellence. First introduced in 1900 in an attempt to persuade people to buy cars, the Michelin guide branched out into restaurant criticism in 1926, awarding stars to the best eateries they visited on their travels. One Michelin star denoted ‘an excellent restaurant in its category’, and in 1931 a second and third star were added, awarded to ‘excellent cooking, worth a detour,’ and ‘exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey,’ respectively.
But the Michelin guide isn’t only about the stars. From 1955, certain restaurants were marked with a letter ‘R’ in the guide, indicating establishments that the Michelin inspectors felt deserved recognition for serving good food at low prices. In 1997, this became known as the ‘Bib Gourmand’ award, and the ‘R’ was replaced by a picture of Michelin’s friendly mascot, Bibendum, or ‘Bib’ for short (better known as ‘The Michelin Man’ in English-speaking countries), licking his lips.
There are two main criteria to qualify for a Bib Gourmand - the food must be delicious, and it must cost less than a set amount for three courses. As the Michelin guide is now published around the world, the ceiling price varies according to the local cost of living. As of 2020, you can order three courses at a Bib Gourmand restaurant and expect to pay no more than €36 in most European cities, $40 in most US cities, £28 in the UK and Northern Ireland, HK300 in Hong Kong, or ¥5,000 in Tokyo.