Michelin Guide 2023 Unveils an Epicurean Journey. With its fascinating blend of tradition and innovation, Nara prefecture invites gourmet enthusiasts from around the world to savor its extraordinary cuisine and embark on an epicurean journey like no other.
Nestled in the heart of Japan, Nara prefecture beckons gourmet enthusiasts and worldly travelers with its rich culinary tapestry. The newly released Michelin Guide Nara for 2023 unveils a tantalizing selection of 88 recommended restaurants, including noteworthy additions and star-studded establishments that promise extraordinary dining experiences. Let’s embark on a gastronomic adventure through Nara and explore the highlights of this exceptional culinary landscape.
Renowned for its World Heritage Sites and cultural wonders, Nara prefecture often surprises visitors with its vibrant food scene. Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guide, shares his excitement, stating, “This year’s edition of the MICHELIN Guide demonstrates once again the quality of the local food scene, with 24 MICHELIN Starred restaurants and 16 different types of cuisine represented.”
Two outstanding restaurants have been newly awarded One MICHELIN Star. The first, Restaurant Da terra, captivates diners with a celebration of Italian cuisine infused with local flavors. Chef Hirokazu Nakai pays homage to the region by incorporating over 100 different crops and vegetables grown by his family. From the seasonal delights of the Da terra Salad to the carefully crafted menu, Nakai creates a culinary journey that showcases the abundance of Nara’s terroir.
Another remarkable addition to the Michelin-starred lineup is Restaurant Lega’. Its name, meaning “to tie” or “to connect” in Italian, perfectly encapsulates the concept of combining Italian recipes with Katsuragi City’s specialties. The talented chef, with expertise honed in northern Italy, skillfully fuses the best local ingredients to create an enticing fusion of flavors, especially showcased in the art of pasta making.
Alongside these newcomers, the guide recognizes the unwavering excellence of Two MICHELIN Star restaurants akordu, Oryori Hanagaki, Tsukumo, and NARA NIKON, as well as the esteemed One MICHELIN Star establishments from the previous year.
Emphasizing its sustainable practices, Da terra also earns the coveted MICHELIN Green Star, which recognizes its commitment to environmental stewardship. With a philosophy rooted in self-sufficiency, Da terra cultivates 100% of its produce, resulting in a menu that changes daily to showcase the freshest garden harvests. Furthermore, the chef and his team actively promote local development and minimize food waste, making Da terra a shining example of sustainability.
Nara’s dedication to sustainable dining extends beyond Da terra. The MICHELIN Green Star designation now encompasses six restaurants in the prefecture, solidifying Nara’s reputation as a model for making fine dining and gastronomy more eco-conscious.
In addition to the prestigious stars, the guide introduces five new noteworthy establishments, further enriching Nara’s culinary landscape. Naramachi Sushi Hanako stands out with its rare sibling duo, two sisters serving sushi made with rice grown in Nara. Cucina regionale YANAGAWA showcases the passion of a housewife-turned-chef, who fell in love with Italian cuisine and honed her skills during a six-year journey to Italy. Le Bois offers an authentic French dining experience with a focus on locally sourced ingredients, while Arigato tantalizes taste buds with exquisite Japanese cuisine, emphasizing bonito and flavorful dashi. Lastly, Camino, helmed by a chef trained in MICHELIN Starred restaurants, crafts delectable dishes using premium Nara-sourced ingredients, such as Yamato pork, Mahoroba red beef, Yamato beef, and Akishino vegetables.
As we revel in the culinary wonders of Nara, it is important to acknowledge the multifaceted nature of any culinary scene. While the Michelin Guide celebrates the finest establishments, personal tastes may vary. Exploring the local food culture allows for individual discovery and appreciation of the diverse offerings Nara has to offer.