A German restaurant has snapped up a coveted third Michelin star, rescuing the country's runner-up rank behind France for the world's top kitchens, the restaurant guide said Wednesday.
Aqua at the Ritz Carlton hotel in the northwestern city of Wolfsburg, home to auto giant Volkswagen, will attain the highest rating when Michelin publishes its updated guide on November 14.
Known for his modern European cuisine, Aqua's head chef Sven Elverfeld offers dishes such as "jellied essence of oxtail", topped off with caviar and creme fraiche.
But such haute cuisine doesn't come cheap. Aqua's seven-course tasting menu will set patrons back just under R2000.
Aqua's rise in the rankings makes up for the loss of a Michelin star at Residenz Heinz Winkler in the Bavarian town of Aschau im Chiemgau.
That means Germany – often dismissed as a nation of sausage and beer -will maintain its rank behind only France in the pecking order of top gastronomic destinations, with nine top restaurants.
To win Michelin's top accolade, a restaurant must offer "exceptional cuisine" and be "worth the journey," according to the guide's website.
For the first time, a restaurant in the former communist East Germany – Falco in Leipzig – was awarded its second star.
Four other German kitchens tasted two-star success for the first time while 18 chefs realised their dream of scoring one star.
In addition to the nine three-star restaurants in Germany, there are 18 two-star establishments and 189 with one star.