Earning a Michelin star is the crowning achievement for any chef or restauranteur. The Michelin Red Guide is a guide book that assigns up to three stars to a limited number of excellent restaurants. Updated every year, one star is a very good restaurant; two stars means the food is worth taking a detour for; while three stars means it’s worth planning your vacation around. Visiting a Michelin star restaurant, especially one with two or three, is a very prestigious event, which also means it’s often a very pricey one. If you want to experience exceptional cuisine but don’t want to break the bank, follow these tips.


Sit at the bar

At a lot of high-end restaurants, there is a specially designed bar menu that runs a bit cheaper than the regular menu. Some Michelin star restaurants have even created special bar menus for those patrons who want the experience without the price tag. The Restaurant at Meadowood, a three-star restaurant in Napa Valley, offers a snack program. For $40, you get seven bites of whatever the chef fancies. If you were dining and wanted the tasting menu, you would be paying $330. While the bar bites are miniature, you’re not sacrificing any of the taste for the size.


Go for lunch

Lunch is more affordable than dinner at most restaurants, and Michel Star restaurants are no exception. Fiola, a one-star Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C. offers a $20 presto lunch with your choice of one entree and a beverage. Consider opting for the ahi tuna and hamachi crudo, which would cost you $18 if you were to order it as a stand-alone entree.


Look for weekday specials

Many restaurants offer great food specials during the week to boost their business. While Michelin stars usually aren’t hurting for customers, that doesn’t mean they don’t partake in the practice too. Quice, a three-star joint in San Francisco offers 12 courses from their signature tasting menu for $220. Come in Monday through Thursday, though, and enjoy a six-course seasonal prix-fixe for only $165. Enjoy the same Tsar Nicolai Caviar and spiny lobster for a bargain compared to the weekend price.


Don’t forget about brunch

If lunch is usually a good deal, don’t neglect to look into brunch or breakfast. Some Michelin restaurants are open in the morning to offer you a great deal and delicious food to start your morning off right. Longman & Eagle in Chicago boasts one Michelin star and an incredibly reasonably priced breakfast menu. Homemade biscuits with pork sausage gravy will only set you back $13. The southern favorite chicken and waffles with sweet potato and pork belly hash ring in at $14.