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A Michelin-Backed Casual Restaurant Guide Makes Its NYC Debut Today

Le Fooding focuses on new, laid-back bistros with lower price points like Haenyeo and Maison Yaki

Gertie’s dining room includes a blue table and a wooden bench
Gertie is among the first restaurants to be reviewed by Le Fooding
Alex Staniloff/Eater

A cheeky French dining guide that’s backed by Michelin is launching reviews in New York for the first time today.

Le Fooding — which is 40 percent owned by the more internationally famous Michelin guide — has previously hosted events in New York, but this is the first time that it will be publishing a guide to restaurants here.

The so-called Priceless Cities Best New Bistro list, named in part due to an opening partnership with Mastercard, will ultimately choose 20 restaurants in New York that have opened in the last 18 months for its inaugural year, starting with 11 today.

Along with New York, Le Fooding is doing reviews for London, Mexico City, and Paris as well, and like Michelin, Le Fooding employs anonymous diners and pays for the meals. Each city has three of them, who are selected based on experience and knowledge of their respective cities.

Though Le Fooding is backed by Michelin, it runs on its own and without editorial input from its fancy parent, insists founder Alexandre Cammas. It’s also different from Michelin in that it doesn’t rank the restaurants or give stars, and it only focuses on new bistros, a way to track what’s happening on the dining scene right now. Prices, too, tend to be lower, and the idea is that the restaurants are more festive and more laid-back, he says.

But there’s “no hierarchy” between the restaurants on the list, says Cammas. “We just have crushes on places.”

Le Fooding’s New York “best new bistro” list this year includes Greenpoint Vietnamese restaurant Di An Di, Williamsburg all-day cafe Gertie, Missy Robbins’s pasta restaurant Misi, Park Slope Korean restaurant Haenyeo, Prospect Heights Persian newcomer Sofreh, the Olmsted crew’s second restaurant Maison Yaki, and the Vongerichten French-Indonesian Wayan.

Cammas started Le Fooding in 2000 as a reaction to other fine-dining guides such as World’s 50 Best, which he thinks is untrustworthy and “anarchic.” Since then, it’s become known in Paris for highlighting up-and-coming restaurants and pinpointing contemporary trends. Michelin acquired a stake in 2017 in hopes of reaching a broader (and potentially younger) audience.

Besides the reviews, Le Fooding picks three finalist restaurants in each city in September, and people can vote online to pick a winner, which will be named the year’s “best new bistro” on November 25.