In next year's prestigious Michelin guide, Germany has increased its tally of top-ranked restaurants and has a record number of eateries with star status.
In bestowing three stars on La Belle Epoque restaurant in the northern town of Luebeck-Travemuende for 2013, Germany now has 10 restaurants in the top Michelin category and is placed only behind France within Europe.
Its chef Kevin Fehling, 35, wowed Michelin guide authors. "He skillfully combines intelligence and maturity in his blending of flavours, while also adding a distinctly personal touch," they said.
Germany's gourmet cuisine is "extraordinarily varied" with those restaurants chosen offering a wide array of styles from traditional to contemporary, Asian to regional, they added.
A female head chef features for the first time in Germany among seven new two-star restaurants -- Douce Steiner, together with her husband Udo Weiler, heads up the kitchen at Hirschen restaurant in Sulzburg, in the south-west of the country.
In total, Germany now counts its highest ever number of restaurants of either one, two or three star status, numbering 255.