More people seeking out good places to eat meant more of them driving automobiles on those early roads. And this meant more tires sold, or so went the story as we heard it. Whatever the details of its origin, the Michelin Guide has become a respected institution. In recent years, it has expanded its influence to the United States.
While the MICHELIN Guide has evolved with culinary trends and dining preferences over time, the five criteria used by their inspectors have remained the same to ensure that readers have a consistent experience, irrespective of the style of cuisine and wherever they travel throughout the world. As in Europe, the California guide awards one-to-three stars to exceptional restaurants.
Last week, publishers of the guide announced the debut of their 2019 California edition. Restaurants in the Golden State garnered a total of 90 stars this year.
There are just 14 restaurants in the U.S. to receive Michelin’s three-star rating. Seven of them are in Northern California:
Atelier Crenn – San Francisco
Benu – San Francisco
The French Laundry – Yountville
Manresa – Los Gatos
Quince – San Francisco
The Restaurant at Meadowood – St. Helena
SingleThread – Healdsburg
Six new restaurants in Los Angeles have been awarded the two-star status in the MICHELIN Guide California 2019: chef Niki Nakayama’s n/naka kaiseki restaurant in Culver City; Michael Cimarusti’s seafood-driven Providence in Hollywood; Aitor Zabala and José Andrés’s Somni inside the SLS Beverly Hills; Sushi Ginza Onodera in West Hollywood; Urasawa, which inspectors deem “an exemplary sushi temple” in Beverly Hills; and chef Jordan Kahn’s highly-innovative Vespertine in Culver City. And in San Francisco, chef Srijith Gopinathan’s Campton Place in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood, has been elevated from one to two MICHELIN stars.
The 2019 MICHELIN Guide California also features 27 new restaurants with a one-star distinction, 18 of which are in Los Angeles. In Beverly Hills, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, located at The Beverly Wilshire; Curtis Stone’s Maude—which is named after the celebrity chef’s late paternal grandmother; and Nozawa Bar, a hidden room tucked inside Sugarfish, all received stars.
Five restaurants in downtown L.A. are also joining the one-star ranks: Le Comptoir, where Gary Menes waxes poetic with his seasonal eight-course vegetable-driven menu; the intimate 40-seat Shibumi, where chef and owner David Schlosser offers skillful Kappo-style Japanese fare; Josef Centeno’s hot spot Orsa & Winston; kaiseki newcomer Hayato; and Hiroyuki Naruke’s Q Sushi. Here, inspectors state Naruke “gracefully prepares each course and thoughtfully serves each diner virtually from his own hands.”
Elsewhere in the City of Angels, chef Dave Beran’s Dialogue in Santa Monica; Bistro Na’s, serving up Imperial Chinese cuisine in San Gabriel Valley; Kevin Meehan and Drew Langley’s Kali; chef Jonathan Yao’s Kato; Mori Sushi in Westside; Ludo Lefebvre’s popular Trois Mec; Shunji Nakao’s eponymous eatery in Westside; Shin Sushi on Ventura Boulevard; Andy Doubrava and Jeremy Fox’s Rustic Canyon; and Nancy Silverton’s acclaimed Osteria Mozza all received stars.
In Monterey, the stalwart Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel—which dates back to 1929—also received a MICHELIN star. Inspectors were particularly impressed by the local flavor and seasonality of the menu by executive chef/director Justin Cogley and pastry chef Yulanda Santos.
Addison, chef William Bradley’s contemporary French restaurant in San Diego, was awarded a star.
Orange County is now home to two one-MICHELIN-starred restaurants: chef Carlos Salgado’s Taco María, which he dubs as “Alta California cuisine,” a mash-up of Mexican and American flavors, is among one of them. “The enticing scent of meat cooking over the fire and house-made heirloom masa tortillas on the griddle set the tone for an amazing experience,” stated MICHELIN inspectors. Hana Re, chef Atsushi Yokoyama’s omakase restaurant in Costa Mesa, was also awarded a star.
The Kitchen in Sacramento, where executive chef Kelly McCown provides an interactive dining experience that doubles as dinner and a show, garnered a 2019 star.
San Francisco boasts three new one-MICHELIN-starred restaurants. Joshua Skenes's “sea life-focused eatery,” Angler, which opened up on the Embarcadero waterfront last fall; Sorrel, the sleek Cal-Ital eatery from Alex Hong, Colby Heiman, Samuel Bogue and Brennan Spreitzer in the Marina; and Maum, which inspectors say, “offers an incredibly exciting dining experience,” all join the one MICHELIN star ranks.
Finally, Harbor House in Mendocino County, where executive chef Matthew Kammerer relies on the bounty of on-site gardens and diverse sea life found in a local cove and along California’s North Coast, was honored with a star.
In addition to the seven three Michelin-star establishments listed above, the following California restaurants are rated at two and one stars:
Sushi Ginza Onodera
Auberge du Soleil
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
Keiko à Nob Hill
Orsa & Winston
Sons & Daughters
State Bird Provisions
The Village Pub