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First-ever state Michelin guide catapults California into spotlight

San Francisco area remains epicenter of star gatherers, but LA makes showing

Ninety California restaurants earned at least one coveted Michelin star in the first-ever statewide guide released Monday night.

Seven restaurants received the top rating of three stars, all of which were in the Bay Area and had been awarded three stars in the San Francisco guide published late last year.

Another 14 restaurants were given two stars, and 69 earned one Michelin star — including 27 that received a star for the first time.

Los Angeles brought a number of double stars into the guide, including Michael Cimarusti’s seafood concept, Providence, and José Andrés’ recently rebranded Somni.

michelin-guide-2019-california-cover.pngThe San Francisco restaurant Campton Place said it is the first Indian-influenced restaurant in the Western Hemisphere and Europe to obtain two stars.

And among the first-time one-star winners was Taco Maria in Costa Mesa, which was a favorite of late Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold.

Michelin has published restaurant guides for San Francisco and (briefly) Los Angeles in the past. But this year the reviewers took on dining establishments across the state, which is home to 657 restaurants distinguished in the guide.

The new guide includes restaurants in the sprawling greater Los Angeles area: Monterey, Orange County, Sacramento, Santa Barbara and San Diego. The statewide expansion was underwritten in part by the Visit California tourism board, which invested $600,000 to cover the hard costs of bringing Michelin inspectors to more regions, according to Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, in an interview with the newsletter Family Meal.

Photo: Campton Place


Though restaurants today have seemingly countless opportunities to compete for various awards and distinctions, Michelin stars have long been seen as a high achievement. The guide is tailored to international travelers and is available in English, Spanish and Chinese — though apparently not in French or Japanese. France and Japan reportedly have the most three-star restaurants, though Tokyo has the most stars of any city worldwide, with a whopping 304 stars collectively (beating Paris with 134).

Here’s a look at Michelin star-makers across California:

Three stars, designating “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”:

Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

Benu, San Francisco

The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.

Quince, San Francisco

Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.

Single Thread, Healdsburg, Calif.

Two stars, designating “excellent cuisine, worth a detour” (those in bold are new):

Acquerello, San Francisco

Baumé, Palo Alto, Calif.

Californios, San Francisco

Campton Place, San Francisco

Coi, San Francisco

Commis, Oakland, Calif.

Lazy Bear, San Francisco

N/Naka, Los Angeles

Providence, Los Angeles

Saison, San Francisco

Somni, Los Angeles

Sushi Ginza Onodera, Los Angeles

Urasawa, Los Angeles

Vespertine, Los Angeles

69 California restaurants earned one star, designating “a very good restaurant in its category.” Here are the 27 restaurants that earned one star for the first time:

Addison, San Diego

Angler, San Francisco

Aubergine, Monterey, Calif.

Bistro Na’s, Los Angeles

Cut, Los Angeles

Dialogue, Los Angeles

Hana Re, Orange County

Harbor House, Mendocino, Calif.

Hayato, Los Angeles

Kali, Los Angeles

Kato, Los Angeles

The Kitchen, Sacramento

Le Comptoir, Los Angeles

Maude, Los Angeles

Maum, Palo Alto, Calif.

Mori Sushi, Los Angeles

Nozawa Bar, Los Angeles

Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles

Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles

Q Sushi, Los Angeles

Rustic Canyon, Los Angeles

Shibumi, Los Angeles

Shin Sushi, Los Angeles

Shunji, Los Angeles

Sorrel, San Francisco

Taco Maria, Orange County

Trois Mec, Los Angeles

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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