California Travel Guide

You Now Have 35 New Reasons to Visit California

PHOTO: Michelin Guide

You better come hungry because California’s newly minted Michelin-starred restaurants will definitely expand your stomach.

The Michelin Guide officially released its first-ever regional guide on Monday, covering the entire state of California. The Guide awards restaurants for overall excellence based on a variety of criteria, including quality products, mastery of flavor and techniques, a chef’s stamp on the cuisine, value for the money (dubious), and the consistency of the food.

While Michelin has had a presence in San Francisco for years, it’s steered away from the rest of the state and was last in Los Angeles over a decade ago. The state reportedly spent upwards of $600,000 to lure Michelin back and expand its coverage. The new regional guide bestowed stars to 90 restaurants, including 35 new editions, and Bib Gourmand designations to 151 establishments.

Overall, Michelin awarded one star to 27 new restaurants bringing the total of one-star establishments in the state to 69. There were eight new two-star designations given, bringing the total to 14 restaurants. And to many observers’ surprise–there were audible gasps at the unveiling event at the Pasea Hotel in Huntington Beach–no new three-star awards were given, keeping the total at seven.

Paul Feinstein

In addition to the new stars handed out to well-deserving eateries, Michelin also broke the mold in a number of other categories. By awarding Los Angeles restaurant n/naka two stars, chef Niki Nakayama became the first two-starred female chef for a Japanese restaurant. Also, chef Dominque Crenn of Atellier Crenn in San Francisco became the world’s only three-starred female chef. Finally, the state now has the designation of hosting the only two-starred Mexican restaurant and two-starred Indian restaurant with Califonios and Campton Place (both in San Francisco).

With the launch of the new guide, there were a number of surprises, especially in Los Angeles. When the guide was last in the city, restaurants like Spago and Melisse each received two stars but were left off the list entirely this time around. Many of the previous one-star winners like Asanebo, Patina, and Sushi Zo were also left off the list.

First started in 1889 by two French brothers looking to sell more tires, the Michelin Guide was a helpful escort to find food, hotels, and things to do while encouraging people to drive a new thing called the automobile. Michelin started handing out stars in 1926 and the adoption of the three-star criteria began a decade later in 1936. Today, the Michelin Guide is the standard bearer for the best eating experiences in the culinary world, and any restaurant that receives a star is immediately placed on a pedestal with only a select few to receive the honor.

Here’s the complete list of new entries:

One Star

Addison, San Diego
Angler, San Francisco
Aubergine, Monterey
Bistro Na’s, Los Angeles
CUT, Los Angeles
Dialogue, Los Angeles
Hana Re, Orange County
Harbor House, Wine Country
Hayato, Los Angeles
Kali, Los Angeles
Kato, Los Angeles
The Kitchen, Sacramento
Le Comptoir, Los Angeles
Maude, Los Angeles
Maum, South Bay
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 Angles
Shin Sushi, Los Angeles
Shunji, Los Angeles
Sorrel, San Francisco
Taco Maria, Orange County
Trois Mec, Los Angeles

Two Stars

Campton Place, 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