By Michele E. Buttelman
The coved Michelin Star is considered one of the greatest accomplishments a chef can earn for his or her restaurant.
Not easy to obtain, the stars are awarded annually to restaurants that Michelin considers the very best in a given city and recipients gain prestige and exposure along with the honor.
Many restaurants see an increase in business after earning their stars.
To diners who consider themselves connoisseurs of good food, serious “foodies” or “gourmands,” dining at a Michelin Star restaurant is among life’s highlights.
How to Earn a Star
A Michelin Star is awarded to restaurants offering outstanding cooking. The judges take into account five universal criteria: the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of flavors, the mastery of techniques, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine and consistency across the entire menu and over time.
The Michelin Stars are award to restaurants annually.
The anonymous Michelin Inspectors are all full-time employees of the Michelin Guide. They are all former restaurant and hospitality professionals. Once several inspectors have eaten at a restaurant, they then discuss their experiences as a team in order to make a final decision.
California’s Michelin Stars
California now has a total of 100 restaurants with Michelin Stars as recently awarded at the Michelin Guide Revelation at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
The Michelin guide welcomed a new three-star restaurant to its ranks, Addison in San Diego, for a total of seven three-star restaurants.
Twelve restaurants were awarded two stars and 70 restaurants received a single star.
The total includes 11 Green Stars awarded for leadership in sustainability practices. California is home to 11 of only 13 Green Stars in North America.
California has the largest total of Michelin Starred restaurants in the United States, New York is second.
In addition to the restaurants awarded Michelin stars the guild also named 15 new Bib Gourmand recipients, which recognize eateries for great food for a great value.
Special awards were presented to:
- Michelin Sommelier Award: Vincent Morrow, Press in St. Helena.
- Michelin Exceptional Cocktails Award: Bar team, Manzke in Los Angeles.
- Michelin Young Chef Award: David Yoshimura, Nisei in San Francisco.
Restaurants that have earned Michelin Stars have achieved “celebrity status” in the restaurant world. Obtaining reservations can often be challenging for some of the more popular venues.
The French Laundry, called “the best restaurant in the world, period” by the late Anthony Bourdain, is reported to be one of the most difficult restaurants to book a table.
However, with careful planning and patience foodies can experience all the California Michelin-starred restaurants.
Many restaurants can be booked through the Open Table reservation system at www.opentable.com.
Another popular reservation system is Tock, https://www.exploretock.com.
Some restaurants include links to their reservations on their Facebook or website pages.
The highest rating on the Michelin scale is three stars. There are 142 three-star restaurants in the world, California had seven of those until Jan. 1 when Manresa in Los Gatos closed.
Addison, San Diego
Addison, helmed by Chef William Bradley, is the first Southern California restaurant to earn three Michelin Stars.
The French Laundry, Yountville
Chef Thomas Keller’s in demand restaurant earned its three-star Michelin rating in 2006.
Manresa, Los Gatos
Chef and owner David Kinch closed the 20-year-old restaurant on Jan. 1, after the Michelin Guide Star revelation announcement.
Quince, San Francisco
Situated in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square, Lindsay and Chef Michael Tusk’s celebrated Quince features Californian contemporary cuisine.
Benu, San Francisco
Corey Lee is the Seoul-born chef behind the three Michelin-starred Benu which was named to the list of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021.”
Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Dominique Crenn is the chef and owner of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.
Crenn opened Atelier Crenn, a place to express her heritage, in January 2011. Atelier Crenn achieved its first Michelin Star within a year, in October of 2011. In 2012, Crenn made history when Atelier Crenn received its second Michelin Star, becoming the first female chef in the U.S. to receive this honor. In November 2018, Crenn became the first female chef in the U.S. to receive three Michelin Stars.
Single Thread, Healdsburg
In the heart of downtown Healdsburg, one of the country’s most accomplished chefs Kyle Connaughton, along with wife/farmer Katina Connaughton, own SingleThread Farm-Restaurant-Inn; a three Michelin-starred restaurant with five luxurious guest rooms. Healdsburg is in the center of Sonoma Wine Country.
SoCal Michelin Stars
For those looking to enjoy a special Michelin Star experience without traveling far from home the SoCal area is home to 34 Michelin Star restaurants.
Restaurants with two Michelin Stars include:
Hayato, Los Angeles
Sushi Ginza Onodera, West Hollywood
n/naka, Los Angeles
Mélisse, Santa Monica
The SoCal restaurants with one Michelin Star include:
Jeune et Jolie, Carlsbad
Soichi, San Diego
Sushi Tadokoro, San Diego
Knife Pleat, Costa Mesa
Hana re, Costa Mesa
Taco María, Costa Mesa
Morihiro, Los Angeles
Phenakite, Los Angeles
715, Los Angeles
Sushi Kaneyoshi, Los Angeles
Camphor, Los Angeles
Kato, Los Angeles
Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles
Q Sushi, Los Angeles
Shibumi, Los Angeles
Gwen, Los Angeles
Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Nozawa Bar, Beverly Hills
Maude, Beverly Hills
Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, Beverly Hills
Manzke, Los Angeles
Pasta | Bar, Encino
Shin Sushi, Encino
Hatchet Hall, Los Angeles
Sushi I-NABA, Torrance
Citrin, Santa Monica
Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Montecito-Santa Barbara