Michelin season is here once more, as the anonymous inspectors wind up a year of eating by bestowing their coveted star rankings. And before the stars are unveiled, the Bib Gourmands come out as a pre-cursor, offering a much longer, more diverse list of restaurants that have "exceptional good food at moderate prices." That means a much bigger pool of candidates, with a broader array of prices.
For those who consider Michelin their Superbowl, the Bibs offer the first glimpse into the future. If a restaurant is on the Bib list, then it is not in the running to receive a star. So, restaurants that fell off this year could be in line to receive a big, shiny reward when the starred selections are announced next Thursday.
Here’s a rundown of the 2018 list:
Only 4 restaurants joined the party, and none from SF proper
This year, no new San Francisco restaurants made the list. Oakland, Marin, Millbrae, and San Mateo racked up, a sign that Michelin is considering the San Francisco Bay Area’s massive reach and deep bench that sits outside the city. It could also mean the city could be in for a major star harvest. Or, more realistically, it’s Michelin’s commentary on the fact that San Francisco is not known for affordable restaurants, instead boasting almost as many three-star spots as New York.
The four new entrants, incidentally, are Playa, a Mexican restaurant serving octopus tacos and braised pork tamales in Marin, Royal Feast, a Sichuan spot in Millbrae, Brown Sugar Kitchen, an organic soul food spot known for its fried chicken and cornmeal waffles, and Pausa, a wine bar with wood-fired pizzas in San Mateo.
12 restaurants bid the list adieu
Bistro Jeanty, Bar Tartine (closed), Bistro 29, Evvia Estiatorio, FIVE Restaurant, La Costanera, Le Garage, Mamacita (closed), Mason Pacific (closed), Rich Table, Scopa, Zola. As usual, there’s no explanation to accompany the dearly departed, despite the obvious removal when a restaurant closes (Mason Pacific, Bar Tartine, Mamacita). Next week we’ll know which wheat was separated from the chaff, including Bistro Jeanty, which could also be going the star route.
It could be Rich Table’s year, guys
Finally, Rich Table, as mentioned above, has gotten kicked off the Bib Gourmand list, which means it could be in line to receive the Michelin star (or stars) it so richly deserves. It’s been a big year for Evan and Sarah Rich, and they’re firing on all cylinders — fingers crossed for that perpetually pleasing Hayes Valley restaurant.
Stay tuned for next week’s star-studded announcements, and check out the full list of 2018’s Bib Gourmands below (and look here for each of them mapped):
1601 Bar & Kitchen
Anchor Oyster Bar
Brown Sugar Kitchen
Cook St. Helena
Farmhouse Kitchen Thai
Glen Ellen Star
Hong Kong Lounge II
Lai Hong Lounge
Orchard City Kitchen
Sir and Star
Two Birds/One Stone
Z & Y