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San Francisco Bay Area’s Michelin Stars Announced for 2019, Again

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Saison, now helmed by chef Laurent Gras, dropped to two stars

A scene from the “star revelation” announcement in Orange County

Michelin’s anonymous inspectors published their first-ever all-California guide today, marking a long-awaited return to Los Angeles, and signaling a welcome-debut for San Diego, Sacramento, and other cities throughout the country’s most populous state. This also means, however, that for the second time in a year the guide is issuing a new set of stars for the greater San Francisco Bay Area. And there’s been a big, big drop.

Northern California remains the fine dining capital of the U.S., in Michelin’s eyes (LA was shut out of the three-star game entirely), but Saison, a three-star fixture since the 2015 guide, has been demoted to two stars with chef (and noted cyclist) Laurent Gras at the helm.

Still, no other area of the country has a greater concentration of three-star spots, the guide’s highest honor. The remaining venues in that category retained that status. Those restaurants are: Atelier Crenn, Benu, the Restaurant at Meadowood, The French Laundry, Single Thread, Quince, and Manresa.

The big new addition to the two-star category was Campton Place, chef Srijith Gopinathan’s Cali-Indian restaurant. It is the country’s only South Asian restaurant to hold that accolade.

Every other venue in that category retained its two-star status, including Acquerello, Baume, Commis, Lazy Bear, and Coi. Daniel Patterson’s Coi dropped a star in this category last fall after chef Matthew Kirkley left the tasting menu venue to train for the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition. It continues to hold two stars under chef Erik Anderson, whose tasting menu skews towards rich decadent sauces and classics like a duck press.

Angler, the expensive and sustainably-minded seafood spot by Joshua Skenes, was one of the few entrants to the one-star category, accompanied by Maum in Palo Alto, Aubergine in Monterey, SF’s Sorrel, Sacramento’s Kitchen Restaurant, and Harbor House in Mendocino.

California’s tourism bureau, Visit California, paid $600,000 for the pleasure of having the entire state ranked by the guide. Even so, the state capital of Sacramento only received one star in total.

One star means “high quality cooking, worth a stop;” two stars indicates “excellent cooking, worth a detour;” three stars signifies “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” There are just over 120 restaurants worldwide with that highest honor. This year California snagged 69 stars altogether.

As is typical for Michelin, the Bay Area’s two and three star selections are quite expensive; it is unlikely one will spend less than $400 for two at any of them. Dinner for two at the Meadowood chef’s counter, with optional wine pairings, will run just under $2,000.

Following is the list of Michelin-starred restaurants for the San Francisco Bay Area, wine country, and Sacramento as compiled by the 2019 California Guide:

Three Stars:

Atelier Crenn

Benu

The Restaurant at Meadowood

Manresa

Quince

Single Thread

The French Laundry

Two Stars:

Acquerello

Baumé

Californios

Campton Place

Coi

Commis

Lazy Bear

Saison

One Star:

Al’s Place

Angler

Auberge de Soleil

Aubergine

Bar Crenn

Bird Song

Bouchon

Chez TJ

Commonwealth

Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant

Gary Danko

Harbor House

Hashiri

In Situ

Ju-ni

Keiko a Nob Hill

Kenzo

Kin Khao

The Kitchen

La Toque

Lord Stanley

Luce

Madcap

Madera

Madrona Manor

Maum

Michael MIna

Mister Jiu’s

Mourad

Nico

Octavia

Omakase

The Plumed Horse

The Progress

Protege

Rich Table

Rasa

Sons & Daughters

Sorrel

Spruce

State Bird Provisions

SPQR

Sushi Yoshizumi

The Village Pub

Wako

Wakuriya

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