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Announcing Northern California’s 2020 James Beard Awards Semifinalists

Here’s the full list of local contenders

A silver James Beard Foundation medal against a black background is seen. James Beard Foundation

Today, the James Beard Foundation announced its Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists for 2020, a list that includes a significant number of Bay Area bars, restaurants, and industry leaders including several well-known standbys and some new contenders.

This is the 30th year of the awards, which are intended (per its website) to honor “exceptional talent and creativity” across the US food, beverage, and hospitality industry. How the awards are meted out is regularly revamped, the Foundation says: In 2019, the organization changed the makeup of its nominating committees in an effort to diversify its nominees. This year, the change is related to geography, as it has added categories like a California-specific Best Chef honor and shuffled its regional groupings.

Next stop for these semifinalists is Wednesday, March 25, when at 9 a.m. ET, the final nominees will be livestreamed and tweeted. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 4, at the 2020 James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago. (Winners of the 2020 Media Awards will be announced a bit earlier, at a New York event on Friday, April 24.)

Now, here are the Bay Area semifinalists. Head here for the full nationwide list.

Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

Outstanding Baker

A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries, or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.

Outstanding Bar Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.

Outstanding Chef

A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

Outstanding Hospitality

A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Outstanding Restaurant

A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.

Outstanding Restaurateur

A restaurateur who demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

Outstanding Wine Program

A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

A beer, wine, or spirits producer that has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.

Rising Star Chef of the Year

A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Best Chef: California

Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.

  • Kim Alter, Nightbird, San Francisco
  • Val M. Cantu, Californios, San Francisco
  • Gabriela Cámara, Cala, San Francisco
  • Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco
  • Mourad Lahlou, Mourad, San Francisco
  • Brandon Rodgers and Ian Scaramuzza, In Situ, San Francisco
  • Joshua Skenes, Angler, San Francisco
  • James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland
  • Karen Taylor Waikiki, El Molino Central, Boyes Hot Springs
  • Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.


470 Pacific Avenue, , CA 94133 (415) 775-8500 Visit Website

Central Kitchen

3000 20th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 415 826 7004


355 11th Street, , CA 94103 (415) 757-0994 Visit Website

The Restaurant at Meadowood

900 Meadowood Lane, , CA 94574 (707) 967-1205 Visit Website


22 Hawthorne Street, , CA 94105 (415) 685-4860 Visit Website


140 New Montgomery Street, , CA 94105 (415) 660-2500 Visit Website

In Situ

SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA (415) 941-6050 Visit Website

House of Prime Rib

1906 Van Ness Avenue, , CA 94109 (415) 885-4605 Visit Website

Trick Dog

3010 20th Street, , CA 94110 (415) 471-2999 Visit Website

St. George Spirits

2601 Monarch Street, , CA 94501 (510) 769-1601 Visit Website


149 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94102


330 Gough Street, , CA 94102 (415) 829-7565 Visit Website


8500 Beverly Boulevard, , CA 90048 (424) 332-4082 Visit Website

Manresa Bread

271 State Street, , CA 94022 (650) 946-2293 Visit Website


528 Washington Street, , CA 94111 (415) 944-4600 Visit Website

Beit Rima

86 Carl Street, , CA 94117 (415) 566-1274 Visit Website


320 Village Lane, , CA 95030 (408) 354-4330 Visit Website

Atelier Crenn

3127 Fillmore Street, , CA 94123 (415) 440-0460 Visit Website

Swan Oyster Depot

1517 Polk Street, , CA 94109 (415) 673-1101

Kin Khao

55 Cyril Magnin Street, , CA 94102 (415) 362-7456 Visit Website

Dragon Beaux

5700 Geary Boulevard, , CA 94121 (415) 333-8899 Visit Website

Mister Jiu's

28 Waverly Place, , CA 94108 (415) 857-9688 Visit Website

Great China Restaurant

2190 Bancroft Way, , CA 94704 (510) 843-7996 Visit Website


178 Townsend Street, , CA 94107 (415) 828-7990 Visit Website


3859 Piedmont Avenue, , CA 94611 (510) 653-3902 Visit Website

State Bird Provisions

1529 Fillmore Street, , CA 94115 (415) 795-1272 Visit Website

Flour + Water

2401 Harrison Street, , CA 94110 (415) 826-7000 Visit Website

The Morris

2501 Mariposa Street, , CA 94110 (415) 612-8480 Visit Website

Koi Palace

768 Barber Lane, , CA 95035 (408) 432-8833 Visit Website

Palette Tea House

900 North Point Street, , CA 94109 (415) 529-1212 Visit Website