French Laundry Still the Only Three-Star-Michelin Bay Area Restaurant

The new Bay Area guide book.

For the third straight year, the French Laundry in Yountville is again the only three-star Michelin restaurant in the Bay Area.

Thomas Keller’s temple of gastronomy was the only restaurant to receive Michelin’s top rating. The new “Michelin Guide: San Francisco, Bay Area, and Wine Country” ($16.95) goes on sale tomorrow with 383 restaurants rated in all.

One star means “a very good restaurant.” Two stars signify “excellent cooking, worth a detour.” And three stars is “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

Among the new rankings is Coi restaurant in San Francisco, which joins the ranks of two-star establishments; and Murray Circle in Sausalito, Plumed Horse in Saratoga, Trevese in Los Gatos, and the Village Pub in Woodside were awarded one star rankings for the first time.

Christopher Kostow, who garnered two Michelin stars when he was chef at Chez TJ in Mountain View, then jumped ship to become chef of the Restaurant at Meadowood, retained the two stars that had been bequeathed to the posh St. Helena establishment last year under its previous chef. Chez TJ earned a one-star rating.

The other two-star restaurants are: Aqua in San Francisco, Cyrus in Healdsburg, Manresa in Los Gatos, and Michael Mina in San Francisco.

The other one-star restaurants are: Acquerello in San Francisco; Ame in San Francisco; Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford; Bistro Jeanty in Yountville; Bouchon in Yountville; Boulevard in San Francisco; Chez Panisse in Berkeley; the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco; the Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant in Forestville; the Fifth Floor in San Francisco; Fleur de Lys in San Francisco; Gary Danko in San Francisco; La Folie in San Francisco; Madrona Manor in Healdsburg; Martini House in St. Helena; Masa’s in San Francisco; One Market in San Francisco; Range in San Francisco; Redd in Yountville; and Terra in St. Helena.

To lessen the pain in this dismal economy, the guide includes a list of 56 restaurants to enjoy a meal for $25 or less.

Also new this year, Michelin enters the tech-era by giving consumers the option to access North American Michelin  guide selections (New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Vegas) on a cell phone. The system is available by subscription by clicking here.

Moreover, diners can win prizes in the Michelin “Discovery” contest. Just submit a 150-word description of the dining discoveries you’ve made by using the Michelin Guide. Submissions can be made at

One winner will be selected each week through Dec. 31 to receive a $150 gift certificate to try a new restaurant, as well as to have his or her dining discovery featured on Michelin’s Web site. A grand prize winner will be selected from the pool of weekly winners to create a “Design Your Own Michelin Discovery Weekend” in New York City, including all meals and accommodations.

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  • We’re going to Chez Panisse tonight! I shall have to enter that Discovery contest hehehe

  • Ultimately, it’s all very subjective.

    For example, it is hard to imagine how Gary Danko could merit only one star, when a place like Michael Mina can earn two. The latter’s ambiance is far too sterile for my taste.

    I can honestly state that I’ve never had a better restaurant experience than dining at GD.

    But I must admit that in these slow economic times a list of restaurants with meals under &25.00 is a good resource!

  • That’s all very true. I know other folks also have complained that Ubuntu, which the New York Times among others has called one of the best new restaurants in the country, didn’t merit a star. “Best” lists are inherently subjective and open to disagreement. But then, that’s what makes them so much fun to check out, too.

  • Gives me some thought as to where I might want to try to eat, but I agree, I think maybe those $25 and under places will get more of my business at this point (but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to try every place on the 3/2/1 star list!).

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