Michelin Guide Gears Up to Tackle the South Bay

Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides. (Photo courtesy of Michelin)

As the new 2010 Michelin Guide San Francisco goes on sale today with its discriminating picks for the top Bay Area restaurants, South Bay chefs would be wise to keep their eyes peeled for those sneaky inspectors coming their way.

With the 2011 guide, Michelin plans to expand its coverage of the South Bay, according to Jean-Luc Naret, director of the guides, whom I spoke with by phone yesterday.

“To be honest, the first year of the guide we went as far as Los Gatos only because of Manresa,” Naret says of the first San Francisco guide that came out four years ago. “We want to expand that coverage. I can’t say how far south we will go yet. It all depends on the restaurants we find.”

This year, Silicon Valley was represented by Chez TJ in Mountain View, Plumed Horse in Saratoga, and the Village Pub in Woodside, each of which garnered a coveted one-star rating. Trevese in Los Gatos, also received one star, but closed a month ago.

In the new 2010 guide, which retails for $17.99, the East Bay received a closer look this time around, with the inclusion of restaurants in Walnut Creek, Emeryville and Lafayette.

All in all, there are 110 more restaurants than last year’s guide.

But some things have stayed the same. The French Laundry in Yountville remains the only three-star restaurant. It is one of only 80 three-star restaurants in the world, Naret says.

Three stars, which mean “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey,” is the highest rating Michelin awards. Two stars mean “excellent cuisine, worth a detour.” One star is “a very good restaurant in its category.”

This year’s top-rated restaurants are:

*** The French Laundry

** Coi, Cyrus, Manresa, and The Restaurant at Meadowood

* Acquerello, Ame, Auberge du Soleil, Aziza, Bouchon, Boulevard, Chez Panisse, Chez TJ, Commis, The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, El Paseo (now closed), Etoile, Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Fifth Floor, Fleur de Lys, Gary Danko, La Folie, La Toque, Luce, Madrona Manor, Masa’s, Michael Mina, Murray Circle, One Market, Plumed Horse, Quince, Range, Redd, Sante, Solbar, Terra, Trevese (now closed), Ubuntu, and the Village Pub.

Seven restaurants received one star for the first time: Aziza, Commis, La Toque, Luce, Sante, Terra and Ubuntu.

Yesterday, the top restaurants may have celebrated with the popping of bubbly. But today, it’s business as usual, as the 10 U.S.-based Michelin inspectors (all of them American) get back to eating and reviewing ever so surreptitiously.

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  • Thanks so much for letting us know about the ratings in SF! It’s interesting that French Laundry is the only three-star. Recently, I have heard not such great reviews of it but it is still on our 5-star list.

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  • I can see why it’s hard to get three stars, but I’m surprised more restaurants don’t have two stars. Places like Chez Panisse and Ubuntu seems to fall under the category of “worth a detour” because these places aren’t in the heart of San Francisco and actually requires a detour. ๐Ÿ˜‰ BTW, congrats to Commis on getting a one-star and it’s not even one year old!

  • Will keep in mind in our next trip to SF ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ha! I’m not at all surprised about Thomas Keller…I did hear that he is establishing a restaurant here in LA, and I’m SO excited!! My dream is to eat one meal at French Laundry, though!

  • Thanks for sharing!

    Hubby told me about the Michelin Guide this morning. These are not restaurants we can go to now, but we have a list of restaurants we want to experience once the toddler is a bit older and can be left with a babysitter for a longer time… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Congrats to all the winners. Our neighborhood restaurant just got a one star – Aziza, guess impromptu dinners there will now be out of the question. But I am seriously excited about all the well deserved recognition.

    Thats really bittersweet about Trevese getting a star and then still closing. Sad they closed before they probably would have got a well appreciated bump in business as a result.

  • Sophia: Yes, a Bouchon Bistro will be opening in Beverly Hills in November.

    OysterCulture: Oooh, you’re lucky to have Aziza in your neighborhood. I love its modern take on Moroccan food.

    And yes, I felt the same way when I typed the words about Trevese. I remember how excited Chef-Owner Mike Miller was when he got a star from Michelin last year — his first. It’s a shame the restaurant closed even though it was so highly regarded.

  • I’m gonna change my fantasy career–or at least add a back-up to my original choice (becoming an award-winning, majorly successful food/wine writer/blogger like C.J. assuring my name’s on the A-list of foodies constantly invited to dine at world-class restaurants or events featuring fab food/wine pairings prepared by world-class chefs: I’ve decided to become a Michelin inspector! Towards that end, I’ve been honing my surreptitious skills even while entering this comment. Hah! You haven’t noticed me all during this time, have you? Uh, wait a minute …

  • Was Wotten just around here? Or, uh, did I imagine it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Funny that today’s FG is about the Michelin guide. We had the 9 course TM at WD50, tonight. I get that it’s still pretty new and that Wiley likes to experiment *a lot*, but only 1 star? Oh well, we’ll be back.

  • I’d like to know when Michelin will every get their butts to Sacramento! We have several very worthy restaurants. “sigh”

    I wonder if The Plumed Horse in Saratoga still has a star?

  • Melly: If you look at the list above, you will see that the Plumed Horse still has a one-star rating. Congrats to that wonderful restaurant.
    As for Sacramento, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Actually Aziza got a star the first year of the Michelin Guide for the Bay Area, but lost it the second year. I’m glad Mourad got his star back.

  • In retrospect I guess I am wrong … I can’t find corroboration of this. I was so sure, but must have been hallucniating.

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