Restaurants are, thankfully, back in business. And if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area there’s no shortage of exceptional choices. No question. The region continues to be a foodie’s paradise.
After skipping California last year — due to COVID-19 and the pandemic — Michelin has returned and announced the 2021 recipients.
“As an international culinary destination and leader in the industry, California continues to impress MICHELIN Guide inspectors with a commitment to sustainable gastronomy and creative cuisine,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides. “We are delighted to celebrate 19 promotions for restaurants that elevated their quality and consistency despite the challenges of the health crisis, and welcome eight new entries to our selection at the star level.”
Michelin Guide 2021:
SF Bay Area Promotions and New Entrants
Two Michelin Stars:
- Birdsong, San Francisco (promotion from one Michelin Star)
- Harbor House, Mendocino (promotion from one Michelin Star)
One Michelin Star:
- Adega, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- Avery, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- Barndiva, Sonoma (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- Marlena, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- Niku Steakhouse, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- O’ by Claude Le Tohic, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- Selby’s, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- Sushi Shin, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
- The Shota, San Francisco (promotion to one Michelin Star)
In total, 52 San Francisco Bay Area restaurants were awarded Michelin stars across three ratings: 3-star; 2-star; and 1-star.
A bit of a spoiler. All current Michelin 3-star restaurants retained their rankings. A pretty impressive accomplishment given the headwinds of the last year-and-a-half.
See below for the complete list of San Francisco Bay Area Michelin star winners for 2021.
Michelin Guide 2021 San Francisco Bay Area:
Complete list of Michelin Star restaurants
Three Michelin Stars (6)
Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.
- Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
- Benu, San Francisco
- The French Laundry, Yountville
- Manresa, Los Gatos
- Quince, San Francisco
- SingleThread, Healdsburg
Two Michelin Stars (9)
Excellent cuisine, worth a detour.
- Acquerello, San Francisco
- Birdsong, San Francisco
Birdsong inspector notes: Chef Christopher Bleidorn’s skill lies in his ability to combine the rugged appeal of flame-kissed meats with a delicate touch and palpable sense of whimsy. For proof, look no further than the lacquered quail with grilled Parker House rolls and crunchy pickles to be assembled by hand à la Peking duck.
- Californios, San Francisco
- Campton Place, San Francisco
- Coi, San Francisco
- Commis, Oakland
- Harbor House, Mendocino County
- Lazy Bear, San Francisco
- Saison, San Francisco
One Michelin Star (37)
High quality cooking, worth a stop.
- Adega, San Jose
Adega inspector notes: Chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira elevate every bite on their appetizing menu with a perfect blend of pristine local produce and top-notch imported ingredients. Seafood is a particular area of focus in this kitchen, and diners shouldn’t miss a dressed-up take on Portugal’s culinary backbone—that is, bacalhau or salted cod.
- Al’s Place, San Francisco
- Angler SF, San Francisco
- Auberge du Soleil, Napa
- Avery, San Francisco
Avery inspector notes: The impressive menu pays homage to chef and co-owner, Rodney Wages’ experiences at some of the city’s most elite kitchens. As the meal unfolds, it quickly becomes clear that this chef marches to the beat of his own drums. A lovingly curated champagne and sake list accents this distinctive cuisine.
- Bar Crenn, San Francisco
- Barndiva, Sonoma
Barndiva inspector notes: The cooking, as conceived by chef Jordan Rosas, hones in on prime local produce and sustainability. There is a tangible deftness in such aromatic flavor combinations as seared dayboat scallops with kohlrabi, grapefruit and lemongrass-ginger butter sauce. Of course, it should be unlawful to forgo the creative goodies from pastry chef, Neidy Venegas.
- Chez TJ, Mountain View
- Gary Danko, San Francisco
- Jū-Ni, San Francisco
- Kenzo, Napa
- Kin Khao, San Francisco
- La Toque, Napa
- Madcap, Marin
- Madera, Menlo Park
- Marlena, San Francisco
Marlena inspector notes: Husband-and-wife team, David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher, manage both the savory and sweet side of things; and their fine dining pedigree is apparent in the cooking, deftly marrying simplicity with sophistication. Diners will appreciate the precise technique and understated yet imaginative use of ingredients found throughout the prix fixe menu.
- Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco
- Mourad, San Francisco
- Niku Steakhouse, San Francisco
Niku inspector notes: Executive Chef Dustin Falcon helms the kitchen, where pristine cuts of top shelf Japanese beef share screen time with hearty American cuts—the red hot binchotan coals create mouthwatering char.
- O’ by Claude Le Tohic, San Francisco
O’ by Claude Le Tohic inspector notes: Chef Claude Le Tohic’s prix-fixe menu is composed of outstanding courses that may pair classic French techniques with pristine Californian ingredients. Exquisite sauces work their way into this rotating lineup that may begin with a generous trio of caviar with freshly baked breads; and end over enticing mignardise.
- Omakase, San Francisco
- Plumed Horse, Saratoga
- The Progress, San Francisco
- Protégé, Palo Alto
- Rasa, Burlingame
- Selby’s, Atherton
Selby’s inspector notes: This talented kitchen spins out classic American cuisine with a menu that showcases product from the group’s five-acre organic farm.
- Sons & Daughters, San Francisco
- Sorrel, San Francisco
- SPQR, San Francisco
- Spruce, San Francisco
- State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
- Sushi Shin, Redwood City
Sushi Shin inspector notes: Chef Jason Zhan is charming, engaging and a bona fide tome of information on product sourcing, aging and marinating. Diners fortunate to be perched in front of him may be presented with the likes of sea water eel braised in dashi and topped with plum sauce; followed by sardine tartare imbued with ginger and scallions. Next up, nigiri of exceptional quality and delicate seasoning.
- The Shota, San Francisco
The Shota inspector notes: The menu combines Edomae sushi with classic kaiseki—and is informed every step of the way with imported Japanese ingredients and local produce. Expectedly, diners are treated to a breathtaking experience from start to finish—as well as service that is effortless, unobtrusive and engaging.
- Sushi Yoshizumi, San Mateo
- The Village Pub, Woodside
- Wako, San Francisco
- Wakuriya, San Mateo
Phew. How about that for outstanding choice? Happy dining!
With Loni Stark in San Francisco.