MICHELIN Guide Inspectors spend all year on the road uncovering the best restaurants to recommend—and what they've found is too good to keep a secret. Whet your appetite with a sneak peek of the 2022 MICHELIN Guide California; Bib Gourmands and Stars will be announced this autumn. Bon appétit!
The straightforward menu reflects the seasons, offering a small selection of familiar plates heightened with a touch of oomph.
Chef Dustin Valette's latest venture is located in a soaring complex, but that never takes the focus away from the menu that weaves seasonal products with California flair and Mediterranean elements.
In the category of bowling alley eats, mole and quesadillas aren't likely to spring to mind, but chef Alex Soto's skillful, flavor-packed Mexican cooking, served Wednesday-Sunday, will change your outlook.
The small, ingredient-driven menu draws upon French and Italian elements, seen in hearty, satisfying dishes like the maltagliati pasta in prosciutto-parmesan broth.
San Francisco Bay Area
Donaji (Mission)Cuisine: Mexican
Chef Isai Cuevas, who has earned a reputation selling his excellent tamales at farmers' markets across the city, now has a cheerful, neighborhood brick-and-mortar.
San Ho Won (Mission)Cuisine: Korean
Combining the talents of chefs Corey Lee and protégé Jeong-In Hwang, here it's safe to expect the exceptional. The kitchen's refined technique deftly combines traditional Korean tastes with a sense of novelty.
Le Fantastique (Mission)Cuisine: Contemporary
Creativity and finesse are part and parcel of the cooking, and the too-cool vibe and vinyl soundtrack are matched by gracious hospitality.
Good Good Culture Club (Mission)Cuisine: Southeast Asian
The vibrantly flavorful cooking here highlights Southeast Asian flavors and unique Californian expressions in dishes like a signature adobo-glazed fried chicken wing stuffed with garlic rice.
Ernest (Mission)Cuisine: Contemporary
Chef Brandon Rice’s hip, irreverent cooking style sets the vibe, exemplified in fancy-meets-comforting combos like kaluga caviar with crème fraîche and tater tots.
Nisei (Nob Hill/N. Beach)Cuisine: Japanese
"Nisei" refers to the American- or Canadian-born children of Japanese immigrants, which chef David Yoshimura is, and the synthesis of that heritage forms the basis of his cuisine.
Abacá (Nob Hill/N. Beach)Cuisine: Filipino
Chef Francis Ang, together with co-owner (and wife) Dian Kris Ty-Ang, have produced this ode to Filipino cooking in the lush Kimpton Alton Hotel.
Sorella (Nob Hill/N. Beach)Cuisine: Italian
The spirited younger sister to grande dame Two MICHELIN Star Acquerello; the family resemblance is nonetheless apparent in the thoughtful cuisine, which runs Californian by way of Northern Italy.
Sato Omakase (Nob Hill/N. Beach)Cuisine: Sushi
This stylish counter offers an ambience of restful tranquility, but more importantly, it serves up an indulgent tasting that highlights painstakingly sourced ingredients.
Miller & Lux (Financial District)Cuisine: Steakhouse
Fine dining may seem an unlikely find in the shadow of the hulking Chase Center arena, but this stunning harborage from chef Tyler Florence is worth a splurge.
Birch & Rye (Castro/Civic Center)Cuisine: Russian
At this cozy nook, the chef combines her upbringing and restaurant chops to offer a unique, ingredient-focused interpretation of Russian cuisine that is in equal measure indulgent and fresh.
Dela Curo (Oakland)Cuisine: Japanese
Located in Swan's Market in downtown Oakland, this order-at-the-counter style of spot is brought to diners by Chikara Ono.
BE.STÉAK.Ă (Campbell)Cuisine: Steakhouse
An elegant ambience complements an elevated menu of exceptional steaks and an array of dishes at chef Jeffrey Stout's newest restaurant.
Hero image: Sato Omakase © Jason Leung