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.
The MathesonCuisine: Contemporary
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.
Lane 33 CaféCuisine: Mexican
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.
Stokes AdobeCuisine: Contemporary
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.
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Hero image: Sato Omakase © Jason Leung