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. That's why, over the next few weeks, we're adding new restaurants to the MICHELIN Guide California leading up to the announcement of Bib Gourmands and Stars in late September. Bon appétit!
This trendy Indian dining room makes quite a splash. Harnessing the best of land and sea, these dishes are born for sharing. Behold such inventive bites as crispy cauliflower tossed with chili-garlic sauce and finished with sesame. Barra kebab highlights intensely spiced tandoor lamb chops with mint chutney.
Servers know the menu by heart, so follow their lead and start with tapas like crusty pan con tomate, before digging into hearty chorizo y pollo paella. An homage to the El Bullí olive is a contemporary signature, while carpaccio garnished with pickled mustard seeds and aged sherry vinegar is forever popular.
Santa Cruz County
The menu here stars responsibly sourced oysters and choice cuts of aged beef. Get going with a crispy crab sandwich offered with cool tartar sauce and piping-hot fries. Tuck into wood-roasted shrimp with leeks and pancetta, then call it a night with the raspberry dream sundae.
Soft hues, dark green-framed doors, and a barn-like a structure foster a communal sense. The carte is unusual, unveiling fried sardines with Meyer lemon aioli or white bean soup with chickpeas in a funky prosciutto broth. Taking the cake however are pizzas, like the "Pesto", shimmering with fromage blanc, Crescenza, and caciocavallo, or the "Sardenaira", with tomato sauce, anchovies, and olives.
The Restaurant at Justin
Happily set in the Justin Winery, this Californian-centric haven is a celebration of the seasons and abundant local ingredients. Lunch is dialed back, but the menu truly shines at night, when the kitchen team flexes their creative skills to churn out deliciously complementary items. As expected, theirs is an impressive wine list, replete with their own labels among other unique selections.
Six Test Kitchen
A multi-course tasting inspired by the seasons of the Central Coast is on the books. Fridays and Saturdays feature an expanded menu, with dishes that highlight the chef's unique style. Imagine chicken liver mousse with shallot-onion jam; tailed by crispy duck with jus and pickled beets.
The Rosewood Miramar Beach is its home and contemporary Californian food with Italian leanings is the team's dictum. The seasonal prix-fixe takes center stage. A chilled minted pea soup with pickled fennel makes for a rich kick off, and may be tailed by gnocchetti Sardi mingled with dulse, uni, and and caviar for zest and decadence.
San Luis Obispo
Ox + Anchor
Chef Ryan Fancher's modern steakhouse is set on the grounds of Hotel San Luis Opisbo. Charred steaks and sides (creamed spinach?) are the main event, but be sure to make room for such elevated comfort fare as savory goat cheese croquettes with sweet lavender honey.
Hero image: Alderwood. Photo by Jeffrey Wall, courtesy of Alderwood