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!
Chef Nick Tamburo had big shoes to fill following the closure of longtime favorite Redd Wood, but he’s made it look effortless. Start with thin slivers of kampachi garnished with preserved perilla or swipe large corn and nori fritters through a cloud-like mousse of corn studded with trout roe. Wood-fired pizzas are a nod to the previous tenant.
Extensive travel throughout Thailand has informed and inspired this team to bring a taste of Chiang Mai to Sebastopol. This is food that is spiced and seasoned with little hesitation and fresh and electric at the same time. The house-made Thai sausage is superb; and the paste for all the curries are made in house, with our favorite being the green curry with Manila clams and potatoes.
Horn Barbecue (Oakland)
This local sensation from Matt Horn serves up "West coast barbecue" set within a cool, warehouse-style space. Employing his family's cooking traditions and all manner of meat-smoking, the chef turns out brisket, pulled pork, and sausages—all unfussy yet irresistible.
Rêve Bistro (Lafayette)
The staff are a smooth, efficient bunch and the bistro menu from chef-owner Paul Magu-Lecugy spans the classics. Think gougères and wild boar pâté or a more hearty plate of noisettes de chevruil poélées (venison stuffed in puff pastry over celery root purée). The lemon meringue tart is a sublime way to cap off the meal.
Top Hatters Kitchen (San Leandro)
Husband-and-wife co-owners Matthew Beavers and DanVy Vu opted to honor this fixture’s former life as a family-owned hat shop by keeping the name; the well-crafted cocktails are also dubbed with nods to millinery. Chef Vu leads the kitchen, and her skillful contemporary combination of Vietnamese and Californian flavors is tantalizing.
Husband-and-wife David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher manage both the savory and sweet side of things. You'll appreciate the precise technique and subtle yet imaginative use of ingredients found throughout the seasonal menu, which might commence with lightly cured kampachi layered with melon and herbaceous lovage vinaigrette, before culminating in a sweetly satisfying pistachio cake with rhubarb jam and jasmine bavarois.
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas have long been recognized as Bay Area pastry royalty, so naturally this foray into sit-down dining (located next door to their much-acclaimed B. Patisserie) is a treat. To sweeten the pot even further, they tapped JP Carmona, formerly chef de cuisine at Manresa, to lead the kitchen.
Locals now pack this intimate spot for hand-made pastas—porcini- and black truffle-ravioli—as well as less conventional indulgences, like uni crème brûlée with caviar. Meaty mains like the Wagyu flat iron steak with maitake-bordelaise also hit the mark.
Chef Srijith Gopinathan brings his impressive pedigree and unique brand of upscale Indian cooking to the south (Palo Alto). Kulchas are a menu highpoint, deliciously stuffed with the likes of peak-season peas and ricotta and served with a bright green kale chutney; while crisped branzino with a chutney of green garlic, herbs, and chilies is all heart and soul.
Thanks to the collab between Chef Manish Tyagi and Owner Anupam Bhatia, the menu here is an homage to India's forgotten recipes. Every dish is elegantly composed and flavors are infinitely varied.