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Dining Out 4 minutes 27 October 2020

Delicious Discoveries Across California

The MICHELIN Guide’s virtual Family Meal event uncovers 25 inspector-approved restaurants showcasing new and inspiring culinary talent.

California

This year's annual Star Revelation in California may have been postponed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and devastating wildfire season, but in its place, The MICHELIN Guide hosted a virtual Family Meal to celebrate the resilience and strength of its restaurants and to raise money for the California Association Food Banks. During the event, which featured chef-led panels and cooking demonstrations and was streamed online on October 27th, a collection of 25 inspector discoveries was announced: A snapshot of new and inspiring culinary talent across California. Though so much is different this year, the spirit of celebration remains the same.

From Wine Country to San Diego, here is a sampling of the meals that left a lasting impression on our inspectors. Missed the event? You can watch the full video at guide.michelinman.com.

Boonville Hotel & Restaurant

Mendocino, Wine Country

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“This intimate roadside attraction is now home to the talented chef Perry Hoffman, who was previously at SHED in Healdsburg. The small menu and even the format changes often, but what remains constant is Hoffman’s commitment to sourcing, technique and flavor.”

Braised Pork, Boonville Hotel & Restaurant. Photo © Michelin North America.
Braised Pork, Boonville Hotel & Restaurant. Photo © Michelin North America.

Yue Huang

Sacramento

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“The dim sum selection offers an enticing array of steamed, baked and fried delights, including barbecue pork buns, rice noodle rolls and dumplings. However, diners are bound to also run across a range of more interesting items, like succulent sticky-rice shrimp balls or steamed buns stuffed with crunchy walnuts and sweet red bean paste.”

Walnut Buns, Yue Huang. Photo © Michelin North America.
Walnut Buns, Yue Huang. Photo © Michelin North America.

Tony’s Seafood

Marin

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Under the ownership of Hog Island Oyster Co., this charming spot offers a casual but nonetheless delicious foray into pristine-quality seafood caught or harvested in local waters.”

Clam Chowder, Tony's Seafood. Photo © Michelin North America.
Clam Chowder, Tony's Seafood. Photo © Michelin North America.

Aziza

Richmond & Sunset, San Francisco

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Aziza's return has been heartily greeted by SF diners. Chef Mourad Lahlou is renowned for weaving California staples into his fresh take on Moroccan fare.”

Bisteeya, Aziza. Photo © Michelin North America.
Bisteeya, Aziza. Photo © Michelin North America.

Tacos Oscar

Oakland, East Bay

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Tacos Oscar has found a home, though brick and mortar might not be the right words since the space is mainly outdoors and constructed with cleverly stacked and colored shipping containers. From co-owners Oscar Michel and Jake Weiss, the menus is focused on their namesake with everything made in-house daily.”

Broccoli Taco, Tacos Oscar. Photo © Michelin North America.
Broccoli Taco, Tacos Oscar. Photo © Michelin North America.

Los Carnalitos

Hayward, East Bay 

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“This family-run spot delivers a taste of Mexico City, with delicacies like huaraches and quesadilla de huitlacoche. Here, quesadillas are made from house-made tortillas, so try the one filled with squash blossom, queso fresco and tomatillo salsa.”

Tacos, Los Carnalitos. Photo © Michelin North America.
Tacos, Los Carnalitos. Photo © Michelin North America.

Brotzeit Lokal

Oakland, East Bay 

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Open for years, tucked away and on the water; the name translates, to “bread-time” and the menu offers Bavarian fare with an emphasis on quality. Sausages are made from scratch at an offsite kitchen and the pretzels are from a local bakery. The impressive beer program focuses on small German and Austrian family breweries, monastery microbrews plus a few additional local options.”

Sausage Platter, Brotzeit Lokal. Photo © Michelin North America.
Sausage Platter, Brotzeit Lokal. Photo © Michelin North America.

Selby’s

Atherton, South Bay 

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Swanky Selby’s is headed by the very talented Chef Mark Sullivan and chef de cuisine Jason Pringle. Elegant American classic fare is the focus, as is the farm-to-table ethos via produce from the group’s own farm, SMIP Ranch.”

Lobster Newburg, Selby's. Photo © Michelin North America.
Lobster Newburg, Selby's. Photo © Michelin North America.

Bell’s

Santa Barbara

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“After cutting their teeth at top NYC restaurants, Daisy and Greg Ryan have settled into the quaint confines of the Santa Ynez Valley. The French bistro cooking is unpretentious and infused with the contributions of area farmers and ranchers.”

Escargot, Bell's. Photo © Michelin North America.
Escargot, Bell's. Photo © Michelin North America.

Bettina

Santa Barbara

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Naturally leavened pizza dough made with organic flour, cold fermented for 48 hours; plus sourdough and focaccia dough. The menu is seasonal and creative liberties are taken with international ingredients like harissa, Spanish sardines, and Arbequina olive oil.”

Eggplant Fritti, Bettina. Photo © Michelin North America.
Eggplant Fritti, Bettina. Photo © Michelin North America.

Sushi|Bar Montecito

Santa Barbara

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Nestled by the entrance of historical Montecito Inn, this counter offers a relaxed atmosphere and a progression of whimsical sushi.”

Nigiri, Sushi|Bar Montecito. Photo © Michelin Guide.
Nigiri, Sushi|Bar Montecito. Photo © Michelin Guide.

WoodSpoon

Downtown, Los Angeles

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Chef and owner Natalia Pereira hails from Brazil and her cuisine exhibits skill and passion. The empadão de frango, a chicken pot-pie, is legendary.”

Croquette, WoodSpoon. Photo © Michelin North America.
Croquette, WoodSpoon. Photo © Michelin North America.

Spoon by H

Hollywood, Los Angeles

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Come for dessert but stay for dinner at this cute, family-run Korean café emanating a cheery vibe. It may be best known for its sweet treats, but there is so much more on offer here.”

Kimchi Fried Rice, Spoon by H. Photo © Michelin North America.
Kimchi Fried Rice, Spoon by H. Photo © Michelin North America.

Jiang Nan Spring

San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Given it's Shanghainese focus, this spot is a standout. Sweet vinegars and fresh seafood figure prominently, and are most apparent in preparations like tilapia fried in a tempura-like batter flavored with seaweed.”

Fried Fish, Jiang Nan Spring. Photo © Michelin Guide.
Fried Fish, Jiang Nan Spring. Photo © Michelin Guide.

Tūmbi

Santa Monica, Los Angeles

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“A modern Indian restaurant from R. J. Singh and Chef Imran Ali Mookhi. It's in the heart of Santa Monica, yet it manages to feel like a hidden away gem. The menu highlights Indian street food.”

Palak Paneer and Butter Chicken, Tūmbi. Photo © Michelin North America.
Palak Paneer and Butter Chicken, Tūmbi. Photo © Michelin North America.

Pasjoli

Santa Monica, Los Angeles

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
Dialogue's Chef Dave Beran offers up a confident take on classic French cuisine; the menu is concise and executed with focus and style.”

Brioche, Pasjoli. Photo © Michelin North America.
Brioche, Pasjoli. Photo © Michelin North America.

Sweet Rice

Gardena, Los Angeles

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“This exciting little haven specializes in Thai breakfast specialties, hearty soups and noodle dishes; highly recommended is the jok—congee bubbling with tender pork meatballs, loaded with fresh ginger and an egg. And the mango sticky rice, if available, is an absolute delight.”

Jok, Sweet Rice. Photo © Michelin North America.
Jok, Sweet Rice. Photo © Michelin North America.

Sushi I-NABA

Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“There is much to admire here, from the pristine quality of fish, to the precise seasonality, to the impressive technique. Chef Yasuhiro Hirano's mother lives in Japan and helps select the fish for him.”

Amberjack, Sushi I-NABA. Photo © Michelin North America.
Amberjack, Sushi I-NABA. Photo © Michelin North America.

Chaak Kitchen

Tustin, Orange County 

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Chef Gabbi Patrick is a chef to watch; her second restaurant serves up the vibrant smoke- and spice-focused cuisine of the Yucatán Peninsula.”

Empanadas, Chaak Kitchen. Photo © Michelin North America.
Empanadas, Chaak Kitchen. Photo © Michelin North America.

Fable & Spirit

Newport Beach, Orange County 

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Owned and run by the Coyle family, this ‘fabled’ spot doesn't have to try that hard to win fans. The room is packed with an unmistakable hum of happy diners diving into delicious California-accented pub grub.”

Charred Octopus. Photo by Fable & Spirit.
Charred Octopus. Photo by Fable & Spirit.

Tuétano Taqueria

San Diego

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“This taqueria specializes in Tijuana-style taco and is located just across the nearby border. Tuetano is Spanish for marrow, which is roasted here and added to any number of tacos.”

Birria con Tuetano, Tuetano Taqueria. Photo © Michelin North America.
Birria con Tuetano, Tuetano Taqueria. Photo © Michelin North America.

Morning Glory

San Diego

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“It's strictly breakfast and brunch only at this Little Italy spot from the folks behind Born & Raised. Fluffy soufflé pancakes are worth waking up for; while fried rice with pork belly and eggs with runny yolks is a great riff on tradition.”

Avocado Toast, Morning Glory. Photo © Michelin North America.
Avocado Toast, Morning Glory. Photo © Michelin North America.

Dija Mara

San Diego

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Imagine cheeky murals, dim lighting and a roll-up garage door entrance. But lest you consider it a divey drinking hole, be advised you’ll find some serious southeast Asian cooking here.”

Nasi Goreng, Dija Mara. Photo © Michelin North America.
Nasi Goreng, Dija Mara. Photo © Michelin North America.

Soichi

San Diego

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“The vibe may be low-key as Chef Soichi Kadoya chats up his guests but he's hard at work and his focus is on straight-forward sushi that's minimally dressed.”

Nigiri, Soichi. Photo © Michelin North America.
Nigiri, Soichi. Photo © Michelin North America.

Sushi Tadokoro

San Diego

From the Inspector’s Notebook:
“Chef Takodoro delivers Edomae-style sushi omakase and a la carte enhanced with housemade sauces in an simple setting in Old Town San Diego.”

Sea Urchin and Ikura, Sushi Tadokoro. Photo © Michelin North America.
Sea Urchin and Ikura, Sushi Tadokoro. Photo © Michelin North America.
To  watch the full event or make a contribution to the California Food Bank Association, visit guide.michelinman.com

Hero Image: Photo by jisoo kim on Unsplash.

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