Why foodies should flock to San Francisco instead of New York

A screengrab from Twitter of a maine lobster, chartreuse, savoy cabbage and red wine dish as shared by San Francisco’s new Michelin three-star restaurant Coi.
A screengrab from Twitter of a maine lobster, chartreuse, savoy cabbage and red wine dish as shared by San Francisco’s new Michelin three-star restaurant Coi.

NEW YORK, Oct 26 — Michelin has delivered some good news to the Bay Area.

Today, the restaurant bible announced the places that it has awarded one, two, and three stars in and around San Francisco. The news had been postponed, due to the wildfires in the area.

There are now seven Michelin three-star restaurants in San Francisco. The newest addition is Coi, a modern, thought-provoking restaurant near the Financial District. Chef/owner Daniel Patterson handed over kitchen duties to Matthew Kirkley early last year; in response, the restaurant gained a star. “Matthew Kirkley has taken the restaurant to another level,” says Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guide. “He can combine sweetbreads and skate. He can serve a dish like sea urchin mousseline with grapefruit caramel. You think, ‘How can that work?’ Yet it does.”

Patterson agreed. “I’m so happy for Matt,” he told Bloomberg after hearing the announcement. “He’s worked incredibly hard and he’s very deserving. I knew when I hired him he would cook at a three-star level and it’s great to see that hard work truly recognised.”

New York has only six Michelin three-stars, at least for the moment. The 2018 winners will be announced on October 30. It remains to be seen whether New York will gain any more; the Bay Area seems to be ahead of the Big Apple in terms of creativity and ambitious cooking, and it has an affluent, young, tech-industry workforce that supports this — at least on the higher end.

The Michelin two-star category included mostly good news, too, for the Bay Area. Two restaurants were freshly named: The modern Mexican Californos, in the Mission, and the exceptional, farm-based, Japanese-minded Single Thread, in Healdsburg.

In all, 55 restaurants earned Michelin stars; last year there were 54. That bucked the trend for the area’s inexpensive restaurants — the Bib Gourmands, Michelin’s cheap eats, listed 67 spots this year, down from 74 a year ago. (For anyone wondering whether the charming, New American Rich Table was taken off that list because it landed a Michelin star this year, the answer is “Yes”.)

Another worthy addition to the list is Kenzo, the elegant Japanese omakase spot in Napa that’s attached to the winery of the same name. It’s owned by video game mogul Kenzo Tsujimoto, chief executive officer of Capcom Co. Also notable is In Situ, from chef Corey Lee. His restaurant in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art received a star for recreating the world’s most famous dishes from such chefs as Massimo Bottura, David Chang, and Wylie Dufresne.

One restaurant that was downgraded from two stars to one is Campton Place. “It went to an all-tasting-menu format, which is fine, but the bar is higher,” notes Ellis. Several one-star spots shut their doors, including Aziza, Mosu, and Nico.

“There’s a lot of high level cooking going on in San Francisco right now,” Patterson says. “It’s at the highest level I’ve seen it. When we opened Coi [in 2006], there was nothing. I’ve seen it go from zero to where it is now. It’s been a  remarkable evolution.”

Ellis says we’ll have to wait until the New York stars are announced to see whether San Francisco has emerged as the better food city. “New York has a lot of talent. But there’s a particular, creative energy and almost unlimited ambition coming out of California. There are huge Asian and Mexican influences, access to incredible products both locally and from Japan, and a young, thriving audience. It’s a perfect cocktail of things coming together for the city’s culinary scene.” The full list follows.

(An asterisk denotes a new entry.)

Three Stars

Benu, San Francisco* Coi, San Francisco The French Laundry, Yountville Manresa, Los Gatos Quince, San Francisco The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena Saison, San Francisco



bringing fire to the table

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Two Stars

Acquerello, San Francisco Atelier Crenn, San Francisco   Baumé, Palo Alto* Californios, Mission Commis, Oakland Lazy Bear, San Francisco* Single Thread, Sonoma County 



Unicorn Food 🦄 🥘 Photo by @mediumraw_ #californiossf #unicornfood

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One Star

Adega, San Jose Al’s Place, San Francisco Mission   Aster, San Francisco Mission   Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford Aziza, San Francisco Bouchon, Yountville Campton Place, San Francisco Chez TJ, Mountain View Commonwealth, San Francisco   Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Forestville Gary Danko, San Francisco Hashiri, San Francisco* In Situ, San Francisco Ju-ni, San Francisco Keiko à Nob Hill, San Francisco *Kenzo, Wine Country Kin Khao, San Francisco  *Kinjo, San Francisco La Toque, Napa Lord Stanley, San Francisco    Luce, San Francisco Madera, Peninsula, Menlo Park Madrona Manor, Wine Country Michael Mina, San Francisco Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco Mourad, San Francisco Octavia, San Francisco Omakase, San Francisco Plumed Horse, South BayThe Progress , San Francisco

Rasa, Peninsula* Rich Table, San Francisco Sons & Daughters, San Francisco SPQR, San Francisco Spruce, San Francisco State Bird Provisions, San Francisco Sushi Yoshizumi, Peninsula Terra, Wine Country Terrapin Creek, Wine country The Village Pub, Peninsula Wako, San Francisco Wakuriya, Peninsula — Bloomberg


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