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Michelin Announces 2021 Stars For California: A Staggering 22 New One-Star Restaurants Are Added To The List

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at September 28, 2021

Here’s some good news after a particularly trying (and quite frankly, devastating) year in the hospitality business: Michelin just announced its 2021 California recipients after foregoing The Golden State completely last year.

And in a rather unexpected move the Michelin’s inspectors recognized a significant number of additions, even for the country’s first statewide guide. There are twenty-seven in total: five new restaurants in the two-star category, while a staggering twenty-two made it to the one-star rankings (many of which were promoted from the New Discovery and Plate award distinctions). Meanwhile, the three-star category restaurants have all retained their stars.

Addison House in San Diego, Birdsong in San Francisco, Hayato in Los Angeles, Mélisse in Santa Monica, and Harbor House in Mendocino County are the new two-star recipients of the year. And rightly so: Guests flock to Chef Matthew Kammerer’s Harbor House, whose fare boasts quality ingredients that are either foraged or from ultra-local suppliers. Chef Kammerer’s whole operation ultimately benefits the community at large.

So there’s certainly much to celebrate.

In the past eighteen months, restaurants of all kinds—family-owned, investor-backed, and whatnot—had to face nearly insurmountable ordeals they never thought they’d have to deal with. There were GoFundMe sites for establishments that were truly struggling, there were distribution and supply issues, there was the need to navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 protocols, and even staffing issues became a problem. At a certain point last year, it seemed difficult to see how it would all pan out.

“Since the beginning of the global pandemic, inspectors have been sensitive to each market in the U.S. and are in close contact with restaurants to stay informed on openings and closures, new menu changes, etcetera. Inspectors gradually returned to visits when it seemed appropriate based on the individual establishment and their circumstances,” Michelin’s anonymous chief inspector said of this year’s judging process. “The pandemic has impacted each of us as former employees of the hotel and restaurant industry, of which we still feel part of. We approached this selection with every intent to show appreciation and recognition for all the work that’s being done during this time. For most chefs, cooking is an art. If chefs are unable to host diners at their restaurants, they find another way to express their creativity. Restaurants are still opening, and there are new establishments to be discovered. The landscape is still interesting and dynamic.”

And dynamic it is. California, after all, is one of the best food states in the United States—one that’s held in esteem. It’s also the only statewide Michelin guide. Another one of the best things about this list is how it encompasses more cuisine types than most of its other counterparts in other parts of the world—or America, for that matter.

“Chefs inspired us with their adaptability, resilience, and creativity during the pandemic. New openings were successful and impressive despite the challenges of the past year and a half. Now, more than ever, we think it is very worthwhile to celebrate their excellence,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides. “As an international culinary destination and leader in the industry, California continues to impress inspectors with a commitment to sustainable gastronomy and creative cuisine, we’re delighted to celebrate promotions for restaurants that elevated their quality and consistency despite the challenges of the health crisis, and welcome eight new entries to our selection at the star level.”

The one-star category is particularly exciting with all twenty-two additions.

Among them is Phenakite, which was housed in Second Home, a members-only workspace. Through Second Home, Chef Minh Phan of porridge + puffs was able to bring her Phenakite concept tasting menu to life in the middle of the pandemic—a remarkable example of community mindedness that shined throughout the pandemic. “Minh Phan is part of a movement of socially responsible entrepreneurs that are changing the way business is done in America,” said Rohan Silva, CEO of Second Home. “Second Home exists to support creativity and entrepreneurship—and we’re so proud to have incubated Phenakite and played a part in their well-deserved success.”

And when Phenakite delivered a statement via email, the restaurant made it clear that while the recognition is unnecessary to Chef Phan, she understands what this kind of prestigious honor will mean in terms of universal recognition to her and her team’s hard work.

As for other recipients, they’re beyond ecstatic to have received such an award—one that could totally change the trajectory of their careers and open new doors.

“It’s huge. I’m incredibly excited, honored, and humbled by Selby’s being awarded this Michelin Star,” says chef Mark Sullivan, who is the executive chef and owner of Selby’s. “The star represents the highest form of acknowledgement in our industry, and for Selby’s to win this after the everything we’ve been through the past eighteen months is the bright ray of sunshine the entire team here needed. Since our group already has two other Michelin starred restaurants, we are very aware of the big impact this award has on our business. We’re very thankful to Michelin for their recognition and support.”

At Bardiva, their hope is to take things up to the next level: “This is very exciting for us. We have had such a wild ride this past year, from quarantine to forest fires, and everything in between,” says Barndiva Chef, Jordan Rosas. “But from this we have built a strong team, all focused on one goal: to make people happy. My hope is that this accolade will bring in more like-minded individuals to work alongside us so that we can build upon what we have already accomplished.”

To view the full list of California recipients, scroll all the way down—and to view this year’s Bib Gourmands, click here.

Michelin Guide 2021: California


Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

Benu, San Francisco

The French Laundry, Yountville

Manresa, Los Gatos

Quince, San Francisco

SingleThread, Heraldsburg


Acquerello, San Francisco

Addison, San Diego (promotion from one Michelin star)

Birdsong, San Francisco (promotion from one Michelin star)

Californios, San Francisco

Campton Place, San Francisco

Coi, San Francisco

Commis, Oakland

Hayato, Los Angeles (promotion from one Michelin star)

Harbor House, Mendocino County (promotion from one Michelin star)

Mélisse, Santa Monica (new two Michelin star)

Lazy Bear, San Francisco

n/naka, Los Angeles

Providence, Los Angeles

Saison, San Francisco

Sushi Ginza Onodera, Los Angeles

Vespertine, Los Angeles


Adega, San Jose (promotion from Plate Award)

Al’s Place, San Francisco

Angler SF, San Francisco

Auberge du Soleil, Napa

Aubergine, Central Coast

Avery, San Francisco (promotion from Plate Award)

Bar Crenn, San Francisco

Barndiva, Sonoma (promotion from Plate Award)

Bell’s Restaurant, Los Alamos (promotion from New Discovery)

Bistro Na’s, Los Angeles

Chez TJ, Mountain View

CUT, Los Angeles

Gary Danko, San Francisco

Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, Los Angeles (new one Michelin star)

Hana Re, Orange County

Jeune et Jolie, San Diego (new one Michelin star)

Jū-Ni, San Francisco

Kali, Los Angeles

Kato, Los Angeles

Kenzo, Napa

Kin Khao, San Francisco (temporarily closed)

The Kitchen, Sacramento

Knife Pleat, Costa Mesa (promotion from New Discovery)

La Toque, Napa

Le Comptoir, Los Angeles

Madcap, Marin

Madera, Menlo Park

Marlena, San Francisco (promotion from New Discovery)

Maude, Los Angeles

Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco

Mori Sushi, Los Angeles

Morihiro, Los Angeles (new one Michelin star)

Mourad, San Francisco

Niku Steakhouse, San Francisco (new one Michelin star)

Nozawa Bar, Los Angeles

O’ by Claude Le Tohic, San Francisco (new one Michelin star)

Omakase, San Francisco

Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles

Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles

Pasjoli, Santa Monica (promotion from New Discovery)

Pasta | Bar, Los Angeles (promotion from New Discovery)

Phenakite, Los Angeles (promotion from New Discovery)

Plumed Horse, South Bay

The Progress, San Francisco

Protégé, Palo Alto

Q Sushi, Los Angeles

Rasa, Peninsula

Rustic Canyon, Los Angeles

Selby’s, Atherton (promotion from New Discovery)

Shibumi, Los Angeles

Shin Sushi, Los Angeles

Six Test Kitchen, Paso Robles (promotion from New Discovery)

Soichi, San Diego (promotion from New Discovery)

Sons & Daughters, San Francisco

Sorrel, San Francisco

SPQR, San Francisco

Spruce, San Francisco

State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

Sushi | Bar Montecito, Santa Barbara (promotion from New Discovery)

Sushi I-Naba, Los Angeles (promotion from New Discovery)

Sushi Shin, Redwood City (new one Michelin star)

Sushi Tadokoro, San Diego (promotion from New Discovery)

The Shota, San Francisco (new one Michelin star)

Sushi Yoshizumi, Peninsula

Taco María, Orange County

The Village Pub, Peninsula

Wako, San Francisco

Wakuriya, Peninsula


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