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Bay Area Michelin Stars for 2008

If only the Oscars™ were released with this little fanfare each year, we might all get on with our lives a bit easier. The second edition of the Michelin Guide to San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country for 2008 was released yesterday, offering a revised judgment of the top dining destinations in San Francisco and the surrounding area.

Now that we're into the second year of the guide and everyone has gotten over the initial controversy that accompanies Michelin's initial foray into any market, the gossip and discussion will inevitably rest upon the changing fates of those included (or not) in the new version of the guide. Who got upgraded, who got downgraded, and who got dropped?

The French Laundry remains the only three-star restaurant in the Bay Area. Disappointingly, it was not joined by Manresa this year, which continues to be rated two stars as it was last year.

Two additional restaurants received new two-star ratings this year: the recently relaunched restaurant at Meadowood and Chez TJ, a long-standing favorite in Mountain View.

There are several new one-star designated restaurants (see the list below), and a couple of downgrades (Bushi-Tei in San Francisco and Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg lost their one-star status).

For your reference, here's the new list (with new status indicated in boldface).

The French Laundry

Chez TJ
Michael Mina

Auberge du Soleil
Bistro Jeanty
Chez Panisse
Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton,
Farmhouse Inn
Fifth Floor
Fleur de Lys
Gary Danko
K & L Bistro
La Folie
La Toque
Madrona Manor
Martini House
One Market

In addition to the star ratings, Michelin publishes a group of more casual restaurants noted as "Bib Gourmand" here's that list:

BIB GOURMAND (Under $40)
A 16
Bar Tartine
Bay Wolf
Betelnut Pejiu Wu
Café Gibraltar
Cook St. Helena
Cucina Paradiso
Hong Kong Flower Lounge
Kokkari Estiatorio
Le Charm
Pres A Vi
Rin's Thai
Scott Howard
Slanted Door (The)
Slow Club
South Park Café
Tokyo Go Go
Universal Café
Vanessa's Bistro
Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar
Willi's Wine Bar
Yank Sing

Read more coverage from Bloomberg.

Comments (8)

Duane wrote:
10.23.07 at 9:59 PM

It is very exciting to see Redd and Cook Restaurant get some love from the new Michelin guide. I almost don't want Cook to get any more publicity. I like having it as our "locals" place in St. Helena but Jude deserves all the success coming his way.

Arthur wrote:
10.24.07 at 11:00 AM


I am curious how Michelin arrives at the ratings. What criteria do they use?

Alder wrote:
10.25.07 at 6:34 AM


You may find your answer here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelin_Guide

Arthur wrote:
10.25.07 at 7:08 AM

" Significantly, the inspectors use secret criteria, unknown to even the most experienced chefs."

I was at first dismayed to find this statement. (I am a bit of a stickler for detail, empirical process and strict adherence to clearly defined criteria.) I'd like to have some general idea of what elements of the establishment's ambiance, cooking, service etch contribute to a 3-star rating.

Then it occured to me: this secrecy is a good thing! There is no Enologix (?sp) equivalent to tell restaurants how to get three stars.

I am not saying Enologix is the root of all evil. I just think that sort of consulting service leads to wines (or whatever product) taking short cuts and compromising inherently positive characteristics for those that a particular critic is bound to score well.

Jack wrote:
11.03.07 at 9:52 AM

am not saying Enologix is the root of all evil.

This made me laugh. Check out the SF Chron wine section on 11/2/07 for music and wine "wisdom".

Arthur wrote:
11.03.07 at 11:15 AM


I read Blake Gray's article in the SFG.

I'm not sure what that article has to do with my comment or with what criteria go into the Michelin star system.

I also do not think that this experiment Clark did establishes anything new or different than the one where casual diners were given the same free wine with different ava designations on the wine did. This is not novel information. It has all been exploited by marketing agencies for decades.

fracois wrote:
11.12.07 at 10:35 AM

Screw Michelin, who needs the opinion of a euro based guide. Friggn' food snobs. It's not good for the overall restaurant scene in America. If you've done much travelling you'll notice things are a bit different here. And no, I'm not a disgruntled chef.

Rajiv wrote:
03.27.08 at 12:00 PM

"I am not saying Enologix is the root of all evil. I just think that sort of consulting service leads to wines (or whatever product) taking short cuts and compromising inherently positive characteristics for those that a particular critic is bound to score well."

It seems like a good idea, in principle, but they're so damn secretive about their methods and results. If they had something really significant, why wouldn't they publish it in an academic journal and patent the process? That would get them more business and establish their credibility.

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