New Michelin Guide San Francisco 2021 Review and Critique


New Michelin Guide San Francisco 2020 Critique

Several years delayed because of the Pandemic (2019 was the last one), The New 2021 Michelin Guide California was released on 9/28/2021. It now covers all of California, not just San Francisco.

  • Major flaws include giving stars to restaurants that never reopened or close permanently

A Michelin Guide in the era of take away fine dining? There are omissions as usual..! Our commentary is below with Links to reviews when possible. (Boy we’ve dined out a lot haven’t we?)

Michelin Star rated San Francisco Bay Area restaurants for this year:

3 STARS (Exceptional cuisine and worth the journey)

Atelier Crenn – San Francisco – Finally 3 stars they deserved
Benu – San Francisco
Manresa – Los Gatos – Finally an upgrade to 3 stars. $303 Tasting Menu.
Quince – San Francisco – Raise prices, remodel, finally hit 3. Best service in SF?
Single Thread Farm – Healdsburg – Awesome American-Japanese fusion
The French Laundry – Yountville – Best restaurant in California for sure.

How about some non tasting menu 3 star restaurants?

2 STARS (Excellent cooking and worth a detour)

Acquerello – San Francisco – Surprising. We’ll have to revisit, never believed they’d get 2.
– Palo Alto – Was 2* – Asked to be not in the guide.
birdsong – San Francisco
Californios – San Francisco – Finally some high end Mexican
Campton Place – San Francisco
Coi – San Francisco – Downgraded to 2 stars because of a new chef
Commis – Oakland – Getting more expensive..
Lazy Bear – San Francisco – Surprising. 1 star is more like it. Fun dinner party.
Saison– San Francisco – Our meal there was good, fell from 3 stars. $513 Tasting Menu!

1 STAR (Very good restaurant in its category)

Al’s Place – San Francisco – Borderline
Angler – San Francisco – Borderline, we would not put it in
Auberge du Soleil – Rutherford – They were wowed by the killer view.
Aubergine – Carmel
Avery – San Francisco
Bar Crenn – New
Barndiva – Healsburg

Birdsong – Tasting menu city
Bouchon – Yountville – Best French Bistro in Bay Area
Chez TJ – Mountain View – Surprising, seeing they have revolving door of chefs
Gary Danko – San Francisco
Hashiri – San Francisco
In Situ – San Francisco – Gimmicky but interesting
Ju-Ni – San Francisco
Kenzo – Napa
Kin Khao – San Francisco – Hmm. Borderline 1 star. Hasn’t reopened
La Toque – Napa – Doesn’t belong up here!

Madera – Menlo Park – A stretch for 1*. More of a power scene.
Mad Cap – San Anselmo
Mister Jiu’s – San Francisco – A Shocker.. Doesn’t deserve to be here.
Mourad – San Francisco
Niku Steakhouse – San Francisco – Doesn’t belong. Expensive and just okay
O’ by Claude Le Tohic – San Francisco
Omakase – San Francisco
Plumed Horse – Saratoga – Doesn’t deserve it any more

Protege – Palo Alto – Best restaurant on the SF Peninsula
Rasa – Burlingame – Really good Indian
Selby’s – Redwood City – Overrated. We’d go to Village pub instead
Sons & Daughters – San Francisco

Sorrel – San Francisco – new
SPQR – San Francisco – A bit too high, perhaps Bib only.
Spruce – San Francisco – Clubby – timeless for its older crowd
State Bird Provisions – San Francisco – Hype city, but good!

Sushi Shin – Redwood City
Sushi Yoshizumi – San Mateo – Really very good
The Progress – San Francisco – Innovative. Deserves it!
The Village Pub – Woodside
Wako – San Francisco – Even their takeout is great
Wakuriya – San Mateo – A sleeper that is hard to get reservations for.

Michelin 2021 Bib Gourmand San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants (two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert) for $40 or less, otherwise known as “Inspectors’ Favorites for Good Value”

Anchor Oyster Bar – San Francisco – New
A16 – San Francisco
ASA South – Los Gatos
Berber – San Francisco
Bywater – Los Gatos
Canon – Sacramento – New
Chalkboard – Healdsburg
Chapeau! – Removed in 2021! It still great
China Village – Albany – Surprising, but popular. Has gone downhill

Ciccio – Yountville
Comal – Berkeley
Coqueta – San Francisco – I think it will cost you more than $40.
Cotogna – San Francisco – This can easily cost more than $40!
Delfina – San Francisco – One star in our book!
Del Popolo – San Francisco – Not that great!
Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria – Geyserville

Dumpling Home – San Francisco – Love this place
El Molino Central – New
Farmhouse Kitchen Thai, San Francisco – OK, but Overhyped
Farmstead, Wine Country
Flores – San Francisco
Flour and Water – San Francisco
FOB Kitchen, Oakland
Folktable, Somoma – New
Frank Fat’s – Sacramento – Est 1939
Glen Ellen Star – Glen Ellen
Grace’s Table – Napa – Really good for brunch and dinner

Great China – Berkeley – Overrated
Harborview – San Francisco – OK, not great. Where is HL Peninsula?
Horn BBQ – Oakland – Solid pick
Insalata’s – San Anselmo
Ippuku – Berkeley – Great Izakaya
Italico Pizzeria – Palo Alto
Izakaya Rintaro, San Francisco
Kokkari Estiatorio – San Francisco – Not cheap – $40??

Kom Loi – Sebastapol – New
La Calenda, Yountville
Lai Hong Lounge – San Francisco – Does not belong put Begoni Bistro here
Los Carnalitos – Hayway
Luna Mexican Kitchen – San Jose
MAMA Oakland

Mentone – Aptos
Millennium, East Bay – Vegetarian
Nari – More than $40!
New Dumpling – El Cerrito
Nopalitao – San Francisco
Nyum Bai – New and major hype
Okane – San Francisco
Orchard City Kitchen, South Bay – In a Casino!
Outerlands – San Francisco
Pausa – San Mateo – OK, not stellar
Pig in a pickle, Corte Madera
Playa – Marin
Ramen Gaijin, Wine Country – How about Menso?
Range Life – Livermore
Routier – San Francisco – From b. Patisserie folks
Sichuan Home – San Francisco – Hmm? Why?
1601 Bar & Kitchen, San Francisco
Soba Ichi – Oakland
Sociale – San Francisco – Overrated

Spinning Bones – Alameda
Stockhome, Petaluma
Sushi Ran – Sausalito – Deserves 1 star?
Taco Oscar – Oakland – New
Taqueria El Paisa – Oakland New
Teni Kitchen East – New
Thai House – Danville
Tony’s Seafood – Marshall

Top Hatters Kitchen and Bar – San Leandro
Trestle – San Francisco – $35 prix fix – Great value
Tsuta – San Francisco – San Francisco – This is just ok
Valley Bar and Bottle – Sonoma
Vesta (Redwood City) – Removed – Why?
Village Sake – Fairfax

Wood Tavern – Oakland
Yank Sing – San Francisco – Expensive. How about R&G Lounge?
Yafa, Carmel
Yuzuki – San Francisco
Z & Y – San Francisco – Spicy and just ok

Many places removed are not considered in the future as we’ve seen very few re-instatements.

They forgot to include these restaurants in their lists starred or bib gourmand categories:

Restaurants they Missed:

Others that deserved to be on there:
Boulevard – San Francisco – One of our favorites. Lost its 1 star
Chez Panisse dropped off several years ago, but really deserves at least 1 star. The Cafe is a great value.

Gao Viet Cuisine – Very good quality
Gialina – Bib Gourmand Pizza

HL Peninsula – Best Dim Sum around here.
Koi Palace – Forget about Mister Jiu
La Ciccia
Maruya – San Francisco – Too bad the chef just left.
Mission Chinese

Monsieur Benjamin – Fantastic French Bistro

Perbacco – Deserves 1 star. Add Barbacco to Bib Gourmand.


R&G Lounge

Square Pie Guys

Sushi Sam – San Mateo

Slanted Door (The) – Deserves Bib Gourmand
The House
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Zuni Cafe

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