New Michelin Guide San Francisco 2021 Review and Critique

Reviewer: Foodnut.com

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 Foodnut.com 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.
Baumé
– 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
Um.ma – 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
Bottega
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
Nopa

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

Pizzaiolo

R&G Lounge

Square Pie Guys

Sushi Sam – San Mateo

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

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