Michelin, publisher of one of the world’s most popular dining guides, has released its 2023 list of the best restaurants in California, including those with coveted star ratings. Six restaurants in the state have earned their first stars, including two in Southern California, one of them in Long Beach. Last year, eight restaurants in Los Angeles Newly awarded at least 1 star.
At a ceremony in Oakland, representatives of the guide announced that the 2023 California edition features 614 restaurants, 87 of which have earned stars, plus additional categories for eco-friendly restaurants and “value” destinations. Four additional awards were also awarded for categories such as the cocktail program and service.
Although the company’s global guides have continued to evolve since its founding in 1900, Michelin stars—which began in 1926—remain the most coveted award. They are sometimes controversial But it’s widely considered one of the highest standards in the culinary industry and is determined by anonymous inspectors who spread out to dine around the world. One star indicates “a very good restaurant in its class,” two stars represent “excellent cuisine, well worth a detour,” while the three-star rating translates to “exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special trip.”
Long Beach’s Heritage, from sibling team Philip and Lauren Pretty, is the only restaurant in the Los Angeles area to get a new star this year. Heritage previously earned Michelin Plate nods, signifying food quality, but it was never a star. Now, she has one. Opened in 2020 in a remodeled Craftsman-style home in Rose Park, the California food restaurant serves a six-course tasting menu with dishes informed by weekly farmers’ market visits and the bounty of the nearby Prettys Farm. Chef Philippe Pretty’s offerings include courses such as six-hour-smoked pork belly with peas and buttermilk, caught-line sea bass and pavlova with parsnip pastry cream and cherry port, which change often.
The farm, which now offers weekly brews and live music, also helped Heritage earn a green Michelin star this year, an award for companies that “hold themselves accountable to their ethical and environmental standards,” eliminating waste and working with sustainable producers. The mix of eco-friendly thinking is making its way onto the plates, too: The spring dessert has turned what would have been disposable corn husks into ashes on top of cream of corn made from stock using cobs.
Valley, a Mexican restaurant in Oceanside, is the only other Southern California spot to get a new star this year. Apotek and Nari in San Francisco, Oro in Calistoga and Chez Noir in Carmel-by-the-Sea also won their first stars.
Chef Michael Cimarosti’s Providence in Hollywood tasting menu, which has retained its two-star rating, was also awarded a Green Star this year. The upscale seafood restaurant has long used practices of sustainably sourcing its fish and shellfish I recently launched an in-house no-waste chocolate program It turns ethically sourced cocoa into pastries, desserts, and even end-of-service chocolate tea made from leftover cocoa shells. San Francisco’s Aphotic also received a Green Star this year, as did the Oakland Bumette. California is currently home to 15 of the 17 green Michelin stars in the country.
Addison’s Restaurant in San Diego remains Southern California’s only three-star Michelin restaurant.
For 2023, no Los Angeles restaurants were newly awarded two stars, though Hayato, Mélisse, n/naka, Providence, and Sushi Ginza Onodera all maintained their restaurants since 2022.
Los Angeles area restaurants with one Michelin star include 715, Cavour, Citrine, Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, Gwen, Heritage, Cali, Kato, Manziki, Mode, Morihiro, Nozawa Bar, Ursa Winston, Osteria Moza, Pasta Bar, Kyo Sushi, Shibumi, Shin Sushi, Sushi I-Naba and Sushi Kanyoshi. Hatchet Hall and Phenakite haven’t kept their 1-star rating since 2022; The former is still Michelin-branded as “Recommended,” and the latter is closed but is due to return in 2024 under the new PKite Studio umbrella.
Michelin’s precise evaluation criteria remain as elusive as the identities of its inspectors, though adjectives such as consistency are always part of the equation.
“When we look at a star restaurant, we rate the restaurant according to five very specific criteria,” the chief inspector for more than a decade told The Times last year. “We look at the quality of the products on offer, we look at the harmony of flavors, we look at the mastery of cooking techniques, we look at the personality of the chef as it manifests in their kitchen, and we look for consistency between each visit.”
last week, Michelin has unveiled the 2023 Bib Gourmand Awards winners, or restaurants deemed “good value”. California’s 2023 guide includes 143 Bib Gourmands with 10 of them being new, four in Los Angeles: Cobi’s in Santa Monica, Carnes Asadas Pancho Lopez in Lincoln Heights, Eat Joy Food in Rowland Heights and Villa’s Tacos in Highland Park. This year, the company also gave away four special awards, with Kato’s Austin Henley winning the award for Exceptional Cocktails. At Carmel-by-the-Sea, John Hefey of Aubergine won the Sommelier Award, Harrison Cheney of San Francisco’s Sons & Daughters took home the Young Chef Award, and John Schafer of Healdsburg’s SingleThread won the Distinguished Service Award.
The complete Michelin Guide can be found in California Connected.
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