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2008 Michelin Guide San Francisco

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THE FRENCH LAUNDRY - Yountville - Napa Valley

TWO STARS (**) (by neighborhood)
AQUA - San Francisco - Financial District
CHEZ TJ (NEW) - Mountain View - South of San Francisco
CYRUS - Healdsburg - Sonoma County
MANRESA - Los Gatos - South of San Francisco
MICHAEL MINA - San Francisco - Financial District

ONE STAR (*) (by neighborhood)
ACQUERELLO - San Francisco - Nob Hill
AME (NEW) - San Francisco - SoMa
AUBERGE DU SOLEIL - Rutherford - Napa Valley
BISTRO JEANTY - Yountville - Napa Valley
BOUCHON - Yountville - Napa Valley
BOULEVARD - San Francisco - SoMa
CHEZ PANISSE - Berkeley - East of San Francisco
COI (NEW) - San Francisco - North Beach Area
CORTEZ (NEW) - San Francisco - Financial District
DINING ROOM AT THE RITZ - CARLTON - San Francisco - Nob Hill
FARMHOUSE INN & RESTAURANT - Forestville - Sonoma County
FIFTH FLOOR - San Francisco - SoMa
FLEUR DE LYS - San Francisco - Financial District
GARY DANKO - San Francisco - North Beach
K & L BISTRO - Sebastopol - Sonoma County
LA FOLIE - San Francisco - Nob Hill
LA TOQUE - Rutherford - Napa Valley
MADRONA MANOR (NEW) - Healdsburg - Sonoma County
MARTINI HOUSE (NEW) - St. Helena - Napa Valley
MASA'S - San Francisco - Nob Hill
ONE MARKET (NEW) - San Francisco - SoMa
QUINCE - San Francisco - Marina District
RANGE - San Francisco - Mission District
REDD (NEW) - Yountville - Napa Valley
RUBICON - San Francisco - Financial District
SUSHI - RAN - Sausalito - North of San Francisco
TERRA - St. Helena - Napa Valley

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    1. re: orezscu

      Note: the article says there are 6 new restaurants on the list with one star, but there are actually 7 (if anyone is keeping score at home).

      One Market
      Madrona Manor
      Martini House

      1. re: Shane Greenwood

        also, Bushi-Tei and Dry Creek Kitchen fell off the star list. They were 1 star last year.

        1. re: Fig Newton

          Thank goodness. I enjoyed the there a year ago but a recent visit made me question their star. Bushi-Tei is definitely on my "downhill alert" radar.

    2. The guide also lists its reviewers favorite restaurants where you can eat two dishes and a glass of wine or a dessert for less than $40.

      A 16 - San Francisco - Marina District
      ANNALIEN - Napa - Napa Valley
      BAR TARTINE - San Francisco - Mission District
      BARBERSQ - Napa - Napa Valley
      BAY WOLF - Oakland - East of San Francisco
      BETELNUT PEJIU WU - San Francisco - Marina District
      CAFE GIBRALTAR - El Granada - South of San Francisco
      CELADON - Napa - Napa Valley
      CLEMENTINE - San Francisco - Richmond and Sunset
      COOK ST. HELENA - St. Helena - Napa Valley
      CUCINA PARADISO - Petaluma - Sonoma County
      DELFINA - San Francisco - Mission District
      GAYLORD - Sausalito - North of San Francisco
      HONG KONG FLOWER LOUNGE - Millbrae - South of San Francisco
      INSALATA'S - San Anselmo - North of San Francisco
      JUNNOON - Palo Alto - South of San Francisco
      KOKKARI ESTIATORIO - San Francisco - North Beach Area
      KOO - San Francisco - Richmond and Sunset
      LE CHARM - San Francisco - SoMa
      MAMACITA - San Francisco - Marina District
      MIREPOIX - Windsor - Sonoma County
      NAMU - San Francisco - Richmond and Sunset
      NOPA - San Francisco - Civic Center
      OLIVIA - Berkeley - East of San Francisco
      OSAKE - Santa Rosa - Sonoma County
      PERBACCO - San Francisco - Financial District
      POLENG - San Francisco - Civic Center
      PRES A VI - San Francisco - Marina District
      RIN'S THAI - Sonoma - Sonoma County
      RISIBISI - Petaluma - Sonoma County
      RNM - San Francisco - Civic Center
      SAUCE - San Francisco - Civic Center
      SCOTT HOWARD - San Francisco - North Beach Area
      SLANTED DOOR (THE) - San Francisco - Financial District
      SLOW CLUB - San Francisco - Mission District
      SOCIALE - San Francisco - Marina District
      SOUTH PARK CAFE - San Francisco - SoMa
      TABLESPOON - San Francisco - Nob Hill
      TAMARINDO - Oakland - East of San Francisco
      TOKYO GO GO - San Francisco - Mission District
      Tommaso's - San Francisco - North Beach Area
      TWO - San Francisco - SoMa
      2223 - San Francisco - Castro District
      Universal Cafe - San Francisco - Mission District
      Vanessa's Bistro - Berkeley - East of San Francisco
      Venticello - San Francisco - Nob Hill
      Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar - Healdsburg - Sonoma County
      Willi's Wine Bar - Santa Rosa - Sonoma County
      Yank Sing - San Francisco - SoMa
      Zuzu - Napa - Napa Valley

      3 Replies
      1. re: alis

        I wouldn't describe Poleng Lounge as being in the Civic Center.

        1. re: alis

          On that list, I believe that Olivia in Berkeley is no more...

        2. TWO STARS (**) (by neighborhood)
          AQUA - San Francisco - Financial District - dissagree
          MICHAEL MINA - San Francisco - Financial District - all evidence is to dissagree

          ONE STAR (*) (by neighborhood)
          ACQUERELLO - San Francisco - Nob Hill - agree
          AME (NEW) - San Francisco - SoMa - agree
          BOULEVARD - San Francisco - SoMa - agree
          DINING ROOM AT THE RITZ - CARLTON - San Francisco - Nob Hill - agree, maybe **
          FARMHOUSE INN & RESTAURANT - Forestville - Sonoma County - agree
          FLEUR DE LYS - San Francisco - Financial District - agree, was ** quality 2 years ago
          LA FOLIE - San Francisco - Nob Hill - agree
          MARTINI HOUSE (NEW) - St. Helena - Napa Valley - agree
          RANGE - San Francisco - Mission District - love it, but would put it on the list below instead

          I also agree with almost all the $40/person restaurants that I have been to (A16, Betelnut, Delfina, Mamacita, Mirepoix, Poleng, Slanted Door) my one strike would be Yank Sing.

          1. How does One Market garner one star?

            10 Replies
            1. re: baron45

              My thoughts exactly!

              One Market gets a star and Myth is completely absent.

              1. re: Scott M


                I also don't know how Fringale and Aziza don't make the $40 list...

                1. re: whiner

                  The Michelin Guide is pretty well-known for being a little nonsensical and more than a little inscrutable.

                  I prefer the Zagat Guide for just that reason. While I think it does tend to overrate once-top restaurants that have fallen from their prime, the wisdom in numbers utilized by their open-voting system seems to result in far fewer puzzling rating discrepancies.

                  1. re: grishnackh

                    Actually, for some reason I tend to like Gayot's reviews...

                    1. re: whiner

                      I like Gayot as a helpful data point...they seem to be fairly internally consistent to me and that helps a lot.

                      1. re: ccbweb

                        Did anyone else notice that the French Laundry FELL OUT of Gayot's 2007 top 40??? http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/rest...

                        How is that possible when it scored equally or better than some of the other's, including it's "offspring" Per Se and CityZen?

                    2. re: grishnackh

                      As for Zagat, I can't take seriously any guide in which a chain restaurant like Applebee's gets high ratings. Michelin may be "inscrutable" to some, but if they give a restaurant a star, it will be, at least, a good meal

                      1. re: chazzerking

                        Where does Applebees get a high rating in Zagat? From what I can tell, they're only rated in Las Vegas, Nevada and they rate a 13 for food...which is one of the lowest food ratings I've seen on the site. They rate a 12 for decor and a 16 for service. Basically, Applebee's gets torn apart on Zagat. They're not infallible....but they seem to have nailed that one.

                        They did a separate from their ratings national chain survey in conjunction with the Today show. In that chains only rating, Applebee's scored a 16 for food. And that's only compared to other chains.

                        I also disagree with the idea that Michelin is always right...we had an absolutely awful meal at Bouchon, but it got a star this year. As with most ratings, though, I think that both Zagat and Michelin are right more than they're wrong.

                  2. re: Scott M

                    I think One Market deserves their star. I've always had great, straighforward well prepared food there and I think that must be what the Michelin reviewers saw. I enjoy Myth, too, but the food is like alot of hipster trendy places that get too complicated with their menus. Michelin is different in that the restaurants earn their star within their category, not overall. Someone on another post said that Zagat is like Yelp or Craigslist in bookform and I completely agree. I never use either as they tend to get their reviews from trendoids who have different expectations. Kudos to One Market.

                  3. The Michelin Guide - Zagots for the French and people who love Jerry Lewis.

                    As a reference you keep in your car, sure it's helpful but I'd never pay for it.

                    Any way, I've been to 4 of 6 of the 2-stars and they think Chez Panisse is only one star? And 5th Floor got one-star even with all the negative reviews in the past 2 years? No doubt these places are good but I suspect the French reviewers bought into service and surface before food.

                    1. Neither Zagat's nor Michelin Guide are very trustworthy... I think they mostly take into account ambience & decor... because it certainly isn't food.

                      > Cyrus... 2 Stars? If that is really the case then I have no doubt the Michelin stars are dumbed down for San Francisco relative to what they mean in Europe. Cyrus should be a solid 1 Star.

                      > Michael Mina? Are you kidding me? Even my non-Chowish business associates weren't impressed.... and they think Steaks, Creamed Spinach & Roasted Asparagus is the end all of haute cuisine. Not star worthy at all.

                      > Sushi Ran? I liked my meal there... but there are a couple dozen better places in L.A.

                      > Osake... in the under $40 category? We are regulars there... but that is because we don't have many options in Santa Rosa... it would be an absolutely average neighborhood sushi joint in L.A.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        "Even my non-Chowish business associates weren't impressed.... and they think Steaks, Creamed Spinach & Roasted Asparagus is the end all of haute cuisine. Not star worthy at all."

                        Well, I'm not sure *that* changes my view of Michael Mina at all.

                        1. re: bruce

                          I was pondering that same thing: it could mean the food was way outside of anything they wanted to eat. Which is not meant to draw any conclusions about either the people or the restaurant. If one is not chowish, I'm not sure why one would venture to Michael Mina.

                          I'm still entirely willing to believe that it's not worth a star, though.

                          1. re: ccbweb

                            I thought Michael Mina was very good to excellent (minus one misque). For the price (relative to similar places) it was reasonable and it (the tasting menu) was within range of French Laundry. I don't know how many stars it should get but my question is how it can get two stars and Chez Panisse only one. Okay, I know...CP is less formal and the Mich people probably don't dig that.

                            1. re: ML8000

                              Michael Mina vs. Chez Panisse is easy to understand when you look at the five factors Michelin uses:
                              1. product quality
                              2. preparation and flavors
                              3. the cuisine's personality
                              4. value
                              5. consistency

                              1. re: Paul H

                                Didn't know about the criteria...just the same, using those as factors, I still don't get it. I think CP would take MM 4 out of the 5, or all 5. It could be personal bias but I have a feeling it's also about the un-named. MM is much more elegant and grand place and more of a traditional French service model.

                                1. re: ML8000

                                  "MM is much more elegant and grand place and more of a traditional French service model."

                                  Are we talking about the same place at the lobby of the St. Francis hotel???

                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                    Okay, yes the SFH lobby is a cave and the way MM is laid out within it is a bit odd (don't know if that's original). Any way, my point is that maybe high ceilings, size, location and that sort of stuff impresses the Michelin people. I really can't think of other reasons why MM gets 2 stars compared to CP's I'm not even gonig to get into the discussion about if MM deserves 2...just that if gets 2, then so should CP.

                            2. re: ccbweb

                              Actually... what I meant was that the food was so boring & non-innovative... that it was similar to some of the chain steakhouse offerings.... and yet they still didn't think it was anything special. In fact... I heard a number of... the steak at Ruth Chris' or Morton's was much better etc.,

                          2. re: Eat_Nopal

                            Totall agree with you Eat Nopal. Michael Mina is one star at best. The 3-ways style is pretty gimmicy and if you pay attention, it's basically the same item sauced 3 ways. It's not like a piece of fish is grilled, steamed, and poached. It's just pan fried and served with different sides/dressings.

                            It's not a complete loss. My dungeness crab raviolis with 3 different soups was very good (same ravioli, different sauce). My kobe beef entree and desserts were very mediocre and downright sucked if you take price into consideration.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              "The 3-ways style is pretty gimmicy and if you pay attention, it's basically the same item sauced 3 ways. It's not like a piece of fish is grilled, steamed, and poached. It's just pan fried and served with different sides/dressings."

                              You want to know what is funny? At home I have been plating "3 ways" & multi-ways for years, so I like that style... but you are right Mina does it in a very superficial way with no identity whatsover.

                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                Like you said, you can do it at home.

                                At least when some places offer a "duo of beef", it's pan-seared steak and braised short-ribs or the breast vs the thigh for chicken or duck, shoulder vs rib for suckling pig...something, so you can appreciate the difference in texture and taste.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  Yeah... when I do it at home... it usually has a theme... like taking a classic Mexican dish and interpreting it three ways... Pre-Hispanic, Spanish or African.. and then the Classic version... or take a genre of dishes & interpret them in Oaxacan, Veracruzian & Pueblan styles... or 3 California takes on a dish etc.,

                                  I didn't find Mina putting much thought into his 3 styles...

                                2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                  I don't think it's gimmicky at all. I've have had very enjoyable dinners at Micheal Mina. If the 3 -ways were 3 drastically different interpretations, then it would be three different dishes. It's the subtle differences between the 3 ways that makes it so great. The different sauces do make a difference. When I had my meal, it was not the same thing cooked identically with 3 different sauces. For example, the foie gras had pan seared as well as a terrine. If you really want more variety, go with the tasting menu instead.

                              2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                You should try Sushi Ran again. It is completely consistent and great.

                                1. re: michparent

                                  It was good but the fish was pretty ordinary. Maybe I was spoiled by Nick San in Cabo, and a few places in Oahu.... Sushi Ran seemed pretty flat.

                              3. La Folie, Masa's -- Nob Hill?

                                1. I have disagree with Michelin on Cortez. I went with a group about a year ago and we had a dreadful meal. Food, service, and price were all very disappointing. It's difficult to imagine them earning a Michelin star.


                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Benny Choi

                                    Michelin didn't award Cortez a star a year ago, either. Perhaps something has changed.

                                    1. re: Paul H

                                      It would appear that Cortez was reviewed during 2006, and awarded the star for the 2007 guide. I, for one, have had wonderful meals (only two) at cortez, but not life-changing meals. One would think that with Daniel Humm leaving the star would be in jeopardy. Anyone eat there lateley? Has the quality dropped?

                                      1. re: Mr Conlin

                                        Daniel Humm left Campton Place, not Cortez.

                                        1. re: Paul H

                                          My mistake. The chef at Cortez did leave, right? Or is the chef who crafted the star still there?

                                  2. Madrona Manor in Healdsburg is wonderful. Im glad to see that they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. However Im afraid now that the word is out, it might more difficult to get a reservation!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: swillbill

                                      I agree - I had the tasting menu there last April and thought it was great. Service was excellent and the whole experience was wonderful. I too am glad they got their star!