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If Michelin returned to LA this year, which restaurants do you personally feel would get stars in the 2015 LA Michelin Guide?

I know many people strongly feel that LA and in general the SoCal area is not an area where fine dining is a forte...however I am interested in peoples' personal star ratings for LA-Socal restaurants compared to Michelin-starred restaurants of other cities. Questions like would Providence and Melisse still be at the 2-star level? What about Addison in San Diego? Are there any 3-star possibilities? There are many new and exciting places with exquisite tasting menus and dishes and I just wanted to see how people would rate these places on the Michelin scale as there are many new places that have opened up since the '09 guide such as Curis Stone's Maude, former sous chef of Eleven Madison Park - David Nayfield's Fifty Seven, Ludo's Trois Mec, Voltaggio's ink., Ari Taymor's alma, and Niki Nakayama's n/naka to name a few...

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  1. The Michelin Guide is a poor fit for L.A.'s dining scene.

    Why can't we just leave it at that?

    27 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        Because some people enjoy having discussions on discussion forums?

        1. re: BacoMan

          Some do, but input from every member of the forum is not compulsory not on every single thread of said forum.

          1. re: J.L.

            The Michelin Guide is a poor fit for L.A.'s dining scene.
            Why can't we just leave it at that?

            Some do, but input from every member of the forum is not compulsory not on every single thread of said forum.

            Why is LA a poor fit for the MG?

            Your second comment is a little snarky, don't ya think?

            1. re: orythedog

              It's not snarkiness; rather I feel it's (for me at least) more "topic fatigue".

              This whole Michelin thing has been talked about on this board before. My views on the matter were expressed on those old threads.

              Also, it is no secret that many people who make a living on food writing (food guides, food lists, etc.) lurk on this board. If Michelin Guide were to truly plan on making a comeback here in LA, this would be a goldmine for a "cut&paste" job, and I just don't want to donate any fodder.

              If I am wrong, which I hope I am, then I would tell the OP that LA just ain't a bigger version of SF. LA is a different beast: LA excels at hole in the wall dining, which defies the traditional MG classification guidelines. And therefore, a MG on LA, no matter how well researched, may not accurately reflect on the dining zeitgeist in our fair metropolis.

                1. re: J.L.

                  MG changed its standards for Tokyo, to allow for basically hole-in-the-wall dining at superb sushi bars, and now Tokyo has more stars than Paris, so why could the same evaluation standards be applied to LA?

                  Are you saying that food quality is lower here than everywhere else? Or is it just the settings the food is eaten in?

                  1. re: BacoMan

                    I think you're including both the starred restaurants and the Bib Gourmand ones. No way is a $40/person (or less) going to get a star in the US, or even $60-$75 (unless you're State Bird-esque I suppose). The BG, however, is another story for the hole-in-the-walls. But I don't think Michelin knows how to fully assess those places that are so prevalent in LA (see link below for their choices from 09).


                    1. re: chrishei

                      What does price have to do with it?

                      If it's $$$$ in a hole-in-the-wall then it can have a michelin star?

                      1. re: BacoMan

                        By Michelin's standards, sure. I was only referring to the price, and that's how they categorize it too.

                        1. re: chrishei


                          Why don't we just start a taco shop that sells $50 street tacos. Then it'll get an instant 3 stars and we'll be rich!

                          1. re: BacoMan

                            Ricky's fish Tacos now 2 tacos for $75 with Michelin Stars on the side.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              ... and how do those Michelin Stars taste?

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                $75 for two? Cheap, Plebeian sod!

                                Nowhere that you can eat for $75 or under per person will get any Michelin Stars! (Reference: earlier in this thread).

                              2. re: BacoMan

                                Oh, you mean like Javier's or Red O?

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  No way, Red O tacos are only like $18. Cheap shit for the Michelin guide. Needs to be at least $50 per 4" tortilla street taco.

                      2. re: J.L.

                        JL said: "It's not snarkiness; rather I feel it's (for me at least) more "topic fatigue".

                        Also, it is no secret that many people who make a living on food writing (food guides, food lists, etc.) lurk on this board. If Michelin Guide were to truly plan on making a comeback here in LA, this would be a goldmine for a "cut&paste" job, and I just don't want to donate any fodder.

                        If I am wrong, which I hope I am, then I would tell the OP that LA just ain't a bigger version of SF. LA is a different beast: LA excels at hole in the wall dining, which defies the traditional MG classification guidelines."


                        good response JL. :> although to be fair, in regards to "topic fatigue" I'd say not a week goes by where we don't get yet ANOTHER "Top 10 Lists by XYZ, what do you all think?" thread. lol, ugh. :<

                        and all the people on chowhound here lap that up, click on the link, and argue and talk about it ad naseum. i see far more "new list" threads and talk about it each week than Michelin Guide threads.

                        also, you don't want to "contribute to the fodder" for potential people that might take your info or advice, but playing devil's advocate, aren't you, TheOffalo and Chrishei non-stop contributing to talking about Shunji and n/naka and any other fancy eatery you've been to each week?

                        (no offense meant, just observing) I mean these food writers that you're worried about taking contributions from CH would easily see the wonderful threads you and others have made on the LA Board regardless right?

                        that being said, living vicariously through you :>, i think based on your beautiful pics alone, i think your favorite Shunji and n/naka and Urasawa would fit in the Michelin Guide for LA, right? :>

                        1. re: chowseeker1999

                          Heheh chowseeker, it's so great you mentioned that.

                          My lovely wife was reading my exact response above and also called me on it, saying, "Hey, you do realize that you post a bit excessively on Shunji, right?"

                          My reply: "Yeah, I just seem to never get sick of eating there. Or blathering on about it."

                          Guilty as charged. :-)

                          Also to comment on not "giving fodder" to food writers: I have no problems commenting on Chow. It's open for anyone interested in dining out to see and disseminate. But this OP's tone in his/her wording of the original post (and again, I hope I'm wrong on this) just felt to me like there was another agenda other than pure curiosity, that's all. That, and we did discuss this Michelin Guide topic on Bacoman's now-famous thread a while back.

                          Actually, I think Russ Parsons from the LATimes was quite the consummate journalistic professional for including my moniker when he attributed my online comments in Belcampo's burger a week or so ago.

                          1. re: J.L.

                            I wonder if the "giving fodder" part of you got triggered when a certain blogger came on the board a year or 2 ago and basically asked us to make her top 10 lists.

                            Before that, I don't think people were ever concerned about J. Gold or Parsons, et al lurking the boards for info.

                              1. re: andytseng

                                I've flagged the Mods to address this issue on the site.

                                The rise of "lists" and pay-for-clicks demands some of official policy / guidelines be put forth. Though I have no idea one can even begin tackling this issue.

                                Although personally my prediction is that every party involved is simply gonna hide behind the first amendment on this one.

                          2. re: J.L.

                            If you have "topic fatigue" re this issue, then simply don't participate.

                        2. re: J.L.

                          Was response to this thread compulsory for every member?...

                          1. re: BacoMan

                            To recount a scene from "L.A. Story":

                            Upon arrival at the hot new L.A. eatery L'Idiot, mega-hot L.A. movie star Carlo Christopher (played by Chevy Chase) checks in with the Maitre D' at L'Idiot (portrayed by Patrick Stewart). The top box office draw is dismayed to find that he's been assigned a most inconspicuous table, right next to the kitchen door. Yet again. He addresses the Maitre D'...

                            Carlo Christopher, LA movie star: " Part of the new cruelty?"

                            Maitre D': "I'm afraid so."

                        3. re: BacoMan

                          On this point I would agree wholeheartedly: SF/Bay Area is much better suited to the MG than L.A.

                      3. You should ask this question on the SF board, you'd probably get better (or any) responses. I would be interested in seeing them.

                        Unfortunately, I'm not that experienced outside of LA dining, so it's hard to say.

                        Seems to me like all of the places you mentioned would get stars... but would be nice to hear from diners who have eaten at lots of Michelin star places.

                        You think Fox's Rustic Canyon would get a star? What about Bucato?

                        Or are those places not good enough?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: BacoMan

                          Lots of LA restaurants are good enough. I think we would get around 15. Hell, San Francisco has 38 or something!

                          What would be really dramatic is if they gave a star to a place like Guisados (or whatever the hell we decide LA's favorite taco place is.) In my opinion, that would be very comparable to Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong

                          1. re: set0312

                            I am originally from the SF/Bay Area and very familiar with the scene and recently moved to LA and I was just curious in attempting to find as many hidden gems as I can down here!
                            And that is very interesting with the Tim Ho Wan-Guisados comparison...like a question of: can truly mind-blowing food trump the fact that places are hole in the wall?
                            I've been referring to the current LA Gayot and seeing a somewhat directly correlational rating between it and the former star and Bib gourmand ratings for LA, any thoughts on the Gayot ratings?


                            1. re: seanwlee

                              Gayot ratings look pretty ridiculous to be honest. Scratch Bar being on the same level as N/Naka is laughable. Is it a decent point of reference, maybe? But I pity the person who goes to scratch bar or the restaurant at the Getty instead of n/Naka or shunji.

                              With that being said I'm certain LA would have numerous sushi restaurants with stars. I ate at that one sushi spot in Sausalito that had a star (I think it's now removed) and it is nowhere near as good as LA spots.

                              But it's true Michelin has no idea how to handle a city like LA.

                              Or consider a place like bangkok which has one of the best culinary scenes in the world. Michelin won't touch it because bangkok has like three white table cloth restaurants in the entire city.

                        2. I think it would pretty much be the same.
                          I'll bite.

                          Melisse and Providence would both have 2 stars. n/naka at least one, maybe 2.

                          But I think if they announced they were coming back, Providence and Melisse - especially Melisse, would make a concerted effort to up their game to get 3 stars.

                          Patina, 1 star. Ink 1 star.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Don't think Animal would get a star, but it has nothing to do with the food - just the informality of the place doesn't shout out Michelin star.

                              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                I disagree. Places like Hatfield's and Osteria Mozza used to have stars, and Animal is pretty much the same level of atmosphere as those places.

                                1. re: BacoMan

                                  They both feel more formal to me than Animal.

                                    1. re: BacoMan

                                      I agree that Hatfield's feels more formal than Animal (haven't been to Osteria Mozza). I've only eaten at the bars at both Hatfield's and Animal, but obviously spied the dining room. While it's been a while since I've been to either, I remember Animal's decor to be more spartan, bare, while Hatfield's was more warm. Animal's seating was harder and Hatfield's more comfortable.

                                      1. re: TheOffalo

                                        Wait, are we talking about decor, or service?...

                                        I guess by definition Animal can't be formal because of its minimalist space? I kind of thought that was the New Formal though?

                                      2. re: BacoMan

                                        Service is way more formal at Hatfields than at animal. Change of forks after every course + bread crumb scraper, to start. Just an entirely different service vibe IMO.

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          Last time I dined at Animal they changed our silverware and plates out with each "course", and cleaned the table. (We had 6 dishes and 2 desserts, so ultimately it was about 4 "courses").

                                        2. re: BacoMan

                                          More along the lines of a special occasion spot. Greater and more elaborate wine list. Nicer bathrooms. Prettier lighting. TheOffalo nailed it with "Spartan" interior of Animal. I took another look at Animal in Google images - and it looks a bit barren, but a little nicer than I remember it. (maybe the pained it, or changed it a bit? Was their a remodel).

                                          But Animal kinda prides themselves on being that kind of a restaurant. I'm sure they'd love a star, but if they didn't, I doubt they'd have a problem with it. Animal is the perfect example of an L.A. restaurant that throws the Michelin folks off kilter. Food is both interesting, creative, and tasty, often with big flavors.

                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                            I figured the spartan interior might keep from getting 2 stars, but isn't great food enough to get you just 1 star?

                                            I guess if Michelin would be incapable of giving a star even to Animal, then it truly was the right decision to stop covering LA, as it would make zero sense.

                                            Personally, I just like great food. I don't really care for all of the formalities of service.

                                            I also much prefer the lighting at Animal to the majority of restaurants. The only atmosphere I like more is probably Chi Spacca, because they have better music.

                                            1. re: BacoMan

                                              IMO, Gayot guide is closes to Michelin in priorities.

                                              You can see that they give Animal 13/20. But they give n/naka a mere 14/20 - and they're far more formal with tasting menus and wine pairings.

                                              Italian restaurants also seem to get slightly short shrift from Gaylot. But Gayot is also pretty Franco-centric. (The Gayots are very French).

                                              As I've said before - i think Michelin should come with with a younger, different restaurant guide in addition to the traitional red/rouge guide. Something less formal and another color. The Black Guide. Or a pattern, or something that sez different and younger, a whole 'nuther thing altogether.

                                    2. Definitely n/naka, Maude, Trois Mec

                                      1. When factoring the type of service that is typical for Michelin 3-star places, I've never really had the same kind of dining experience in LA when compared to places like EMP or Restaurant at Meadowood. I think the only place that would be a 3-star possibility would be Urasawa since the guide seems to be more flexible, service-wise, when it comes to sushi restaurants.

                                        The way they frame the star assignments these days (3-star: worth a special journey, 2-star: worth a detour, etc...), I think there are tons of places worth a detour, but my list would have differed greatly from their last LA guide, so I have no idea what would show up in 2015.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: andytseng

                                          A little heads up....Michelin's ratings haven't changed since at least the early 70s...3stars has always meant special journey etc...

                                          Originally, Michelin guides were meant for travellers to find places to eat and sleep.

                                          I don't know if there is a world class restaurant in LA that is worth a special journey - journey being more than a few hours.

                                        2. Here is a recent thread with 146 replies re. LA and Michelin stars. At the bottom are links to more discussions regarding Michelin and LA. Probably why some don't find the need to discuss it any further.


                                          1. Are you all kidding? Urusawa, Melisse, Providence, Rivera, Drago Centro, Mozza ogroup, Patina group, multiple Japanese restaurants, multiple SGV restaurants would all be worthy Michelin restaurants...not to mention Tois Mec, Maude, etc. LA bloggers: get over this inferiority issue. LA is one of the great dining cities in the world.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Maybe it's just me but maybe since the Michelin Guide was original designed for tourists, maybe they never changed their guidelines and they specifically look for special restaurants that satisfy a tourist's hunger for something special. By that I mean that one of their requirements aside from excellent food, cooking skill, excellent service, excellent decor/ambiance as well as creativity might ALSO be ease of accessibility by traveler's. On the assumption that the average tourist either doesn't drive or normally drives on the 'other side' of the road, Most of the great restaurants in Los Angeles are near impossible to get to without a car. NYC has trains, cabs, buses and even relatively cheap car service. San Francisco has trains, cabs, buses and the other 'old fashioned' forms of travel(trolley/horse ride) while in Los Angeles, it's mostly just bus as the trains in Los Angeles aren't very convenient for getting within 1 mile of where you want to be.

                                              Now of course, if this were to be the case, then that would in effect lower the credibility of the MG due to it being true to what they were when they started(for tourists) but not on the pedestal that they've been put on by the public. I can only come to this hypothesis from NYC, SF, Los Angeles and San Diego but if other's have been to exceptional restaurants in other cities that aren't on the MG while also having bad tourist transportation then that would obviously be more proof of this idea.

                                              2 Replies
                                                1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                  "Most of the great restaurants in Los Angeles are near impossible to get to without a car."

                                                  Transportation issues are sort of a thing of the past, at least for those with smart phones. Lyft, Sidecar and Uber have all made the "LA is has lousy public transportation" argument an issue of the 20th Century and not the 21st.

                                                2. Given that the outgoing editor of the Guide Michelin, Jean-Luc Naret, had the "vapeurs françaises" about how terrible a city Los Angeles is to eat in (money quote: "The people in Los Angeles are not real foodies. They are not too interested in eating well but just in who goes to which restaurant and where they sit."), I think the number of stars would be extremely few.

                                                  We don't do well with fancy French dining. SF does, and of course New York does, and Tokyo does because of the obsessive need to copy exactly, but not Los Angeles.

                                                  And so, as I said in a response to him, in the meantime, if [Michelin] will agree to keep [their] dismissive comments about our city's gastronomy to [themselves], I will agree to refrain from mailing your guide back to [them] with "bon débarras" written on the package.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                    Is it just me or is he comparing where celebrities eat to ALL of Los Angeles? Or is he just ignorant in the sense that he thinks Los Angeles is just beverly hills and the surrounding areas. The majority of Los Angeles is a melting pot of both ethnic cultures as well as food and it seems like all he see's is 1-2 races in famous upscale neighborhoods.

                                                    It also seems like he's basically excluding ALL of SGV by making that comment on 'see'ing or being seen'.

                                                    1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                      It appears that he's just being stereotypically dismissive of LA.

                                                      1. re: JAB

                                                        He can have a royale with cheese

                                                  2. I absolutely agree that the michelin guide is a poor fit for L.A and pretty much all of California including SF. I personally have worked with some of L.A´s top chefs for years and now have moved out to Spain to continue my career working in the Michelin stared restaurant out here. Let me tell you that there is a huge difference on Cali restaurants and european michelin stared restaurant. LA let go of the fine dining scene (which is good!) Just because a restaurant has a Michelin star doesn't mean its good. Ive personally eaten at a lot of starred restaurants (including Providence) and think a majority of them are a joke. I think the idea that LA has on fine dining is a great movement and we continue to get rid of that stuffy suit and tie dining. Our product in California is unbelievable and that really is all that matters. Not pretty plate up´s or fancy chairs and tables. Food is Food. Its meant to be eaten and enjoyed with other people how ever u feel like.