Five restaurants join the ranks of the two starred, while 22 get their first.
It’s back. After a more than two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, Michelin has released new California stars for the first time since 2019. While the restaurant industry still deals with the impact of Covid-19, the tire-company-turned-gastronomic-bible has found a large number of establishments to bestow with new stars this year, the second edition of the all-Golden State guide. On the two-star level five new restaurants made the cut while 22 places debuted on the one-star list.
Six of the seven three-star restaurants remained, as Michelin removed The Restaurant at Meadowood from the list after it burned down, a casualty of last year’s devastating wildfires. However, Christopher Kostow is rebuilding the restaurant and has been doing a North American tour in the lead-up to reopening.
So the big winners of the day were the new two-star restaurants. Addison, led by chef William Bradley refocused and retooled his San Diego restaurant after receiving one star in 2019, turning away from French to a more California-focused menu and Michelin rewarded his team’s efforts. Hayato, Brandon Hayato Go’s small Downtown LA kaiseki restaurant survived the pandemic and bumped up from one star to two. Josiah Citrin’s Mélisse had two stars back when Michelin evaluated LA more than a decade ago, but was in the middle of a big remodel in 2019 when the guide returned. Now he’s regained two stars with his intimate and creative new version of Mélisse, which shares the larger space with the a la carte Citrin.
Harbor House’s Matthew Kammerer also graduated from one star to two, as did Christopher Bleidorn’s San Francisco restaurant Birdsong. Closures caused a few two-star restaurants to fall of the list: Aitor Zabala’s 10-seat Somni and LA sushi restaurant Urusawa were pandemic casualties. Baumé is still open doing takeout and now in-person dining, but it lost both stars.
San Diego notched a strong showing after only boasting one starred restaurant in 2019 with Addison. Three more places made the list this year with Sushi Tadokoro, Soichi and Jeune et Jolie each earning their first star. For Jeune et Jolie it was a bit of redemption for chef Eric Bost, who took over the restaurant after the pandemic led to the closure of his beautiful LA spot Auburn early last year.
Multiple restaurants that were on the 2019 one-star list closed in the past year—like Trois Mec, In Situ and Michael Mina’s San Francisco flagship—however, Michelin wasn’t as forgiving of restaurants as it was with its Chicago, Washington, DC, and New York lists. For the California guide, it demoted a few restaurants that remain open, including Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and Rich Table.
See below for the complete list of restaurants awarded stars, including all of the new entries.
Michelin-Starred Restaurants in California for 2021
The French Laundry
Harbor House (NEW)
Sushi Ginza Onodera
Auberge du Soleil
Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura (NEW)
Jeune et Jolie (NEW)
Knife Pleat (NEW)
Niku Steakhouse (NEW)
O’ by Claude Le Tohic (NEW)
Orsa & Winston
Pasta | Bar (NEW)
The Shota (NEW)
Six Test Kitchen (NEW)
Sons & Daughters
State Bird Provisions
Sushi | Bar Montecito (NEW)
Sushi I-NABA (NEW)
Sushi Shin (NEW)
Sushi Tadokoro (NEW)
The Village Pub