Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Michelin Star Restaurants (2016 Edition)

Welcome to the 7th annual Wednesday Wishlist post where the topic is getting restaurants in San Jose worthy of Michelin starts. The Michelin guide is the most renowned rubric in the world for measuring culinary success. I think the foodie culture is continuing to build momentum in San Jose, especially Downtown. I'm optimistic it will only be a matter of time until we have some unique restaurants with national recognition.

Michelin has three different star categories:
  • One Star - A very good restaurant in its category with cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop on your journey.
  • Two Stars - Excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality. Worth a detour.
  • Three Stars - Exceptional cuisine with distinctive dishes and superlative ingredients. Worth a special journey.

I created a Google doc listing all of the star recipients for 2016, along with tabs for all previous years and some general statistics. Below is an image capture from the doc. This year there were a total of 50 restaurants that were awarded Michelin stars, which is up 10 from last year and an all-time high for the Bay Area. 62% of the restaurants are locating in SF, 20% in Wine Country, 16% in Silicon Valley (split evenly between the South Bay and the Peninsula), and 2% in the East Bay. There are 14 new restaurants on the list this year (see image below), as well as one significant upgrade. Manresa (Los Gatos) achieved the elusive three star rating. Manresa is not only the first restaurant in the South Bay to ever get this rating, but it is only the fifth restaurant ever to get a three star rating anywhere in the Bay Area. Several restaurants from 2015 did not make the cut, including Madera, Maruya, La Folie, Boulevard, and the All Spice in San Mateo.

There are also restaurants in the Michelin guide that do not get a star, but are considered "Michelin Recommended." This is already a significant honor. Within this category San Jose scored a total of 13 restaurants, an all-time high for our city. Here are the lucky restaurants:

  • Downtown
    • Vung Tau
    • Back A Yard
    • Swaad (NEW)
  • The Alameda
    • Zona Rosa
  • Midtown
    • Walia (NEW)
  • North San Jose
    • Smoking Pig BBQ
  • South San Jose
    • Bun Bo Hue An Nam
    • Thien Long
    • Lau Hai San (NEW)
  • Willow Glen
    • The Table
    • Fratello
  • Camden
    • Rangoli
    • Zeni

Swaad (Indian), Walia (Ethiopian), and Lau Mai San (Vietnamese) are all welcome additions and represent how amazing our ethnic cuisines are. All 10 San Jose restaurants that were Michelin recommended in the 2015 guide held on to that status in 2016. If you haven't been to the restaurants above, I can vouch that all of them are well worth visiting. 

Source: Michelin Guide

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