The powers that be at the Michelin Guide awarded their coveted stars today, even California (it’s been almost a decade for us). 24 LA restaurants were awarded, including usual suspects like Vespertine, Urasawa, and Maude.
Quick Facts on Michelin Stars
- Stars are given out on a rating scale of 1 – 3. No restaurants in Los Angeles have received 3 stars as of yet.
- The most starred chef as of 2018 was Joël Robuchon of L’Atelier. He mentored Gordan Ramsay who is #3 in the ranking.
- This was the first time Michelin rated an entire state versus focusing on a specific city. In total, 90 restaurants in California received stars.
Among the winners this year, these are the ones I’ve been to.
My Taiwanese self is very proud that Kato made the list. It’s a beautiful, modest restaurant and I had the pleasure of having a pescatarian tasting menu when I visited. I love that non-red meat eaters are able to enjoy a fine dining tasting menu – surprisingly it’s kind of rare. Highlights I remember included a melt in your mouth steamed salmon with Taiwanese cabbage, ahi tuna in squid ink, and an amazing strawberry pannacotta dessert. Two years ago the tasting menu was $65 and it is now $95.
I love Nancy Silverton but I’m not sure I understand why Osteria Mozza is on the list. The burrata and squash blossom pizza is good, but really I haven’t ever felt particularly wowed eating here. Maybe I need to go back and try the ricotta and egg raviolo in brown butter sauce.
Trois Mec is one of my favorite dining experiences in LA. I loved everything about it, from the beautiful interior to the old school hip hop on the speakers. It was delicious, and even more notably, it was fun. That’s not always the case when it comes to fine dining. Every single dish on the tasting menu was divine. You’re also sent home with jars of African spice blend which is the secret ingredient to my panko breaded fried chicken.
Niki Nakayama’s Chef’s Table episode from Season 1 is one of my favorites. Her story is so empowering. Contrary to popular opinion though, I’m not sure if the $300 price tag is worth it for me. Since the restaurant is a relatively small space, you can hear the conversation of your neighbors a little too clearly. And if you have the same misfortunate as we did, you might get seated next to a table of bros dining on the company dime and having an ignorant, obnoxious conversation, which I won’t get into here. If I’m paying a premium, the whole experience should be enjoyable. She definitely delivers in terms of the volume of dishes. At the end of the night though, I was thoroughly exhausted. So, not for me.
Another one that makes my top 5 favorite dining experiences. The whole package at Providence is delightful and fun, starting with the bar at the entrance. We made friends with our amazing bartender who mixed the most delicious cocktails. The seating in the restaurant is comfortable and private. The tasting menu is more seafood leaning, which I love. There’s a nice fusion of some gastronomic dishes, which added to the whimsy of dining there. I would and have been meaning to go back.
As always, the winners were mostly restaurants that serve Japanese or European cuisine. It’ll be exciting when the first Korean restaurant or more Mexican restaurants get awarded.
Full list of California-awarded restaurants here.