Posted on June 06, 2023

Michelin Guide California gains 10 restaurants


The Michelin Guide today has announced 10 additions to the selection in California.

These establishments are highlighted as “New” on guide.michelin.com to help food lovers enjoy new discoveries before the full selection is revealed July 18 at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland. During the Michelin Guide Ceremony, chefs and restaurant teams will learn in real time whether their establishments have received culinary distinctions such as Michelin Stars, Bib Gourmands or other professional award distinctions. The event is by invitation only.

“By revealing some of the new additions made by our inspectors throughout the year, we enhance our digital tools to further strengthen the ties that bind us to food lovers,” said Gwendal Poullennec, the International Director of the Michelin Guides. “We hope that these regular revelations and updates to the selection throughout the year will provide opportunities to highlight the profession and invite everyone to discover and support the restaurants around them.”

Here’s the list of additions with previews of the inspector notes for each restaurant:

Artifact at Mingei (San Diego)
The culinary offerings are proudly eclectic and international, ranging from carefully pleated rock shrimp gyoza with a yuzu-flavored dashi, to lamb kibbeh with quinoa tabbouleh. Plant-based options, like Thai green curry with sweet potato and crispy noodles, are clearly no afterthought, and desserts like cardamom tapioca with saffron granita hold their own.

Cento Pasta Bar (Los Angeles)
Tucked away in West Adams, this one-time pop-up gone brick-and-mortar from Chef Avner Levi feels timely but has a great laidback vibe. The menu leans Italian-contemporary, with selections including antipasti, mole-braised ossobuco with couscous and yogurt-marinated lamb, but as the name suggests, pasta takes center stage.

Cobi’s (Santa Monica)
Discover Thai and Malaysian delights along with other influences on this broad Southeast Asian menu. Start with dumplings, satay or curry puffs — those crispy triangular shells filled with curried split peas and potatoes sided by pickled onion and tamarind ketchup. From there, pick a curry or a wood-grilled main dish such as grilled prawns in a ginger and yellow bean sauce. Prix fixe options include a smattering of dishes selected by the chef.

Dear Jane’s (Santa Monica)
In case this Marina del Rey restaurant's glass wall with views of the boats outside didn't give it away, Dear Jane's celebrates the life aquatic with its focus on old-school seafood and Continental cuisine. This spot pours it on with large portions and over-the-top flourishes (caviar makes a regular appearance) while keeping things grounded with strong cooking.

Dunsmoor (Los Angeles)
With embers glowing, flames snapping and smoke billowing, two ferocious ovens serve as the twin hearts and hearths of this Glassell Park hot spot. Much of the Southern-inspired menu must pass through them — oysters, cornbread, rib eyes and pork chops. Nearly everything here offers some kind of hearty, no-nonsense kind of comfort.

Juliet (Los Angeles)
The open kitchen buzzes all day, but dinner is where this team shines. Oysters, tartare or tuna carpaccio could kick off the meal, but the mousse au foie de volaille, with its delicate tart filled with chicken liver mousse, toasted hazelnuts and an apple gelee, is an auspicious beginning. Sea bream with ratatouille and pistou is simple but well executed, and pairs well with one of their many wines available by the glass.

Kaori Sushi (Orange County)
Kaori Sushi is living proof that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Don't let its location within a nondescript open-air mall fool you, as this spot's flavors are anything but ho-hum. The menu may not be large, but it includes a list of daily dish selections, cooked dishes, such as mara udon or gyu tongue, and more unusual choices like kani blue crab "risotto." An entire menu is dedicated to the restaurant's well-regarded "rolls," but stick to the classic sashimi and nigiri.

Poppy & Seed (Orange County)
Settle in at sunset or under the stars to enjoy dishes such as creamy Anson Mills grits topped with gravy and plump tail-on shrimp. Charred eggplant puree and pickled sea beans lend a bite to steak tartare, while fried Brussels sprouts are sweet and salty thanks to bacon jam and pomegranate. Juicy strawberries and roasted beets make an earthy-sweet combination that could pull double duty as dessert.

Taira Sushi & Sake (Orange County)
Young duo Chef Ben and Ayako Sato have penned a love letter to Japan here, where great care is paid to details (even the menu is handwritten nightly) and warm hospitality makes everyone feel welcome. Standouts include kinmedai seared with ponzu, spring onions and red yuzu or tender firefly squid topped with scallions and laced with nori. Seared spicy cod roe and hearty stewed fish cheeks are inventive starters, and a smattering of "rolls" are on offer (think ume shiso roll). 

Villa’s Tacos (Los Angeles)
This brick-and-mortar marks a milestone for a chef who first started serving out of his grandmother’s house. The signature queso taco is instantly recognizable, built on a blue corn masa tortilla stacked with refried beans, onion, cilantro, guacamole, cotija cheese, crema and a melted skirt of Monterey Jack. Variations with asada and chorizo are favorites, with vegan options on offer as well. Colorful, messy and filling, these tacos thrive on their own but also sing with the homemade salsas, some of which are ferociously spicy.

The Michelin Guide in North America
The inaugural selection in California was announced in 2007 in San Francisco, and it expanded to become the Michelin Guide California in 2019. Michelin published its first North American Guide in 2005 for New York. Guides have also been added in Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Miami/Orlando/Tampa, Florida; Toronto; and Vancouver.

Recognized globally for excellence and quality, the Michelin Guide offers a selection of world-class restaurants.

  • The famous one, two and three Michelin Stars identify establishments serving exceptional cuisine rich in flavor and infused with the personality of a talented chef.
  • The Bib Gourmand is a designation given to select restaurants that offer good quality food for good value – often known as personal favorites among the inspectors when dining on their own time.
  • The Michelin Green Star honors restaurants at the forefront of practices committed to a more sustainable gastronomy.
  • Recommended restaurants and special professional awards are also highlighted by Michelin Guide inspectors.

The Michelin Guide remains a reliable companion for any traveler seeking a great meal. The guides were first published in France at the turn of the 20th century to encourage tire sales by giving practical advice to French motorists. Michelin’s inspectors still use the same criteria and manner of selection that were used by inspectors in the very beginning, now applied in more than 40 destinations around the world.

The restaurant selections join the Michelin Guide selection of hotels, which features the most unique and exciting places to stay in California and around the world. Visit the Michelin Guide website, or download the free app for iOS and Android, to discover every restaurant in the selection and book an unforgettable hotel.

About the Michelin Guide
Thanks to the rigorous Michelin Guide selection process that is applied independently and consistently in more than 40 destinations (60+ Guides), the Michelin Guide has become an international benchmark in fine dining. The selections of all restaurants in the guide are made by Michelin’s anonymous inspectors, who are trained to apply the same time-tested methods used by Michelin inspectors for many decades throughout the world. This ensures a uniform, international standard of excellence. As a further guarantee of complete objectivity, Michelin inspectors pay all their bills in full, and only the quality of the cuisine is evaluated. To fully assess the quality of a restaurant, the inspectors apply five criteria defined by Michelin: product quality; mastery of cooking techniques; harmony of flavors; the chef's personality reflected in his or her cuisine; and consistency over time and across the entire menu. These criteria guarantee a consistent selection so that a star restaurant has the same value regardless of whether it is in Paris, Los Angeles or Tokyo.

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For more information contact:

Andrew Festa
Michelin North America


About Michelin North America

Michelin, the leading mobility company, is working with tires, around tires and beyond tires to enable Motion for Life. Dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility and sustainability, Michelin designs and distributes the most suitable tires, services and solutions for its customers’ needs. Michelin provides digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences. Bringing its expertise to new markets, the company is investing in high-technology materials, 3D printing and hydrogen, to serve a wide variety of industries — from aerospace to biotech. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, Michelin North America has approximately 22,500 employees and operates 34 production facilities in the United States and Canada. (michelinman.com