San Francisco and the Bay Area are home to some of the best restaurants in America. From restaurants that helped spawn the local food movement to funky experimental joints to the highest-end restaurants you’ll find anywhere, there’s no shortage of amazing dining experiences, and the folks at Michelin are certainly aware of that. There are currently 40 restaurants in the San Francisco area that have earned Michelin stars: 30 of them have one star, six have two stars, and a select group of four restaurants have three. You can find a full list of all the one-starred restaurants here; the restaurants with two stars are Acquerello, Atelier Crenn, Baume, Coi, Manresa, and Quince. Here are the three-star restaurants:
Since chef Corey Lee opened Benu after four years at the French Laundry, it has consistently been ranked one of the finest restaurants in the country. Lee’s menus incorporate the best of Asian and American cuisine, and combine the two styles in some truly brilliant, upscale ways. When whole steamed bass with crispy skin, shiitake mushrooms, broccolini, turnips, and mustard shares a menu with sea urchin tarte flambée and pork rib-eye in the style of baked ham, you know you’ve come to the right place.
Thomas Keller is a perfectionist, approaching contemporary American food with classical technique. His French Laundry, with its now-famous blue door, has established new standards for fine dining in this country. Two $295 nine-course tasting menus are devised each day (one traditional and one vegetarian), and no single ingredient is repeated throughout the meal. The classic "oysters and pearls," pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar, is a perennial favorite.
Restaurant at Meadowood
You have to marvel at Meadowood in Napa Valley, California and its chef Christopher Kostow. It wasn’t good enough to helm a three-Michelin-starred restaurant — the whole thing had to undergo a renovation under the direction of architect Howard Backen and designer George Federighi, one that stretched from the dining room to the kitchen. Chef Kostow also re-examined his menus and reinvented the way he served his customers, coming up with a more curated experience, which the restaurant describes as "creating bespoke menus." Kostow says he sits down the night before guests visit to write out menus for the next day’s 70 customers.
Run by chef Joshua Skenes, diners never know exactly what will be on the menu at Saison, but they can rest assured that it will be delicious. The multi-course menu (and its price tag) changes nightly depending on what’s fresh and in-season, and every day Skenes and his team work to create new dishes based on what’s available. It’s always a memorable experience, and the dining room is surprisingly unstuffy; there’s no dress code.