Update June 4, 2019: Michelin’s first statewide guide awarded 34 California restaurants with new stars in June 2019, bringing the Golden State’s total to 90. See the new Michelin star winners here.
For the first time in a decade, restaurants in Los Angeles will be eligible for Michelin stars again. The influential food guide left the city after publishing two lists in 2008 and 2009. But instead of being released as a standalone city edition, it will be folded in with restaurants in other major culinary destinations throughout the state as part of the first Michelin Guide California 2019.
Announced in partnership with Visit California at an event at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, this will be Michelin’s inaugural statewide guide in the United States. While Michelin has covered the San Francisco Bay Area and Wine Country since 2007, this will be the first time restaurants in Monterey, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Barbara will be considered for star status. San Francisco will be folded into the California guide and receive new ratings in 2020.
To all our SF followers, we are thrilled to announce the inaugural statewide edition for California coming in June 2019! Please now follow us at @MichelinGuideCA — Michelin Guide (@MichelinGuideCA) March 5, 2019
In addition to San Francisco, only three other cities in the United States currently have Michelin guides: New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. When the Los Angeles edition folded in the middle of the recession due to poor sales, only four restaurants—Melisse, Spago, Providence, and Urasawa—earned two stars. All are still operating aside from Melisse, which is closed for renovations until later in 2019 and is unlikely to be eligible for this guide. No restaurant in L.A. has earned three-star status (yet).
Jean-Luc Naret, the then-director of Michelin, once told Esquire that “the people in Los Angeles are not real foodies. They are not too interested in eating well but just in who goes to which restaurant and where they sit,” sparking controversy. Under new leadership, that attitude has changed.
“With access to many of the world’s best farms, food producers, and vineyards, California cuisine is respected worldwide not only for the quality of its ingredients but also due to the creativity displayed by its chefs,” Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said.
In addition to recognizing California’s influence on the culinary world, it makes sense that the guide is being expanded to include cities beyond San Francisco because many travelers—both from abroad and within the United States—visit the state on a road trip. (The Michelin guides were originally launched in the early 1900s by the tire company to encourage people to use their cars to see more of the world.)
According to Poullennec, the 2019 star selection for the first California Guide will be announced at an event in Huntington Beach in the first week of June.