Michelin announced the contents of its first-ever restaurant and hotel Guide for the West Coast, the Michelin Guide San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country 2007, which arrives in stores Wednesday, Oct. 4. Over the last seven months, suspense has been building over which restaurants and hotels would garner listings in the guide, published for more than a century throughout Europe.
Introduced to North America last year in New York City, and published in 13 editions covering 20 European countries, the Michelin Guide’s rating system is internationally recognized as the height of culinary success.
“San Francisco’s cultural diversity distinguishes it from many other cities, and restaurateurs have shown great determination and ingenuity in developing high standards of gastronomy and service,” said Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides.
“The abundance of local, fresh ingredients combined with the innovative spirit that this area thrives on provides chefs the unique ability to produce consistently superior cuisine. The introduction of Michelin’s international standards of quality confirms the high level of dining in San Francisco, the Bay Area and the Wine Country.”
Overall, 356 restaurants and 60 hotels in every category of cuisine and comfort and at prices to suit all budgets were selected for inclusion in the guide, which is considered a distinction in itself. One restaurant, French Laundry, received a three-star rating for providing “an exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” Four restaurants received a two-star rating providing “excellent cooking, worth a detour”; 23 restaurants received a one- star rating for being “a very good restaurant in its category,” and 328 additional restaurants were selected in the guide as they provide a quality experience.
Restaurants and hotels from around the Bay Area were considered for the Guide, including those in San Francisco, Sausalito, Oakland, San Jose and Berkeley, as well as the Wine Country, including Napa and Sonoma.
“The Bay Area attracts tourists from all over the world for its exceptional cuisine. The guide will be a useful tool for navigating the best restaurants and hotels this area has to offer,” said Jim Micali, chairman and president of Michelin North America.
“As we continue our growth in the United States, Michelin will remain committed to the time-proven standards and rating system for which the guides are famous.”
To evaluate the culinary and service aspects of each restaurant and hotel, highly trained Michelin inspectors anonymously visited each establishment and provided objective evaluations.
Stars are awarded by the Michelin inspectors to restaurants offering the finest cooking, regardless of the style of cuisine or level of comfort. The stars judge only the quality of the cuisine. Five criteria are used in determining a star rating: the quality of products used, the mastering of flavors and cooking, the “personality” of the cuisine, the value for money and the consistency.
A general listing in the guide indicates “a quality restaurant that stands out from others” in the same category of comfort.
The star ratings are as follows:
- One star indicates “a very good restaurant in its category,” a place offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.
- Two stars denote “excellent cuisine, worth a detour,” skillfully
and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality.
- Three stars reward “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”
One always eats extremely well here, often superbly. Distinctive dishes
are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.
The decision to award a star is a collective one, based on the consensus of all inspectors who have visited a particular establishment. A written description of each establishment and a variety of other symbols will give readers further insight into an establishment’s ambience, cuisine type, specialties and wine lists. These descriptions are customized to American tastes and needs.
Although the Michelin Guide is known and recognized for its “star” system, these restaurants represent a small percent of the whole selection, the rest of which is comprised of consistently good establishments. The Bib Gourmand pictogram indicates a restaurant offering good food at moderate prices, “our inspectors’ favorites for good value.” This symbol indicates a restaurant where you can get a meal, including two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert, for less than $35. The Michelin Guide San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country 2007 includes 38 Bib Gourmand restaurants.
In addition to the stars that “are in the plate and only in the plate,” establishments in the Michelin Guide San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country 2007 are rated according to comfort based on criteria such as amenities, type of services, general upkeep of the establishment, cleanliness, comfort, atmosphere, price and value for money. The comfort rating is expressed in two ways:
- For restaurants: one to five forks and spoons
- For hotels: one to five pavilions
There are also special distinctions for certain establishments. In addition to stars for the best restaurants, Michelin awards red forks and spoons (restaurants) or pavilions (hotels) for especially pleasant establishments.
The Michelin Guide San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country 2007 features a reader-friendly format, created specifically for a North American audience. All starred restaurants (whether one, two or three) feature a two-page spread in the guide with images of the establishment, a comprehensive description, and a sample menu. Hotels that garner a pavilion rating receive a full-page entry in the guide with a photo and ample description. Introduced first in the Michelin Guide New York City 2006, this format will be a model for the 2007 Michelin Guides to Paris and London.
Restaurants and hotels selected for inclusion in the Michelin Guide San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country 2007 are listed by neighborhood within San Francisco and by geographical area outside the city; they are also cross- referenced in the front of the guide by alphabetical listing and by cuisine type. Many Bay Area cities are included in the guide, with San Francisco further divided into neighborhoods. Each restaurant listed has the following information: address, category of cuisine, comfort category, star-rating, phone, fax, e-mail, website address, price range, and hours of operation. For more information about the Michelin Guide, please visit http://www.michelinguide.com .
As the undisputed leader in the tire industry, Michelin ( http://www.michelin.com ) designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa
and North America. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs 22,270 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.