For over 100 years Michelin has been guiding you to the best culinary experiences in the world. Their ratings have dramatic effects on the success or failure of restaurants in every corner of the globe.
In 1900 French brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin had a tire manufacturing company for automobiles. The Michelin brothers decided to create a free guide to give to customers in order to increase the demand for cars, and in turn car tires. It had information such as maps; tire tips and lists of car mechanics, hotels and gas stations. They quickly expanded the guide to Belgium and soon to many countries across Europe.
After a short time off during the First World War, the publication was revived and revised. The Michelin brothers began charging for their guides and started to notice the growing popularity of the section on restaurants. They were quick to build a group of trustworthy critics who would review restaurants for their guide.
In 1926 the guide finally began their star-rating system, awarded to only fine dining establishments. One star meant “a very good restaurant in its category,” two stars meant “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” and three stars meant “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” The guide exploded in 2005 with it’s expansion to New York and a few years later to Tokyo and Hong Kong, paving it’s way to becoming the most highly honored restaurant guide in the world.
Now Michelin ratings are the one and only rating-system that can dictate whether a restaurant is worthy or not. Without their special stars, a restaurant no matter how good is seen as merely average. They have become the standard for establishing excellence in the culinary world.
We wanted to take a closer look at restaurants with those coveted Michelin-stars. Here is a round up of the top-rated restaurants in SF and NYC.
New York City
Thomas Keller is the proud owner of two three-Michelin-starred restaurants; one being the New York sensation Per Se. You will indulge in a nine-course regular or vegetable tasting menu featuring classic French technique and only the highest-quality ingredients. Paired with an award-winning wine list and intimate setting; it is no wonder they received the highest remarks.
10 Columbus Circle
Chef Masa and his upscale sushi experience are meticulous in every sense of the word. Masa is described as ‘Shibui,’ never complicated or contrived. It represents the purity of refined beauty that isn’t affected by changes. The expensive course-based menu highlights seasonal properties used in only their ripest and most delicious state. Dishes are created to bring out the innate quality of the ingredient.
10 Columbus Circle
Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park is the recipient of many honorable awards. Chef Daniel Humm creates classic and upscale American tasting menus, which he presents in a high-ceilinged space with an art deco ambiance. Humm pulls out all the stop in curating the ultimate fine dining experience. It is one that you will never forget.
11 Madison Ave.
Saison, or season in English, symbolizes the restaurant’s commitment to celebrating change, evolving and honoring the finest produce of each season. Every night they offer a new multi-course menu, influenced of course by the highest quality ingredients they have available. They staff work endlessly every day to curate a menu guests will revel in. It is amongst the most casual of the 3-Michelin-star restaurants, there is not even a dress code.
178 Townsend St
The ultra-pricey and exclusive Benu is a San Francisco restaurant legend. Benu is also a recipient of the Five Diamond Award and written up in The New York Times as one of “10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride.” They offer small delicacies like thousand-year-old quail eggs, potage and ginger. An eclectic mix of well thought out and meticulously carried through dishes. Chef Corey Lee has surely earned his important three-star rating.
22 Hawthorne St
The French Laundry
A short drive from San Francisco to the always-chic Napa will bring you to the world-famous The French Laundry. This is Thomas Keller’s other 3-Michelin-star restaurant and is worth every penny. The French Laundry is a stone farmhouse filled with fine French cuisine. They have now earned their 3 starts for the 6th year in a row. This makes Thomas Keller the only American-born chef to have two three-star Michelin restaurants.
6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA
The Restaurant at Meadowood
We couldn’t mention a Napa Michelin without also mentioning the spectacular Restaurant at Meadowood. The modern American cuisine is meant to encompass and highlight the Napa community. It forges a relationship between growers, artisans and members of the community alike; utilizing all of these strengths to curate exceptional dishes and ambiance. You will find plates that are playful and creative, with a constantly changing menu of the freshest and only local ingredients. It truly embodies all that is Napa; and Napa is pretty great.
900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena