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Atelier Crenn

Three Michelin stars sparkle at this minimalist gem

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For a visual feast that also happens to taste amazing, book a table at Atelier Crenn, where gifted chef Dominique Crenn creates visually stunning (and delicious) multi-course meals. Micro-greens, edible flowers, and dabs of sauces and foams elevate dishes from just-plain-dinner to undeniable art. The celebrated chef, who has piloted Atelier Crenn to three Michelin stars, works closely with Northern California growers and food purveyors, bringing out the best of the region’s farm-to-table bounty.

Crenn, who is most likely one of the white-jacketed chefs preparing your meal in the restaurant’s glass-walled kitchen, creates what she calls “Poetic Culinaria”—edible poetry on a plate. The French-born chef creates poetry on her menu too, using snippets of evocative and lovely phrases, like “the broad ocean leans against Spanish land,” to paint a visual picture of the dishes you’ll be served. Props, like moss-covered branches and polished stones, make frequent appearances throughout your meal’s parade of nearly 20 jewel-box courses, adding to the almost mystical quality of the experience. The dining room itself is an elegant space of ultra-minimalist beauty, with bright spots of light that direct the focus where it should be: on the plate in front of you. All this spectacle and brilliance comes at a cost—there’s a fixed price of more than $300 per person, not including libations. But that doesn’t seem to stop smart foodies from booking tables well in advance. This is one of those places you will never forget.

For more about fine dining in the San Francisco Bay Area, listen to this episode of the California Now podcast.

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