Excellence is a given when it comes to the Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and other varietals produced in California's Wine Country. The restaurant scene is clearly on the upswing too, evidenced by the 11 area restaurants that received a total of 16 Michelin stars in late October.
The French Laundry in Yountville and The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena (Editor's note: damaged in the 2020 Glass Fire, The Restaurant at Meadowood is slated to reopen in the summer of 2021) led the charge with three stars each—meaning that they both feature "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." Auberge du Soleil, Bouchon, Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Kenzo, La Toque, Madrona Manor, Terra, and Terrapin Creek all received one star for their high-quality cooking that is "worth a stop."
The most prominent Wine Country newcomer is SingleThread, a Healdsburg hot spot that debuted on the list with two stars, signifying that its excellent cooking is worth a detour.
"The single thread for which this luxurious newcomer is named is the humble onion—the only item that can be grown year-round on the five-acre farm that supplies it," according to the official Michelin guide writeup. "Everything else in its dizzying array of plates is carefully modulated with the seasons: a foie gras dish, for example, comes draped with sweet persimmon coulis and crushed hickory nuts in the fall, transitioning to earthy Chioggia beets and pear by mid-winter. Chef Kyle Connaughton cooked for years in Japan, and displays a skill and affinity for donabe cooking."
All told, 55 San Francisco Bay Area restaurants received at least one Michelin star and another 67 received Bib Gourmand recognition for providing quality at a fair price.