California chefs, restaurateurs, and diners are eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 2019 Michelin star awards, to be held at the Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach on June 3. In the meantime, the venerable French media company offered up an appetizer course of sorts today by announcing Bib Gourmand awards to 151 restaurants across the Golden State.
“Our inspectors were very impressed by the diversity of cuisine and culinary trends that they have seen across the Bib Gourmand selection in California, and it’s great to see that many of these restaurants take advantage of the fantastic local produce available throughout the state,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides.
By comparison, New York City has 129 Bib Gourmand restaurants and Chicago has 58.
Also known as "Inspector Favorites," the Bib Gourmand category highlights restaurants that serve high-quality meals for good value. To qualify for a Bib Gourmand award, restaurants must include two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. It's worth noting that Bib Gourmand honorees are also eligible to receive Michelin stars, so receiving one honor does not preclude the other.
Last year only 67 California restaurants earned Bib Gourmand recognition, and all of them were located within the San Francisco Bay Area. Now restaurants in San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and Sacramento are eligible to receive Michelin honors as well.
New Bib Gourmand recipients include Canon in Sacramento; Guerilla Tacos in Los Angeles; Juniper and Ivy in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood; Mix Mix Kitchen Bar in Santa Ana; Sama Sama Kitchen in Santa Barbara; and Yafa in Monterey.
Of the newly eligible regions, Los Angeles County—an area celebrated for its casual dining options—led the pack by a wide margin, garnering 64 of the 84 new awards. San Diego secured eight Bib Gourmands and Orange County received five.
The 2019 California Michelin Guide ($19.95) will be available for purchase from major booksellers in the U.S. starting June 6.