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San Francisco hits culinary home runs

Recent Awards and Accolades Add to the City’s Dining Scorecard


Nov. 10, 2014 - It’s been a banner year for San Francisco, and not just for the World Series Champion Giants.  The city has received high praise for its restaurants from a variety of esteemed sources.

Travel + Leisure

In Travel + Leisure magazine’s November survey of America’s Favorite Cities, San Francisco came in first for Wine and second for Wine Bars.  According to the editors, “A culinary scene to rival New York City’s, eye-popping design, and a laid-back, outdoorsy ethos are just three reasons to visit San Francisco right now.”


San Francisco’s reputation for great dining was again confirmed in October as Michelin awarded two of its restaurants with its highest rating in its 2015 eating guide. Benu and Saison in the city's SoMa district joined the French Laundry In Yountville and the Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa in the top three-star category for "exceptional cuisine."  

Michelin rates restaurants in 24 countries and its stars are an internationally recognized sign of quality dining. There are just over 100 restaurants worldwide with the three-star distinction. Michelin, which has been reviewing restaurants in San Francisco and the Bay Area for eight years, handed stars to a record 40 restaurants in San Francisco and the Bay Area after its reviewers sampled 46 types of cuisines at 474 eateries. Michelin placed six San Francisco restaurants in its two-star "excellent cuisine" category with Acquerello joining the roster in its latest guide. The other two-star restaurants included Atelier Crenn, Baume, Coi, Manresa and Quince.  The one-star restaurants in the city of San Francisco alone are Ame, Aziza, Boulevard, Campton Place, Gary Danko, Keiko à Nob Hill, Kusakabe, La Folie, Luce, Maruya, Michael Mina, Sons & Daughters, SPQR, Spruce and State Bird Provisions.  


San Francisco seemed to be everywhere in Esquire’s 2014 Food and Drink Awards.  The list of Best New Restaurants in America included Tosca Café (especially the summer minestrone with Jerusalem artichokes, favas, english peas, basil pesto which was on Josh Ozersky’s All-Star Dinner) and The Commissary.   The Best New Food in America included the beef-tallow fries at The Cavalier; the crispy hazelnut and sea salt candy bar from Nuubia Chocolat, and the smoked almond brittle from Craftsman + Wolves, all of San Francisco, plus the Buffalo Milk Gelato from Petaluma’s Double 8 Dairy and New Orleans iced coffee from Oakland’s Blue Bottle.

Trip Advisor

Also in October, three restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area were named in Trip Advisor’s list of Travelers Favorite Fine Dining Restaurants in the United States, Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco was third on the list of 25, The French Laundry was named at number 18 and Chez Panisse in Berkeley came in at number 22.   San Francisco received more mentions than any other U.S. city except New York.


The readers of Saveur, the definitive culinary and culinary-travel magazine, voted San Francisco the Best Culinary Destination, Large Domestic in the second annual Saveur Culinary Travel Awards in the September issue.


Later in October, La Taqueria in the Mission district was declared to have America’s Best Burrito by ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight.

The James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation named Charles Phan’s The Slanted Door the Outstanding Restaurant in the country in May. Daniel Patterson of Coi was named Best Chef for California, Nevada and Hawaii.  Quince was honored for Outstanding Service.

How long can this winning streak run?  As long has San Francisco has the most talented chefs working with the freshest local, seasonal ingredients in an environment of diversity and innovation, it could go into extra innings.