If New York is the king of foodie cities, San Francisco is definitely the queen.
In 2017 the Bay City matched the Big Apple in number of three-star Michelin restaurants—six each—when Quince got a bump from two to three stars. These are the brightest of San Francisco's Michelin-starred restaurants.
Benu, Three Stars
The Michelin Guide inspectors lauded Chef Corey Lee's sleek, slate gray dining room as much as the masterpieces parading from the kitchen. The menu has Asian influences and has included dishes like the thousand-year-old quail egg on ginger cream.
Quince, Three Stars
Michael Tusk's sophisticated take on traditional Italian fare earned the guide's highest award this year. The tasting menu changes daily, but may feature tortellini with umami and red kuri squash, a ricotta-filled favioli in butter sauce, or savory sea urchin.
Saison, Three Stars
The atmosphere at Chef Joshua Skenes' Saison is elegant with a prix-fixe menu that can feature upward of 20 courses with obsessive attention to detail.
The Restaurant at Meadowood, Three Stars
Take a drive out to Napa Valley for dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood. The Michelin Guide inspectors describe the restaurant's atmosphere as "wine-country chic" with each course vying to outdo the last. The 950 wines available offer perfect compliment to the creative dishes.
Manresa, Three Stars
A meal at Manresa might begin with savory petit fours, move to black cod filet with Brussels sprouts, finishing with pumpkin puree with chocolate crémeux and sherry vinegar. Chef David Kinch expertly blends European traditions and American ingenuity at this Los Gatos restaurant where he collaborates with local farms to get the best ingredients daily.
The French Laundry, Three Stars
Chef Thomas Keller's Napa Valley restaurant is notoriously difficult to book with good reason; booking at least two months in advance is recommended to experience this legendary dining experience, one of the world's best for more than 20 years. Choose from two nine-course, seasonal tasting menus or a vegetarian option.
Lazy Bear, Two Stars
The dining experience at chef David Barzelay's Lazy Bear is a dinner party; he cooks and entertains guests while personally presenting the courses. Guests—seated at two communal tables—sample delectables like lightly seared Miyazaki rib-eye with Asian pear and bone marrow-pumpkin pureé.
Acquerello, Two Stars
Dinner at this old-school Italian restaurant is a formal occasion. Each prix-fixe menu comes with a well-crafted wine selection; choose three, four or five courses. Savor the pasta with a tableside shaving of white truffle and finish with a decadent dessert like almond milk-panna cotta topped with crushed almonds.
Atelier Crenn, Two Stars
"Poetic" is a word often used to describe Chef Dominique Crenn's culinary style. The world's first two-star Michelin chef—a title she earned in 2016—presents dishes that are as pretty as they are delicious, ordered from menus that read like poems. The Michelin Guide inspectors hailed her talent with seafood as "otherworldly," particularly the lobster swimming in tangy and citrusy shiso broth.
Baumé, Two Stars
Chef Bruno Chemel serves up an eight-course, seasonal tasting menu of traditional French dishes in creative interpretations. Think ice cream dropped in kabocha soup and cauliflower mousse garnished with tiny broccoli bouquets.
Campton Place, Two Stars
At Campton Place—inside the Taj Campton Place Hotel—chef Srijith Gopinathan blends Californian and Indian cuisines served on charcoal-glazed ceramics. "The Spice Pot," a traditional street food, is the signature dish and features buttermilk foam, tamarind chutney, chickpea crackers, English peas, spiced potatoes, mint snow and fried quinoa.
Commis, Two Stars
Chef James Syhabout's unassuming restaurant stays packed for the chef's sophisticated eight-course tasting menu. The menu might include scallops with créme fraîche, roasted abalone with artichoke heart or slow poached egg in alium puree with dates.
Coi, Two Stars
This modern seafood restaurant in North Beach offers one tasting menu for dinner. Chef Matthew Kirkley uses classic French influences to create an exquisite eight- to 12-course menu featuring dishes like Dungeness crab with grapefruit, champagne and bay leaf and carrots roasted in coffee with mandarin, roman mint.