The 2012 Michelin Guide to the “San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country,” and the Napa Valley has retained its status as the only place in the U.S. besides New York City with restaurants that have earned the vaunted three-star rating from Michelin Guides.
The French Laundry in Yountville and the Restaurant at Meadowood resort in St. Helena, making them two of nine U.S. restaurants to earn Michelin’s highest rank. Thomas Keller remains the king of stars in the valley. He’s garnered three stars for the French Laundry and one star for his Bouchon restaurant in Yountville since Michelin first published the Bay Area guide in 2007. He also has a three-star ranking for his Per Se restaurant in New York City. The Restaurant at Meadowood resort in St. Helena also got three stars for the second year in a row.
All this excellence does come with a price for those who want to make the journey to experience it. A nine-course chefs’ tasting or vegetarian menu at the French Laundry costs $270, plus wine, while at Meadowood, a nine-course tasting menu is $225, plus $205 for wine pairings. Meadowood also offers a four-course tasting menu for $125 and $105 for wine pairings.
In 2011, Michelin gave three stars to nine U.S. restaurants. So far, the new 2012 guides have given out three-star ratings to seven restaurants in New York and two to Napa. Bay Area restaurants with two stars, Benu and Saison in San Francisco, Baume in Palo Alto, were new to the two-star list this year. The others, which retained their two stars from previous year, are Cyrus in Healdsburg, Coi in San Francisco and Manresa in Los Gatos. Napa Valley has no two-star restaurants.
In addition, 39 restaurants earned a single star. Napa Valley’s one-star restaurants are Auberge du Soleil, Bouchon, Redd, Étoile, Solbar, Terra, La Toque and Ubuntu, although the latter restaurant has announced plans to close indefinitely in November. With a total of six Michelin stars, Yountville retains its right to say it has more stars per captia than any other place in the world. According to the 2010 Census, Yountville’s population is 2,933 with about 1,000 of this number living at the Califonia Veterans Home there.
Michelin also designated 77 “Bib Gourmands” where diners can find a quality meal of “two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (excluding tax and gratuity).” New to the list in Napa Valley is Fish Story, which opened on the Napa Riverfront in 2009. Other Bib Gourmands in the valley include C Casa, Oenotri, Bistro Jeanty, Bottega, Cook St. Helena and BarbersQ.
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