Silicon Valley's 10 Michelin-Starred Restaurants Shine Bright

BY Suzanne Ennis | July 9, 2019 | Food & Drink Feature Story Restaurants Eat and Drink

1. Manresa
3 Stars

Manresa_Into_the_Vegetable_Garden_photo_credit_Marc_Fiorito.jpgManresa’s signature Into the Vegetable Garden salad.

After earning two Michelin stars for nine consecutive years,
Manresa
roared back from a devastating fire with three stars, a status it’s maintained since 2016, despite another fire last summer. Hyperlocal seasonal ingredients inform James Beard Award and Emmy-winning executive chef/owner David Kinch’s multicourse tasting menus ($275, optional beverage pairing $220), which we deemed Silicon Valley’s best in our January/ February issue (note: This is the sole three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the Valley). Master sommelier Jim Rollston complements the new American cuisine with a world-class wine collection. Don’t miss the signature Into the Vegetable Garden dish, a handpicked ode to seasonality. 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, 408.354.4330

2. Baumé
2 Stars

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An heirloom tomato, sage, basil, cocoa nib and balsamic vinegar dish at Baumé.

Modern French restaurant Baumé debuted in Palo Alto in 2010, claimed a star in the 2011 guide and has maintained two stars since. What does such recognition mean to acclaimed chef/owner Bruno Chemel? “That I might not be that bad after all,” he says with characteristic restraint. The staff comprises only Chemel; his wife, Christie; and their 15-year-old-son, Antoine. And the dining room features a mere four ultraprivate tables. Amid this intimate setting, Chemel meticulously prepares seasonal multicourse tasting menus (approx. $400, optional wine pairing $400 to $4,000) that might include an oft-touted California caramelized squab. 201 California Ave., 650.328.8899 (text only)

3. Madera
1 Star

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Madera’s dining room.

At Madera, recipient of a Michelin star eight times since opening in 2009, farmers-market ingredients elevate new American dishes (served a la carte) such as a signature Schmitz Ranch 32-ounce bone-in dry-aged ribeye with seasonal accoutrements, and mushroom risotto with truffle butter. Celebrating? Order a bottle of 2013 Coche-Dury Corton Grand Cru ($6,000) from the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine list, built by wine director Paul Mekis (a Plumed Horse alum). Tip: Request Table 13, which executive chef Reylon Agustin says offers the best views. “It’s a secret,” he adds. “Don’t tell anyone I told you.” Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel, 2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, 650.561.1540

4. Chez TJ
1 Star

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A hazelnut and blood orange tartine with white and dark Valrhona chocolate crémeux at Chez TJ.

Chez TJ, now 38 years old, has earned a Michelin star (or two) every year since 2007. Owner George Aviet hires nascent culinary giants, including current executive chef Jarad Gallagher, who presents contemporary French cuisine in a single dégustation mondiale each evening ($195, wine pairing from $120). Herbs and vegetables plucked from the garden (on-site at the restaurant in a 19th century Victorian) enhance globally sourced ingredients like caviar and truffles, and freshly baked levain arrives with house-cultured butter. “Every time I come in and smell that bread, I just cannot resist,” Aviet says. 938 Villa St., Mountain View, 650.964.7466

5. Plumed Horse
1 Star

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The dining room and wine wall at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga.

Executive chef/owner Peter Armellino has held the reins at the Plumed Horse (est. 1952) since 2007 and earned a Michelin star continuously since 2009. Contemporary California dishes are available a la carte or in tasting menus ($169, optional wine pairings $98). This summer, look for Carmello tomatoes from local Conrado Farms, paired with caviar harvested by Armellino in partnership with California Caviar Company. The black pepper and souffle with Dungeness crab and sea urchin fondue is a mainstay—“[I’ll] never even try and take it off the menu,” Armellino promises. The elegant, Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurant boasts a swoonworthy three-story cellar. 14555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, 408.867.4711

6. Wakuriya
1 Star

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A fish dish at Wakuriya in San Mateo.

Wakuriya chef/owner Katsuhiro Yamasaki’s website credits his parents’ cozy sushi-ya as well as a top-rated kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto for his education in Japanese cuisine. He draws on those roots to create innovative, contemporary dishes that reflect his respect for kaiseki tradition—and merit his nine consecutive Michelin stars, according to the Michelin Guide. Monthly changing nine-course prix fixe menus ($105) might include New Caledonian blue shrimp and Hokkaido scallops served with asparagus, and Snake River Farms wagyu beef donburi with a soft-steamed egg. Call a month ahead of your desired reservation date, and cross your fingers. 115 De Anza Blvd., San Mateo, 650.286.0410

7. The Village Pub
1 Star

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The spiced 38 north duck breast at The Village Pub in Woodside.

Our 2019 pick for most luxurious wine list, this handsome Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning establishment from the Bacchus Management Group (which also includes Michelin-starred Spruce in San Francisco) boasts an 11-year Michelin-star streak. Executive chef/partner Mark Sullivan oversees a menu of contemporary American dishes that include the ever-popular pub burger, as well as seasonal offerings showcasing produce from Smip Ranch—e.g., this summer’s just-picked heirloom tomatoes, dressed tableside, and spiced 38 north duck breast with tart of boudin noir and rhubarb with sauce civet. Says owner Tim Stannard: “We strive for a balance of perfectly correct service, pristine products and a genuine sense of warm hospitality.” 2967 Woodside Road, Woodside, 650.851.9888

8. Rasa
1 Star

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The the Fig Ur It Out cocktail with bourbon, housemade fig preserve, lemon and ginger beer at Rasa in Burlingame.

What do you get when you mix flavorful Southern Indian dishes, seasonal California ingredients and an intensely focused restaurant team? For Rasa, the answer is a Michelin star for four consecutive years. “Having a Michelin star is important to put a restaurant on the map, and go from a local spot to a global dining destination,” says owner Ajay Walia, but he’s equally committed to impressing discerning locals with what the 2019 guide calls “no-joke dishes that aren't toned down for Western palates.” Favorites include gourmet takes on Indian street food, such as Bombay sliders and crisp idli chaat. 209 Park Road, Burlingame, 650.340.7272

9. Sushi Yoshizumi
1 Star

Screen_Shot_2019-07-09_at_1_44_47_PM.pngChef hizumi of izumi in Akira Yos Sushi Yosh San Mateo.

Chef Akira Yoshizumi opened his nine-seat restaurant in 2015, serving sushi prepared with traditional Edomae techniques—aging, salt-curing, marinating—perfected during an apprenticeship with a sushi master in Tokyo. Within months, Michelin awarded the first of four consecutive stars. Yoshi’s Yohei omakase is $158 per person; the extended Yoshi omakase is available to only six guests per day, who must order at least two weeks in advance (from $250, sake pairing from $60). Purists rave about his pristine fish and perfectly prepared rice, simply seasoned with aged red vinegar (akazu) and sea salt. 325 E. Fourth Ave., San Mateo, 650.437.2282

10. Protégé
1 Star

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A coddled hen egg with porcini mushroom marmalade, black truffle fondue and smoked olive oil at Protégé.

French Laundry vets chef Anthony Secviar and master sommelier Dennis Kelly opened Protégé last spring and earned a star right out of the gate. New American cuisine cooked with what Michelin calls “suave, edgy panache” is served a la carte in the lounge or in five-course tasting menus in the dining room ($145). Wines range from breakout labels (Kelly suggests Napa’s Dakota Shy, from $195) to rare vintages. The priciest? “I don’t want to scare anyone off with the answers to this question,” he jokes. The brick chicken, a pan-sauteed boneless Cornish game hen under a custom “brick,” is a signature. 250 S. California Ave., Palo Alto, 650.494.4181

Originally published in the July/August issue of Silicon Valley

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Photography Courtesy Of: Marc Fiorito (Manresa); Courtesy of Baumé (Baumé); Durston Saylor/Courtesy of Rosewood Sand Hill (Madera); Peter Giles (Chez TJ); Kristian Melom (Plumed Horse); Wing Yung (Village Pub); Ed Anderson (Wakuriya); Courtesy Of Rasa (Rasa); Courtesy of Sushi Yoshizumi (Sushi Yoshizumi); Natalia Nazarova (Protégé)