Michelin skipped its California restaurant ratings in 2020 due to, oh, you know, a global health crisis, statewide wildfire devastation and the decimation of the service industry. But the esteemed guide is back in Los Angeles for 2021 with its first tease of new additions.
First, a little bit of housekeeping: The Michelin Guide’s anonymous inspectors travel the region and track all sorts of destination-worthy restaurants, the most stellar of which are awarded one to three stars (think: once-in-a-lifetime meals like n/naka and Vespertine). Just below that, Bib Gourmands celebrate a particularly good-value restaurant (Lunasia and Badmaash, for example).
Today, the Michelin Guide announced neither of those distinctions, but instead 10 of its recent favorites that for now are labeled as “new.” Come late September, when the full awards are announced, it’s possible—but not guaranteed—that some of these spots could earn stars or a Bib Gourmand nod.
Given the two-year gap since the last update to the L.A. version of the Michelin Guide, you might notice that some of these picks aren’t exactly brand-new: Birdie G’s landed on our best of 2019 list and Konbi’s milk bread sandwiches have been consuming Instagram since 2018, just to call out a couple.
But the bulk of the list certainly feels fresher, with picks all over the literal map, from Pasadena to Encino to Redondo Beach, and a mix of Californian, Midwestern, Korean and Spanish cuisines. Each entry comes with some brief inspector notes, which include dish recommendations (the chicken liver mousse at Agnes or the pan con tomate at Gabi James), commentary on the vibes (diners at Fellow are “eclectic and stylish”) and some compliments to the chef (Phenakite’s Minh Phan is dubbed “a firecracker”).
You’ll find all of the inspector notes on the Micheline Guide’s site, along with its existing star-ratings for L.A. Speaking of, come the end of the month we’ll see if any of those spots rise or fall in the rankings.
The Michelin Guide has had a bit of a complicated relationship with L.A. At worst, its decade-long absence in L.A. seemed to actively thumb its nose at the local food scene. That made its 2019 return a pretty big deal, when Michelin bestowed its starred culinary crowns upon about 20 restaurants (though not without some geography faux pas, and with zero three-star restaurants in the mix).