Get us in your inbox

Search
A fig topped omakase dish at Minh Phan's Phenakite.
Photograph: Courtesy Katrina Frederick

All 25 of L.A.’s Michelin star restaurants, updated for 2021

Starstruck? Get the rundown on L.A.’s newest Michelin star restaurants in our handy, up-to-date guide.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Advertising

Let’s be real: Could a French tire company really encapsulate what good dining in Los Angeles entails? Apparently, they’re still going to try. After Michelin took a yearlong hiatus in California, the largely Eurocentric international guide is back in the state, and thus the City of Angels, with seven new Michelin starred restaurants in 2021—and the promotion to two stars for an eighth. With all its picks this year in the three dollar sign range and above, the nearly century-old red restaurant book is proving to us all that while age is just a number, culinary elitism is timeless.  

For those blissfully unaware of what the Michelin Guide is, here’s how it all goes down: The star ratings, while controversial, are considered essentially the most prestigious award a restaurant could ever receive. One star denotes “a very good restaurant,” two signifies “excellent cooking that is worth a detour” and three stars, most coveted of all, translates to “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey.” A new Bib Gourmand category, added to their 2019 guide to California, also recognizes more affordable spots, with 10 new L.A. area additions this year.

To determine these ratings, the guide’s anonymous inspectors visit and judge restaurants according to quality, atmosphere, service and even nominal details, such as how far apart the tables are spaced. With a clear bias towards fine dining and blatant roots in a culture of Western imperialism, the Michelin Guide is just one measure of excellence in food and hospitality among many—particularly in a city as rich in street food and multicultural cuisine such as L.A.

However, if you still have (French multinational tire brand) stars in your eyes, look no further: We’ve updated our list of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants for 2021. Eagle-eyed readers might notice the exclusion of now-closed sushi giant Urasawa, upscale French tasting menu spot Le Comptoir in Koreatown and Curtis Stone’s Maude—currently operating as an Australian pie shop. Of note: L.A. has zero three-star spots, the highest award the guide confers. 

Two Stars

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 4 of 4

Year first granted: 2021 (one star in 2019)

Despite being in a city with its fair share of haute Japanese cuisine, there’s something clearly special happening at Hayato. Tucked behind traditional noren that hang over the door, chef-owner Brandon Go prepares a multicourse, traditional kaiseki dinner every night of service. The space is intimate, the ceramics are handcrafted and imported from Japan, and Go’s precision and technique come by way of training under Michelin-starred Japanese chefs. Artful simplicity is the name of Go’s kaiseki game, by way of dishes like steamed abalone with an unctuous liver sauce, an owan course of delicate crab meatball soup, and fresh fruit coated in a salted sake jelly. Note: These stunningly artful kaiseki dinners typically fill up a month in advance after going live on Tock on the first of every month. Plan ahead

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Santa Monica
  • price 4 of 4

 Year first granted: 2008 (previous Michelin iteration), then again in 2021

Over a decade after its first starred recognition by the guide, Josiah Citrin’s Santa Monica fine dining stalwart is back to two-star status after being rebuffed in 2019 and undergoing a pre-pandemic pivot away from an ultra-formal white tablecloth experience. Now seating only 14 diners at a time in a hidden alcove within the more casual (but still upscale) Citrin, Mélisse continues to deliver one of the city’s top tasting menus, with luxurious, detail-oriented dishes like caviar in chawanmushi topped with imported Hokkaido uni and a rich chestnut soup with even more decadent truffle foam.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Palms
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by S. Daya (@esdi.photography) on

Year first granted: 2019

Netflix’s first season of Chef’s Table (2018) may have shone a national spotlight on n/naka, but the Palms restaurant—which opened in 2011—has long been front and center in the L.A. food world. Chef-owner Niki Nakayama is a former protégé of the legendary Morihiro Onodera, whose current and former sushi bars are also on this list. Unlike her omakase-specialized mentor, Nakayama focuses on kaiseki: a classical style of Japanese cooking that dictates a specific progression of tastes, textures and temperatures while incorporating seasonal ingredients. Both running 13 courses, the chef’s $285 modern kaiseki and $245 vegetarian tasting menus change regularly, but there’s always something to delight in: a glass filled with sea urchin and lobster in a bath of chilled dashi, maybe, or a seared diver-harvested scallop cuddled next to a warm okra pod.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jakob N. Layman (@meetjakob) on

Year first granted: 2008 (previous Michelin iteration)

For serving a city next to the Pacific, Michael Cimarusti’s Providence somehow still manages to surprise and reinterpret seafood. His mostly-aquatic menu deftly showcases the bounty of the West Coast, as well as the globe: Big Island abalone, Santa Barbara spot prawns and steelhead trout from the Quinault River in Washington are among the varied choices, though the menus change seasonally. Cimarusti may not always earn locavore points, but his knack for finding the best product will make you focus only on the perfect bite hanging from your fork, and nothing else. Cost-wise, multicourse options run the gamut, including a $95 lunch-only tasting menu, but for the truly adventurous—and deep-pocketed—there’s the 10-plus course chef’s tasting menu ($250) where luxury fare including caviar, truffles and A5 Wagyu beef rule the day.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • West Hollywood
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sushi Ginza Onodera LA (@sushiginzaonoderala) on

Year first granted: 2019

Edomae-style sushi isn’t particularly hard to come by in Los Angeles, but you’d be hard pressed to find it at a level that rivals that of Sushi Ginza. The nigiri-forward omakase climbs past 20 courses, each bite focused on incredibly high-quality fish that’s been brushed with soy, lightly tempura-battered or served in a pool of ponzu. Chef Yohei Matsuki’s light hand and mastery don’t come cheap: An omakase here will set you back around $300, but it’s a splurge worth making for some of the finest sushi in L.A. Located next to the popular combination nightlife spot E.P. & L.P., you’ll feel entire worlds away from the drunken superficiality just outside its doors.

  • Restaurants
  • Culver City
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by V E S P E R T I N E (@vespertine.la) on

Year first granted: 2019

Now known the world over as one of the most inspired—and perhaps bizarre—tasting menus ever conceived, Jordan Kahn’s otherworldly Vespertine in-person tasting menu is currently still on hold due to concerns over the ongoing pandemic. When available, the part sci-fi dreamscape, part fine-dining theatrics experience takes place in a wavy obelisk in Culver City, just across the street from the chef’s casual daytime spot, Destroyer. For now, the team at Vespertine is offering $75 at-home takeout experiences, allowing people without the means to usually experience a Michelin star meal to try Kahn’s cooking at just a fraction of the usual $250 or more.

One Star

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Temple City
  • price 2 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bistro Na's (@bistronasus) on

Year first granted: 2019

Bistro Na’s specializes in imperial cuisine, the type of food served to emperors, empresses and concubines. As with most Chinese restaurants, family-style eating rules the day: platters of ornate classics like crispy shrimp or the showy steamed king crab are just as delicious as they are eye-catching and enormous, so come with a crew to sample even a small fraction of the massive menu. Traditional delicacies like bird’s nest and white fungus soup also make appearances, albeit at a steep premium. What you’ll probably find yourself fixated on most are your surroundings: with high ceilings, red-and-gold touches and the intricate, warm wood moldings, Bistro Na’s dining room is fit for royalty, or at least your next special occasion.

  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by CUT Beverly Hills (@cutbeverlyhills) on

Year first granted: 2008 (previous Michelin iteration)

Beverly Hills is home to more than a few steakhouses, but since opening its doors inside the Beverly-Wilshire hotel in 2006, Wolfgang Puck’s shrine to beef has been one of the chicest in town. How does it stand out? A stellar art collection, for one; a bright dining room that skews more Brat Pack than Rat Pack, secondly; and a globally-influenced menu that takes you far beyond the usual steak and sides. Here, diners not only choose the type of steak, but also where it came from: The selection features multiple farms, including dry-aged USDA Prime beef from Nebraska, grass-fed Angus from outside of San Diego, and purebred Wagyu beef from the Miyazaki prefecture in Japan.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

Year first granted: 2021

At the intersection of fine dining and fashion lies Beverly Hills’ Gucci Osteria, a shiny new Italian restaurant created with guidance from world-famous chef Massimo Bottura, who runs the original in Florence (which also has a Michelin star). Sitting above Rodeo Drive, with a view of the shoppers and luxury cars down below, a meal here by head chef Mattia Agazzi is the epitome of opulence and excess. Whether you’re ordering á la carte or partaking in the $150 per person tasting menu, expect what Michelin calls a “whimsical and grounded” take on modern Italian cuisine. Incorporating uniquely California ingredients like Santa Barbara uni—mixed at Osteria with housemade egg pasta and guanciale-style calamari—and Monterey seaweed, Agazzi’s food combines with a beautifully designed indoor-outdoor dining room to produce a refined, Rodeo Drive-style dining experience. 

 

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Central LA
  • price 3 of 4
Year first granted: 2019

Formerly known as the supper club pop-up Kali Dining, chefs Kevin Meehan and Drew Langley turned their sporadic dining experience into a neighborhood brick-and-mortar in Larchmont Village, offering fresh and simple Californian cuisine in a casual setting. Made exclusively with locally sourced ingredients, the $140 tasting menu ranges from dishes like prawn crudo and olives and nasturtium for a light appetizer, to more hearty protein plates such as beef tenderloin with onion and fingerling potatoes. The seasonality extends to the à la carte options, too, both at lunch and dinner. An equally extensive beverage menu is available, with global wines, inspired cocktails, a selection of craft beer and even Meehan’s house-made kombucha.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • West LA
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by kato restaurant (@katorestaurant) on

Year first granted: 2019

With each passing year, Jon Yao’s tasting menu reaches new heights. The lauded self-taught chef—and native Angeleno—blends his Taiwanese and San Gabriel Valley roots to create a tasting menu that’s something new entirely: fine dining level pan-Asian comfort food that’s almost too pretty to eat. (We said almost.) Courses on the tasting menu rotate constantly in this strip mall spot, now with a built out, pandemic-era romantic patio seating area, but expect artful takes on classics like grilled short rib, crab porridge and Taiwanese fried chicken that all strike a nostalgic chord.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Atwater Village

Year first granted: 2021

This intimate sushi bar in Atwater Village is the latest eponymous venture of esteemed local chef Morihiro Onodera, whose previous time at Mori Sushi on Pico Boulevard propelled the latter toward Michelin star status in 2019. With nearly four decades of experience and plans to grow his preferred type of rice on an Uruguayan farm, Onodera’s sushi-making shines at this tiny space, with just six seats at the counter and a few indoor and outdoor tables. Luckily for people with limited disposable income, Onodera offers a range of prix fixe and omakase menus, from a $65 six-piece nigiri set to a bar-side omakase that tops out at $400 per person. A $45 nigiri set option even caters to vegans and vegetarians. 

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • West LA
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Always Travelling & Eating 😂 (@jofieats) on

Year first granted: 2008 (previous Michelin iteration)

You’ll be shelling out plenty of dough at this celebrated sushi restaurant in West L.A., but for a good reason: The omakase here is a 20-plus piece experience that borders on sushi nirvana. The famed owner, Morihiro Onodera, no longer prepares the fish here (instead, you can find him at his namesake spot in Atwater Village), but the quality hasn’t been compromised. During an omakase, you’ll make your way through homemade tofu and house-made soy sauce, along with beautiful cuts of toro, hamachi, sea pike and more. An ethereal scoop of tofu mousse often finishes off the meal, though fans of the more traditional tamago will find that at Mori, too.

  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nozawa Bar (@nozawabar) on

Year first granted: 2019

The crown jewel of Jerry Greenberg’s Sugarfish empire, Nozawa Bar bears the family name of Kazunori Nozawa, the sushi chef whose Studio City restaurant started it all. Tucked inside the Beverly Hills Sugarfish, the chef has resurrected his L.A. institution with the same elements: impeccably fresh fish served on warm, loosely packed rice, omakase-style. Giant sticks of king crab and slice of fatty tuna are preceded by nigiri graced by prodigious amounts of salmon roe and uni. The decadence continues with hand rolls, enormous rectangles of tamago, and rich monkfish liver dressed with miso. The only catch? There are merely 10 seats at this 20-plus course experience, so be sure to make a reservation—and be sure to get there on time. Much like in the O.G. Studio City location, tardiness is a huge no-no.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 3 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Orsa & Winston (@orsaandwinston) on

Year first granted: 2019

The pandemic may have shrunk chef Josef Centeno’s DTLA restaurant empire, but his Italian-Japanese eatery, Orsa & Winston, has survived the worst crisis the restaurant industry has seen in living history—keeping its Michelin star to boot. At first, the cozy restaurant began as a tasting-menu concept, but it’s evolved to include à la carte weekday katsu sandos and grain bowls at lunch, late-night snacks such as uni-and-scallop porridge, and on weekends, one of the city’s most innovative brunches. Where else can you find house-smoked fish plates, yuzu croissants, donabe pots brimming with nuanced soups, and Centeno’s masterfully executed, genre-bending tasting menu?

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Hancock Park
  • price 3 of 4
Year first granted: 2008 (previous Michelin iteration)

Since opening its doors in 2007, Nancy Silverton’s Melrose-and-Highland Italian bistro has grown into a multiplex that spans a pizzeria, a to-go counter, a steakhouse and a tiny corner retail shop. The fine-dining star, Osteria, continues to pack tables and churn out some of the city’s best Italian food (and an encyclopedic wine list), not to mention the mozzarella bar showcasing the handcrafted varieties of specialty cheese. Load up on antipasti to share, then pace yourself through courses of handmade pastas and rustic, meat-heavy main plates, cooked to perfection in the wood-burning oven. Don’t even think about skipping dessert, which always includes at least a few rotating flavors of the chef’s famous “Nancy’s Fancy” gelato and sorbet.
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Santa Monica
  • price 4 of 4

Year first granted: 2021 

Located on Santa Monica’s Main Street, this traditionally inclined French bistro elevates classics like onion soup and beef tartare to new-to-casual-L.A. heights of fine dining. Chef David Beran, previously of the now closed Michelin-starred Dialogue, even possesses an old-school French duck press for an artery-clogging, show-stopping traditionally prepared duck for two ($185), which includes roasted duck breast, crispy duck skin salad, and duck leg bread pudding doused in drippings combined with cognac and red wine. Prepared tableside, it’s worth ordering at least once, although there is no bad dish on the menu at Pasjoli, where the “stupidly good” foie de poulet à la Strasbourgeoise delights even more experienced restaurant critics.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4

Year first granted: 2021 

Located in the Second Home coworking space in Hollywood, Phenakite is a uniquely Angeleno fine dining restaurant from Vietnamese American chef Minh Phan. Named for a crystal formed under extreme conditions, this outdoor restaurant is a post-pandemic homage to the larger connections within nature—reminding diners that what we eat extends beyond farm-raised plants and animals. Although Phan’s Vietnamese heritage and Los Angeles upbringing informs Phenakite’s culinary narrative, the menu, which runs $158 per person, takes influences from all corners of the globe. One sample dish from last fall: “Radishing Brassica Friends,” which included miso-butter poached radishes, mustard frill, romanesco and other vegetables sauced with numbing yuzu ponzu.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Encino
  • price 3 of 4

After a decade and a half of hard work, Valley native chef Phillip Frankland Lee and co-owner, pastry chef and wife Margarita Kallas-Lee have finally achieved their Michelin star dreams twice over, if one includes the star given to their other restaurant, Santa Barbara’s Sushi | Bar Montecito. At Encino’s Pasta | Bar, a multi-course $165 Italian tasting menu with locally sourced Californian meat, seafood and produce showcases the best the state has to offer, from a Michelin-commended lobster sauce cavatelli pasta with spring peas to a recent fig and bergamot semifreddo dessert.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Santa Monica
  • price 3 of 4

Year first granted: 2019

Jeremy Fox knows how to work a vegetable, and it’s in this Santa Monica neighborhood staple where he and executive chef Andy Doubrava really work that magic. The seasonal menu of high-quality farmers’ market bounty sees new additions every day, so you might find bone marrow with local cherries and black garlic on one visit, and cucumber with melon and yuzu the next. The restaurant’s simple dining room, whose minimalist, wood outfitting hasn’t changed much over the years, has become somewhat of a locals’ gathering space just as much as it’s become a must-visit for tourists looking for a top-notch version of market-driven California cuisine.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Financial District
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by L.A. Foodie (@lafoodie) on

Year first granted: 2019

From the moment you enter Q’s doors, refinement is all you can hear, see, and taste. Classical music drifts through the elegant space, a formal dining room with a handful of tables and the center of the action—a 10-seat sushi bar where Q’s chef, Hiroyuki Naruke, quietly steals the spotlight. It’s hard to say which is more of a treat: the expertly cut fish sourced from around the world, or the chef’s artfully precise one-man show. The focus here is Edomae sushi, a style that highlights vinegar-seasoned rice and high-quality, fresh cuts of fish, and at Q’s omakase dinner—at $300 per person—you’ll also receive a smattering of Japanese small plates, like torched toro with shishito relish. Of course, if you’d like to make rent next month, Q also offers a lunch track for $150. Whichever option you pick, day or night, just be sure to make a reservation.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shibumi (@shibumidtla) on

Year first granted: 2019

Most dishes require extreme, almost obsessive effort at Shibumi, a kappo-style Japanese restaurant by chef David Schlosser—the only one of its kind in the city. This sort of Japanese tasting menu might serve bites of prawn ripened and fermented—for months—in their own juices, or slow-smoked salmon that cooks over cherry bark. In an almost-hidden dining room in DTLA, Schlosser grinds nubs of fresh wasabi and steams pork jowl with California-grown rice in a heavy iron pot, and experiments and waits, patiently, to create some of the most intricate flavors that can take weeks to develop. Order à la carte or go for the omakase, which starts at $95 per guest and caps at $195—you’ll be in excellent hands.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Encino
  • price 4 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Aaron Tell (@savoryhunter) on

Year first granted: 2019

Hidden strip mall gems might be a regular hallmark of L.A. dining, but even within this realm, Encino’s Shin Sushi punches above its weight class. Taketoshi Azumi’s omakase den serves seasonal, highly varied fish—about 18 courses’ worth—in a cozy, casual setting. With only 30-ish seats in the whole restaurant (eight of them at the counter, the best seat in the house), reservations are all but required.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Santa Monica
  • price 3 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ᴅᴇᴀɴᴀ sᴀᴜᴋᴀᴍ (@faimfatale) on

Year first granted: 2019

Newly relocated to Santa Monica from its longtime chili bowl-shaped home on Pico Boulevard, Shunji is a small Westside sushi bar that flipped to making seasonal, beautifully boxed omakase sets during the pandemic. When available for dine-in service, chef Shunji Nakao’s eponymous restaurant (run with his wife, Yuko) offers well-curated omakase for both lunch and dinner, with à la carte options as well. Evening diners can choose between two omakase menus: one that involves cooked dishes and appetizers in addition to some sashimi, or one that’s dedicated to sushi. Whether you’re opening up your Tock pickup order or dining in, Nakao knows exactly how much wasabi to hide in each scoop of rice, making the heat rise in the back of your throat, but not enough that your nose will start to run.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Manhattan Beach
  • price 4 of 4

Year first granted: 2021

Currently located a few blocks from the ocean in Manhattan Beach, this small, intimate sushi bar run by Yasuhiro Hirano and his wife specializes in aged fish, with pricey, artfully plated takeout chirashi and ultra-premium omakase for dine-in customers. Although the pair have stopped dine-in service while searching for a new permanent location, diners can still enjoy Hirano’s takeout sets, like a recent box of maki-style sushi that comes topped with bright orange uni and glittering salmon roe, paired with super-sized “samurai” onigiri (rice balls). When open for dine-in service, Sushi Inaba is a place where you can expect a crash course in the art of sushi from the chef himself—plus the appropriate tuition and fees to match.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising