Four San Francisco restaurants receive new Michelin Star honors

Four of San Francisco’s top dining destinations achieved new Michelin star honors on Monday, Dec. 5, during the 2022 edition of the Michelin Guide California ceremony held in Los Angeles. Eighteen California restaurants were recognized in all.

San Francisco-based restaurants receiving their first coveted Michelin star include Nisei, Osito, San Ho Won and Ssal. Press in St. Helena and Localis in Sacramento also received the prestigious recognition, where restaurants are judged by anonymous dining inspectors who visit establishments during lunch and dinner service at various times throughout the year.  

Chef David Yoshimura of Nisei was also honored with the Michelin Young Chef Award. According to Michelin’s anonymous chief inspector, Yoshimura is a chef who is “full of personality” with dishes elevated by his personal culinary journey.

“Chef Yoshimura is just under 35, and I say, he embodies exactly what we’re looking for in a young talent,” the inspector told SFGATE. “His cuisine represents a unique perspective and background and is captured in his cooking that’s both ambitious and highly personal.” 

Nisei's tasting menu is

Nisei’s tasting menu is “equal parts tradition and invention, where a classic matsutake broth sits in harmony with a wholly original dessert of Okinawan purple sweet potato.”

Brianna Danner

In total, there are 89 restaurants with Michelin-star status in California and seven of those establishments garnered the three-star ranking. Michelin’s secret restaurant inspectors also awarded two new Green Stars, bringing the state tally of restaurants leading in sustainable practices to 11. There are only two Green-Starred restaurants in any other U.S. states.

Green Stars are awarded to restaurants that are true front-runners in gastronomy and are role models for their guests and peers. 

“That shows also that chefs here are real trendsetters, influencers and California as a whole is definitely a culinary powerhouse,” said international director of the Michelin Guides, Gwendal Poullennec. “California really has something to say and has a strong voice now in the world of culinary conversation. It has a strong identity when it comes to the quality of the produce. It’s really a part of the California culinary identity.”

Poullennec added that the three-star Michelin level is the “crème de la crème” in terms of gastronomy restaurants in the U.S. and beyond. There are 142 restaurants at the three-star level worldwide, with 40 three-star restaurants in the U.S.

“When we look at the number of three-stars in the U.S., so now we have seven in California, and that’s a lot,” he said. “If we look at the U.S. as a whole, it’s the No. 3 destination in the world in terms of the number of restaurants with the three-star label.”

Chef Seth Stowaway puts his

Chef Seth Stowaway puts his “heart, soul and even his nickname (osito means ‘little bear’) into this rustic, lodge-like spot.”

Molly DeCoudreaux

Out of the 18 California restaurants recognized this year for new stars, eight of them are promotions. These were restaurants that were already a part of Michelin’s highly ranked selections and inspectors kept close watch over them throughout the year. The anonymous chief inspector listed Ssal in San Francisco and Localis in Sacramento listed as examples of restaurants getting promoted.

The Michelin Guide is all about consistency, according to Poullennec, who noted that the guide was started in 1900 and hasn’t changed its approach and criteria since then. For more than one century Michelin’s inspectors have followed the same methodology based on five universal criterions: “the quality of the food based on the quality of the products, the master of cooking techniques, the balance of flavors, the personality expressed on the plate, and lastly the consistency.”

Localis chef-owner Christopher Barnum-Dann

Localis chef-owner Christopher Barnum-Dann “brings unusual warmth to this intimate setting” in Sacramento. This is Localis first Michelin star recognition.


Below is the list of San Francisco restaurants that took home the esteemed Michelin recognition with comments from the secret inspectors. For a full list of all 89 Michelin-starred establishments in California visit here

San Francisco, Japanese/Contemporary cuisine

“‘Nisei’ refers to the American-born children of Japanese immigrants, which Chef David Yoshimura is; and the synthesis of that heritage forms the basis of this cuisine. The kitchen employs both boldness and subtlety in their cooking, which abounds with personality and technical finesse. The tasting menu is equal parts tradition and invention, where a classic matsutake…

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