28 May 19
The Mercury News
Michelin International’s first statewide Bib Gourmand list, announced Tuesday, honored 151 affordable California restaurants — and 86 are first-timers.
Bib Gourmands are the awards given to restaurants that serve “high-quality meals which include two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less,” according to Michelin. (The coveted stars will be announced June 3.)
Want to know more? Here are the judges’ comments:
Aburiya Raku in Hollywood features an open kitchen with a menu that revolves around 30 skewer varieties, as well as hot and cold dishes that tend to be quite interesting.
Adana Restaurant is a Middle Eastern kitchen in Pasadena that offers a parade of food that is well seasoned and cooked with care from snappy dolmehs to juicy kebabs.
Amor y Tacos is a wonderful expression of Mexican-American cuisine with Coca-Cola glazed pork belly and short rib taquitos in Los Angeles.
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Ayara Thai Cuisine delivers a one-two punch of flavor in Los Angeles, where organic eggs and free-range chicken elevate the already impressive dishes.
Badmaash offers great Indian cuisine in downtown Los Angeles, featuring familiar dishes delivered with layers of flavor and creativity.
Baran’s 2239 in Hermosa Beach boasts creative and flavorful small plates and an impressive beer list.
Bowery Bungalow offers impressive Middle Eastern cooking in Los Angeles with portion sizes that allow for value-conscious, family-style dining.
Broken Spanish in downtown Los Angeles provides a concise menu with a clear personality and offers vegetable-based small plates like masa dumplings with potatoes, green garlic and chile pasilla.
Burritos La Palma in San Gabriel Valley delivers a concise menu of burritos made with flour tortillas that have a delightful chew and richness.
Campfire in Carlsbad marries fine dining with the chef’s Mexican heritage. Cooking over fire is a staple with the 12-foot, wood-burning hearth.
Canon in Sacramento delights crowds with the chef’s menu of fun and shareable contemporary plates.
Cassia in Santa Monica offers bold flavors inspired by Vietnamese and Asian fare with clear leanings toward French brasserie fare noted in the house-made charcuterie and breads.
Chengdu Impression serves impressive Sichuan fare. With more than 30 locations in Asia, this Arcadia location is the first U.S. outpost.
Chengdu Taste in Alhambra will tantalize your taste buds with a delectable and ample Sichuan menu with a heavy hand of unmissable Sichuan peppercorns.
Chuan’s packs serious firepower and spice in San Gabriel Valley with dishes like mapo tofu, while chicken and ginger soup channel a more electric spiciness.
Coni’Seafood is a lovely establishment in Inglewood that focuses on the cuisine of Mexico’s Pacific coast with fried and sautéed whole fish and shrimp options.
Cucina Sorella in San Diego embraces every season with pastas including tagliatelle with pistachio pesto, peas, pickled celery, mint and lime, and small plates like the carrot arancini with tarragon-basil aioli.
Cucina Urbana’s menu in San Diego varies from Neapolitan-style pizzas to sophisticated dishes like a ribeye carpaccio with pickled beech mushrooms, shaved parmesan, malted melba toast crumbles, and dots of earthy porcini aioli.
Dai Ho makes the most out of the few hours its doors are open each day. Its Taiwanese beef noodle soup draws in waves of San Gabriel Valley customers.
Dha Rae Oak is a Koreatown stalwart that serves a tasty and unique opportunity to feast with friends. The menu features a whole duck cooked in a clay pot, which should be ordered at least one day in advance.
DongLaiShun serves premium cuts of meat and flavorful, spicy broths, which give this San Gabriel Valley hotpot temple a leg up on its competitors.
El Jardin is a regional contemporary Mexican gem in San Diego’s Liberty Station, with dishes that pop with creativity and flavor.
Eveleigh in Hollywood is great for social gatherings or a romantic tête-à-tête, with standouts like crushed peas and burrata or buttery spaghettini twirled with tender and delicious chunks of Dungeness crab.
The Factory Kitchen in downtown Los Angeles serves lovely Italian cuisine with splendid focaccia di Recco col formaggio.
Father’s Office in Culver City is in the historic Helms Bakery district and offers a delicious acclaimed burger made with dry-aged beef, caramelized onions and bacon compote.
Frank Fat’s is a longtime Chinese-American staple in Sacramento that has been passed down throughout generations. The food sings with flavor, and the space is filled with charm.
Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen has been an Orange County fixture for more than 15 years for a good reason. The hearty panuchos deYucatán are a local favorite.
Garlic & Chives delivers incredibly fresh and vibrant Vietnamese food, which makes this an Orange County standout.
Grand Harbor is a bustling Chinese restaurant in Temple City that offers quality dim sum, including beef rice noodle rolls, abalone dumplings and crystal shrimp dumplings.
Guerilla Tacos serves delightful fare in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles. The variations range from eclectic to elegant and change regularly.
Harborview offers expertly executed Cantonese cuisine with a wide array of pushcart dim sum near the Embarcadero.
Hiro Nori Ramen in Irvine is deliciously concise, serving three types of ramen. Other options include rice bowls that are bound to please.
Holbox puts an emphasis on fresh seafood prepared simply but astutely in downtown Los Angeles. Fried fish tacos and tostadas piled high with local fish and uni showcase clean flavors worthy of recognition.
Il Pastaio is a Beverly Hills flagship of the Drago family empire, serving impressive Italian cuisine. The house-made pasta is a highlight.
Jaffa provides impressive Israeli cuisine in Los Angeles. The signature hummus prepared with sweet potatoes is a must.
Jitlada is a Hollywood favorite that stimulates the palate with bold, zesty flavors. Diners are enticed by the range of curries and more adventurous fare.
Jon & Vinny’s offers Italian-American cooking in an easygoing café set along hip Fairfax. Pasta and pizza are the focus.
Juniper & Ivy is a contemporary San Diego hit, loaded with clever dishes bursting with technique. The menu may change frequently, but the food is always fun and filled with high-quality ingredients.
Katsu-Ya showcases decades of sushi mastery with pristine seafood in this original, simple Studio City setting. The true reason to visit is for the chef’s innovative sushi and creative cocktails.
Kettner Exchange in San Diego serves global small plates, like bigeye tuna ribbons tangled with sliced avocado, radishes, nori chips, chive batons and a Makrut lime-soy marinade.
Kismet provides contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine in Los Feliz. It has an all-day menu, and dinner items include the likes of zesty ground chicken and pine nut pies swaddled in crispy phyllo, garnished with sesame seeds and tahini.
La Calenda in Napa Valley is a casual walk-in-only restaurant that’s full of finesse. The chef’s Oaxacan upbringing shines through in regional Mexican cuisine.
La Cevicheria is a restaurant with heart and focus in Los Angeles. The menu’s myriad ceviche options and cooked fish plates veer into Latin American and Caribbean-style preparations.
Langer’s Deli has been at its downtown Los Angeles address since 1947, and it’s been run by the same family. The menu is massive, with items such as potato pancakes, blintzes and matzo ball soup.
LaoXi Noodle House in Arcadia is inspired by China’s famous Shanxi province. The menu won inspectors over with noodles slicked in chili oil as well as springy “wife special noodles” served with crispy pork.
LOLA 55 in San Diego serves sophisticated tacos made with fresh ingredients. Counter service means queuing up is required, but while in line diners watch tortillas being prepared.
Longo Seafood is a very popular San Gabriel Valley dim sum parlor that offers enticing buns and dumplings worth lining up for.
LSXO is an intimate Huntington Beach-front charmer that serves polished contemporary Vietnamese dishes filled with technique.
Lunasia in San Gabriel Valley crafts some of the more impressive noodle rolls around, translucently thin and filled with the likes of fresh lobster and tender slivers of fish and ginger.
Maccheroni Republic in downtown Los Angeles is an inviting place featuring tightly packed tables loaded with festive dishes like tender Mediterranean octopus with lentils and calf tripe soup with pasta.
Majordomo serves dishes that range from small plates, like sausage-stuffed shishito peppers, to noodle dishes to large shareable fish and meat dishes, like the crispy pork belly ssam.
Manhattan Beach Post provides a menu that is a foray into just about every cuisine, but with Californian touches, such as hamachi & pear crudo or pork chili chimichangas, to Scotch eggs and bacon-cheddar buttermilk biscuits.
Mariscos Jalisco impressed inspectors with the owner’s Jalisco-inspired tacos. These fried shrimp wonders have all the delicacy and crunch of expert tempura.
Meals by Genet is an inviting Los Angeles spot known for skillfully rendered traditional Ethiopian cuisine.
Meizhou Dongpo serves Sichuan-style plates as commanding as its Century City setting. Tender pork hock submerged in chili oil, as well as bowls of fish with fistfuls of ginger and garlic go full-throttle on flavor.
Mercado Los Angeles is a loud and convivial family friendly spot for contemporary Mexican fare. The choriqueso and guacamole dip duo is a great way to settle in.
Mesa Verde is a Santa Barbara café that serves impressive plant-based cuisine and offers good value, making it a highly recommendable, health-focused establishment.
Mian is a small San Gabriel noodle house that channels all the peppercorn tang and tongue-numbing ma la one could hope for in a bowl of Sichuan cold noodles or Ziwei beef noodles.
Mi Lindo Nayarit Mariscos offers many signature dishes at this Los Angeles spot, but the molcajete al gusto and mi lindo nayarit plates are strongly recommended.
Mix Mix Kitchen & Bar delights Orange County diners with its contemporary spin on Filipino fare. Think pork cheeks adobo and tamarind-kissed soups.
Mother serves serious vegetarian fare in Sacramento. The creative offerings are expertly conceived and incredibly craveable.
Okiboru Ramen, near Chinatown, is noted for its house-made noodles and impressive broths. The menu is very focused.
Papilles is a quaint little French spot hidden in plain sight in Hollywood. The strip mall aesthetic is eased by a budget-friendly, three-course, prix fixe dinner menu.
Petit Trois in Hollywood serves comforting French food in big portions packed with flavors authentic enough to delight any Frenchman, or Francophile at heart, with items including escargots with garlic parsley butter, steak au poivre and a heavenly omelet.
Pig in a Pickle provides smoky, juicy, tender barbecue that is delicious thanks to impressive sourcing standards. Quality ingredients are lovingly prepared in Marin to take you on a flavor journey of the South.
Pine & Crane in Los Angeles serves a highly enjoyable take on Asian cuisine with a focus on Taiwanese specialties. The chef’s family is from Taiwan, and the menu is prepared with produce that comes from the family farm.
Pizzana is a Westside Los Angeles pizzeria that prepares pies in the Neapolitan tradition featuring a “slow-dough” crust and locally sourced toppings.
Pizzeria Mozza is Hollywood’s favorite pizzeria. It’s still a hot ticket more than a decade after it opened in 2007.
Preux & Proper serves cuisine that follows the contours of Creole and Cajun fare with creative touches that make it at home in Southern California.
Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen is a tiny stamp of a restaurant in Bell Gardens. The chef’s mole dishes pack in impressive depth and focus, commanding a symphony of flavors worthy of citywide admiration.
Rosaliné is a seafood-focused Peruvian spot in Hollywood that serves meals meant for sharing, including an ample selection of flavorful ceviches and vegetarian dishes married with large plates and numerous starters.
Rossoblu in downtown Los Angeles proudly displays the chef’s Italian lineage at this venue, featuring delightful antipasti and a roster of pasta that will have you wanting to return as soon as possible.
Salazar in Los Angeles is a festive and upbeat spot almost entirely outdoors that focuses on simple, yet delicious, Mexican fare and grilled meats. Hand-made flour tortillas are the base for tacos.
Sama Sama Kitchen is an Asian eatery in Santa Barbara that offers the likes of crispy rice salad and tamarind-glazed free-range Jidori chicken wings crafted from local ingredients.
Sea Harbour is a San Gabriel Valley favorite for hot, fresh, made-to-order dim sum. You can’t go wrong with the Cantonese cuisine here.
Shanghai No. 1 offers a formidably lengthy but quality menu in San Gabriel. Shanghai favorites like braised pork and pan-fried dumplings impress as much as classics like fluffy fried rice kissed by a hot wok.
Sichuan Impression provides spicy, tingly and crave-worthy Sichuan dishes at the original Alhambra location, making this San Gabriel Valley gem a destination that can’t be missed.
Sixth & Mill is led by the team behind The Factory Kitchen and Officine Brera. This Arts District Italian kitchen serves a sublime pizza.
Solare is an inspector favorite for pastas, bread and house-made sausages in San Diego. Produce, fish and meats come from local farms and fishermen.
Son of a Gun is a contemporary seafood spot in Beverly Grove. A tuna melt, smoked mahi dip and raw seafood are the norm, but the fresh vegetarian plates and the fried chicken sandwich are also worth a look.
Sqirl is a tiny, massively popular all-day café in Hollywood that offers toasts, grain bowls and salads. It also has luscious homemade jams for purchase.
Stockhome in Sonoma provides Swedish food as found in Stockholm today; that is, with an intriguing global influence as found in kebabs and Swedish meatballs offered side by side.
Thai Thing in Hollywood serves luscious Thai dishes cooked to order with bright flavors, textures and aromas. For the record, “hot” here is HOT!
Tsubaki in Los Angeles offers a creative mix of traditional Japanese and contemporary dishes as well as a respectable sake selection. The menu is composed of grilled, steamed and fried izakaya fare.
YAFA in Monterey is nothing short of charming. From the father-and-son team manning the front of the house, to the live music, to – of course – platters full of flavorful Mediterranean fare.
Z & Y Bistro is a sibling to San Francisco’s ever-popular Z&Y. This place is a mashup of hits from the former, plus juicy, smoky yakitori in a contemporary wine bar setting.