Bay Area restaurants have more Michelin stars than NYC

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area's Michelin guide restaurant ratings were out on Wednesday and they show that without a doubt this is a good place to find great food. The region now has more three star restaurants than New York City!

Hanging above the spot where delicious desserts are made, the Michelin star in the kitchen at Californios is about to get company.

"We feel humbled and just, like, so honored," said Chef Val Cantu.

He just learned Californios is becoming the only Mexican restaurant anywhere to get two Michelin stars.

"So that's kind of an outstanding recognition of that chef's talent," said Ellen Fort with Eater SF.

She says the Bay Area has a lot of talented chefs.

"With this new guide we are now above New York," she said. "We have more three star restaurants than NYC."

That includes Benu, where Chef Corey Lee had to wait two extra weeks to find out if he was keeping that coveted rating.

"There's no way they could've released that week," he said.

As fire tore through wine country, Michelin decided to delay the announcement.

"It was a wise choice," said Fort. "I mean, people could not possibly be thinking about restaurant rankings while these fires were going on."

Not only that, fire threatened the very farms these ingredients come from.

"We were talking with them throughout the entire experience and trying to offer up our hands and anything we can do to help, and yeah, it's been a scary experience," said Cantu.

But with the fires now almost contained Fort says, "People need to get back up there. People need to tourists need to know that things are still going and support those restaurants."

Just a block away from his three Michelin star kitchen at Benu, Lee is picking up another Michelin star for his new project at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art.

"In Situ is a very unique restaurant," he said. "I actually don't even think of it as a restaurant, it's more like this project that involves food. And it's an extension of the museum itself."

While Benu features his own creations, In Situ is a gallery of dishes by other chefs.

"Dishes from chefs who have Michelin starred restaurants that are served there," said Fort. "So it kind of is fitting that In Situ should have its own star."

But when they're not visiting his restaurants, Lee hopes the new Michelin guide will give tourists a reason to head north.

"And let people know that you can visit Napa again, you can go to Sonoma. I think that's really important," he said.

Click here to see the full 2018 Michelin Guide.
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