Michelin Guide announces Bay Area 'Bib Gourmand' restaurants for 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We've all heard about the high-end restaurants that receive Michelin-star ratings year after year. But did you know there's a separate category for moderately-priced dining spots that won't break the bank?

The Michelin Guide released its 2018 'Bib Gourmand' list for the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday. Anonymous inspectors choose restaurants that offer notable food at a reasonable price. Publishers define that as a two-course meal, plus dessert or wine, for $40 or less, not including tax or tip.

Being named as a 'Bib Gourmand' establishment is a special type of designation that many in the restaurant business strive to attain.

Coqueta, which is located on San Francisco's Embarcadero, was named to the exclusive list for the fourth consecutive year.

"It is literally an exhausting effort, so when you get this you almost shed a tear," said John Graham-Taylor, Coqueta general manager. "It's an intense experience!"

Restaurant operators say having the right ingredients are crucial when it comes to making a good impression with patrons.

Emily Mitra, president, and co-founder of DOSA was thrilled that her two San Francisco restaurants retained their spots on the list. In fact, this was the 11th consecutive year that the popular Indian eatery was included.

"We're a neighborhood restaurant, but it's always meant a lot to us to have the most diverse community possible visit us," says Mitra.

A total of 67 Bay Area restaurants were recognized, but that's actually down from 74 just a year ago. Notably, a number of establishments that made the Michelin cut for 2018, have actually shut down in the past year, including Bar Tartine in the Mission and Mason Pacific on Nob Hill.

Industry analysts say mid-service concepts, such as the ones included on the 'Bib Gourmand' list can be challenging to operate because the costs are so labor intensive. In fact, more fast-casual restaurants are opening up than ever before.

"They don't have all the labor costs that are associated with staffing a full-service kitchen and a full-service front of the house," says Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Despite the challenges, Bay Area restaurant owners and operators say they remain committed to delivering great experiences for their customers.

"The hard work pays off," says Graham-Taylor. "It is daily vigilance that goes into this."

The Michelin Guide will announce its 'Michelin-starred' Bay Area restaurants next Tuesday.

Click here for a complete list of this year's Bay Area 'Bib Gourmand' winners.
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