We’re a week away from the release of the 2012 Michelin Guide for the Bay Area, and like last year, preceding the guidebook release, they’ve unveiled this year’s Bib Gourmand pics — sort of the runner-up to the star list, focusing on less expensive restaurants where you may, theoretically, “eat well for $40 or less.” Richard Vines over at Bloomberg appears to have gotten the leaked list ahead of anyone in S.F., and you can see the full roster below, featuring notable newcomers Bar Bambino, Bar Tartine (which dropped off for 2011 and now returns), Contigo, Boon Eat + Drink in Guerneville (whom we recommended for addition last year), Cotogna, Plum, Ippuku, Namu, and Zero Zero.
Cotogna’s appearance here means they did not earn a star, as Bay Area critics might have expected. And in the Italian realm, this means that neither SPQR nor Flour + Water have been promoted to star territory either — Michelin insists they rank restaurants based on food alone, and not ambiance, but we’ve often wondered about this.
Notably absent here, speaking of the ambiance question, is Mission Chinese Food, which we’d expect to fall in the Bib Gourmand category. Perhaps because of the accolades its received from GQ, Bon Appétit, and elsewhere, the Michelin folks decided to make themselves seem more hip by giving them a full star.
Also absent here is Sons & Daughters, who were on last year’s Bib list, which means they have most certainly earned themselves a star for 2012 — the inspectors have already tweeted their love, so we feel some premature congratulations are already in order for chefs Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty. And curiously Nopa has dropped off too — are they getting promoted as well, or have they been dissed completely?
Stay tuned next week! The ones to watch, we think, are Benu (which should rank two stars in its first guidebook appearance); Michael Mina (which had previously held two stars before their relocation and dropped out of last year’s guide); Saison (which may go from one to two stars); Prospect (will they place this year?); and Chez Panisse (will they earn back the star they so notably lost?).
Below, the 2011 Bib Gourmand list:
Artisan Bistro *
Bar Bambino *
Bar Tartine *
Boon Eat + Drink *
Cook St. Helena
Fish Story *
flour + water
Hachi Ju Hachi
Hot Box Grill *
K & L Bistro
Kabab & Curry’s
Kappou Gomi *
Le Garage *
Osteria Coppa *
Slanted Door (The)
the girl & the fig
Willi’s Wine Bar
Zero Zero *
Michelin Names 77 Good-Value Restaurants in San Francisco Area [Bloomberg]
Earlier: Five Bay Area Restaurants That Should Have a Michelin Star By Now, But Don’t
Michelin 2011 Guide Released: Meadowood Rises to Three Stars, Chez Panisse Dissed