Like Zagat, AAA Discovers Manresa for the First Time

Manresa can't catch a break with these populist guidebook people.
Manresa can’t catch a break with these populist guidebook people. Photo: Grub Street

So, point of information: Manresa opened nine years ago in Los Gatos. They’ve boasted four stars from the Chronicle and two stars from Michelin for more than half that time, and thus we poked fun at Zagat for allowing the restaurant to debut in the number-four slot for cuisine in their 2011 guide. And today we get the release of AAA’s equally behind-the-times guidebook, which for the first time lists Manresa at their four-diamond level, out of five. Who made the five-diamond grade, you ask?

Zagat fave Gary Danko is the only one in San Francisco proper to notch five diamonds, with the French Laundry and Cyrus also making the top tier. (It should be noted that while Gary Danko enjoys a lot of local and guidebook love with extra-high ratings there, Michelin puts them in the one-star category.) Also, Coi, Benu, and Quince get snubbed here, and the Restaurant at Meadowood gets ignored altogether, despite it having earned three stars from Michelin two years running.

And forget about the East Bay! AAA doesn’t go there, and thus we see no love for Michelin-starred Commis in Oakland, nor for Chez Panisse, though they do bestow four stars on the Blackhawk Grille in Danville.

Anyhow, the picks tend toward the old-school, especially considering the above and the inclusion of Big 4, Boulevard, and Fleur de Lys, but we give them props for catching on to the Saison wave faster than we would have expected. Below, the full local list of five- and four-diamond picks. Do with it what you will.

Five Diamonds

Gary Danko
The French Laundry

Four Diamonds

Alexander’s Steakhouse (Cupertino)
Big 4
Blackhawk Grille (Danville)
Campton Place
Dry Creek Kitchen (Healdsburg)
étoile at Domaine Chandon (Yountville)
Farmhouse (Forestville)
Fifth Floor
Fleur de Lys
Madrona Manor (Healdsburg)
Manresa (Los Gatos)
Michael Mina
Murray Circle (Sausalito)
Navio (Half Moon Bay)
The Plumed Horse (Saratoga)
Quattro Restaurant and Bar (East Palo Alto)
Sante (Sonoma)
Seasons Restaurant
Silks [which, btw, is closing soon]
Village Pub (Woodside)

Also, here’s the national list of five diamond picks (.pdf), should that interest you.

AAA Announces 2012 Five Diamond Restaurants [Grub Street NY]
AAA reveals Five Diamond restaurants for 2012 [USA Today]
Earlier: Zagat Releases Their 2012 Guide, Lineup Looks a Lot Like Last Year’s

Like Zagat, AAA Discovers Manresa for the First Time