Not sure what the stars on the California Michelin Guide mean? We broke it down for you

Autumn Payne

The annual Michelin Guide was released for California’s 2022 selection on Monday night, highlighting the top restaurants in the state ”offering outstanding cooking.”

This year, the travel guide recognizes 599 California restaurants. Of those, 89 are given the coveted award: a star. Only seven of these restaurants received three stars, 12 two stars and 70 one star. There were 18 new additions to the star list in 2022. An additional 141 were recognized as Bib Gourmands for their “good food at a moderate price.”

There is no limit on the number of stars that are awarded annually.

Michelin also recommends an additional 369 restaurants across the state.

Restaurants are critiqued by a collective of anonymous Michelin inspectors who dine at a restaurant until they meet a consensus to award an establishment a star or not, according to the Michelin website.

Inspectors consider the following criteria: quality of products; mastery of flavor and cooking technique; the personality of the chef represented in the dining experience; harmony of flavors; consistency between inspectors’ visits.

A restaurant’s reputation in the culinary world can drastically change after receiving a star — or three. Here is a break down of what each star means and additional symbols you might see on this year’s Michelin guide:

One-star Michelin award

Single stars are awarded to restaurants with high quality cooking.

It must have used “top quality ingredients” and dishes are “consistently prepared to a high standard.” The Michelin Guide considers one-star restaurants to be worth a stop if you’re in the surrounding area.

Two-star Michelin award

Excellent cooking is worthy of two stars.

Restaurants are recognized for uniquely showcasing the evident talent of the chef through carefully crafted and flavorful dishes. Overall, the food is “refined and inspired” which, according to the Michelin Guide, is worth a detour.

Three-star Michelin award

Exceptional cuisine is awarded three stars.

The highest recognition from the Michelin Guide is a very prestigious award only given to few restaurants. The title is awarded to restaurants that showcase “superlative cooking of chefs at the peak of their profession” and exemplify elevated artistic cooking skills.

A restaurant of this caliber is worth a special journey, according to the Michelin guide.

Bib Gourmands

Although not a star, the a bib gourmand logo is awarded to restaurants with great food for a great value. The rating is still a recognition that “ highlights simple yet skillful cooking at an affordable price.”

Green star Michelin award

After being introduced in the Michelin Guide France in 2020, the green star is now awarded to restaurants in every country. The green shamrock logo is an indication of restaurants leading the way in “sustainable gastronomy.”

Michelin recommended restaurants

Michelin-approved restaurants can be found on its official website. Though the recommended restaurants are not ranked by any specific logo and do not receive stars, they are still notable places to dine, according to the Michelin Guide. You can search the selection of suggested restaurants by city, cuisine and price on its website.

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