Southern California has a plethora of Michelin-Star award-winning restaurants led by dedicated, masterful chefs who are passionate about their craft. Sure, L.A. and Las Vegas have their talked-about restaurants and celebrity chefs, but Southern California is certainly a culinarily competitive region worthy of thoroughly exploring. With seven Michelin Star restaurants in the region, gather your crew and prepare to experience impressive, inventive menus.
Addison - California Gastronomy
5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego / @addisonrestaurant
The Michelin Guide boasts the quality of ingredients and the caliber of cooking at this consistent hot spot. Chef William Bradley has been at the helm of the award-winning kitchen for over 15 years. [We sat down with Bradley to discuss his successes and the addition of Addison’s second Michelin star, check out the story here].
“Imagine the likes of sake-cured kampachi with dashi meringue, Kumamoto oysters with pickled green strawberry, or potato rösti with Wagyu tartare. Other enticing entrées, like chawanmushi with sea scallops as well as caramelized cod with battera kombu, exemplify his masterful control over technique, flavors, and textures,” writes the Michelin Guide of Bradley’s curated menu.
Hana re - Japanese, Sushi
2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa / @hana_re_sushi
This intimate sushi counter has a laid-back vibe and a well-loved omakase program. “Begin with an assortment of zensai, tailed by a piece of peak-season fish that's masterfully cut, modestly seasoned and entirely pleasing. Cuttlefish dashi may come next, served in a frosted vessel decked out with house-cured salmon roe and petals of uni,” writes the Michelin Guide.
Jeune et Jolie - French, Contemporary
2659 State Street Suite 102, Carlsbad / @lejeuneetjolie
Known for its French flavors and creative platings, the Michelin Guide writes, “ Starters, like white asparagus in a lemongrass glaze with fluffy sabayon and chive blossoms, are as lovely to look at as they are to eat.”
Knife Pleat - Contemporary, Modern French
3333 S Bristol Street, Costa Mesa / @knifepleat
This tucked-away gem is elegant, chic, and a social hot spot. The Michelin Guide describes chef Tony Esnault’s menu as having “imaginative dishes.”
Soichi - Japanese, Sushi
2121 Adams Avenue, San Diego / @soichisushi
Reservations are highly sought after at this stellar sushi spot and become available a month in advance. It’s known for having two omakase options and a concise a la carte menu featuring beautifully balanced flavors, according to the Michelin Guide.
Sushi Tadokoro - Japanese, Sushi
2244 San Diego Avenue, San Diego / @sushi_tadokoro
This petite sushi counter is located in an unassuming strip mall but its everchanging fish omakase and luxurious flavors swept Michelin Guide critics away, writing: “a mix of sea urchin from California and Hokkaido topped with ikura hits all the right notes; while golden eye snapper with a thin veil of kombu is a salty treasure.”
Taco Maria - Mexican, Contemporary
3313 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa / @tacomaria
This upscale spot impressed Michelin Guide critics with its impressive lunch and dinner menus, but the true star was its prix-fixe menu. “Strips of seared Aspen Ridge skirt steak set in a pool of peanut mole were accompanied by guacamole and pea tendrils for an utterly peerless effort,” writes the Michelin Guide.
Hungry for more? Check out the full list of California restaurants part of the 2022 Michelin Guide.
Photography by: Constantinis / Getty Images