The Bay Area now shines even brighter in the dining universe.
The much-coveted Michelin stars were bestowed upon restaurants this week, and with the results came new bragging rights:
We are now home to more two-star restaurants than any region in the United States, beating both New York and Chicago for that honor.
It was Quince that put us over the top. Michael and Lindsay Tusk's San Francisco restaurant was elevated from one star to two stars in the 2014 edition of the "Michelin Guide: San Francisco Bay Area and Wine Country," which goes on sale Wednesday.
Retaining their two-star status were all six of last year's honorees: David Kinch's Manresa in Los Gatos; Bruno Chemel's Baumé in Palo Alto; and four San Francisco restaurants: Atelier Crenn, Benu, Coi and Saison.
And the Napa Valley restaurants that occupy the rarefied "three star" air still do. Both Thomas Keller's French Laundry and Christopher Kostow's Restaurant at Meadowood were again awarded Michelin's highest honor, signifying "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." Only about 100 restaurants in the world hold that distinction.
New to the one-star ranks was the ultra-popular State Bird Provisions, another husband-wife success story in San Francisco. Stuart Brioza is the chef, and Nicole Krasinski the pastry chef.
Most Bay Area one-star restaurants retained their status, including All Spice in San Mateo, Chez TJ in Mountain View, Commis in Oakland, Madera in Menlo Park, Plumed Horse in Saratoga, the Village Pub in Woodside, along with 21 San Francisco/Wine Country restaurants.
But four lost their Michelin honors, and one (Masa's) closed, reducing the overall number of honored restaurants to 38. Stripped of their single star were Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino; La Costanera in Montara; Redd in Yountville; and Frances in San Francisco.
Look elsewhere in this section for a list of affordably excellent restaurants that made the list of Michelin's Bib Gourmand awardees.
-- Linda Zavoral, staff