The Michelin Guide Dropped The Ball In Their Recognition of Los Angeles

“They really are going to have to eat their words if they want to come back and do it the right way in Los Angeles, and the truth is that they probably won’t.” Poignant commentary from Eater LA Senior Writer Farley Elliott regarding the Michelin Guide’s return to Los Angeles. He made these comments along with other critical insights on the guide in a recent appearance on the Foodbeast podcast, The Katchup, predicting how its renewed recognition of the Los Angeles dining scene would more than likely fall flat in representing the city appropriately.

“If they don’t put a San Gabriel Valley restaurant on there, if they don’t put a taco truck on there and give one of these places that are everyday dining options a star, people like you are just going to continue to laugh it off and rightfully so,” declared Elliott on the podcast. And you know what? Once I heard the results of the starred winners earlier this week, I did laugh, albeit ironically. Because as Farley predicted, the Michelin Guide did come back to Los Angeles and they did drop the ball on representing the city correctly.

Now this is no knock on the restaurants earning their deserved stars and Bib Gourmands, nor is it deflecting the recognition and merit. But the Michelin Guide really had an opportunity to highlight just how unique and diverse Los Angeles’ culinary landscape is these days, yet instead stuck to their antiquated model that favored European fine dining and expensive sushi restaurants. The high price points of the starred winners were — surprise, surprise — the commonality they had between them.

Perhaps it’s simply the Michelin Guide having to adjust and familiarize themselves with the sui generis dining nature of Angelenos. And judging by the disappointment the city’s major food media outlets expressed over the results, they’ll probably get the hint. Hopefully. Because when Angelenos look to dine out, some nights it will look like delicious Spanish fare at Otoño followed by boba in Koreatown then capped off with a late night snack at taco stands like Avenue 26. Other nights it will look like a posh tasting menu at Kato, which then wraps up at beloved taco truck Mariscos Jalisco. It’s L.A., we’re the masters of high-low.

Make no mistake, I’m encouraged that Los Angeles is recognized by an authority such as the Michelin Guide as a legit dining destination. But does it validate the city’s legitimacy as an exciting and bona fide food city? Not one bit. Yet, with the guide’s return comes added revenue and awareness, which I’m hopeful is a step in the right direction towards Thai restaurants, Filipino restaurants, Korean Restaurants and other deserving dining destinations that reflect how Angelenos dine regularly, being awarded appropriately in next year’s Michelin Guide for California.


For a full list of Michelin-starred winners in Los Angeles, they’re as follows:


  • Bistro Na’s
  • CUT
  • Dialogue
  • Hayato
  • Kali
  • Kato
  • Le Comptoir
  • Maude
  • Mori Sushi
  • Nozawa Bar
  • Orsa & Winston
  • Osteria Mozza
  • Q Sushi
  • Rustic Canyon
  • Shibumi
  • Shin Sushi
  • Shunji
  • Trois Mec


  • n/naka
  • Providence
  • Somni
  • Sushi Ginza Onodera
  • Urasawa
  • Vespertine