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Quince and State Bird Score New Michelin Stars in Updated 2014 Guide

Quince. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The new Michelin Guide to the Bay Area for 2014 drops today, and at a 'Stars Gala' at the Bentley Reserve last night all the chefs and restaurateurs honored with stars and Bib Gourmand status were feted. Most of them only found out about their renewed (or new) inclusion in the guide yesterday by phone, so it's a source of annual excitement for the local food world.

This year's rankings don't vary widely from last year, as is often the case with Michelin. The inspectors, who operate totally anonymously, like to return multiple times to highly rated restaurants and assure that they are maintaining consistency in the food year after year. And though the star ratings are supposed to be about food alone, rarely do restaurants that don't also offer luxe service and atmosphere get more than one star -- though the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare in New York has been a recent exception to that rule.

New on the lists this year are Mason Pacific and Rich Table, which each notched a Bib Gourmand honor, indicating that they're both worthy eating destinations where you can get a meal with a glass of wine for $40 or less, but which are not quite up to star level yet. (See the full Bib Gourmand list here.)

The most notable changes to the star ratings are the promotion of Quince from one to two stars, where it joins Atelier Crenn, Baume, Benu, Coi, Manresa, and Saison at the two-star level; and the addition of State Bird Provisions, which wins itself a Michelin star after tons of national accolades, including the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. We'd argue that Rich Table should have garnered a star this year as well (they were also shortlisted for the James Beard award), but there's always next year.

There was not good news, however, for FrancesRedd in Yountville, La Costanera in Montara, and Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino, which all lost their stars this year. No reasons are generally given when restaurants are stripped of stars, but the Michelin inspectors tend to stand by their decisions saying that some element or quality that they had observed in previous years at a restaurant is now missing. Chez Panisse was famously stripped of its single star in the 2011 guide, and has yet to earn it back.

Below, the full list of starred restaurants. The Michelin Guide is available online and in stores today.

3 stars:
The French Laundry, Yountville
The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena

2 stars:
Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Baume, Palo Alto
Benu, San Francisco
Coi, San Francisco
Manresa, Los Gatos
Quince, San Francisco*
Saison, San Francisco

1 star:
Acquerello, San Francisco
All Spice, San Mateo
Ame, San Francisco
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
Aziza, San Francisco
Bouchon, Yountville
Boulevard, San Francisco
Campton Place, San Francisco
Chez TJ, Mountain View
Commis, Oakland
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Forestville
Gary Danko, San Francisco
Keiko a Nob Hill, San Francisco
La Folie, San Francisco
La Toque, Napa
Luce, San Francisco
Madera, Menlo Park
Madrona Manor, Healdsburg
Michael Mina, San Francisco
Plumed Horse, Saratoga
Solbar, Calistoga
Sons & Daughters, San Francisco
SPQR, San Francisco
Spruce, San Francisco
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco*
Terra, St. Helena
Terrapin Creek, Bodega Bay
The Village Pub, Woodside
Wakuriya, San Mateo


* New to the list or newly promoted