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The Hypothetical Los Angeles Michelin Guide, 2018-2019

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A fictional take on the Red Guide in Los Angeles

Modern plating at Vespertine.
Dish at Vespertine
Anne Fishbein

This is the fourth year of the annual hypothetical Michelin Guide for Los Angeles (here’s last year’s). Reader please take note: this is not a real Michelin guide, so please don’t take it too seriously. However, the listings are based on one editor’s opinion, and it’s based on Michelin-level meals around the world.

Here are a few notes on the new entrants:

  • Vespertine gets the upgrade from a two to a three Michelin star restaurant. It’s still one of the most ambitious restaurants in recent LA history and the food borders on maniacally inventive to the outright twisted (yet still pretty delicious). It’s LA’s future entrant to the World’s 50 Best restaurant list (my prediction) and deserves to be on there, based on the numerous other restaurants I’ve visited on that coveted (and ridiculous) list.
  • Somni is a new two star entrant but could potentially reach three stars if it really pushes. Right now it starts on the list at two but is already in the echelon of most interesting avant-garde restaurants in LA at the moment.
  • The rest of the list doesn’t move around too much. Some unlisted spots include Melisse and Spring, which are either close shortly or are already closed. Others are still good restaurants, but don’t fit the bill for a one star anymore. Spago and Q Sushi are relegated to one star.
  • In terms of new one star restaurants, Majordomo and Bavel are two places that opened this year that deserve to be in that conversation while Bistro Na’s, Kato, Here’s Looking at You, Otium, and Scratch Bar come into the fold. They’re all excellent places with unique perspectives and consistent food.
  • The rumors of the Michelin Guide returning to LA are at a feverish point right now. Given the amount of chatter behind kitchen doors, it seems inevitable that the guide will come back to LA given its dynamic and compelling restaurant scene.

Three stars:

N/Naka

Vespertine (up from two stars)

Two stars:

Dialogue

Maude

Nozawa Bar

Providence

Somni (newly listed)

Sushi Ginza Onodera

Sushi Zo

Trois Mec

Urasawa

One star:

Alimento (newly listed)

Animal

AOC

Bavel (newly listed)

The Bazaar

Bestia

Bistro Na’s (newly listed)

Broken Spanish

Cassia

Felix

Gwen

Here’s Looking at You (newly listed)

Kali

Kato (newly listed)

Kismet

Le Comptoir

Lukshon

Majordomo (newly listed)

Mori Sushi

Osteria Mozza

Orsa & Winston

Otium (newly listed)

République

Rossoblu

Rosaliné

Rustic Canyon

Scratch Bar (newly listed)

Shibumi

Shunji

Sotto (closed since 2019)

Taco Maria

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