What is a Bib Gourmand restaurant, you ask? Named after Gourmand, the “MICHELIN Man” mascot, it recognizes restaurants where you can get two courses and a glass of wine or a dessert for $49 or less.
“Food lovers can get a taste of cuisines from around the world at a very reasonable price,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides. “The inspector teams were very enthusiastic about this new group of Bib Gourmands — a smorgasbord of international flavors amplified by creative touches and quality California ingredients.”
The full list of Bib Gourmands is available on guide.michelin.com and the MICHELIN Guide mobile app after the MICHELIN Star Revelation event.
Here’s the list of new Bib Gourmands, with excerpts of the inspector notes from each restaurant:
• All Day Baby (Los Angeles; American cuisine)
A tower of softly scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and American cheese arrives under a cloak of strawberry jam stacked between a fluffy cathead biscuit.
• Caboco (Los Angeles; Brazilian cuisine)
Chefs Rodrigo Oliveira and Victor Vasconcellos bring both modern and authentic Brazilian fare to their adopted home of Los Angeles. This airy, industrial-chic space has a well-rounded menu of deeply flavorful and enjoyable dishes. Entrees are designed for sharing.
• Chulita (Venice; Mexican cuisine)
Tacos are served all day at this spot where Oaxacan-style, California-influenced fare rules. Slake your thirst with a tequila or mezcal, then tuck in to a starter, such as the quesadilla de calabaza, made from dark masa, filled with Oaxacan queso and garnished with pipián de calabaza. It’s even better when filled with tender barbacoa.
• Flavors from Afar (Los Angeles; International cuisine)
A kitchen on a mission, Flavors from Afar works with refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants to highlight recipes from their native countries. Eritrean, Lebanese, Navajo, Guatemalan, Haitian — the rotation is constant, and the culinary reach of the effort is vast. This is authentic homestyle cooking in the best of ways, a spotlight on undiscovered talent and a striking reminder of the many flavors the world has to offer. A portion of proceeds benefit the Tiyya Foundation, which supports immigrants and displaced Indigenous communities.
• Good Good Culture Club (San Francisco; Southeast Asian cuisine)
Stroll into this lush, happening spot and your eyes will quickly fall on neon blue letters scrawled above the lively open kitchen: “Did you eat yet?” The correct answer is “no”: an empty stomach will be amply rewarded by the vibrantly flavorful cooking here. Southeast Asian flavors find unique Californian expressions in dishes like a signature adobo-glazed fried chicken wing stuffed with garlic rice, or a Lao-style sausage with tangy pasilla pepper jaew.
• Hilda and Jesse (San Francisco; American cuisine)
Offering what may well be the Bay Area’s most creative and ambitious take on brunch, this disarming passion project from co-owners Kristina Compton and Rachel Sillcocks gets its extra shine from the pair’s extensive fine dining experience — each also contributed a grandparent for the restaurant’s name. The hospitality is cheery and warm, matched by a winsome space that calls to mind a modernist diner, and happily the cuisine is every bit as finely tuned.
• Ipoh Kopitiam (Alhambra; Malaysian cuisine)
Chef Kenji Tang has something of a hit on his hands, and day or night, the line to get in can be as dense as the takeout tickets that pile up on the front counter. Tang fills a void with a fairly succinct menu of well-known Malaysian favorites that stand out in a region known more for its Chinese restaurants.
• Jo’s Modern Thai (Oakland; Thai cuisine)
The menu, designed by Chef Intu-On Kornnawong, displays the bold, balanced flavors typical of Thai cuisine, but isn’t overly concerned with hewing to tradition. That creative, irreverent approach is exemplified in dishes like a signature take on drunken noodles, which features smoky barbecue brisket, or a pork burger seasoned to resemble the complex herbaceous flavors of laab.
• Lalibela (Los Angeles; Ethiopian cuisine)
Chef/owner Tenagne Belachew and her daughters are congenial fixtures in a simply adorned setting that feels like a humble abode. They are content to let the food do the talking and offer a dazzling selection of vibrant Ethiopian classics with vegetables and meat alike arriving on oversized silver platters lined with injera.
• Moo’s Craft Barbecue (Los Angeles; Barbecue)
High school sweethearts Andrew and Michelle Muñoz are living a dream come true. What started out as a backyard hobby smoking meats on weekends has transformed into a full-fledged restaurant in Lincoln Heights. Smoky, salt-and-pepper-crusted brisket and snappy, spicy sausages packed with cheddar and jalapeños pay homage to the barbecue traditions of Austin, Texas.
• peasants FEAST (Solvang; American cuisine)
It may seem impossible to be even more charming than its Solvang surroundings, but peasants FEAST doubles down, and delivers. This daytime-only café from Michael and Sarah Cherney spotlights the seasons on its sandwich-driven menu. There’s nothing ho-hum about what’s between the bread here. Instead, the cooking is all heart and the selections show off a unique creativity (cue the pastrami smoked salmon sandwich).
• Pijja Palace (Los Angeles; Fusion cuisine)
“Indian Sports Bar” is not a phrase you hear often, if at all, so it’s no surprise that this quirky hotspot at the base of a Comfort Inn defies labels. Large flatscreen TVs showing the day’s game hang on every wall, and people do indeed come here to cheer on their team. The food is equally original, riffing on classic bar dishes but elevating them with astute seasoning and careful preparation.
• Pizzeria Bianco (Los Angeles; Pizza)
Those who think Los Angeles can’t compete with New York when it comes to pizza obviously haven’t been to Pizzeria Bianco. There is a reason long lines snake through ROW DTLA and queue up at the takeout window with diners hankering for a taste of Chef Chris Bianco’s pizza.
• Ramen & Tsukemen TAO (Buena Park; Japanese-Ramen cuisine)
This unassuming spot in an easy-to-miss location in an open-air mall belies the wondrous steaming bowls found within. The small dining room with space for 20 is strictly no-frills but it’s of no concern, since you’re here for the soul-stirring comfort food made with passion and dedication. The concise menu features a few appetizers, though ramen clearly steals the show.
• Saffy’s (Los Angeles; Middle Eastern cuisine)
Crackling flames, heat radiating from the coals, the constant kneading and stretching of dough — the visceral nature of Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’ latest restaurant is impossible to ignore. Lamb and pork kebabs cooked on long metal skewers are the main event, but appetizers easily hold their own. There might not be a better, creamier hummus around; this one boosted with smoked paprika, toasty pine nuts and an herby green zhoug.
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