For the first time ever, restaurants throughout the entire state of California are covered in the 2019 Michelin Guide California. Big winners include Somni, Providence, n/naka, Urasawa, Vespertineand Sushi Ginza Onodera, which all debuted with two stars. Campton Place, which had been featured in the most recent San Francisco guide released in November, was promoted to two stars as well, while Saison went from three stars to two under new executive chef Laurent Gras. There were no new three star entries.
“The California guide is a nice celebration for the city [Los Angeles] and the state,” says chef Aitor Zabala of Somni. “We are not only in the industry for the accolades, but coming from Europe as a young chef, Michelin is the highest honor. It’s part of our gastronomic culture.” At Somni in the SLS Beverly Hills, Zabala partners with chef José Andrés to create a whimsical, multi-sensory dining experience at a 10-seat chef’s counter directly interacting with the kitchen. “I’ve worked at many Michelin restaurants over the years, as a cook, chef de partie and sous chef, but this is the first time I’m the leader,” he says.