Food & Drink

The 11 Best Value Michelin-Starred Restaurants in San Francisco

Published On 05/11/2015 Published On 05/11/2015
Ame Restaurant
Flickr/toddmundt
Spruce
Acquerello
Courtesy of Benu
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1. Ame 689 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Soma)

Aside from being BFFs with Hootie, blowfish are also responsible for an extremely deadly neurotoxin that causes numbness of the lips, lightheadedness, and intoxication. So, of course, Ame in the St. Regis decided, "Hey, why not make a drink with this?" Seafood, in all its myriad forms of fins, is what's on the menu. Complemented by an extensive offering of limited edition sakes and a raw bar, Ame leaves your zen balanced.

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2. Aziza 5800 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121 (The Richmond)

Michelin star food at only-kind-of-expensive prices. Aziza’s reinventions of traditional Moroccan dishes are actually all incredibly affordable, so if you want to go crazy at a Michelin-starred restaurant, this is where you should do it. Starters range in price from $7 (olives) to $22 (duck confit basteeya), but you can get the couscous entrée for 19 bucks.

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3. Boulevard 1 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Financial District)

Located within walking distance of the Embarcadero and the twinkling Bay Bridge lights, Boulevard is owned by Executive Chef Nancy Oakes and was a recipient of Zagat’s San Francisco Bay Area’s 'Most Popular Restaurant' award. Boulevard is upscale yet relaxed -- a perfect spot to take out-of-town relatives or host a celebration -- with a well-curated wine list and daily cheese selections. There are plenty of options for vegetarians, but the filet mignon and Kurobota pork chop are standouts.

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4. The Campton Place Restaurant, Bistro & Bar 340 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Financial District)

The two Michelin star Campton Place, located in lower Nob Hill for more than two decades, has been reinvigorated with California-Indian cuisine under the helm of Chef Srijith Gopinathan. French classical cooking techniques, seasonal ingredients and flavors from South Asia are integrated into on several different prix fixe menus. Entrees such as Guinea hen with chestnut kitchdi and Mt. Lassen trout with edamame and grapefruit are fantastically presented. The separate Bar and Bistro has its own Cal-Indian menu that features curries and tandoori, as well as a handful of desserts.

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5. Luce 888 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

Luce, located inside SOMA's InterContinental, is fine, fine dining. The Michelin-starred restaurant has all-day à la carte dining, but the tasting menu, available with wine pairings, showcases the best of chef Daniel Corey's handiwork. It changes seasonally but know that there will be foie gras.

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6. Michael Mina 252 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Financial District)

Renowned chef Michael Mina’s Michelin-starred namesake restaurant in the Financial District has an elegant, mirrored candlelit dining room befitting the artfully prepared cuisine. As you'd expect of a place that offers caviar service, this is not a budget bet, but when it comes to special occasions you could do much worse than the trios prix fixe menu, which features an ingredient in a progression of three variations, usually prepared with Japanese and French influences.

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7. SPQR 1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

In the early days, SPQR was A16’s forgotten sibling, but then Matthew Accarrino arrived and conquered the creative Italian narrative with Caesar-like gusto. Now you get a Michelin-starred tour de force of pasta artistry that has ignited a storm of followers nationwide. Bucatini “straw and hay” graces your table, as do pasta species you’ve never encountered made with cacao nib or Meyer lemon. Get the chicken liver pâté and something with pig ear, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the pasta tasting menu (that’s five courses of, you guessed it, pasta).

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8. Spruce 3650 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118 (Presidio Heights)

Not only did Spruce and Chef Mark Sullivan receive a Michelin Star, but WIne & Spirits Director Andrew Green’s wine program received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator — their highest honor. From a charcuterie plate unlike any other and House Made Wild Nettle Spaghetti to Liberty farms Duck Breast and Beignets rolled in vanilla sugar, Spruce is the type of place you come in to and want to Instagram every single dish. And if you aren't in the mood to throw down on a Michelin-level meal, their burger (available in the bar only) happens to be one of SF's best.

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9. State Bird Provisions 1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Fillmore)

State Bird Provisions opened in the Fillmore in 2013, won the James Beard Award for best new restaurant, earned a Michelin star, and has been one of city's hottest spots ever since. After you score a reservation, State Bird will likely be one of your most memorable meals ever thanks to the fact that creative Northern California small plates are served from dim sum carts. The atmosphere is fun, the food is affordable (plates range from $3 to $20), and the dining experience is anything but ordinary.

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10. Acquerello 1722 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (Russian Hill)

For more than two decades, Acquerello has been serving high-end Italian cuisine and wine in a converted Nob Hill chapel. Far from an old-school red sauce joint, the Michelin-starred restaurant is pure posh decadence. There are a few tasting menus available, either a three-course prix fixe or the truffle-heavy seasonal one, and both are well worth the splurge. Just make sure you save room for dessert.

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11. Benu 22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Soma)

A meal at Benu is likely to be one of the best in your life. The SOMA restaurant, located in an alleyway across the street from a strip club, has won three Michelin stars for its Korean and Chinese-influenced tasting menu, which includes an infamous faux-shark fin soup with Dungeness crab and Jinhua ham custard. Trust us, Benu is the splurge-worthy dinner you've been dreaming of.