Michelin’s 2021 guide to California honors 20 East Bay restaurants as exceptional, affordable spots

Only one East Bay restaurant snagged any Michelin stars, but regional Bib Gourmand representation is strong.

Jake Weiss and Oscar Michel of Tacos Oscar, an Oakland restaurant added to Michelin’s 2021 guide to California as a place that serves “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.” Credit: Alix Wall

Michelin, the French restaurant guide company that also makes tires admired by certain Nosh readers, put its dining listings on hold last year, as the pandemic disrupted restaurants around the world. Its first new guide to California since 2019 dropped today, and while it gave generous attention to East Bay venues, only one restaurant in the region was recognized with its highest honor, the Michelin star rating.

As in the 2019 guide, Oakland’s Commis is the only restaurant in the entire East Bay to have a star ranking — it has two stars (out of a possible three) for chef/owner James Syhabout’s $189 per person, eight course tasting menu of (per Michelin) “measured and well-conceived dishes.” (Before you ask, Chez Panisse hasn’t had a Michelin star since 2010.)

However, the East Bay cleaned up in the guide’s Bib Gourmand honors, which the company characterizes as “a just-as-esteemed rating that recognizes friendly establishments that serve exceptionally good food at moderate prices.”Moderate, in this case, is defined as “a three-course meal with starter, main course and dessert” for under $40 per person. Last week, Michelin announced that it had added nine East Bay restaurants to this year’s Bib Gourmand list. 

When added to the guide’s list of restaurants that retained their Bib from last year, that brings the East Bay’s Bib list to a pleasantly round 20, an increase of six from its last outing. You can find the list of all of this year’s Bib Gourmand picks in the East Bay below. On the Michelin website, you can find the statewide list of 2021 Bibs and the company’s full 2021 guide to California restaurants.

Berkeley

Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave. (between University and Addison), Berkeley

Great China, 2190 Bancroft Way (at Oxford), Berkeley

Ippuku, 2130 Center St. (between Oxford and Shattuck), Berkeley

Oakland

Mama, 388 Grand Ave. (near Staten Avenue), Oakland

Millennium, 5912 College Ave. (near Chabot), Oakland

Nyum Bai, 3340 E. 12th St., Ste. 11 (between 33rd and 34th), Oakland

Soba Ichi 2311A Magnolia St. (at 24th St.), Oakland

Tacos Oscar 420 40th St. (at Webster), Oakland

Taqueria El Paisa@.com 4610 International Blvd. (near Bancroft Way), Oakland

Teni East Kitchen 4015 Broadway (at 40th), Oakland

Wood Tavern 6317 College Ave. (between Alcatraz and 63rd), Oakland

FOB Kitchen 5179 Telegraph Ave.  (at 51st), Oakland

Horn Barbecue 2534 Mandela Pkwy. (at 26th Street), Oakland

Beyond

China Village, 1335 Solano Ave. (at Ramona), Albany

Los Carnalitos 30200 Industrial Pkwy. SW, Hayward

New Dumpling 10064 San Pablo Ave. (near Central Avenue), El Cerrito

Range Life 2160 Railroad Ave. (near N. Livermore Avenue), Livermore

Spinning Bones 1205 Park St. (near San Jose Avenue), Alameda

Thai House 254 Rose St. (between Front and Diablo), Danville

Top Hatters Kitchen 855 Macarthur Blvd. (between Fortuna and Diehl), San Leandro

Eve Batey is Berkeleyside's interim Nosh editor. Email: eve@berkeleyside.org.