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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Local restaurants snag Michelin Bib Gourmand status

Uploaded: Oct 18, 2016
Two Palo Alto restaurants and one in Redwood City again made the Michelin guide's Bib Gourmand list, which honors eateries that serve high-quality food at an affordable price.

Palo Alto French restaurant Zola, Palo Alto Greek mainstay Evvia and Redwood City pizza and small-plates restaurant Vesta made the guide's 2017 list, which was released Tuesday. The designation is granted to restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included).

All three local restaurants were awarded Bib Gourmand status last year, Zola for the first time.

They are among few South Bay restaurants on the 2017 Bib Gourmand list, which highlights 75 restaurants total throughout the Bay Area, including 12 newcomers.

The only other South Bay restaurants on the list this year are the Bywater in Los Gatos and Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell. View the full list here.

Bib Gourmand restaurants are selected by Michelin's anonymous, trained food inspectors.

"Most telling about these selections is the fact that they are very often the same restaurants that the Michelin food inspectors frequent themselves when off the clock," a press release announcing the 2017 list states.

Michelin's sought-after stars will be announced next week, on Oct. 25, with the release of the organization’s 2017 guide. Bib Gourmand restaurants are not eligible to receive stars.

Last year, local restaurants Baumè in Palo Alto, The Village Pub in Woodside and Chez TJ in Mountain View all held onto their stars.

Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Cassie, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Oct 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Way to go Zola! Congratulations!


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks,
on Oct 18, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Way to go, Vesta.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by HUNGRY, a resident of Portola Valley: other,
on Oct 19, 2016 at 7:41 am

OH NO now the prices will go up. They are all great places, however !!


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Oct 19, 2016 at 7:49 am

@HUNGRY:

If their prices haven't gone up already, they likely won't.

They received the same award last year, some of them for multiple years in a row.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Apple, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

Bib Gourmand adjusts for local economic costs. If prices go up due to rising market rent and labor, then that $40 threshold will rise as well.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown,
on Oct 24, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Is anyone else shocked that $40/person counts as a budget meal? That's $160 for a family of 4 and the article says that the Michelin employees frequent these restaurants? We might eat like that once every other year.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Lance Michaels, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Oct 25, 2016 at 9:46 am

@Parent
An example of the prices at the maximum would be appetizer $10, Main $20, Wine $10. While that is not Olive Garden pricing, it is good for fine diding. By way of reference to what Michelin usually covers, the starred restaurant in Palo Alto charges about ten times that for dinner.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown,
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:25 am

@Lance Michaels - you say a Michelin starred restaurant in Palo Alto costs 10 times as much as these $40 budget restaurants, so $400 per person for dinner? I think this town really is becoming too gentrified for us. We have never in our lives paid that much for a dinner and don't expect we ever will.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

@parent:

The Bib Gourmand restaurants aren't consider a "budget meal." They are consider fine dining locations at "affordable prices."

They aren't intended to represent the same price point as the Chevy's, Olive Gardens, Hobie's, a taqueria, Round Table Pizza, etc.

Maybe Lance Michaels is exaggerating a bit, but for sure, I'd expect a Michelin-starred restaurant to start around $120 per person. Even just one Michelin star is still considered exceptional fine dining.

Heck, your typical decent sushi bar around here starts around $60 per person with one alcoholic beverage.

For sure, a vibrant local economy, career advancement opportunities, and great education has brought affluence to places like Palo Alto and neighboring towns. You can't have all of that and not have some gentrification. That's sheer denial of basic economic forces in a free market economy.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Reality check, a resident of Mountain View,
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:23 pm

I just re-read this report and I think "parent" has misunderstood what it's describing.

The point of the Michelin Guide is to highlight a few hundred restaurants in the region (a few percent of the total) standing out for quality way above the average.

Among those few hundred, a small minority are flagged "Bib Gourmand" because Michelin's inspectors considered them good values for what they delivered. Many are still "special-occasion" restaurants. (The word "budget" appeared nowhere in the article, it was "parent's" own assumption.) I'd complain sooner about all the other restaurants that charge $40 and *don't* deliver a memorable experience for it.

Yes, there's one (1) restaurant in Palo Alto that may routinely cost $400 or so per person. It's an exotic avant-garde high-end place, not for all tastes among even people who could easily afford it. It's an extreme example of a special-occasion restaurant. None of this says anything about average local restaurant prices or "gentrification" -- just about the wide range of choices. The more choices, the better! If you've no interest in restaurants at a certain price, don't go there -- problem solved.



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