The Michelin stars rating systems is not based on customer reviews, but on undercover food experts or inspectors that assign to restaurants one star if it is 'high quality quality cooking', two star when it's excellent cooking 'worth a detour and three star when the restaurant demonstrates exceptional cuisine that is worth 'a special journey.
There are 14, 3-star restaurants in the U.S in 2020. Seven in California, five in New York State, one in Illinois and one in Washington D.C.
Thomas Keller is the only chef on the list to have two restaurants with three stars, The French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York, both serve French cuisine.
Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco is the first and only 3 Michelin starred female chef in the US on the list, and one of a handful in the world. See all the 3 Michelin starred female chefs.
The Michelin Guide to California was cancelled for 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and devastating wildfires which engulfed the Napa Valley region, destroying 3 Michelin starred The Restaurant at Meadowood amongst other wineries and restaurants. Last year, the Bay Area had more three-Michelin-starred restaurants than any other region in the country.
If you want to go beyond USA, find out how many Michelin 3-star restaurants there are in the world.
3-Star Michelin Restaurants USA 2020
Michelin 3-Star Restaurants in California: 7
- The Restaurant at Meadowood (Saint Helena)— This Napa Valley restaurant specializing in sustainable, local California cuisine was destroyed in September 2020 by the Glass Fire.
- The French Laundry (Yountville)—Also in the Napa Valley, this establishment serves French and New American food, with Thomas Keller at the helm.
- Single Thread (Healdsburg)- This farm, inn, and restaurant has Japanese influences and is located in Sonoma County, California.
- Quince (San Francisco)—Founded in 2003 with French-Italian roots, its chef is Michael Tusk.
- Benu (San Francisco)—This restaurant with Korean and Cantonese influences is run by Corey Lee.
- Atelier Crenn (San Francisco)—This project by Dominique Crenn serves French cuisine.
- Manresa (Los Gatos)—Also in the San Francisco Bay Area, this restaurant from David Kinch focuses on farm-to-table California cuisine.
See all Michelin Star Restaurants in California 2019 (2019 was the inaugural edition of the California guide and serves as the first state-wide Guide in the U.S. There was no 2020 edition released due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and devastating wildfires in the state.)
Michelin 3-Star Restaurants in New York: 5
- Masa- A Japanese and sushi restaurant located in Manhattan.
- Per Se- Owned by Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, this Manhattan eatery also specializes in New American and French food.
- Le Bernardin- French restaurant in Manhattan with an emphasis on seafood.
- Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare – This Brooklyn restaurant seats up to 18 people around a counter, and the courses follow a fixed menu.
- Eleven Madison Park – A Manhattan restaurant serving American fare and owned by Daniel Humm.
Michelin 3-Star Restaurants in Washington D.C: 1
- The Inn at Little Washington- This New American restaurant in Virginia has a sharp focus on its diners’ experience.
Michelin 3-Star Restaurants in Chicago: 1
- Alinea—Chef Grant Achatz emphasises molecular gastronomy at this prestigious restaurant.
See the full list of Michelin Star Restaurants in Chicago 2020.
Michelin stars are the most coveted award in the culinary industry and getting three Michelin stars is seen as the highest achievement a chef can make during their career.
Check out this map for a look at all the Michelin Star Restaurants in the USA.
Michelin and USA
Many people argue that the Michelin company should publish more guides in the USA, in 2009 the company stopped publishing the Michelin Guide for Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Despite this, Michelin have been expanding recently with the launch of news guides in Seoul, Bangkok and Taipei.
With Thomas Keller being the godfather of the Michelin stars in the USA, we thought we'd bring you this exclusive video interview in which the chef discusses his pursuit for perfection and his struggles with stepping away from the daily operations of the kitchen, something he's very emotional about.