Michelin Guide recognizes restaurants in San Diego Valle, Kingfisher in ‘sneak peek’ of full list coming December 5

Two New San Diego County Restaurants — Valley in Oceanside and Kingfisher in Golden Hill — are among 37 California restaurants the Michelin Guide recognized on Wednesday as new additions to its 2022 California guide.

The full list of 2022 State Star, Bib Gourmand and Assiette winners will be unveiled next month.

Wednesday’s announcement is intended to whet the public’s appetite for the highly anticipated list of new 2022 winners to be announced in full Dec. 5 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Until 2019, restaurants in San Diego County were not eligible for awards from the elite, secretive rating organization. Since then, 52 local restaurants have joined the California Guide, including four awarded a Michelin star: two-star Addison and one-star Jeune et Jolie, Soichi Sushi and Sushi Tadokoro.

Salt Spring Mussels Escabeche with Coconut, Fennel and Cucumber at Kingfisher Cocktail Bar & Eatery.

(Courtesy of Kimberly Motos)

In a brief description of the modern French-Vietnamese restaurant Kingfisher Cocktail Bar & Eatery – which opened last winter and has topped many “best” lists in the months since – a Michelin inspector wrote: “ A striking central bar provides the perfect perch for thirsty guests to wet their beaks with a terrific assortment of inventive cocktails, which perfectly complement the tantalizing menu of Vietnamese-inspired cuisine.”

And for Valle – which opened in October 2021 and serves a $95 prix fixe menu – the inspector wrote: “The name refers to the Guadalupe Valley of Baja California, Mexico’s premier wine region. , which provides the restaurant’s wine list and serves as inspiration for chef Roberto Alcocer’s refined and modern expression of Mexican cuisine.

Chef Roberto Alcocer inside Valle Restaurant in downtown Oceanside.

Chef Roberto Alcocer hopes Valle, a 155-seat modern Mexican restaurant with tasting menu in downtown Oceanside, will one day earn a Michelin star.

(Restaurant of the Valley)

Alcocer said last year that one of the reasons he moved his family from Baja to Carlsbad to open the 155-seat beachfront restaurant at the Mission Pacific Hotel is the Michelin Guide to California. Restaurants in Mexico — where he owns the 8-year-old Malva Cocina de Baja California in the Guadalupe Valley — won’t be eligible for Michelin recognition until 2023.

“Michelin has been in my head since day one” he told the Union-Tribune last year. “I started my cooking career 20 years ago as an apprentice in a Michelin-starred restaurant in France. If I leave my stability and move to another country, I will play for all the marbles.

Alcocer’s menu in Valle features ingredients and dishes from his native Mexico reinvented through the lens of his long career as a chef in high-end restaurants around the world.

The interior of Kingfisher Cocktail Bar & Eatery in Golden Hill, which opened on January 14, 2022.

The interior of Kingfisher Cocktail Bar & Eatery in Golden Hill, which opened on January 14, 2022.

(Kimberley Motorcycles)

Kingfisher opened on Jan. 14 in quiet Golden Hill, south San Diego, and quickly became its main attraction. It’s the passion project of sisters Ky Phan and Kim Phan and Kim’s husband, Quan Le, who started the Crab Hut catering company together 15 years ago. Although they had a lot of success with American-style seafood restaurants, they wanted to open a more elegant venue that reflected their Vietnamese heritage.

Kingfisher’s executive chef is Jon Bautista, a longtime Filipino-born San Diego chef who previously served as executive chef under chef-owner Trey Foshee at George’s at the Cove restaurants in La Jolla from 2013 to 2019. Bautista told the Union-Tribune last February that he crafted the menu by cooking side-by-side with the owners’ parents to learn traditional Vietnamese recipes.

“What I’m cooking now is me,” Bautista said. “I have a classical education, so it’s French. Vietnamese cuisine is full of herbs, seafood and freshness, and my cooking style is very light and clean.

Jon Bautista, Executive Chef at Kingfisher Cocktail Bar & Eatery

Jon Bautista, Executive Chef at Kingfisher Cocktail Bar & Eatery

(Jon Bautista)

Kingfisher’s herbaceous food is eye-catching, but the restaurant’s 23-seat bar is what most people — including the Michelin inspector — talk about after entering. Designed by Ocio Design Group, the bar’s ceiling light has been dubbed the “Super Bloom.”

“It’s really overwhelming, like a big wave crashing down on you or a big hug,” said David Tye, Managing Director and Bar Manager of Kingfisher.

While only two of the 37 restaurants announced Wednesday in Michelin’s “sneak peek” are in San Diego County, that doesn’t mean the city will be overlooked in the 2022 announcements next month. Michelin inspectors have made up for lost time in recent years, and several restaurateurs and local chefs said they were certain to have spotted undercover inspectors in their dining rooms over the past six months.

The Michelin Guide did not disclose which of the three Kingfisher and Valle award tiers will receive next month. The Plate is the designation for restaurants that serve “very good food”. Plate honors mark a restaurant’s entry into the Michelin system, but such restaurants can be elevated to other award levels at any time.

The Michelin Bib Gourmand award recognizes restaurants that serve “good food at reasonable prices”. The coveted Michelin star rewards restaurants that achieve the highest standards of excellence. These top-of-the-range restaurants can win one to three stars according to the five criteria of taste, technique, distinction of the chef and his cuisine, value for money and regularity.

For the complete list of the 37 additions to the Guide, visit michelinmedia.com/c0/michelin-guide-california-37-additions.

Comments are closed.