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San Diego's First Michelin Star Restaurant Is...

The Del Mar restaurant earned it years ago, and kept earning it until it arrived


Addison's Chef William Bradley | Photo: Jim Sullivan

And there it is. San Diego has its first Michelin-star restaurant. It’s overdue and it’s a no-brainer. Addison receives one-star Michelin.

Executive chef William Bradley, chef de cuisine Stefani De Palma, wine director Rafael Sanchez, and its 600,000 sommeliers on staff have earned it.

Located in the $400 million Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Addison is a Great Gatsbyan ode to the art of fine dining. It’s edible Louvre. The resort and restaurant seem to curtsy to each guest. Diners are provided with a roster of attendants, each of whose suits are so crisp and clean and cuffed that you have that rare thought, “Should I have ironed this tie?” The lighting is perfect, softening any blows that age or vices may have taken on faces. The decor has a kingly opulence and corresponding gaudiness. Tables are given acres between each other, better to keep state secrets that may be spilled over veloutés.

Chef Bradley is classically trained French, and for 13 years has kept his head down and his process obsessive. He refines and redefines foods for his multi-course tastings. So obsessive that he and De Palma try to ensure each dish is served—in synchronization by multiple servers—at 98.7 degrees. The exact temperature of your mouth. The harmony temperature of food.

If it weren’t a world-class restaurant, it would be a psychological disorder.

Purses are treated as esteemed guests, given their own exquisite furniture. The glassware is so clean it’s almost not there. The wine vault is full of rarefied juice—the sorts of bottles that collectors hold like newborns, frail in their perfection. The sort of wines that have reached K-pop-level stardom, and the winemakers only grant bottles to sommeliers who look them in the eye and show that they understand. Cult stuff, delicious stuff, weird and enlightening stuff. It would not surprise me in the least to meat a groundskeeper who was a certified sommelier. It is a sommelier farm.

It’s not for everyone. It can feel more formal than a baptism. Your Tesla will be parked with the golf carts and other downmarket vehicles.

But I’ve eaten at Michelin star restaurants in New York, Chicago, and Portland. And while all very respectable, they were no Addison. Chef Bradley and team earned this award years ago, and kept earning it.

Here’s the full list of California winners:

Three-Star Michelin

Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Benu, San Francisco
The French Laundry, Napa
Manresa, South Bay
Quince, San Francisco
The Restaurant at Meadowood, Napa
SingleThread, Napa


Two-Star Michelin

Acquerello, San Francisco
Baumé, South Bay
Californios, San Francisco
Campton Place, San Francisco
Coi, San Francisco
Commis, East Bay
Lazy Bear, San Francisco
n/naka, Los Angeles
Providence, Los Angeles
Saison, San Francisco
Somni, Los Angeles
Sushi Ginza Onodera, Los Angeles
Urasawa, Los Angeles
Vespertine, Los Angeles


One-Star Michelin

Addison, San Diego
Al’s Place, San Francisco
Angler, San Francisco
Auberge du Soleil, Napa
Aubergine, Monterey
Bar Crenn, San Francisco
Birdsong, San Francisco
Bistro Na’s, Los Angeles
Bouchon, Napa
Chez TJ, South Bay
Commonwealth, San Francisco
CUT, Los Angeles
Dialogue, Los Angeles
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Sonoma
Gary Danko, San Francisco
Hana Re, Orange County
Harbor House, Wine Country
Hashiri, San Francisco
Hayato, Los Angeles
In Situ, San Francisco
Ju-ni, San Francisco
Kali, Los Angeles
Kato, Los Angeles
Keiko a Nob Hill, San Francisco
Kenzo, Napa
Kinjo, San Francisco
Kin Khao, San Francisco
The Kitchen, Sacramento
La Toque, Napa
La Comptoir, Los Angeles
Lord Stanley, San Francisco
Luce, San Francisco
Madcap, Marin
Madera, Peninsula
Madrona Manor, Wine Country
Maude, Los Angeles
Maum, South Bay
Michael Mina, San Francisco
Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco
Mori Sushi, Los Angeles
Mourad, San Francisco
Nico, San Francisco
Nozawa Bar, Los Angeles
Octavia, San Francisco
Omakase, San Francisco
Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles
Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Plumed Horse, South Bay
The Progress, San Francisco
Protege, South Bay
Q Sushi, Los Angeles
Rasa, Peninsula
Rich Table, San Francisco
Rustic Canyon, Los Angeles
Shibumi, Los Angeles
Shin Sushi, Los Angeles
Shunji, Los Angeles
Sons & Daughters, San Francisco
Sorrel, San Francisco
SPQR, San Francisco
Spruce, San Francisco
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Sushi Yoshizumi, Peninsula
Taco Maria, Orange County
Trois Mec, Los Angeles
The Village Pub, Peninsula
Wako, San Francisco
Wakuriva, Peninsula

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