Though the question of whether Californians should really care about Michelin distinctions—particularly following the organization’s original reasoning behind ditching coverage of Los Angeles—remains viable, it should not be dismissed that being recognized on any capacity is an achievement. And four Long Beach restaurants have maintained their “Michelin Plate” statuses for the famed food guide’s 2023 edition for California, while one has garnered a “Bib Gourmand recognition.”
Re-joining the Michelin Plate list, which means the space offers “good cooking” (and just that, with no more criteria offered by the guide:
– Sushi Nikkei, the rightfully lauded Peruvian sushi restaurant in Bixby Knolls that also opened a second location in Belmont Shore, which Michelin described as “blending Peruvian influences and elements with traditional Japanese sushi, the menu is deceptively large and brimming with tempting options. You’ll do well by coming with a group to try it all.”
– Heritage, Chef Philip Pretty and sister Lauren Pretty’s sandwich-shop-now-gone-full-prix-fixe dinner spae on 7th, offering Californian takes on everything from French cuisine to seafood. Michelin described the cooking as one with “a California accent, and seasonal fruit may form a common thread, as in preserved kumquats paired with roasted beet and impeccably cooked dry-aged duck breast, and yet again in the guise of a frozen yogurt, in a summery dessert of charred strawberries and herbaceous yuzu granita.”
– The Attic, one of the city’s most dramatically altered restaurants following owner Steve Massis’s hiring of Chef Cameron Slaugh (and featuring a chef’s dinner that is not to be missed). Michelin describes Slaugh’s plates as “gorgeous and decidedly Southern, but not without a twist or two, as in bubble and squeak or roasted cauliflower with cracked oats. Fried chicken and biscuits are at the heart of the carte, along with gumbo and fried green tomatoes. Peach salad is a delightful way to start, especially if you plan to end over powdered sugar beignets with strawberry compote.”
– The still-flying-under-the-radar Thai space that is Chiang Rai in Central Long Beach, where Michelin said its menu is a “lengthy Thai menu spotlighting Northern specialties and street food, but skip straight to the Chiang Rai Local Food portion and order away. The kitchen caters to the American palate, so if you’re a heat seeker don’t be shy about speaking up. Khao soi, a classic northern Thai curry, is given a twist here with thin slices of raw ribeye over thin egg noodles. Hot soup is then ladled over it to gently cook the tender meat while delivering a depth of flavor for a supremely satisfying meal.”
HiroNori has maintained its “Bib Gourmand” status restaurants with “good cooking at a good value,” with the guide only noting HiroNori’s Irvine location and not specifically its Bixby Knolls location, a recognition it has held for five years running.
Chef Thomas Ortega—who operates Amorcito and Play Amor here in Long Beach—was also recognized for his Amor y Tacos location in Cerritos, which earned a Bib Gourmand recognition.
For the full guide to California by Michelin, click here.