French Laundry tops new Michelin Guide list

The French Laundry has received three stars in the new, second edition of the “Michelin Guide San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country 2008,” it was announced today.

Earning two stars are: Aqua, Chez TJ, Cyrus, Manresa, Meadowood and Michael Mina.

Twenty-seven eateries earned one star.

The restaurants are judged on the basis of five criteria: product quality, preparation and flavors, the cuisine’s personality, value for money and consistency.

The guide’s publishers say the new edition features 445 establishments — some 80 more than last year — a figure that covers 384 restaurants representing 36 types of cuisine and 61 area hotels.

The new results will be the topic of a panel discussion and wine tasting event at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Book Passage in the Ferry Building. Panelists include Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guide, and Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper.com.

This year’s guide again includes the Bib Gourmand category, which indicates Michelin inspectors’ favorites for good value. Some 50 restaurants serving menus featuring two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less were listed in this category.

The book goes on sale Oct. 24.

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