Michelin Guide just announced its 2021 Plate honorees. What that means for five San Diego restaurants

A crudo dish at Callie restaurant in San Diego
A crudo dish at newly opened Callie restaurant in San Diego’s East Village. It is one of five local restaurants that received Michelin Plate honors on Sept. 15.
(Lucianna McIntosh )

The five establishments — Animae, Callie, Fort Oak, Little Frenchie and Menya Ultra — are among the restaurants serving ‘very good food’ and now eligible for higher honors


Five popular San Diego restaurants — Animae, Callie, Fort Oak, Little Frenchie and Menya Ultra — were honored today by the Michelin Guide with 2021 Michelin Plate awards.

The Plate is the designation for restaurants that serve “very good food.” Plate honors mark a restaurant’s entry to the Michelin system, but these restaurants can be elevated at any time to other award tiers, such as the Michelin Bib Gourmand, which honors restaurants that serve “great food at reasonable prices,” and the coveted Michelin Star, which recognizes restaurants that achieve the highest standards of excellence. These top-tier restaurants can earn one to three stars based on the five criteria of flavor, technique, distinctiveness of the chef and their cuisine, value for the money and consistency.

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Michelin introduced its first all-California Guide in 2019. But because of the pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry last year, it did not produce a California guide in 2020. Instead it announced five new Plate honorees in San Diego.

Since 2019, just one San Diego County restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star: Addison in Carmel Valley. In 2019, seven local restaurants earned Bib Gourmand honors (Solare, Cucina Sorella, Lola 55, Kettner Exchange, Juniper & Ivy, Cucina Urbana and Campfire). The combined total of local Michelin Plate honorees from 2019 and 2020 is 29.

Michelin will announce its new 2021 San Diego County Michelin Bib Gourmand honors on Sept. 22 and its new local Michelin Star honorees on Sept. 28.

Here’s a look at the tasting notes from Michelin inspectors for the five new local Plate honorees:

Animae (Downtown)

Animae restaurant has earned Michelin Plate recognition.
(James Tran)

“The Asian fusion plates are on pace with the luxe setting and most dishes are meant to be shared. The coal-fired octopus skewer with shishito peppers, basil aïoli and bacon is a reliable pick, while the rendition of glazed black cod is a total crowd-pleaser.” 969 Pacific Highway, San Diego,

Callie (East Village)

Spot prawns al Ajillo, one of the dishes on the menu at Callie restaurant in East Village.
(Courtesy of Lucianna McIntosh )

“The cuisine takes advantage of the best ingredients Southern California has to offer in highly shareable dishes featuring the bold, sunny flavors of the Mediterranean. Vegetables and seafood steal the show, with spice as a key supporting character.” 1195 Island Ave., San Diego,

Fort Oak (Mission Hills)

Fort Oak restaurant in Mission Hills has earned Michelin Plate recognition.
(Jim Sullivan)

“Chef Brad Wise masters a wood-fired hearth to produce his fresh and uncomplicated preparations, including French-style halibut with squash blossoms or Southern chicken-fried quail with redeye gravy.”1011 Fort Stockton Drive, San Diego,

Little Frenchie (Coronado)

Little Frenchie restaurant in Coronado has earned Michelin Plate recognition.
(Haley hill)

“This quaint space grabs you from the very beginning as you catch sight of the counter displaying a tempting lineup to cheeses, freshly baked baguettes and silver buckets of wine. The menu matches the mood, with its familiar favorites and tried-and-true classics such as Benedicts, crêpes, mussels and more.” 1166 Orange Ave., Coronado,

Menya Ultra (Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa and Hillcrest)

Menu Ultra, with ramen shops in Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa and Hillcrest, has earned Michelin Plate recognition.
(Katsuhiko Sato)

“This Japanese import, first opened in Akita Prefecture, has been a local hit since day one. On the menu, ramen is the main attraction. Diners are faced with few choices; the house broth is a rich, porky tonkotsu enhanced with miso.” 8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., 8131 Mira Mesa Blvd., 690 University Ave., San Diego,

These five restaurants join San Diego County’s previous Michelin Plate honorees. They are: San Diego: Great Maple, Spicy City, Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, Lucha Libre Taco Shop, The Taco Stand, The Fishery, Soichi Sushi, Sushi Tadokoro, Nolita Hall, Herb & Wood, Craft & Commerce, Cloak & Petal, Born & Raised, Los Cuatro Milpas, Ironside Fish & Oyster, Crack Shack, Cowboy Star and Morning Glory; La Jolla: Puesto, Nine-Ten, Marine Room, California Modern, Catania and A.R. Valentien; Rancho Santa Fe: Mille Fleurs; Del Mar: Market Restaurant + Bar; Oceanside: Dija Mara; San Ysidro: Tuétano Taqueria; Chula Vista: Tacos El Gordo.

For more details on San Diego County restaurants that have Michelin honors, visit: