The Best Michelin-Starred Meals in SF for Under $30

Get yer grilled sunchokes (and everything tasty) while you can

Michelin meals San Francisco
The young hen is the signature summer dish at Commonwealth
By Diane Rommel / July 25, 2019 9:11 am

Thirty bucks doesn’t usually go that far in San Francisco. But it might go an awful lot further than you think at some of our favorite Michelin-starred restaurants — as long as you spend wisely.

We’re not talking about the chef’s table experience at Atelier Crenn ($450) or your average omakase dinner ($100+). We’re talking about the singular meals across the city that punch above their weight, price-wise (like, say, the $20 Wagyu beef jerky flights at Niku).

Below, five dishes that prove it’s possible to sample from a range of Michelin-recognized menus on a budget.

Look, It’s pretty damn easy to spend $30 on Postmates buffalo wings. Why not get something worth talking about?

Best Michelin Meals San Francisco

Destination: Commonwealth, Mission
Vibe: High-California obsessed with local fruit and veg
How many stars? One
Michelin says: “The cool kids of the Mission flock to this upscale spot, all sleek vibe and warm welcome.”
Get: The steamed halibut with fresh and salted plums, with cauliflower, marigold and green tea butter
Note: In a distinct loss for the neighborhood, Commonwealth is closing for good August 26 after failed rent negotiations; get the grilled sunchokes and “carrots roasted over hay” while you can. 

Best Michelin Meals San Francisco

Destination: State Bird Provisions, Japantown
Vibe: Snacky Californian
How many stars? One
Michelin says: “You may not understand all of what you ordered at first, but prices are reasonable.” 
Get: An arrangement of small plates — maybe including the butcher’s steak with hon shimejis, local nori and black garlic ponzu ($29) if it’s available
Note: The challenge, of course, with State Bird is not finding inexpensive options, but getting a table. Head here

Best Michelin Meals San Francisco

Destination: Village Pub, Woodside
Vibe: Elevated American
How many stars? One
Michelin says: “Open to all — provided they can live up to the style standards set by its fan base of tech tycoons and ladies-who-lunch.”
Get: Bellwether Farms ricotta ravioli al uovo ($29) 
Note: The “pub menu” offers a burger and fries for $22 and is available to everyone, even those sitting in the chi-chi dining room. 

Best Michelin Meals San Francisco

Destination: Al’s Place, Mission
Vibe: High-end veggie-centric
How many stars? One
Michelin says: “Embrace the energy, perhaps with a glass of French wine.”
Get: Steak tartare with pickled kohlrabi ($18)
Note: Al’s Place is so modestly priced that you’ll be able to add on a “snackle” while staying under the $30 limit — try the $8 brine-pickled French fries with smoked apple sauce.

Best Michelin Meals San Francisco

Destination: Kin Khao, Union Square
Vibe: Unassuming but excellent Thai in a decidedly unfancy spot
How many stars? One
Michelin says: “When it comes to delivering authentically layered, fiery Thai flavor with a produce-driven northern California flair, it has no equal.”
Get: The plah pla muek: charred Monterey squid with spicy seafood sauce and peanuts ($19)
Note: Pair it with a bottle of the 2017 County Line rosé?