Cobi’s In Santa Monica Is One of the Restaurants New To Bib Gourmand List
By Dolores Quintana
The Michelin Guide announced the newest restaurants in Los Angeles that have been awarded the Bib Gourmand designation on July 11. Bib Gourmand signifies a restaurant with Michelin quality at a more affordable price than some of the other restaurants celebrated by the vaunted listing. The press release for the announcement noted, “Bib Gourmand restaurants offer a meal of good quality at a good value.”
Gwendal Poullennec, the International Director of the MICHELIN Guides, said, “The inspection team and I are very excited about these ten restaurants joining the wide array of Bib Gourmand restaurants already in the great state of California. Foodies can enjoy fantastic local and international cuisines at an equally fantastic value. There’s so much to discover at these eateries – go explore!”
There are ten new restaurants on this list in California, and four are located in Los Angeles County. One of those restaurants is located in Santa Monica, Cobi’s, one is in Rowland Heights, one is in Downtown Los Angeles, and the final one is Lincoln Heights.
Carnes Asadas Pancho Lopez (Los Angeles; Mexican cuisine)
Humble doesn’t even begin to describe this open-air restaurant, which has no walls and is seemingly built out of corrugated metal. But what comes out of the kitchen is anything but simple. In quiet Lincoln Heights, find a limited menu that excels in tender, stewed meats, and soulful soups. The chef mines the memories of his hometown of Jalisco with carne en su jugo, a superb, meaty soup made from tomatillos, bacon, pinto beans, and beef. Birria en consommé is another warming, brothy hit, packing in more delicacy and nuance than the typical effort.
Cobi’s (Santa Monica; Asian cuisine)
Discover Thai and Malaysian delights along with other influences on this broad Southeast Asian menu. Start with dumplings, satay, or curry puffs, those crispy triangular shells filled with curried split peas and potatoes sided by pickled onion and tamarind ketchup. From there, pick a curry or a wood-grilled main dish, such as grilled prawns in a ginger and yellow bean sauce. Prix fixe options include a smattering of dishes selected by the chef.
Eat Joy Food (Rowland Heights; Taiwanese cuisine)
This Taiwanese favorite lives up to its name. On smooth warehouse floors, the tables are generously spaced, but the menu is like a tome, dense with a wealth of seafood preparations, delicately flavored consommés, and classic rice dishes. Three cups of chicken braised with garlic, ginger, and basil is an obvious order, as is the fantastic salty fish and chicken fried rice, the grains glossy and puffed in a hot wok. Regulars know to ask about dragon whiskers, a seasonal green that rounds out the meal.
Villa’s Tacos (Los Angeles; Mexican cuisine)
Sweet smoke from a roadside taco stand blows across the Highland Park parking lot, but the crowd gathered in front of Chef Victor Villa’s taqueria doesn’t budge. This brick-and-mortar marks a milestone for a chef who first started serving out of his grandmother’s house. The signature queso taco is instantly recognizable, built on a blue corn masa tortilla stacked with refried beans, onion, cilantro, guacamole, cotija cheese, crema, and a melted skirt of Monterey Jack. Variations with asada and chorizo are favorites, with vegan options on offer as well.
The rest of the Bib Gourmand list will be released on July 18. California’s MICHELIN Stars and other awards will be revealed on that day in Oakland. The full list of Bib Gourmand restaurants will be available on guide.michelin.com and the MICHELIN Guide mobile app immediately after the MICHELIN Guide Ceremony next week.