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The best Mexican restaurant in America is a fancy taqueria that costs $205 a head

The world’s restaurant bible has named a champion of Mexican cuisine.

San Francisco’s Californios has become the first and only Mexican restaurant in North America to receive the illustrious two-star designation from the Michelin Guide, a restaurant rating system that makes or breaks fine-dining spots. Two stars is the second highest accolade.

Michelin revealed its 2018 guide to spots in the Bay Area on Wednesday. The region, which includes San Francisco and wine country, received a total 55 Michelin stars — including seven three-starred restaurants.

Here’s what it’s like to eat at Californios, the best Mexican restaurant in the US.

Californios brings a new restaurant concept to San Francisco's Mission District: 'Mex luxe.'

San Francisco is full of casual taquerias where you can eat a gut-busting Mission-style burrito. But Californios puts a fine-dining spin on the city's most beloved cuisine.

Californios offers a nightly tasting menu of about 16 courses that changes with the seasons.

Dinner costs $A205 a head, plus an additional cost for the beverage pairing.

The restaurant is small and intimate, with only 22 seats. Warm leather banquettes, white tablecloths, grayed-out windows, and intensely coloured art create a private, upscale feel.

Californios

Source: San Francisco Chronicle and Californios

Chef Val Cantu takes familiar Mexican flavours but veers away from traditional combinations. 'I want to create something totally new,' Cantu told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015.

The menu is as much Mexican as it is Californian, according to the Michelin Guide.


'While the feast set forth by Chef Cantu is inspired by Mexican flavours, it is modern Californian at its foundation,' reads a review from Michelin Guide 'inspectors' who dined there.

Here's how Californios does queso fresco, with fresh cheese and Frog Hollow apricots.

Enfrijoladas are corn tortillas prepared in a black bean sauce.

Fish taco, anyone?

Sour cherry jam, buttercream frosting, and sprinkles complete this pink cake dessert.

The name Californios borrows a term for Californians of Mexican descent. 'They were people who left Mexico to find something, and do something special,' Cantu told the Chronicle. 'I thought that was a pretty accurate description of what we're trying to do.'

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