2013 Update: The Wine Country’s Best Values In Fine Dining

Ranking Of The Wine Country’s 11 Michelin Star Restaurants By Zagat Scores

(Click here for a more complete listing of the Wine Country’s top-rated restaurants.)

Best-Values-In-Fine-Dining-2013At the end of 2012, we looked once again at two leading sets of restaurant ratings and developed some basic conclusions about which highly-rated restaurants offer consumers the greatest values for 2013.

We started our review with the Michelin Guide and found that 11 Wine Country restaurants earned Michelin stars for 2013. The list reflects major changes from 2012, when 16 restaurants won Michelin stars. The Wine Country’s sole two-star restaurant, Cyrus, closed. And four restaurants awarded single stars for 2012 did not make the 2013 list. The 11 Wine Country restaurants awarded Michelin stars for 2013 are listed below in star order.

French Laundry, TheYountville3
Meadowood, The RestaurantSt. Helena3
Auberge du SoleilRutherford1
Farmhouse Inn & RestaurantForestville1
La ToqueNapa1
Madrona ManorHealdsburg1
Redd RestaurantYountville1
Solbar at Solage ResortCalistoga1
TerraSt. Helena1
Terrapin CreekBodega Bay1

Next we checked the Zagat Guide ratings for these Michelin-rated restaurants. We used Michelin in conjunction with Zagat because Michelin ratings reflect the opinions of professional restaurant reviewers while Zagat ratings reflect the opinions of hundreds of consumers. In effect, to form our conclusions as to the “best values” in Wine Country dining, we relied on Michelin’s experts pick the top restaurants and on Zagat’s consumer ratings to gauge the value offered by these same restaurants.

Of course, what constitutes “value” is open to debate. Zagat rates restaurants according to four measures: food, décor (which we take to be short for ambiance), service and cost (the estimated cost of one dinner with drink and tip). Zagat scores for food, décor and service are measures of customer satisfaction while scores for cost are measures of what consumers paid for the satisfaction they received. Dividing satisfaction by cost and comparing the result across restaurants gives a relative indication of value.

Further complicating the picture is how important are each of Zagat’s measures of satisfaction. Are satisfaction with food, décor, and service equally important? We think not. For our analysis, we weighted food scores as 60% of total satisfaction, and décor and service scores as 20% each.

We divided these weighted satisfaction scores by cost scores to arrive at a single score representing the value each Michelin-rated Wine Country restaurant offers consumers. Then, without regard to how many stars Michelin awarded each restaurant, we ranked the 11 Michelin star restaurants by our own calculation of value.

Ranked from highest to lowest value, our own rankings of the Michelin star restaurants are shown below.

Value Score
Terrapin Creek0.554
Solbar at Solage Resort0.439
Redd Restaurant0.375
Auberge du Soleil0.310
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant0.297
La Toque0.268
Madrona Manor0.257
Meadowood, The Restaurant0.178
French Laundry, The0.095

These 11 restaurants are by no means the only Wine Country restaurants worthy of your consideration. Please see the “Top Restaurants” lists on our website for a more comprehensive compilation of top-rated restaurants.

DISCLAIMERS: (1) Our ranking of the 11 Michelin-rated restaurants by the “value” implied by Zagat ratings is simply another way of looking at these restaurants. Readers should not infer from these ratings that any restaurant on this list is somehow “better” than another. All Michelin-rated restaurants are of exceedingly high quality and worthy of patronage by discriminating consumers. (2) Our weighting of Zagat ratings is somewhat arbitrary. Different weightings might lead to different conclusions. Your own weighting of food vs. décor vs. service may differ from ours. (3) Our ranking of Michelin-rated restaurants by Zagat ratings does not imply endorsement of either Michelin or Zagat ratings. Readers are left to their own opinions regarding the value and use of all restaurant rankings and ratings. (4) The Zagat ratings used in our assessment were current as of December 2012 and may have changed since then.

Click here for a more complete listing of the Wine Country’s top-rated restaurants.