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2011 BEST RESTAURATEUR IN THE U.S.
Michael Mina


Star-chef Michael Mina made his name in San Francisco, a city renowned as a world-class epicurean destination, when he opened his signature restaurant Michael Mina in 2004. His inventive modern American cuisine, often constructed with Japanese ingredients and French technique, is perhaps most famous for his adventurous signature "trio" concepts, presenting foods like foie gras, rabbit or Nantucket scallops three ways.

In less than a decade, the dynamic chef has developed and implemented one successful concept restaurant after another. Mina’s company, Mina Group, owned with his partner Andre Agassi, has opened eighteen superlative restaurants across the country. A meal at a Michael Mina restaurant is more than just exquisite food — it is a complete dining experience that combines culinary presentation, heightened ambiance, refined service and intelligent wine choices.

Restaurant Michael Mina in San Francisco

Mina was born in Cairo, Egypt, and raised in Ellensburg, Washington, where he worked in restaurants as a teenager before decamping to culinary school at the CIA in Hyde Park. He worked at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole in Manhattan, and subsequently followed his dreams to California to cook under George Morrone at the Hotel Bel-Air. Mina went with Morrone to San Francisco to open the upscale seafood restaurant Aqua in 1991, and served there as Executive Chef until 2002 when he won the Best Chef award from the James Beard Foundation. Two years later he burst upon the Bay Area scene as a star in his own right with his eponymous flagship, beginning his culinary empire.

Grand, elegant and visionary concepts are the Mina trademark, from wine bar to steakhouse to luxurious small plates. His deep love affair with seafood continues at Saltwater, Seablue and American Fish.  At Dana Point his Stonehill Tavern is a lavishly rustic seaside "contemporary tavern." Las Vegas hosts his second Michael Mina at the Bellagio — one of Sin City’s top venues — while a chain of steakhouses, Bourbon Steak, spans four cities including Washington and Miami.

We salute Mina who, at 42, has made such immense achievements in the culinary world with a career that is still on the ascent.



The dining room of Jean-Georges restaurant in New York City, one of GAYOT's Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.

RESTAURANT AWARDS 2014

Check out the 2014 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue, which features the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., Rising Chefs and more.

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOODThere's a lot of fish in the sea, but not all should end up on your plate! Learn which kinds of seafood were caught using sustainable practices.