Manresa (Los Gatos, CA) – Summer Report

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a proper Manresa review and one will have to wait. Here’s a meal I enjoyed a month ago with a few friends and a decent amount of wine; camera, not pen, in hand. The beginning dishes were served on the patio during a beautiful Los Gatos evening and then our party of six adjourned to the dining room for the remaining dishes. The meal was a six hour journey over sixteen courses or so. It is worth nothing that the desserts were equal to the meal – the highest praise is deserved. The progression of the meal continued its flow – the desserts started slightly savory and ended slightly sweet.

Most, but not all, of the dishes are shown below. The next Manresa meal is the Manresa/Noma (yes, that Noma) collaboration dinner in July – pen and camera will be ready.

Kisu and pancetta, perilla

Golden purses

Crispy mussel w/ nasturtium

Carrot “white satin” and foie gras royale

Sea bream, sashimi style, sesame, and olive oil

Horse mackerel with ginger, seaweed, and citrus ice

Mar y muntanya: sunchoke and wood ash, caviar

Spiny lobster with young garlic, basil

Abalone with algae emulsion, oyster tartar

Red tile fish and ramps on the plancha, button ceps

Kobotxas and stewed smoky white beans, ham fat

Wood pigeon baked in salt, asparagus “achillea millefolium”

Roast saddle of lamb with turnips

Carrot pudding cake and pomelo sorbet, pistachio praline

Spring apricot with fig leaf ice cream, noyau milk

Chocolate and coffee creme with cherries

- chuck

  • zwampen

    I´m going to SF and Napa in september, looks like i have to make a visit at Manresa ?


  • chuckeats

    Zwampen, I think Manresa and Ubuntu (Napa) should be your top choices.

  • anthony scelzo

    Hi Chuck
    I will be out west in september and I have already made my Manresa reservation based solely on your praises. We will also be going to Quince and Delfina in San Fran. Do you have any reccomendations for Seattle or Vancouver or Napa.

    Check out L.2o If you come to chicago this year.


  • chuckeats

    anthony (sorry about your previous comment, it’s stuck in moderation limbo) – if you’re doing quince, i’d skip delfina – maybe try incanto instead if you like offal?

    for napa – Ubuntu gets the highest recommendation:

    Meadowood is also a very good choice:

    Seattle/Vancouver – never been – i’ve got some places on my Restaurants to Try page, but maybe others could chime in?

    L2O might actually be in the books for later this year – looks like I’ll have an excuse to make it out there.

  • Misha

    I re-visited Manresa this Sunday and had an even better meal than the first in February. The kobotxas and the wood pigeon were both stunning dishes; especially impressive since meat/fowl was less than stellar the first time. Some of the best dishes of the night. The pasta purse also vastly improved since last time, although I think the bling is rather distracting. Chocolate/cucumber dish really stood out among the dessert courses. I am working over 200 photos down to a more manageable number. Will post a review soon.

    BTW, I stopped by Ame and Aqua last time I was in SF. The geoduck at Ame was dull in comparison to Manresa, but the mains were rather good. They seem to have a decent handle on meat, despite being focused on fish. Desserts were mostly blah..

    Aqua was mostly a miss. Aside from a great escargo/spring garlic soup the mains were kind of botched. Nicely plated, but ingredients were out of sync and flavors felt flat. I have never left so much uneaten high grade tuna on a plate before.

    How Michelin awards two stars to places like Manresa and Aqua is a complete mystery to me. Manresa deserves three stars. I am not certain if Aqua deserves any. I know it was just one lunch, but I expect starred restaurants to put out an equal effort during every service.

  • chuckeats

    Misha, I’m in complete agreement – my Aqua lunch from a few months ago was not really blog-worthy, much less Michelin two-star worthy. The chef has spread himself pretty thin w/ other projects; that may (or may not) have anything to do w/ the quality of our respective lunches.

    I said nothing about the meats but they were stellar. I’d had the pigeon before (and requested it for this meal); but the lamb was just as good. I think the meat quality has made a significant jump over the past year.

  • Paul

    David Kinch’s food looks as beautiful as always and i am pretty sure it tastes good too, P.S i wonder if he will ever do a Manresa cook book because i would love to try some of his recipes at home

  • Aaron

    Chuck, Thanks for sharing the photos. Manresa will by my first stop once I’m back on California soil. I’ve not been since the end of February!

  • Alexander

    Hey Chuck,great review ! If ur heading for Denmark in july why not come over to Sweden aswell?;) maybe try some restaurant in Gothenburg or a great restaurant called PM och Vänner in Växjö. Just some suggestions !

    Take care !

  • Laurent (GoT)

    Have a question/request : i have good friends travelling in early august in San Francisco and they are looking with a good restaurant offering a nice view on the bay…

    Can you provide me some with some advices ? criteria is both bay view and food quality (not too creative food)



    - feel free to use my personal email :o )