The search for the next great eatery is part obsession, part hobby for Northern California gourmets, who enjoy a distinct embarrassment of restaurant riches. The annual Michelin list -- the 2014 guide is due out Oct. 22 -- always makes headlines, although those restaurants tend to be as stratospheric in menu creativity and wallet wallop, as their galaxies of stars. They tend to be places you go to celebrate major events and milestones, engagements, not date night.

For most diners, it's actually Michelin's Bib Gourmand list that resonates. These are the restaurants that Michelin's anonymous inspectors enjoy when they're out for a regular night on the town -- eateries where two lovely courses plus a glass of wine or dessert costs $40 or less per person.

The 2014 Bib Gourmand list, released today, includes a record 83 restaurants across Northern California, from the Bay Area to the Wine Country.

The East Bay has 14 restaurants on the list, including Artisan Bistro and Chevalier in Lafayette; Bellanico, Chu, Plum, Ramen Shop and Wood Tavern in Oakland; Comal, Corso, FIVE, Gather, Ippuku and Rivoli in Berkeley; and Thai House in Danville.

The South Bay and Peninsula list includes nine restaurants: Crouching Tiger, Donato Enoteca and Vesta in Redwood City, Evvia in Palo Alto; Fey in Menlo Park; Hachi Ju Hachi in Saratoga; Happy Noodles and Osteria Coppa in San Mateo; and the coastside La Costanera in Montara.