Miami not the most news-making food city in Florida, Michelin Guide stars Tampa
Miami’s restaurant scene is slowing down in latest Michelin Guide while Tampa is the unlikely star in Michelin’s new rankings for Florida.
In recent years, Miami has dominated a lot of the national restaurant conversation. It’s become the city of choice for operators ranging from world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura to the party-starting Tao Hospitality Group.
But today, it isn’t the most news-making food city in Florida. That distinction goes to Tampa.
On May 11 the Michelin Guide announced its second annual star rankings for Florida, focusing on Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Last year, no Tampa restaurants received stars; this year three dining spots in the Gulf Coast city were awarded one (high-quality cooking; worth a stop).
Those restaurants include Koya, an ambitious Japanese counter from Adriana and Eric Fralick, who add unlikely ingredients to staples, such as a wasabi-guacamole-stuffed chutoro handroll and yuzu ice cream with Hokkaido uni. At Rocca the menu is Italian, and there’s a cart for mozzarella that’s hand-pulled tableside (at a cost of $44), and expertly made pastas like tortello all’ uovo with an egg yolk center. Also garnering a star was Lilac, from the notable New York chef John Fraser. It’s located in the Edition hotel, which opened last fall.
“The culinary scene has evolved in Florida, particularly in Tampa,” said the chief inspector for North America who spoke on condition of anonymity, in an email. “We’ve had our eye on Koya and Rocca since last year.”
Only one Miami restaurant got a new star, the Tambourine Room by Tristan Brand, which specializes in French-accented tasting menus that combine unlikely ingredients such as beet, citrus and coffee. Surprisingly, there was no change to the four one-star restaurants in Orlando, though the home of Disney World was the top US travel and tourism destination in 2022, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. Tourism brought in more than $31 billion for the city last year; presumably money that could be spent at dining rooms that go beyond family-friendly fare.
The entire Sunshine State has seen an increase in the number of potential diners — data from the US Census Bureau shows that Florida was the fastest growing state in the country in 2022. It now has 19 starred restaurants, four more than last year. Michelin’s highest-ranked restaurant in Florida is the two-star L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Miami; there are also outposts of the highly elegant French dining room in Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. (Two stars are defined as “excellent cooking; worth a detour.”)
There are no three-star restaurants in Florida.
The guide also highlighted 33 Bib Gourmands, or cheap eats, for the area, up from 29 eateries in 2022. Michelin loosely defines the category as places where you can have two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for about $50.
Among the new Bib Gourmands are Jaguar Sun, a destination for small plates in downtown Miami. The bar team there was also recognized with the Michelin Exceptional Cocktails Award. At the Greek dining spot Psomi in Tampa, another newly minted Bib Gourmand place, Christina Theofiles was awarded Michelin’s Young Chef honor.
Among the Miami spots that didn’t fare so well in this year’s rankings were Itamae, a superb Nikkei spot in the Design District, which lost its Bib Gourmand ranking but didn’t get a star. For the second year in a row, the Miami outpost of Carbone also did not receive a star. In October, Michelin stripped the New York flagship of its star. “We continue to track Carbone’s progression with repeat visits among different inspectors,” said the chief inspector.
The French-based Michelin introduced guides in 1900 and began awarding stars in 1926. The inaugural Florida guide was announced in the fall of 2021 in partnership with Visit Florida. Here are the state’s Michelin-starred restaurants. An asterisk denotes a new entry.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami
MiamiArieteBoia DeCote MiamiThe Den at Sushi Azabu Miami BeachElcieloHidenLos FélixLe JardinierStubborn SeedThe Surf Club Restaurant (Surfside)*Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt
OrlandoCapaKadenceKnife & SpoonSoseki
MiamiBachour (Coral Gables)Chug’s DinerDoyaGhee Indian Kitchen (Kendall)Hometown Barbecue Miami*Jaguar SunLucaliLung Yai Thai TapasMandolin Aegean BistroMichael’s Genuine Food & Drink La NaturalPhuc Yea*Rosie’sSanguich de MiamiTinta y Cafe (Coral Gables)Zak the BakerZitz Sum (Coral Gables)
OrlandoBombay Street KitchenDomu*Isan Zaap*Norigami*Otto’s High DivePapa LlamaThe Ravenous Pig (Winter Park)StrandSwine & Sons (Winter Park)*Taste of ChengduZ Asian
Tampa*Gorkhali KitchenIchicoro Ramen*PsomiRooster & the Till