Florida’s finest take starring roles
- Four eateries – three in Tampa – earn one MICHELIN Star for first time
- 19 total restaurants in Miami, Orlando and Tampa earn MICHELIN Stars
- Honors also include 33 Bib Gourmand, four special awards
- 144 restaurants, 38 cuisine types make up Florida’s 2023 selection
Four restaurants joined the exclusive group of MICHELIN-Starred eateries in Florida, as the 2023 edition of the MICHELIN Guide Miami, Orlando and Tampa was announced Thursday night at LoanDepot Park.
“We are thrilled that the MICHELIN Guide is recognising the talent and flavours that make Florida unique so travellers from around the world can learn about the culinary experiences they can enjoy in The Sunshine State,” said Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO.
In all, the anonymous MICHELIN Guide inspectors awarded Stars to 19 restaurants, with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami remaining atop that list with two MICHELIN Stars. The 2023 selection comprises 144 restaurants and 38 types of cuisine, which customers will enjoy discovering.
“Florida has three distinct culinary hotspots that make the state a premier destination for gourmet-travelers, who can experience a wealth of flavors and creative cooking styles,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides. “We are especially happy to announce three one-MICHELIN-Star restaurants in Tampa – Koya, Lilac and Rocca – and a new one-Star restaurant in Miami Beach: Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt. Congratulations to these restaurant teams and to all who received Guide distinctions. Your guests are always in for a treat.”
Here are the new MICHELIN-Starred restaurants, with inspector notes from each (inspectors’ comments in full on the MICHELIN Guide website and mobile app):
Koya (Tampa, Japanese cuisine)
Adriana and Eric Fralick keep a watchful eye over the experience at this intimate eight-seat counter, where a multicourse contemporary tasting menu shares a singular interpretation of Japanese cuisine. The dishes are often unexpected yet always thoughtful. Spectacular seafood is a given: staple luxuries like bluefin tuna and uni are flown in weekly from Kagoshima market, where the team has a personal buyer. Instead of the typical parade of nigiri, dishes offer unique combinations of Eastern and Western culinary sensibilities, as in the beet- and vodka-smoked salmon macaroon or a chutoro hand roll with wasabi guacamole. The meal ends memorably with desserts like yuzu ice cream topped with Hokkaido uni and a sprinkling of caviar with lime zest.
Lilac (Tampa, Contemporary cuisine)
Situated in the sleek and oh-so-stylish Edition hotel, this concept from John Fraser is a popular spot with in-demand reservations. The small space has a sexy vibe, albeit not a stitch of lilac in sight. Peruse the contemporary four-course prix-fixe with Mediterranean influences, Florida-focused ingredients and French techniques. A meal might include luxe bites like a Diver scallop infused with rosemary smoke and dramatically served under a cloche to well-execute and flavorful lobster feuillantine. Main dishes include Ora King salmon with a Florida stone crab salad or Colorado lamb chop with tender leeks and house-made lamb sausage. Cocktails and wine are on offer, but Lilac has upped the ante when it comes to tableside service with a champagne cocktail cart. (Yes, please!)
Rocca (Tampa, Italian cuisine)
Chef Bryce Bonsack blends his New York know-how with Italian training to great effect in this of-the-moment eatery. Naturally, there’s an assortment of pastas, skillfully made in house and showcasing classic flavors and scrupulous technique, as in spaghetti al limone, tossed with knobs of blue crab and lemon, shaved garlic and zucchini. Guests gush over mozzarella hand-pulled to order in a tableside cart, but the flavor outshines the show. Perhaps most exciting of all are the displays of originality, as in a vibrant hiramasa carpaccio with green apple, capers and horseradish; and dessert is a delightful bookend to an impressive meal. Basil custard topped with an elegant brunoise of fresh apples and a layer of streusel is spot-on in every way.
Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt (Miami Beach, Contemporary cuisine)
Inside the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort on a rather calm stretch of Collins Avenue, find this ambitious dining bijou helmed by Chef Tristan Brandt and his trusted lieutenant Timo Steubing. The duo delivers a colorful, multicourse tasting grounded in French cuisine with notable Asian inspiration. The results are anything but timid: Expect rich, bold sauces and foams made with the likes of parmesan, lobster and saffron, and ginger turbocharging everything from tomatoes to scallops to wagyu. By contrast, the space itself is fairly spartan, sequestered off to the side of the main hotel bar and defined mostly by oversized oak tables, blue leather chairs and modern light fixtures. Swing for the second seating of the evening for a longer menu.
The MICHELIN Guide inspectors found 33 restaurants worthy of the Bib Gourmand distinction, which recognizes great food at a great value. These are restaurants where one can have two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for about $50. There were 18 in the Miami area, 11 in the Orlando area and four in the Tampa area.
For more information about Florida go to https://www.visitflorida.com/