(Bloomberg) -- Visitors to Walt Disney World can now add Michelin-starred restaurants to their list of nearby attractions.
On June 9 the 122-year-old guide, which until recently was associated more with dining rooms in Paris, New York, and Singapore than with the Magic Kingdom, announced its first-ever selection of awards for Florida: specifically Miami, the Orlando area, and Tampa.
Michelin handed out stars to 15 restaurants among the regions. The highest award was two stars (excellent cooking; worth a detour), for the fine dining spot L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Miami’s Design District. The guide named 14 one-star spots (high-quality cooking; worth a stop) in Miami and Orlando; there were none in Tampa.
The lack of any three-star restaurants in Florida isn’t that surprising given there’s only one each in the more Michelin-established cities Chicago and Washington—and only 13 total across the US.
Michelin also named 29 Bib Gourmand establishments (good food at a moderate price). On this list you can find Tampa, which has three designated spots, compared with seven in Orlando and 19 in Miami.
Among Florida’s shiny one-star restaurants are Boia De, a singular Miami dining room from Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, where the far-ranging menu includes potato skins with caviar and lamb ribs fra diavolo. Los Félix, also in Miami, highlights Mexican dishes from chef Sebastián Vargas. In Orlando, Kadence scored a Michelin star for its modern take on omakase from Lordfer Lalicon, Jennifer Bañagale, and Mark Berdin. Cote Miami, the Korean steakhouse, won a Michelin star; it already holds one for its New York location.
In fact, Florida’s Michelin list is dominated by places that have stars elsewhere.
Before his death in 2018, famed chef Joël Robuchon amassed 31 of them. Anyone betting on who’d get the highest award in Miami would’ve pointed to a place with his name on it. Likewise, Le Jardinier and Sushi Azabu are outposts of restaurants that already have stars in New York.
“Stars are awarded to the team,” says Gwendal Poullennec, the guide’s international director, in response to the suggestion that Michelin was simply recognizing places it’s seen before. “Ultimately the quality of the experience is a result of teamwork.”
The chief inspector for North America, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of his position, says Florida “is not a series of outposts.” He cited restaurants such as Soseki in Orlando, where owner-chef Michael Collante, a native of Winter Park, Fla., serves an inspired take on omakase.
Moreover, he says, even if they’re brand extensions, they’re judged individually on their own merits.
Carbone in Miami did not appear on Michelin’s list. “It was visited, and we look forward to watching the evolution and returning,” says the chief inspector.
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Michelin announced the Florida guide in November as a partnership with Visit Florida (details of the deal were not disclosed). Stars bring prestige to cities, especially at a time when culinary tourism continues to expand. (Despite the pandemic, global culinary tourism was valued at $696.5 billion in 2021, and it’s projected to grow to almost $1.8 trillion by 2027.) Poullennec says to expect more US guides in the near future. There are currently five: New York, Washington, Chicago, California, and Florida. International guides include 59 destinations across 38 countries.
“When we see the incredible dynamic in Florida, we feel there’s more and more places to be covered by the Michelin guide,” says Poullennec. “As we speak, we have inspectors in the field in many culinary destinations. No doubt that there will be new additions in the years to come.”
A list of Florida Michelin winners follows.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami
MiamiArieteBoia DeCote MiamiThe Den at Sushi Azabu MiamiElcielo MiamiHidenLe JardinierLos FélixStubborn SeedThe Surf Club Restaurant (Surfside)
OrlandoCapaKadenceKnife & SpoonSoseki
MiamiBachour (Coral Gables)Chug’s DinerDOYAEl TurcoGhee Indian Kitchen (Kendall)Hometown Barbecue MiamiItamaeKrus KitchenLa NaturalLucaliLung Yai Thai TapasMandolin Aegean BistroMichael’s GenuinePhuc YeaRed Rooster OvertownSanguich de MiamiTinta y Café (Coral Gables)Zak the BakerZitz Sum (Coral Gables)
OrlandoBombay Street KitchenDomuPapa LlamaThe Ravenous Pig (Winter Park)StrandSwine & Sons (Winter Park)Z Asian
TampaIchicoro RamenRoccaRooster and the Till
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