It’s finally Michelin day here in Florida. For the first time, restaurants around the Sunshine State received the prestigious culinary honor of being Michelin-star rated.
The annual guide began as a free booklet in 1900 published by Michelin (yes, of tire fame) to help motorists find the best places to eat and drink throughout Europe. Over the past century, it has grown in prestige and expanded its footprint globally.
The guide is seen by many as the global standard of restaurant reviews with its up to three-star rating system with one-star considered “very good restaurant in its category,” two-star considered “worthy of a detour,” and three-star deemed a “special journey.” There is also the Bib Gourmand status, which is an unstarred category given to high-caliber restaurants that serve a two-course meal for around $50 a person.
Miami restaurants certainly took center stage at the awards, receiving by far the most in the state. The Miami outpost of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon is the only restaurant in Florida to receive two stars. Ten Miami restaurants received one star including the following:
- Ariete, upscale American and Cuban cuisine in Coconut Grove.
- Boia De, an eclectic American restaurant with Italian influences just north of the Design District.
- Cote, a Korean steakhouse in the Miami Design District.
- The Den at Sushi Azabu, omakase in Miami Beach.
- Elcielo Miami, experiential Colombian cuisine
- Hiden, “hidden” omakase restaurant in Wynwood.
- Le Jardinier, vegetable focused restaurant by Joël Robuchon alumni in the Miami Design District.
- Los Felix, Mexican seafood and tacos in Coconut Grove.
- Stubborn Seed, American tasting-menu focused restaurant by a Top Chef winner in South Beach.
- The Surf Club Restaurant, American comfort food from Thomas Keller in Surfside.
Miami also had 19 restaurants receive a Bib Gourmand award including: Bachour, Chug’s Diner, Doya, El Turco, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Hometown Barbecue, Itamae, Krus Kitchen, La Natural, Lung Yai Thai Tapas, Mandolin Aegean Bistro, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Phuc Yea, Red Rooster Overtown, Sanguich de Miami, Tinga y Cafe, Zak the Baker, and Zitz Sum.
This newest Michelin Guide is in partnership with Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism board and marks the fifth destination in the United States for the prestigious restaurant rating system joining guides in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, and the state of California.
In recent years, the guide has partnered with high-profile tourism boards in places like Australia and South Korea to bring the Michelin guide to their areas to increase tourism revenue. The Michelin Guide doesn’t disclose how much it is paid to bring inspectors to those markets — price tags for the state have been reported to be well over seven figures, with Miami-Dade County paying $116,000 a year for the next three years to help offset the cost of producing of the guide — though the company has been candid in the past about its partnerships with those respective boards.
But not all chefs welcome the stars. Over the years, chefs have famously asked to “give back” their stars, citing the increased pressures that the award brings, especially for those who were awarded the much-coveted three-star recognition. Others have pointed out the guide's penchant for selecting primarily Eurocentric and Japanese menus for stars at the expense of other worthy cuisines and cultural institutions like street food.