Last week, chefs and restaurateurs from Miami, Tampa, and Orlando gathered at LoanDepot Park for the 2023 Michelin star revelation ceremony.
The evening, hosted by actress Nia Renee Hill and Miami's own Gio Gutierrez, had a few snafus along the way. During the ceremony, the live feed went out, causing the culinary equivalent of a rain delay of about 20 minutes. The event also ran out of white wine and champagne 30 minutes in — although the bourbon was free-flowing.
Those little incidents couldn't dampen the spirits of the industry professionals who were there to fete and be feted by Michelin.
Four new restaurants in Florida earned a shiny new star, including three in Tampa: Koya, an intimate eight-seat Japanese restaurant; Lilac, a contemporary restaurant at the Tampa Edition hotel; and Rocca, an Italian restaurant from chef Bryce Bonsack. Miami Beach's Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt also earned a star for its tasting menu that blends French and Asian flavors. The Tambourine Room offers three- and six-course tasting menus with seasonal dishes that cost $140 and $215 per person, respectively.
All of last year's Miami one-star winners retained their star.
Once again, the only restaurant to earn two Michelin stars was Design District stunner L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. So far, Florida has not received a three-star distinction — an honor reserved for only 13 restaurants in the United States.
If there were any upsets in the star categories, it was the omission of two venerable restaurants: Miami's Naoe and Orlando's Victoria & Albert's.
Naoe, chef Kevin Cory's Brickell Key restaurant earned a rare Forbes Five-Star Travel Guide rating and AAA Five-Diamond award (there are only 64 restaurants in the U.S. with that distinction) for his omakase restaurant that offers two seatings nightly for only five guests each.
Victoria & Albert's, the formal dining restaurant at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is lauded for its fine-dining experience. The restaurant, like Naoe, has received the Forbes Five-Star Travel Guide Award and AAA's Five-Diamond Award (and has achieved the honor annually for the past two decades), so it's surprising that this destination restaurant, located in the heart of Disney, didn't receive a star.
The other upset of the night was in the Bib Gourmand category, with three Miami restaurants (Itame, Krüs Kitchen, and Red Rooster Overtown) losing their Bibs, though they are all still listed in the Guide as "Plates." One can only speculate exactly what the inspectors' determining factors were, but Red Rooster Overtown has recently undergone a few chef changes, and Itame's Val Chang recently opened her own Midtown Miami restaurant, Maty's. The menu at Krüs Kitchen also seems pricy for a Bib Gourmand designation, with the average entrée listed on its website priced at about $28.
There's always room for these three fine restaurants to regain their Bib Gourmands or rise to the level of a star next year.
For a complete list of restaurants in the 2023 Florida Michelin Guide and each restaurant's notes, visit guide.michelin.com.