Inside an air-conditioned tent on a recent steamy Florida evening at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, the who’s who of Florida’s culinary scenes in three major cities gathered at an invite-only event to learn which Florida restaurants would be lauded with stars during the state’s first ever Michelin Guide Miami, Orlando, and Tampa selections.
The champagne flowed, the goat cheese macarons and caviar cups were passed around on pretty platters and, all up, 15 restaurants in Miami and Orlando (sorry, Tampa, maybe la prochaine fois) were awarded Michelin stars—all receiving a single star, with the exception of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami, the only restaurant in the state to claim two of the French tire company’s maximum three coveted stars for the quality and consistency of food served.
Among the four Orlando restaurants that received a star was Kadence, which Michelin’s anonymous chef inspector for North America told Islands stood out for its “really interesting and personal take on an omakase menu” featuring stellar quality raw bites and nigiri as well as cooked plates, with items like grilled lion’s mane mushroom and Japanese sea scallop with cauliflower pure and pine nut crumble.
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide, said the range of cuisines at the Florida restaurants that were nominated was impressive. He called the 15 stars handed out (and the additional 29 restaurants earning Bib Gourmand designations from Michelin for “great food at a great value”) a “great beginning” as the state is welcomed into the high-falutin French fold, whose U.S. list had so far only included restaurants in New York, Washington D.C., California, and Illinois.
“(Florida’s culinary) diversity is quite mature in terms of culinary offerings,” Poullennec told us, adding that 35 different cuisines—among them Japanese, Floribbean, French, Italian, and Indian—were represented among the 118 restaurants nominated for the Michelin Guide in Florida.
Perhaps even more exciting than some of the restaurants that were awarded stars were the Bib Gourmand listmakers, including excellent Little Havana Cuban sandwich spot, Sanguich, in Miami, which serves only a handful of ridiculously good sandwiches and batidos (milkshakes), and Orlando’s Bombay Street Kitchen, with flavors as transporting as anything on the Subcontinent.
For a complete roundup of all the Miami, Orlando and Tampa restaurants to earn Michelin stars and Bib Gourmands in 2022, visit Michelin’s official listing. If you’re wondering why only these three cities went under the eye of inspectors for this year’s Florida awards, it reportedly has to do with the roughly $1.5 million spent by tourist boards in those cities to bring Michelin’s restaurant inspectors their way.
And if you’re wanting to try any of the nominated restaurants out for yourself, you might want to get there sooner rather than later, since they’re surely on the verge of getting even more popular now.