Travelers looking for a culinary adventure in Miami have witnessed the city’s vibrant and diverse restaurant scene’s upward trajectory for some time now. This June, Miami joined the ranks of major culinary destinations worldwide, with 11 restaurants receiving coveted stars from the internationally respected and revered Michelin guide.
Ten restaurants were rewarded one star (very good cooking in its category) and one, L’Atelier by Joel Robuchon, received two (excellent cooking, worth a detour). Has Miami become a destination worth traveling to for its restaurants? That depends on what your priorities are, but for those who love planning a trip around dining opportunities, the added allure of the Michelin-starred restaurants just might seal the deal. Many of these restaurants were hard to get a prime-time reservation at before receiving this recognition, and that’s only going to get tougher, so plan accordingly and book your reservations early if you are eager to check out Miami’s Michelins.
The following, in alphabetical order, are the 11 newly minted Miami Michelin restaurants and what to order at each one.
As a restaurant publicist, I’ve worked with or presently work with some of the restaurants in this article. As a longtime cheerleader for Miami’s culinary industry, I am thrilled for all of the recipients of the Michelins –– and those who received recognition in the Bib Gourmand category as well — and all the talented people behind them.
1. Canard A La Press For Two
If there’s one dish that you need to order to understand why the Michelin inspectors selected Ariete to award a star to, it’s the pressed duck. Sit indoors in the stylish dining room or on the breezy patio at this buzzy Coconut Grove restaurant by Cuban-American, born and bred in Miami chef/owner Michael Beltran and order the Canard Presse for 2, a 14-day dry-aged bird. After being presented to you, the duck is whisked away, only to return later for a tableside presentation. The duck breast is then seared and served, while the rest of the duck goes into the press as you watch it become a series of wonderful dishes including duck fricassee pastelitos and calabaza (pumpkin) duck tamal.
2. Pappardelle Alla Lepre
Boia De roughly translates to “Oh My” in Livornese slang, and you will most likely be exclaiming some version of this throughout your entire dining experience here. Co-chefs and owners Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer trained in some of New York and Los Angeles’ most exalted kitchens before heading to Luciana’s hometown of Miami to open their own funky little Italian-influenced spot in a Little Haiti strip mall. Reservations are not easy to come by in the 24-seat restaurant, so reserve in advance if you want to dine here. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but the pasta is near perfect. One that has been on the menu since day one is pappardelle alla lepre, a flavor-filled redolent and rustic dish starring Florida rabbit, tomatoes, and rosemary with pasta.
Pro Tip: If you can’t get a reservation (the tiny restaurant often has a more than 400-person wait list), Boia De opens at 5:30 p.m. and seats walk-ins at the chef and wine bars. These are great places to catch all the action and for those who haven’t planned far enough in advance.
3. The Butcher’s Feast
Replicating the success of his Michelin-starred New York restaurant, restaurateur Simon Kim opened Cote, an upscale Korean steak house in Miami’s tony Design District. In an elegant setting that elevates the concept of Korean barbecue, those ordering meat will dine surrounding a central grill, with the amiable and professional staff overseeing the cooking. To capture the heart of the menu and have an amazing meal without breaking the bank, order the Butcher’s Feast® ($64 per person). Enjoy four selected cuts of Cote’s most notable USDA Prime and American Wagyu beef, complemented by an array of pickled seasonal vegetables and salads, fresh red leaf lettuce with ssamjang, fluffy savory egg soufflé, and two stews with rice followed by soft serve ice cream topped with soy sauce caramel for dessert.
4. Japanese Barracuda, Salmon Roe, Maitake Mushrooms, And Spinach
The Den At Azabu
A secret room located within Azabu, a Japanese restaurant that is amazing in its own right, The Den at Azabu offers a selective and exclusive experience for those interested in omakase (chef’s choice) menus above $200 per person. An experience from start to finish, the multi-course tasting menu is a singular culinary experience for both the palate and the eyes; and the Japanese Barracuda is a stellar standout. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see it on your menu; the chefs are constantly changing up the tasting selection based on the availability and freshness of the fish that is flown in from Japan for this memorable dining experience. The Den at Azabu Miami Beach is open nightly except for Mondays, with two seatings each night accommodating 16 lucky guests at each seating.
5. Lamb Yuca Lavender
Juan Manuel Barrientos’ Miami restaurant opened in 2015, the first U.S. location for the Colombian chef who also has El Cielo restaurants in Bogota and Medellin; and one in Washington DC that also boasts a Michelin star. The menu at this monument to creativity showcases the chefs’ innovative take on Colombian cuisine executed with precision and passion; resulting in an experience that stimulates all of the senses. Overlooking the Miami River in downtown Brickell, the stunning intimate dining room is the backdrop for the experience; a culinary journey that takes diners through the Chef’s interpretation of Colombian cuisine. Towards the end of the imaginative multi-course meal, we encounter the menu’s standout statement — a rack of lamb. Covered in white chocolate, cocoa butter, achiote, dry-aged for ten days, marinated, smoked, then grilled and plated with a smoked yuca puree, vanilla and lavender, Oxalis flowers, lavender leaves, and spinach. This lamb dish is subtle yet flavor-packed, and one of the most coveted dishes at this exceptional restaurant.
6. Grilled Sea Eel
Another high-end Japanese dining experience — this one is reached by walking through a casual taco restaurant in Wynwood’s boisterous arts district into a hidden (get it?) room that accommodates up to eight for an intimate 10-12 course omakase tasting. The dishes on the menu change frequently except for one or two, but one dish to hope for when you dine here with a marvelous flavor profile is the Grilled Sea Eel with Oscietra Caviar. Simply grilled with Japanese sea salt and sake with a generous serving of caviar on top, this dish is a study of simplicity and indulgence.
7. Foie Gras Royale
L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon of Bastion Collection, is the only restaurant in Florida that was awarded two Michelin stars. In this beautifully appointed restaurant, guests enjoy the ultimate culinary and mixology experience, enjoying the modern French menu from Executive Chef James Friedberg which includes iconic signature dishes from the late Joel Robuchon as well as new seasonal dishes. Diners can order a la carte or partake in one of the tasting menus, which start with the spectacular pour commencer (starter) — Foie Gras Royale, with Parmesan foam and essence of Maury “Vielle Vignes”, and know that from bread service to cocktails to dessert, everything they taste will be exceptional.
Pro Tip: Depending on your appetite, budget, and state of mind, try two dishes from the a la carte menu that are standouts and aren’t part of the tasting menu. They make for a great add-on to your feast. Le Burger, mini beef, and foie gras burgers are as adorable as they are delicious or Les Spaghettis with black truffle and Parmesan emulsion are standouts.
8. Ora King Salmon
Le Jardinier Miami
Le Jardinier translates to “the gardener” in French, and the promise of a vegetable-centric meal at this elegant restaurant translates to a menu that’s perfectly suited for sharing a truly upscale dining experience with the vegetarians and pescetarians in your life. Sit in the airy modern interior, or the leafy courtyard, and enjoy dishes and libations from Chef Alain Verzerioli which shine the spotlight on fresh, local vegetables and herbs, often accompanied by sustainable meats, seafood, and poultry. One of my personal favorites is the Ora King Salmon with zucchini croquette and carrot labneh, a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
One of the more recent entries to the Miami dining scene, Los Felix has been part of a Coconut Grove renaissance which has seen several great restaurants come into their own in this neighborhood south of downtown. With a fresh take on historic Mexican cuisine, a strong natural wines list, and nightly DJ sessions, Los Felix is also the most affordable option for those seeking a Michelin experience in Miami. The colorful dining room lends a warm and inviting vibe, and the Tamal, an example of traditional Mesoamerican cuisine in constant transition, is at the heart of the menu. Steamed in a plantain leaf with smoked free-range chickens and served with a sauce made of charred green tomatoes, picadillo criollo, and an oil made of achiote and orange peels, it is perfectly prepared and presented, and at the heart and soul of Los Felix.
10. Pan Roasted Truffle Chicken
Stubborn Seed from chef/partner and Top Chef season 13 winner, Jeremy Ford, has been attracting attention since opening almost five years ago in the South of Fifth neighborhood of South Beach. Guests enjoy watching the chefs at work in the glass-fronted open kitchen as they prepare dishes for either the Chef’s Tasting or a la carte dining. One item that has been on the menu since Stubborn Seed’s opening day and tastes even better than described is the Pan Roasted Truffle Chicken. The truffle chicken is perfectly cooked, served with pomme puree, Brussels sprouts, baby turnips, and natural jus.
Pro Tip: If you can’t snag a reservation for this popular restaurant, try the welcoming bar. You can order dinner there and enjoy some of the libations that the friendly and accommodating bar staff have created to match the heavenly food.
11. True Ribeye Steak
The Surf Club Restaurant
If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to get a reservation at Chef Thomas Keller’s world-renowned three-star Michelin restaurant, The French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley, you may have better luck booking a table at The Surf Club Restaurant in Miami Beach, which was just awarded its first Michelin star. Located in an iconic and historic social club known for its glamorous parties and events of the 50s and 60s. The Surf Club’s menu honors that era with Chef Keller’s modern take on classic Continental cuisine. Sipping a martini while dining on Lobster Thermidor or Crab Louie feels appropriate in this setting, but the dish that I think checks all the boxes is the True Ribeye steak served with shallot confit and parsley. Notable for its simplicity and flavor, the dish is a classic — much like the sleek, but traditional dining room it’s served in.
Fun fact: Thomas Keller is the only chef in the United States with two three-star Michelin restaurants — Yountville’s The French Laundry and Per Se in New York. Keller’s French bistro Bouchon, also in Yountville had a star at one time, and now The Surf Club Restaurant has joined the ranks.
Most of these dining experiences are special occasion splurges, and if you enjoy splashing out on vacation they are well worth the expense. However, the Michelin Guide also notes restaurants that fit in the Bib Gourmand category which translates to good quality, good value restaurants at a more reasonable price point. Bon Appetit!