In a ceremony not lacking in bowing, starry-eyed chefs, restaurateurs and tourist board officials, tire manufacturer Michelin bestowed its somewhat tarnished stars onto the culinarians gathered inside the Ritz-Carlton, several Orlando chefs among them.
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides, said, “This very first selection of the Michelin Guide in Florida highlights glittery Miami, storied Orlando and breathtaking Tampa, offering a unique blend of international cuisine and Florida flavors. Local foodies as well as travelers will enjoy exploring these mesmerizing and rich Florida culinary destinations.”
Not surprisingly, Eurocentric and Japanese-leaning restaurants received the most acclaim, while this city's other celebrated cuisines — Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican — were largely ignored. Also not surprising: Miami's L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon received two Michelin stars, the only restaurant in Florida to achieve that rating.
Four Orlando restaurants received one Michelin star: Capa, Soseki, Kadence, and Knife & Spoon. Seven Orlando restaurants received a Bib Gourmand, the Michelin appellation for "good food at a moderate price": Bombay Street Kitchen, Domu, Papa Llama, the Ravenous Pig, the Strand, Swine and Sons, and Z Asian Vietnamese Kitchen.
Michelin had kind words for the one-star winners. Capa, the swanky steakhouse at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World, "flaunts a decidedly Spanish accent," the inspectors said. Soseki "is an ideal illustration of a contemporary meal expressed by way of an omakase" with "a laser-like focus on local Florida produce."
Michelin inspectors said Kadence serves "food that's free-spirited, yet manages to honor the classic methods" and "will have you yearning for more." And Chef John Tesar's Knife & Spoon at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes "is the picture of plush. Care and skill are the hallmarks of this team, as they turn out contemporary steakhouse fare woven with seafood."
In addition to the stars and Bibs, Michelin added a list of 23 "recommended" Orlando restaurants to their guide: Pizza Bruno, Kabooki Sushi, Se7en Bites, Sticky Rice, Shin Jung, Maxine’s on Shine, Tori Tori, Hawkers, The Polite Pig, Black Rooster Taqueria, The Pinery, Bacán, Selam, Ravello, Citricos, Primo at JW Marriott Grande Lakes Orlando, Sear + Sea at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek, and Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.
Other cities: In all, Miami swept up 11 starred restaurants (L’Atelier's 2-star and 10 other 1-stars) and 19 Bib Gourmands. The Tampa Bay area was robbed, with just three Bibs. Justice for Bern's!
Pore over all the details here on the Michelin press site. A rundown of all the listed Florida restaurants can be found on the Michelin Guide website or Michelin Guide app.
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