Just this month, Florida received a Michelin Guide for the first time ever, and naturally Miami is the most star studded city of all, with 11 different restaurants receiving stars. It's exciting for Miami to be recognized on an international level like this and local chefs now have a new benchmark and accolade to strive for.
Nearly a dozen Michelin-starred restaurants is still a lot to sift through, and probably too many to fit in on your next trip to the Magic City. I'm narrowing it down to my top four restaurants in case your stomach and wallet can't handle the full roster. Here are my can't-miss Miami Michelin picks:
The only restaurant in the entire state of Florida to receive two Michelin stars, L'Atelier is the vision of the late chef Joël Robuchon, with nine locations around the world. I have dined at the Las Vegas, New York, Shanghai and Hong Kong locations over the years, but Miami is the newest outpost, just opened in 2019 with sister restaurant Le Jardinier next door (which also received a star) by the Bastion Collection hospitality group.
This is my favorite spot for fine dining in Miami as a solo diner. Grab a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen and glimpse how each dish is brought to life. Service is attentive, but friendly and fun, and it's easy to make new friends with neighbors. Robuchon classics like beetroot tartare with green mustard sorbet and baby artichokes with frothy turmeric cappuccino are executed to perfection while the culinary team led by chef de cuisine James Friedberg also comes up with seasonal new dishes like delicate poached black bass in mussel and vanilla broth, and a trompe-l'œil carrot cake for spring.
Most of Miami's stars are on the west side of Biscayne Bay but Stubborn Seed is my favorite Michelin-star restaurant on Miami Beach. Chef Jeremy Ford cooks with humility and passion, recognizing the farmers and fishermen who provide him with incredible ingredients for dishes like dayboat swordfish, which he chars and serves in a spicy, smoky broth with charred corn and concasse tomatoes. Perhaps even more important, he recognizes every one of his chefs and front of house staff by full name on the menu.
Most diners opt for the chef's surprise tasting menu, although a la carte options are available as well for a more casual meal or light bite at the bar. Although the tasting menu is a surprise, you can expect around eight courses including favorite hits like cacio e pepe cheesy puffs to begin alongside delicately dressed oysters. Come hungry – portions are generous for a tasting menu.
I've been a fan of Simon Kim and COTE's original Korean Steakhouse in the Flatiron of New York for years now, and was excited to hear they were opening a second location in Miami, like several New York restaurateurs did during the pandemic. Even happier to see that they received a star right off the bat, just 15 months after opening. Naturally, meat is the star of the show here, with various cuts of American black angus, American wagyu and Japanese wagyu available. The Butcher's Feast is popular to try a selection of meat with Korean veggie accompaniments. The savory egg soufflé nearly steals the show, and you'll definitely want to save room for a little soft serve with soy sauce caramel to conclude.
Unlike New York, Miami also serves a lunch menu with lighter options like a black truffle shrimp salad and vegan bibimbop with a medley of mountain vegetables and gochujang vinaigrette. There's even a playful gourmet twist on a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich, a crispy "Shicken" sandwich featuring a breaded patty of thinly pounded chicken and minced sweet shrimp with American cheese and tartar sauce. Have a glass of wine at lunch too; beverage director Victoria James has curated an outstanding wine list and it would be a shame to abstain.
With sister restaurants in Medellín, Bogotá and Washington, D.C., chef Juan Manuel Barrientos Valencia has become a global ambassador for Colombia, sharing the culture, history and traditions of his home country with diners through a whimsical 21 course tasting menu. Begin your journey with a few sweet cocktail shots, and a series of one-bite snacks like choclo sweet corn cakes topped with mascarpone and caviar. Several courses are quite interactive, like stuffing your own crab-shaped crab empanadas and washing your hands in liquid chocolate with a coffee and sugar scrub. Behind the showmanship though, there's some great cooking, with a seafood cazuela and a beautifully plated medley of artichoke and apple as a couple of recent highlights. One of the final sweet bites to end is even inspired by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez's novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude." There are only eight tables here and two seatings each night for the three hour experience, so you'll want to book far in advance.