The 2023 edition of the MICHELIN Guide is out — and Tampa is the big winner, with three new one-star restaurants as compared to a measly one in Miami. This brings the grand total of stars in Miami, Orlando and Tampa to 20.
Thirteen of those stars do indeed belong to the Magic City: Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt in Miami Beach earned its first star this year, joining 11 other restaurants that earned their first star last year. Miami’s L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon remains the state’s only two-star spot. Orlando, meanwhile, retains its four one-star tables. This was the second year that Florida restaurants were eligible, and the first year that any Tampa restaurants earned their glittering macaron. But Tampa’s food scene has been on the rise for quite some time. While this year’s James Beard Awards certainly snubbed Tampa chefs, a recent analysis from WalletHub even dubbed Tampa the eighth-best foodie city in the country.
Curious who made the famously secretive Michelin inspectors’ cut? Here are Tampa’s three new one-starred restaurants.
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This intimate eight-seat restaurant serves a tasting menu guided by the Japanese concept of shun (旬) — the peak season of a particular ingredient. The stage-like tasting bar sets the scene for the multicourse contemporary offering of seven to nine dishes the Michelin inspector categorized as “often unexpected yet always thoughtful.” Top-quality otoro features atop the perfect classic nigiri in a nod to tradition, while a contemporary East-meets-West mentality may pave the way for such creative offerings as A5 wagyu and blue prawn shrimp toast on house-made milk bread, Hokkaido scallops cooked in vanilla bean butter and topped with white chocolate beurre blanc, or an activated charcoal macaron filled with smoked salmon, nori and horseradish cream.
This modern Mediterranean restaurant in the Edition hotel offers a four-course prix-fixe built around Floridian ingredients and French technique, for dishes like soft shell crab risotto with remoulade, tomato powder, candied lemon and nasturtium or Ora King salmon with Florida stone crab, pommes fondantes and fresno-lime butter. The Michelin inspector was particularly besotted with the service here, which is both dramatic, as in the case of diver scallops infused with rosemary smoke and served under cloche, and luxe, as proven by the presence of a Champagne cocktail cart. (It’s perhaps no surprise that GM Matthew Braden earned a special Michelin Outstanding Service nod.)
The pasta-focused menu at Rocca exemplifies attention to detail, with exquisitely made iterations of classics like rigatoni all’amatriciana and linguine alle vongole. But for the Michelin inspector, “displays of originality” are even more enticing, as with the hiramasa carpaccio with green apple, capers and horseradish. The show-stopping mozzarella cart is a feast for the eyes, as the famed Italian pasta filata cheese is hand-pulled tableside for the freshest experience you’ll ever have. It also gets the inspector’s stamp of approval, with flavor that “outshines the show. ”
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