Which Miami restaurants should earn Michelin stars this week? These are our picks

Miami is about to see stars again. Maybe.

On April 18, the Michelin Guide, the best-known international restaurant rating guide in the world, will bestow its favors on restaurants in Miami, Orlando and Tampa once again.

Or maybe it won’t. There’s no way to tell if any new Florida restaurants will earn the coveted Michelin stars in 2024, though with a grand ceremony scheduled in Tampa, surely someone will come away happy. The possibility exists, however, that someone could be sad: A restaurant can always lose a star. Chefs are pretty serious about retaining them, but you never know.

This is the third year Michelin has awarded stars in Florida. The state tourism and marketing agency Visit Florida and tourism agencies in Miami, Orlando and Tampa paid the guide an estimated $1.5 million to rate and highlight the best restaurants in the three cities.

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Partners Mohamed Alkassar and Chef Niven Patel at their Italian restaurant Erba in Coral Gables. They will be opening a second location of Ghee Indian Kitchen in Wynwood later this year.
Partners Mohamed Alkassar and Chef Niven Patel at their Italian restaurant Erba in Coral Gables. They will be opening a second location of Ghee Indian Kitchen in Wynwood later this year.

At this point, Florida has no three-star restaurants and only one two-star restaurant, the glamorous French spot L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Miami’s Design District. There are 11 Michelin one-star restaurants in Miami: Ariete, Boia De, Cote, The Den, Elcielo, Hiden, Le Jardinier, Los Felix, The Surf Club Restaurant and Stubborn Seed were awarded stars in 2022. The Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt earned a star in 2023.

So what’s ahead for 2024? Hard to say. Michelin releases a “recommended” list each year as a possible preview, but there’s no guarantee the restaurants highlighted there will eventually be awarded a star. They’re merely on Michelin’s radar and, the guide suggests, they should be on yours as well.

Last week, Michelin announced its 2024 Bib Gourmands, restaurants that offer good food for a reasonable price. The downtown Miami Vietnamese spot Tam Tam was the only addition for Miami.

Here are a few contenders for stars, which are awarded based on a set of five criteria: quality of the ingredients used, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in the cuisine, harmony of flavors, and consistency between visits. We’re not saying these spots will get a star — just that we think they should be in the conversation.

Chef Michael Schwartz’s bayfront restaurant Amara at Paraiso in Miami.
Chef Michael Schwartz’s bayfront restaurant Amara at Paraiso in Miami.

Amara at Paraiso, Miami: James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz’s restaurant on Biscayne Bay serves an upscale Latin menu, and Schwartz’s Michael’s Genuine in the Design District has been designated as a Bib Gourmand. Michelin frequently pays attention to those who have already earned its attention.

Brasserie Laurel, Miami: Chef Michael Beltran’s Ariete was one of the first Miami restaurants to earn a star, and this French spot at Miami Worldcenter, recommended by Michelin, indulges in the Eurocentric vision the guide seems to love. Beltran’s other restaurant, the Michelin-recommended The Gibson Room, is also a contender.

Elcielo SLS: Internationally famous Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos (known as “Juanma”) earned a Michelin star for his downtown Miami Elcielo, which offers an elegant, eclectic tasting menu. The Elcielo at the SLS South Beach hotel, which opened in 2023, also delivers a stellar a la carte menu, which includes the chef’s signature “Tree of Life” dish.

EntreNos, Miami Shores: Using the Tinta y Cafe space in the Shores after hours, this innovative restaurant from Chefs Evan Burgess and Osmel Gonzalez is already on Michelin’s radar for its bold attempts to source almost all of its ingredients from the state of Florida.

Erba: Chef Niven Patel’s Ghee Indian Kitchen is a Bib Gourmand — and probably deserves a star of its own. Erba, named one of the best new restaurants of 2023 by Esquire, offers up a unique take on Florida-Italian fare (think pasta with conch, and you’ll get the idea).

Fiola Miami, Coral Gables: The Michelin Guide has already named this elegant Italian restaurant to its recommended list — its sister restaurant in Washington D.C. already a star — and Chef Daniel Ganem consistently turns out some of the best and most innovative pasta dishes you’ll find in Miami.

Leku, Allapattah: Led by Venezuela-born chef Carlos Garcia, this Basque gem at the Rubell Museum has just completely changed up its menu and is now a seafood restaurant. But its previous meat-friendly menu earned it a spot on the recommended list.

Lion & the Rambler, Coral Gables: Chef Michael Bolen offers two different tasting menus at this restaurant in the former home of Eating House, and he’s got the Michelin recommendation to prove he knows what he’s doing.

Macchialina, Miami Beach: This beloved Italian spot on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach from Chef Michael Pirolo has been serving terrific cuisine in a laid-back atmosphere for more than a decade. It’s a local favorite. If you took a poll on Miami’s favorite Italian fare, Macchialina would probably win.

MaryGold’s, Wynwood: Michelin has been strangely silent on Chef Brad Kilgore’s brasserie at the Arlo Wynwood hotel, but the menu offers many jaw droppers, including oxtail beignets and — finally! — the famous soft egg from his earlier Wynwood restaurant Alter, which is the stuff of dreams.

Maty’s, Midtown Miami: Chef Valerie Chang’s Michelin-recommended ode to her Peruvian grandmother is a nominee for a 2024 James Beard Award and was named one of the best new restaurants in the country for 2023 by Bon Appétit and Esquire.

Naoe, Brickell: Consistently the only Forbes Five-Star restaurant in Miami, this tiny sushi den on Brickell Key has an ever-changing menu and wide array of sakes. And Michelin is keen on omakase: Two such Miami restaurants are already starred, the Den at Azabu in Miami Beach and Hiden in Wynwood.

Sereia, Coconut Grove: This Portuguese seafood restaurant is the creation of internationally famous chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, who has a two-starred restaurant in Lisbon. The restaurant is too new for consideration — it just opened in March — but should Michelin choose to return and keep an eye on Miami, next year it should definitely be a contender.

Walrus Rodeo, Miami: Sister restaurant Boia De from Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, located in the same strip shopping center, earned a Michelin star in 2022, and Walrus Rodeo proves equally inventive, wielding its wood-fired oven with skill and imagination. If you don’t believe me, order the carrot tartare. You’ll never look at a vegetable the same way again.

Chef Brad Kilgore’s MaryGold’s at the Arlo Wynwood hotel.
Chef Brad Kilgore’s MaryGold’s at the Arlo Wynwood hotel.