The prestigious red guide arrived in Florida for the first time this June, and no surprise to anyone, the bulk of its 15 awards was bestowed upon the Magic City. Of course, there are the usual suspects — the celebrity-chef transplants from New York and California — but the list also highlights a number of Miami originals that deserve the spotlight every bit as much. Here, we give you the lowdown on the Michelin-approved restaurants that serve up more than fresh and fancy fare; they give you a taste of what makes this diverse destination a paradise for the taste buds.
Chef Michael Beltran is a native Miamian who grew up in Little Havana and cut his teeth in the kitchens of South Florida greats like Norman Van Aken and Michael Schwartz. At his Michelin-one-star restaurant in Coconut Grove, Ariete, he puts together all of his life experiences in a menu that weaves together Cuban, American, and French influences. Foie gras mosaic sweetened with guava, caviar served with citrus churros, crispy duck confit paired with waffles, and other dishes are beautifully executed yet never too serious or pretentious (just like Miami itself).
Chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer opened this Buena Vista restaurant in 2019, much to the relief of local foodies who had mourned the closing of the duo’s food truck months earlier. Their first brick-and-mortar location Boia De, was worth the wait, showing off an expansion of the pair’s cooking repertoire with inventive Mediterranean cuisine (leaning heavily Spanish, though the servers will argue it’s Italian) and a serious wine menu. The dining room is everything you’d expect from a trendy Miami eatery, with funky wallpaper covered in pink exclamation points and a lively bar.
Colombian-born Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos has been a celeb on the Miami food scene since 2015, when he opened this Brickell restaurant, Elcielo, inspired by his ancestral roots. The cooking is hardly old-school though — in fact, it’s downright audacious, with avant-garde preparations like the Tree of Life bread service, a carb fest teetering from the branches of a copper tree sculpture, and Island empanadas shaped like red crabs and presented in their “natural habitat” of layered rocks.
This one-Michelin-star restaurant Los Félix, is a journey deep into old Mexico by way of Coconut Grove. The tortillas alone are reason enough to come and come often: Perfect rounds of fresh masa pressed in a molino right in the center of the dining room, they might be the best you’ll find between here and the border. Still, Chef Sebastián Vargas’s mural-lined dining room is more than a place to load up on tacos (though you wouldn’t be wrong to do exactly that). The menu loyally reps Mesoamerican traditions and Milpa farming practices, featuring smoked tamales, arepas, and plenty of seafood paired with heirloom corn, chiles, vegetables, and roots.
If you know anything at all about the Miami dining scene, you know Jeremy Ford. In 2017, the Jean-Georges protégé and Top Chef champ parlayed his TV fame into one of the city’s most definitive new restaurants in an entire decade. So, it was practically a given that Stubborn Seed would receive a Michelin star — anything less and Michelin would have had a Miami mutiny on its hands. But local pride aside, the restaurant is deserving of the honor for its ambitious tasting menus that cram so much flavor into every dish, it’s almost overwhelming. While the truffle chicken is a signature, just about everything is a winner, from the charred local swordfish in an umami broth to the Florida shrimp and saffron gnocchi.
Where You Will Stay
Miami Beach's neighborhoods form a cultural patchwork from Little Havana's Cuban flair to Bal Harbor boutiques to South Beach's Art Deco. As a culinary hotspot it boasts celebrity chef restaurants and innovative cocktails spots — and don't forget beaches, plus stellar nightlife. 1 Hotel South Beach is nestled next to the sand in the heart of South Beach. Our luxury suites are steps from Miami's best restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Amenities include three pools, fitness center, kids' club, and award-winning spa.