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Michelin star-caliber restaurants in Miami

If Miami had the Michelin Guide, which restaurants would make the cut and what would their star rating be?

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Boia De
Photograph: FujifilmGirl

Michelin-starred Miami restaurants? Keep dreaming. The esteemed, centuries-old rating guide hasn’t deemed the Magic City worthy of its stars. It’s kind of disappointing, actually, especially considering the ever-growing list of new Miami restaurants and the booming food scene in neighborhoods like Wynwood and South Beach. But let’s not get too bummed out. You don’t need the Michelin folks to tell you where the good restaurants are—that’s what you have us for. And after years of curating Time Out Market Miami and eating our way through the highest-rated eateries in town, we’re cut out for the task of recommending the would-be Michelin-starred restaurants in Miami. These are the swoon-worthy spots we think would make the list. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Miami

Michelin-star-worthy restaurants in Miami

1
Stubborn Seed
Photograph: Courtesy Stubborn Seed/Grove Bay Hospitality
Restaurants, American creative

Stubborn Seed

South of Fifth

A protege of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and the winner of season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef, Jeremy Ford has been one to watch through every step of his brief but booming career. Now he’s landed at Stubborn Seed, Grove Bay Hospitality Group’s seasonally driven, fine-dining establishment where more tasting menus are served than at any other restaurant in Miami. It’s a testament to Ford’s skills in the kitchen and the highly trained, well-informed front-of-house staff. Servers are quizzed daily on specials, dishes and ingredients, and it shows. 

Three stars

2
Alter
Photograph: Courtesy Alter/Ruben Cabrera
Restaurants, American

Alter

Wynwood

A James Beard nominee many times over, chef Brad Kilgore’s restaurants have raised the bar for the local dining scene. Alter is the one that started it all, as Kilgore wowed (and continues to impress) guests with his signature soft egg with sea scallop espuma and slow-braised brisket. The tasting menu is the way to go here. At $79, the five-course option offers a proper introduction to Kilgore’s style and won’t break the bank.

Two stars 

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3
Boia De
Photograph: FujifilmGirl
Restaurants, Italian

Boia De

Buena Vista

Chef-owners Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer have worked in numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, including New York City’s prized Eleven Madison Park, which earned an impressive three stars. That said, there’s no reason why the hip Buena Vista eatery wouldn’t get a spot in a local guide. Pedigree aside, dishes such as the tortellini in brodo—succulent little pasta purses floating in a rich duck consomme—and the crispy potato skins topped with caviar earn this place a nod. 

One star

4
Fiola
Photograph: Courtesy Fiola
Restaurants, Italian

Fiola

Coral Gables

Its D.C. location earned a Michelin star in 2018, shortly before the husband and wife restaurateurs Fabio and Maria Trabocchi brought their lauded Italian restaurant to Coral Gables. Ours is filled with more uppity housewives than business types but the food, service and experience all live up to the original. If it’s your first time, make sure either the lobster ravioli or short rib main find their way to your table.

One star

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5
La Fresa Francesa
Photograph: Courtesy La Fresa Francesa
Restaurants, French

La Fresa Francesa Petit Café

Miami Springs

The Michelin Guide was founded in the early 20th century as a way to motivate people to hit the road, rating the places French drivers should visit. Two-star restaurants qualify as "worth a detour," which for us means driving to La Fresa Francesa in Hialeah. The charming French café sits on the edge of an industrial part of town, where the only other restaurants are Cuban and could learn a few things from the innovative Gallic dishes chefs and co-owners Benoît Rablat and Sandy Sanchez are putting out. 

Two stars 

6
Ghee Indian Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy Ghee Indian Kitchen
Restaurants, Indian

Ghee Indian Kitchen

Midtown

Chef Niven Patel grows most of his own food and both his mother and mother-in-law hold court in the kitchen of his Downtown Dadeland restaurant. He decorates with pickled vegetables he’s jarred himself and sources ingredients directly from small towns in India. No detail is overlooked in Patel’s pursuit of elevating Indian cuisine with high-quality ingredients. It’s simple, honest food that tastes anything but basic.

Two stars

 

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7
Sapore Di Mare
Photograph: Virginia Gil
Restaurants, Seafood

Sapore di Mare Italian Seafood

Coconut Grove

Sapore Di Mare is about as close as you can get to the Amalfi Coast without a passport. Much like the charming coastal restaurants of Italy, the Coconut Grove eatery specializes in fresh seafood and house-made pastas. The cacio e pepe comes in one of those giant wheels of Parmesan cheese, so expect to see plenty of them around the cozy dining room. It’s more in the style of a trattoria than your typical Michelin fine-dining establishment, but the demand is just as high. Diners line up every night of the week and reservations are a must.

One star  

8
Ariete short rib
Photograph: Courtesy Ariete
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Ariete

West Coconut Grove

A Michelin-caliber restaurant should be representative of its city and the culture, which is just what Michael Beltran set out to do with Coconut Grove’s Ariete. The menu is a convergence of the chef’s upbringing, his family’s Cuban heritage and Miami’s bounty of tropical flavors. The results are unexpected, as mango, guava, headcheese and foie—among other disparate ingredients—come together in surprising and delicious ways. There is lots of innovation happening at Ariete, and that merits all kinds of attention.

One star

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9
Boulud Sud
Photograph: Claudia Uribe Touri
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Boulud Sud

Downtown

Every one of Daniel Boulud’s concepts, even the seemingly basic ones, are inherently fine dining. Boulud Sud follows that tradition with supreme service, a selection of prized wines and food that’s consistently stellar. The visiting chefs program is another hallmark of Boulud that resonates well with Michelin aficionados, as toques from around the world stop in to showcase their talents. We’ll brave the horrendous Downtown Miami traffic with a smile to dine here anytime.  

Two stars

10
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
Photograph: Courtesy The Genuine Hospitality Group
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Design District

The restaurant that started it all for chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz. It also pioneered the whole small-plate movement in the city, introducing “shareable plates” to the local vernacular. For its impact on Miami’s culinary scene and for the many, many accolades chef Schwartz has received, plus his ability to spawn numerous other restaurants from a simple, farm-to-table movement, we think Michael’s would be deserving of a couple of Michelin stars. 

Two stars

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