Photograph: Eric Barton for Time OutPalma
  • Restaurants | American creative
  • price 3 of 4
  • East Little Havana
  • Recommended



3 out of 5 stars

The tasting menu at Palma in Little Havana shoots for the stars and, sometimes, that works.


Time Out says

When the Michelin Guide began including Florida in 2021, a local chef I trust gave me a prediction: The goal of new restaurants would not be to make profits or happy customers. Instead, they’d obsess over one thing: earning a star.

What that meant wasn’t exactly clear to me until I had a meal at Palma, a restaurant where the wine, dishes and entire ambiance seem centered around impressing Michelin’s secret inspectors. The dainty things that arrived on my plates were undoubtedly original and creative, though I left hungry and, days later, I’m still pondering whether Palma misses entirely or just needs some work before hitting that Michelin mark of approval.

Chef Juan Camilo Liscano opened Palma in January 2024 in a strip mall on Northwest 8th Avenue, just south of the Miami River. There’s a bodega next door where men hang out on lawn chairs, and people passing by on the sidewalk peer in through the window to an interior that seems quite out of place on this block. Cheap rent must explain how they offer an eight-course tasting menu for just $85, about a third of the price of the one at the two-star L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. 

Inside Palma, most of the space is bomb-shelter gray, with an open kitchen right in front where a row of barstools faces Liscano and his sous chef. That’s where I sat early one night, watching them prep ingredients on the counter just in front of me. The chefs explained the dishes as they served me and also ran plates themselves to guests sitting at tables in the dining room.

The dishes here are tiny tastes of things, starting with a mild, two-bite, rolled-up radish and herbs dipped into a small pool of gazpacho. Tartare in an oyster shell lacked the usual tartare accouterment, tasting instead of pure raw beef. The delicate crudo arrived looking like the first portion of a dish under construction, a spoonful piled up in the corner of the bowl. Without the sweet plantain brioche roll that arrived near the end, the meal might have amounted to the caloric intake of an appetizer round.

The goal here, it seems, is delicate and lightly seasoned, hoping the ingredients sell the dishes. At times, that works. The sauce américaine under the shrimp course was deeply flavored, earthy and good enough to lick from the bowl, which I considered. The steamed fish was also a delicate, well-constructed dish highlighting Liscano’s talents, with a seaweed sauce artfully decorating the plate. But he lost things at the end with dessert, a sunflower cake that looked like a store-bought veggie burger patty, as dry on the edges as the package they come in. 

There isn’t a wine pairing at Palma, but an affable server recommended a dry muscadet that paired well with the first courses, followed by a cloudy, hard-to-finish pinot noir that tasted of mushrooms and brine. With the two $15 glasses of wine, I got out of there for about $150 with tip, rare in the world of tasting menus. 

At Palma, you’ll almost certainly eat things unlike anything you’ve had before, and you might be surprised, too, by the reasonable price of it. While it didn’t earn more than three stars for this review, or a Michelin star in 2024, it’s still worthy of a night out, at least to experience the dishes of a Miami chef trying wildly creative food and not charging a fortune for it. With an ever-changing menu and a chef clearly unafraid of taking chances, perhaps someday Palma will be a star.


at NW 3rd St
240 NW 8th Ave
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