Michelin on the Map: New for 2023

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An elegantly composed dish at Juju restaurant in Orlando, a new 2023 entry to the Michelin Guide.
An elegant sashimi presentation at Juju, one of 8 Orlando restaurants selected for the 2023 Michelin Guide Florida. Photo by Stephen Barna.

Dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant is arguably the ultimate bragging right for incentive and meeting attendees. Now event planners can find them in 9 cities across North America.

First published in France at the turn of the century, The Michelin Guide has become the benchmark for culinary excellence. Today, Michelin-recommended restaurants are the most coveted reservations in more than 40 destinations worldwide. For events, a sit-down meal or a reception in a Michelin restaurant lends cachet and is a memorable experience for even the most well-traveled incentive attendee. Then there’s the singular pop-culture bragging right in New York City: dining at one of the Michelin guide restaurants seen in the HBO hit series Succession.

What might be surprising to planners is the growing choice of Michelin-recognized restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, where cities are continuing to elevate their culinary offerings. Michelin published its first North American Guide in 2005 for New York. Selections have been added in Washington, D.C., Chicago, California, Toronto and Vancouver. An inaugural guide for Miami, Orlando and Tampa was announced in June 2022 with final ratings to be announced on May 11.

Michelin Ratings Explained

The selections of all restaurants in the guide are made by anonymous inspectors, trained to apply time-tested methods. They evaluate the quality of the cuisine with five criteria: product quality, mastery of cooking techniques, harmony of flavors, the chef’s personality reflected in his or her cuisine and consistency over time and across the entire menu.

Restaurants noted in the guidebooks are given several types of recognition, including:

•The famous one, two and three Michelin Stars identify establishments serving exceptional cuisine rich in flavor and infused with the personality of a talented chef.

•The Bib Gourmand is a designation given to select restaurants that offer good quality food for good value—often known as personal favorites among the inspectors when dining on their own time.

•The Green Star honors restaurants at the forefront of practices committed to a more sustainable gastronomy.

•A general recommendation gives a shout-out to newbie restaurants included in the guide that did not earn a star or Bib Gourmand.

While stars are the most prestigious, any Michelin recognition puts a restaurant—and a destination—front of mind for a special culinary experience.

Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian Resort is one of two Disney restaurants in the new Michelin Guide Florida.
Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort is one of two Disney restaurants in the new Michelin Guide Florida. Photo by Kent Phillips.

Orlando, Tampa and Miami on the Map

Michelin Guide Florida, with 2023 rating details for restaurants in Miami, Orlando and Tampa, will be revealed on May 11. Inspectors have already chosen 8 new spots in Miami, 3 in Tampa and 8 in Orlando to include in the guide.

“It’s a huge deal to have any kind of Michelin recognition in Orlando,” says Rona Gindin, Orlando-based food and travel writer at ronagindin.com and dining editor of Winter Park Magazine, speaking with Prevue about the new guide. “When I moved to Orlando in 1996, it was a mass of chain restaurants. That has changed significantly over the past quarter century. It started in part when national celebrity chefs opened restaurants here, and then the chefs who worked under them eventually moved on to other local restaurants, bringing their more sophisticated skills with them. Meanwhile, homegrown chefs started doing great things after studying at top culinary schools. Then Orlando restaurants started getting recognition in the way of James Beard Award nominations. But no Orlando restaurant ever got to the semi-finals and the city remained invisible as a food town. Meeting and event planners may have vetoed Orlando as a destination because they had no way of knowing the area has some exceptionally good food and restaurants. Now they know.”

A Bib Gourmand, and even more so a Michelin Star, comes across as official justification that Orlando is a food-forward meeting and incentive destination, says Gindin. Planners might even choose Orlando because it has good food, she says. “For certain groups, the chance to dine or have a reception at a Michelin-recognized restaurant could be a deciding factor in attracting attendees.”

Snagging group reservations at a Michelin-recognized restaurant requires significant lead time. Dinner reservations or buyouts may not be possible. “Lunch is a great option for groups,” advises Gindin, “especially if the restaurant is generally closed during the day. You’ll get a lot of attention, and possibly a more flexible menu.”

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