Michelin Has Finally Decided To Include Florida In Its US Guide

If you like to dine out — particularly in fancier, more expensive restaurants — then you're likely familiar with the Michelin Guide, which has ranked noteworthy dining establishments since 1900, when the French Michelin tire company compiled the first guide to restaurants in France. Drawing attention to dining destinations along popular routes was a way for the company to drum up interest in driving — and therefore in the tires the company manufactured, according to the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. The guide evolved over time, pivoting away from being a driving-oriented guide and towards its famous star system for good, excellent, and exceptional cuisine, which was first used in 1926 (via Escoffier).

The Michelin Guide has long focused on the world's largest and most visited cities like New York, and Paris, according to Bloomberg. Michelin hasn't tended to hand out stars in less often visited U.S. cities, but last week, the organization announced its inaugural selection of Florida restaurants, in cities including Miami, Orlando, and Tampa.

15 Sunshine State restaurants were starred

According to Bloomberg, no Florida restaurant has ever received a Michelin star until now. The Guide announced in a press release that 15 state eateries received stars, from Miami's L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, which was awarded two, to Orlando's Capa steakhouse, which received one. 

Gwendal Poullennec, the Guides' International Director, wrote in the release, "This very first selection of the MICHELIN Guide in Florida highlights glittery Miami, storied Orlando, and breathtaking Tampa, offering a unique blend of international cuisine and Florida flavors."

As explained by Bloomberg, the Michelin Guide's newfound interest in the state of Florida isn't exactly happenstance. The guide was announced last November, and the Miami Herald reports that Visit Florida (the state's tourism board) has teamed up with the three ranked cities' local tourism agencies to pay the Michelin Guide an estimated $1.5 million over the next three years in exchange for its coverage of the state's restaurants.

Although only one Florida destination took home two stars and none took home three, according to Bloomberg, the Guide also named 29 Bib Gourmand eateries. Nineteen locations in Miami, seven in Orlando, and three in Tampa were given the distinction, which indicates good food at a moderate price. It's likely that more stars and Bib Gourmand recommendations will be added to Florida restaurants in the coming years. 

"When we see the incredible dynamic in Florida, we feel there's more and more places to be covered by the Michelin guide," Poullennec told Bloomberg.