Last year, The Michelin Guide launched in Florida, exciting news for food-focused diners and the Tampa restaurants that serve them. Is there a Michelin-star restaurant in Tampa? Let's find out.
Orlando and Miami are the other Florida cities covered by the guide, and as of its second year, the three have a combined 20 restaurants with Michelin stars.
They join a growing number of cities and states covered by The Michelin Guide in the United States:
- New York City (2006)
- San Francisco and Northern California (2007)
- Los Angeles and Southern California (2008)
- Chicago (2011)
- Washington, DC (2017)
- California - the entire state (2019)
- Colorado: Denver, Boulder, Aspen, Snowmass Village, Vail, Beaver Creek Resort - late 2023
- Atlanta, Georgia - late 2023
[At this rate, they may launch in Texas (home to two of the country's top five metro areas) in the coming years.]
Before I delve into the Tampa restaurants in the Florida edition of The Michelin Guide, I'd like to introduce their rating system briefly.
Michelin Guide Ratings
The Michelin star rating was first used in 1926 by anonymous restaurant inspectors working for The Michelin Guide, a travel guide published by French brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin to promote their tire company.
Ten years later, they expanded the concept by adding two and three-star awards.
- 3-star - "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." (e.g., Geranium and Eleven Madison Park)
- 2-star - "Excellent cooking, worth a detour." (VUN Andrea Aprea)
- 1-star - "High-quality cooking, worth a stop." (Pasjoli)
The Michelin Guide's anonymous inspectors pay for their meals and visit the same restaurant several times.
If all goes according to plan, the restaurants don't know an inspector has visited them until they receive an award or recommendation.
According to The Michelin Guide, "The stars...are indicators of the quality of a restaurant's food alone, assessed according to five publicly acknowledged criteria:"
- Quality of ingredients used
- Skill in food preparation
- Combination of flavors
- Value for money
- Consistency of culinary standards
Beyond this info, it's also possible to glean hints from interviews and industry events, such as a trade seminar by The Michelin Guide in Singapore.
Generally, the more Michelin stars a restaurant has been awarded, the more expensive the meal will be.
Cost can vary widely, though. A Michelin-star restaurant in Paris or Tokyo will likely be much more expensive for a U.S. traveler than one in Rio de Janeiro.
While Michelin stars are only awarded to a tiny percentage of restaurants operating at the highest levels in the countries they cover, they've come up with ways to recognize more restaurants.
Bib Gourmand - "Good quality, good value cooking." This recognition is given to restaurants not quite at the one-star level—established in 1997.
Michelin Green Star - Awarded to restaurants committed to ethical and sustainable practices, such as locally sourced ingredients, working with organic and regenerative farms, and reducing food waste. It was established in 2021.
Michelin Recommended - Above-average cooking with quality ingredients that do not meet the higher standard of Bib Gourmand or Michelin-star restaurants.
Hotel Tip: Need a quiet place to stay while visiting Tampa? Read about my experience at The CURRENT, Autograph Collection.
Michelin Star Restaurants
The 2022 Michelin Guide included 15 Florida restaurants with stars in Orlando and Miami. No Tampa restaurants were initially awarded a Michelin star. However, that changed with the new stars awarded in 2023.
Below are the Tampa restaurants awarded a Michelin star for the first time.
Koya is an intimate eight-seat Japanese restaurant offering an omakase experience in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Tampa.
It's only open for two dinner seatings a night, Wednesday through Saturday. The in-demand reservations become available at 10 a.m. on the 15th of each month.
The 15-course nigiri omakase is $250 per person. The more varied 8-10-course Koya tasting menu is $295.
807 W Platt St, Tampa, FL, koyatampa.com
Lilac is an attractive Eastern Mediterranean fine dining restaurant in The Tampa EDITION Hotel.
Chef John Fraser has assembled a four-course, $150 dinner menu that draws on his Greek heritage and appreciation for Turkish cuisine.
Heritage pork belly and Spanish octopus, spanikopita cannelloni with black truffle puree, and duck au poivre are three current offerings.
In 2023, General Manager Matthew Braden received the Michelin Guide Florida Service Award for elevating "the exceptional dining experience with equally attentive service."
500 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL, lilacrestauranttampa.com
Rocca is a modern Italian restaurant in the Tampa Heights neighborhood a block north of Armature Works, along the Hillsborough River.
Expect fresh handmade plates of pasta, such as tagliolini with beef ragu, basil, and 30-month Parmigiano Reggiano. A mozzarella cart serves guests tableside with heirloom tomato and 10-year-old balsamic vinegar.
A small selection of premium meats and fish are served in portions large enough to share.
A peach tart with saffron and basil custard with rum apples are featured on the dessert menu. Buon appetito!
323 W Palm Ave, Tampa, FL, roccatampa.com
Bib Gourmand Restaurants
Here's a closer look at the first of the three, the only one to receive Bib Gourmand status beginning in 2022.
Rooster and the Till
The Rooster and the Till serve a small menu of international plates in the Seminole Heights neighborhood, about five miles north of downtown Tampa (near the TampaZoo at Lowery Park).
Tuna crudo with goat's milk ricotta, cobia collar with Thai chilies, and gnocchi—Parisian style with short ribs are a few of the inviting options available.
Diners can order a la carte or splurge on the six-course tasting menu with optional wine pairing.
6500 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL, roosterandthetill.com
Michelin Recommended Restaurants
Now that the prestigious Michelin Guide is available, I look forward to using it to help me choose more fun places to eat around Tampa.
Undoubtedly, it will help elevate Tampa Bay's culinary scene as it has for so many other cities.
Bern's Steak House
1208 S Howard Ave, Tampa, FL, bernssteakhouse.com
4267 Henderson Blvd, Tampa, FL, bistro-bt.com
1120 E Kennedy Blvd UNIT 112, Tampa, FL, cenatampa.com
2117 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL, columbiarestaurant.com
Cuban and Spanish
Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar
1207 S Howard Ave, Tampa, FL, epicureanhotel.com
13520 University Plaza St, Tampa, FL, flamingmountaintampa.com
2208 W Morrison Ave, Tampa, FL, haventampa.com
Mise en Place
442 W Grand Central Ave, Tampa, FL, miseonline.com
615 Channelside Dr., Suite 112, Tampa, noblericeco.com
Oak & Ola
1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL, oakandola.com
3601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL, oliviatampa.com
1501 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL, onswann.com
1010 Gramercy Pk Ln, Tampa, FL, pontetampa.com
2507 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL, restaurantbt.com
1902 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL, steelbach.com
1610 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL, timpanohydepark.com
1810 N Highland Ave, Tampa, FL, ulele.com
2620 E Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL, yummyhouseflorida.com