Star-powered dining in the MDD
The Design District, known for its dozens of luxury boutiques, rich cultural experiences and special public art exhibitions is now known as the neighborhood with the most Michelin stars in Miami. With a total of four Michelin Stars and three Bib Gourmand awards, the accolades of the gastronome bible solidify the neighborhood as the ultimate leader in Miami dining. Let’s take a deeper look at the award winners.
It came as no surprise that this French-inspired restaurant scored Florida’s only two-star rating. This is the newest incarnation of the late Chef Joël Robuchon’s groundbreaking concept, which first opened in Paris’s Saint-Germain neighborhood in 2003 and went on to earn stars of its own in various locations including New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Located on the second floor of Paradise Plaza, and featuring a signature dining counter (with a coveted 34 seats) facing directly into the open kitchen, this posh den of immaculate cuisine is clad in dark lacquered wood with exposed cherry wood grains and pops of cherry red. For Chef de Cuisine James Friedberg, being in the Design District fits perfectly with the culinary approach of his team. “I am now, more than ever in my career, motivated by simplicity and focus,” says Friedberg. “The Robuchon philosophy was always to create harmony and not over-complicate ingredients. I think this philosophy is evident not only in the dishes but also in the backdrop of the restaurant and surrounding architecture.” That attention to simplicity and harmony is evident in the kitchen’s craftsmanship, exemplifying immaculate technique and abundant creativity. The format of the menu at L’Atelier allows guests the flexibility to create their own experience with an à la carte selection or the multi-course “Evolution Menu” which changes by season but can include dishes like scallop served in cilantro broth, coconut emulsion and calamari and Black cod with miso and tamarind.
The French word for “gardener,” Le Jardinier’s cuisine and setting evoke a modern greenhouse in the heart of the Design District. Earning one star, the menu by Culinary Director of the Bastion Collection Alain Verzeroli is focused on utilizing the highest quality vegetables, seasonal ingredients, and fresh herbs, fitting seamlessly into the modern, light-filled interiors designed by award-winning Architect Pierre-Yves Rochon. “In the Design District, we are lucky to have customers who are really into fashion, art and design, and they come to us with a very open mind in terms of culinary experience and it is so precious and valuable to us, restaurateurs,” says Verzeroli. “I believe that you have to understand your location and demographic in order to find a symbiosis with the customers. We have a lot of visiting customers from overseas as well, from Latin America to Europe and Asia. This diversity allows us to express the dishes’ creations more freely, and explore more creatively with the usage of spices and ingredients.” The menu, which changes seasonally, impresses with dishes like citrus cured hiramasa with mango and passionfruit or the class Bavette Au Jus with royal trumpet mushrooms and crispy potatoes.
This Korean steakhouse is no stranger to Michelin recognition – its sibling restaurant in New York scored their first star in 2018 within one year of opening. And while this Miami baby was barely eighteen month old when it earned its first star it has already established itself as a world-class destination for an energetic and stellar culinary experience. Under the helm of owner Simon Kim and Executive Chef David Shim, the kitchen and front-of-house team preside over a beef-centric tasting experience with balletic precision. The “Butcher’s Feast” multi-course menu is one of the best deals in town, with the chef’s four selected cuts of meat served with an assortment of Korean accompaniments, a fluffy egg souffle and a soft-serve dessert that hits all the right pleasure notes. High rollers can opt for the elevated Steak Omakase™ experience, but even if you’re just going to sip cocktails at the convivial bar, a trip to COTE is an exercise in excellence.
Michael’s Genuine – The neighborhood OG, which recently got a glow-up, features James Beard award winning Chef Michael Schwartz’s take on locavore cuisine with snacks like chicken liver crostini, thick cut potato chips with pan-fried onion dip and a unique wine and cocktail list.
Itamae – A family-run operation focusing on Nikkei food, a cuisine that blends Peruvian and Japanese influences into dishes like ceviche, tiradito, sushi and more. The courtyard setting is magical, as are the flavors on the plate.
Mandolin – An Aegean taverna with whitewashed walls, Mykonos-blue accents and blooming bougainvillea, this popular spot serves all the greatest hits of Turkish-Greek cuisine with grilled seafood and meat, mezze dips and free-flowing anise cocktails. Pop in for a leisurely lunch and take in the chic crowd – fashion editors, art collectors and socialites – all call this place home.