Big news this week for Orlando’s restaurant scene as for the first time ever, The MICHELIN Guide will discover and celebrate culinary gems across Florida, starting in 2022.  

Thanks to a partnership between Visit Florida, Visit Orlando, Visit Tampa Bay and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Florida will be only the fifth U.S. destination Michelin has ever rated — New York, Chicago, California and Washington, D.C., being the others.

Orlando’s dining scene has continued to evolve in quality and diversity over the past few years, so hopefully with the Michelin Guide coming this will give our industry the recognition they deserve.

We asked several local Orlando restaurant owners, chefs, and diners about the news – here are some initial reactions about the Michelin Guide coming to Orlando – 

“First off, this is great for the state of Florida and Orlando, Miami and Tampa. The Michelin Guide is the hallmark for culinary excellence and Florida continues to show how our state continues to raise the bar in the culinary arena. It is exciting to see that our amazing culinary talent has the potential of being recognized in a Michelin Guide. This news should also be a rallying cry for our culinary talent to raise their game. Tourism is a huge part of the Florida economy and now we will add culinary tourism to our list of must visits.” – Jon McGavin, Area General Manager, Grande Lakes Orlando Resort

“This is a great thing! Operating a restaurant at a luxury resort is a team effort and recognition on that level would be a tremendous accomplishment for all our chefs. Grande Lakes Orlando’s culinary team has been awaiting this opportunity and everyone is excited for the potential to be acknowledged by such a respected rating system.” – Chef John Tesar, Knife and Spoon at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes Orlando

“I feel this is a good thing. It will be an excitement for consumers to go check out the restaurants that get picked by the Michelin Guides. And it will be a motivation for the restaurant teams to improve their culinary offerings so they get picked.” – Owner Nora Jain, Tabla Cuisine

“It’s really exciting for Orlando and it speaks to the level of growth we’ve had in the food industry our community. The Orlando food scene has become more diverse and informed over the years. Michelin guide would create more friendly competition to the Orlando food culture by raising the standard and service as well as inspiring and push others to bring something different our community.  Positives – it will attract more people to Orlando and raise awareness of the Orlando food scene. There’s a stigma about Orlando food culture as being known for “park food” or the city of “chain restaurants,” however with the addition of the Michelin guide it can help brand Orlando as not only a park destination, but a food destination as well. Conversely, it could bring in more tourists to our local community causing traffic and pollution, but it would help with our economy overall as well!” –  Lewis Lin, Owner/Chef – Susuru and Susuru Juju which will open in late January 2022

“Welcome to Orlando, MICHELIN Guide! My hope is that the writers highlight the restaurants we all know and love, but also consciously drive beyond “comfort bubbles” to explore little-known gems and restaurants worthy of celebration.” – Katerina Coumbaros, owner of Tapa Toro and Taverna Opa Orlando

“We could not get more excited about such great news, for AVA MediterrAegean coming to Winter Park, FL in January. We will continue raising our culinary and operation standards, as a team and as individuals, breathing through that exciting fire every single day moving forward, to create the best experience for our guests while targeting the excellence that a Michelin Star would require.” – Chef Hung Huynh, Executive Chef of AVA MediterrAegean opening in Winter Park, Orlando in January 2022

“Huge future implications for our scene as long as they don’t ditch us like they did Vegas & LA back in the day.” – Local food enthusiast Aldo Ferrari

“Can’t wait! With our exciting culinary scene, we need a prestigious recognition to match it. It’s been looooong overdue. Too many great restaurants not getting the credit they deserve. We need this validation to get rid of the awful reputation of being only chain restaurants. I’ve always said that if any restaurant here deserves it, it should be Kadence.” –  Local food enthusiast,  Thao Tran