Michelin Guide dishes out Tampa's first-ever stars
Tampa's food scene is beaming after the Michelin Guide bestowed three restaurants with its coveted stars on Thursday.
Why it matters: The Michelin Guide recognized a few Tampa restaurants when it launched its Florida edition last year. But this week's ceremony was the first time any of the city's restaurants received a one-star rating.
- The designation is regarded as a standard of excellence in the restaurant industry and solidifies Tampa's position on the foodie map.
Driving the news: Four new restaurants in Florida earned a star this year, including:
- South Tampa's Japanese restaurant Koya, Tampa Heights' modern Italian spot Rocca and Water Street's Mediterranean eatery Lilac.
Details: Inspectors felt drawn to the "culinary sensibilities" of Koya, noting the chutoro hand roll with wasabi guacamole in particular.
- Rocca's dishes drew praise for their harmony of classic flavors and exciting displays of originality. Its desserts also received kudos from the inspectors, who called them a "delightful bookend to an impressive meal."
- Meanwhile, Lilac received compliments for its Mediterranean influences, Florida-focused ingredients and French techniques. Inspectors applauded the restaurant's "sexy vibe," although they noted the venue is void of lilac.
Between the lines: Florida's tourism boards are paying as much as $1.5 million over the next three years to get the honor.
- Michelin inspectors skipped restaurants in Pinellas since Visit St. Pete/Clearwater wasn't part of the deal.
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