Dining Out 2 minutes 03 April 2023

New Additions to MICHELIN Guide Tampa April 2023

3 culinary triumphs focused on old-school grandeur, Japanese minimalism, and local ingredients.

MICHELIN Guide Inspectors spend all year on the road uncovering the best restaurants to recommend—and their discoveries are too good to keep secret. Whet your appetite with a sneak peek of the 2023 MICHELIN Guide Florida selection featuring ten new additions spread across Orlando and Tampa in the Sunshine State.

This month, our Inspectors honed in on Tampa—the city situated along Florida's Gulf Coast known for its cultural attractions and bustling business district. It's also home to some truly innovative cuisine. Celebrated chef John Fraser brings his talent to another Edition property with Lilac, a spot serving up fresh produce with finesse.

Similarly, local talents Adriana and Eric Fralick opened Noble Rice offering their spirited proposition on omakase and Japanese bites. However, there are few spots as refined as Ponte, the brainchild of chef Christopher Ponte. Rooted in classic American cuisine,  the resulting dishes are a symphony for the eyes (and tastebuds) while the equally elegant decor sets the scene with flair.

Bon appétit!

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Situated in the sleek and oh-so-stylish Edition hotel, this concept from John Fraser is a popular spot with in-demand reservations. The small space has a sexy vibe, albeit not a stitch of lilac in sight.

Peruse the contemporary four-course prix-fixe with Mediterranean influences, Florida-focused ingredients and French techniques. A meal might include luxe bites like a Diver scallop infused with rosemary smoke and dramatically served under a cloche to well-executed and flavorful lobster feuillantine. Main dishes include Ora King salmon with a Florida stone crab salad or Colorado lamb chop with tender leeks and house-made lamb sausage.

Cocktails and wine are on offer, but Lilac has upped the ante when it comes to tableside service with a champagne cocktail cart (yes, please!).

Gabriel Burgos/Lilac and Nikolas Koenig/Lilac
Gabriel Burgos/Lilac and Nikolas Koenig/Lilac

Cuisine: Contemporary

Chef Christopher Ponte oversees the very grand eponymous restaurant located in midtown Tampa where a cream-and-white palette sets an elegant tone. This is a linen tablecloth kind of place where a comprehensive menu lists dishes with a contemporary and creative American flair.

Kick off this memorable meal with Champagne and pearls—oysters finished with a pink peppercorn mignonette foam—or opt for the salmon Wagyu set over crispy sushi rice. Discover an entire section of the menu devoted to steaks with different sauces, toppers and butters. It may read a bit showy, but it's exciting nonetheless and feels worthy of the price tag.

Cocktails are quite literally split down the middle, offering both a classic version of the usual suspects alongside modern takes.

Stephen Barna/Ponte
Stephen Barna/Ponte

Noble Rice
Cuisine: Japanese

Restaurants pack this area just off Channelside Drive, but Noble Rice deserves your attention, and not just because it's a sister spot to Koya. Unlike most minimalist Japanese restaurants, this place has a lively, modern vibe.

There is an omakase on offer at a separate counter, but the real draw here is their à la carte sushi-focused menu with some izakaya and small plate options (think shrimp toast and karaage; skewers and ramen). Traditionalists should head for the king salmon nigiri sourced from New Zealand, while bold and creative flavor combinations are found in maki like the negi toro roll, with spicy fatty tuna, scallion and tobanjan kewpie in a black garlic soy sauce. Steer seasonal, as in the bright Dungeness crab salad.

Keir Magoulas/Noble Rice
Keir Magoulas/Noble Rice

Hero image: Nikolas Koenig/Lilac

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