Miami's James Beard Award-Winning Restaurants and Chefs

Pao by Paul Qui

Pao by Paul Qui

Pubbelly Sushi

Pubbelly Sushi

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Miami's culinary scene is no stranger to critical acclaim and international recognition, boasting more than its fair share of award-winning restaurants and world-renowned chefs. Locals have proved time and time again that their refined palates aren’t to be doubted, as they continue to welcome a growing number of highly regarded restaurants and celebrity chefs with open arms.

If you’re a passionate foodie always in search of your next Five-Star meal, consider Miami your ultimate culinary capital. Just about everywhere you turn, you can find a table at a restaurant with a James Beard Award or two under its belt.

Here are some of the best restaurants and top talents in Miami, serving up world-class cuisine to delight diners from around the world.

Chef Douglas Rodriguez at Ola

Chef Douglas Rodriguez is a Miami native raised by Cuban immigrant parents. His rich culinary heritage and mastery of Latin flavors have been making waves in Miami for more than two decades. He received two nominations for the James Beard Rising Chef of the Year, earning his Latin-inspired spot, Ola Restaurant, a coveted spot among Miami’s numerous James Beard restaurants.

Upon arriving at Ola, you’ll be greeted by rich wood accents, deep neutral tones and a pleasantly masculine, rustic design. Get cozy in one of the plush booths and prepare your taste buds for next-level flavor, perfectly portioned into light servings that will keep you ordering more. The selection of ceviches is one of the highlights of the Ola menu, as is the eclectic and heavenly chocolate “cigar” dessert. Located at 2360 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.

Chef Michael Schwartz
Chef Michael Schwartz

Chef Michael Schwartz at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

One of Miami’s favorite James Beard award winners, Chef Michael Schwartz is the proud holder of the title of the 2010 Best Chef in the South. He maintains his culinary supremacy at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami’s vibrant Design District, where he dishes out generous helpings of joy in the form of locally sourced, wonderfully authentic dishes.

The menu at Michael’s Genuine Food is filled with examples of his culinary genius, taking full advantage of Miami's live-caught seafood and farm-fresh produce. Eat your way through crave-worthy meals like the sticky toffee French toast, house-made pastrami sandwich and wood oven-roasted snapper, each one more delicious than the last. Located at 130 NE 40th St., Miami.

Chef Paul Qui at Pao by Paul Qui

Chef Paul Qui’s culinary resume reads like something out of a foodie’s dream, complete with a James Beard Award and a win on Bravo’s Top Chef. Once described by Chef Tom Colicchio as the most talented competitor in Top Chef history, Chef Qui emerged from his newfound fame with a renewed passion for his craft.

At Pao by Paul Qui, he takes diners on an international exploration of flavors, drawing inspiration from Spanish, Filipino, French and Japanese cuisine to design a bold take on modern Asian cuisine. Located at 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.

Chef Naomi Harris at Madruga Bakery

A 2019 nominee for Outstanding Baker, Naomi Harris crafts rustic breads using time-honored techniques at Madruga Bakery. Just one bite of a freshly baked loaf will transport you back to a different time, when bakeries milled their own flour and used simple, honest ingredients. This dedication to authenticity comes through in every aspect of the experience at Madruga, from the view of the open kitchen and mill room to a genuinely welcoming atmosphere.

If you show up extra-hungry, you’ll be glad to know there’s more than just bread to enjoy at Madruga – the full menu features a delectable selection of pastries, sandwiches, salads and loaded toasts. Located at 430 S. Dixie Highway, Coral Gables.

Alter's Chef Brad Kilgore
Alter's Chef Brad Kilgore

2019 James Beard Award-Nominated Miami Chefs

If you can’t get enough of Miami’s James Beard-honored chefs and restaurants, you’ll be happy to hear that the destination isn’t slowing down its winning record anytime soon. Here are a handful of Miami chefs appearing on 2019's James Beard Award Nominees list:

Miami’s presence on the list of 2019 James Beard Nominees is nothing new – the area has been impressing the James Beard Foundation critics for years.

Miami’s History of Acclaimed Cuisine

It’s not just the 2019 Miami chefs named above who are collecting James Beard Awards left and right. Miami boasts a long list of past winners over several decades:

  • José Mendín at Pubbelly (Best Chefs in America Semifinalist, 2012-2016): Share-friendly small plates drawing inspiration from Asian and Latin cuisine are a highlight of this casual eatery by José Mendín.
  • The Broken Shaker (Outstanding Bar Program, 2013 and 2014): With a name like “The Broken Shaker,” it comes as no surprise that the handcrafted cocktails at this casual-chic bar have earned industry recognition.
  • Versailles Restaurant (America’s Classics Award, 2001): Versailles Restaurant has been a Miami icon since the 1970s, connecting its guests to the unique personality and vibrant culture of Cuba through its signature dishes.

A Michelin Award-Winning Chef Arrives in Miami

It’s not just James Beard winners taking the Miami culinary world by storm – the famed Michelin stars are also lighting up the restaurant scene. Hailing from Sao Paulo, Kosushi has been a feature in the annual Michelin guide since it debuted in Brazil in 2015. Chef George Yuji Koshoji presents an inspired combination of Japanese and Brazilian influences in his masterful culinary creations, impressing many of the toughest critics in the world.

Much to the excitement of Miami's culinary community, Chef Koshoji opened his first Kosushi location in the U.S., nestled in the hip Miami Beach area. With his arrival, Miami foodies now have everything they could ever dream of.

Savor Everything that Miami’s Culinary Scene Has to Offer

Hungry for more of the incredible culinary talents that call Miami home? There’s no shortage of restaurants in the area garnering praise from critics and everyday patrons alike, making it easy to explore something new and delicious every day.

Explore our collection of restaurant recommendations to suit every taste and occasion, ranging from the upscale to the ultra-casual, and discover your next favorite today.


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