James Beard Foundation Names Best Restaurants in America for 2023 – South Florida Receives 14 Nominations

The James Beard Foundation Awards—call it the Super Bowl of restaurants, the Olympics of chefs—just announced this year’s semifinalists, with South Florida picking up 14 nominations. Five of them were from Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The esteemed foundation unveiled its shortlist on January 25, hosting a feast for the country’s top tastemakers, emerging chefs, bakers and bars.Local nominees offer latest evidence that South Florida shines on culinary prestige, distance from The lofty Michelin Guide rides into townEarn 11 stars for restaurants in Miami-Dade County.

Timon Balloo, a past nominee who relocated from Miami to Fort Lauderdale in 2021, was named a semifinalist in the “Best Chef: Southern” category. Balloo earns recognition for The Katherinethe cozy, seafood-and-veggie-focused neighborhood eatery he named after his wife on Broward Avenue.

Meanwhile, five other chefs in Palm Beach County have received four Best Chef: Southern nominations: Jeremy (formerly One Door East) and Cindy Bearman of Lantana American restaurant Oceano Kitchen; Rick Mace (formerly Café Boulud )of Florida-style barbecue restaurant Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach; Pushka Malate Small Plates Restaurant Stage at Palm Beach Gardens; and Lojo Washington of Ethiopia found Queen Sheeba in West Palm Beach.

Fernando, Nando and Valerie Chang’s final “Best Chef: Southern” nominee is Itamae, their 40-seat Peruvian-Japanese restaurant in Miami’s Design District.

Chef Rick Mace (right) was named a James Beard Award semifinalist for his Florida-style barbecue restaurant Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach. Also pictured: co-owner Jason Lakow.

The 2022 finalists will be announced on March 29, and the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago on June 5. “Best Chef: Southern” is a regional award, the rest are national James Beard semifinalists.

Here’s the full list of South Florida semifinalists.

Nominated jointly by Mohamed Ali Alkassar and Niven Patel, who run the Miami-Dade-based Alpareno Restaurant Group (Ghee Indian Kitchen, Orno and Mamey).

Ariete of the Miami-Dade Coconut Grove community has been recognized.Inside chef Michael Beltran’s farmhouse-style restaurant, USADishes are shaped by the chef’s Cuban heritage,

Zak Stern, who sparked the artisan bread revolution in Miami, is nominated again as Wynwood’s Zak the Baker. Besides rushing to Miami, you can also find Stern’s fresh bread in the bakery section of your local Whole Foods Market.

James Beard award-winning Michael Schwartz has once again earned accolades for Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, his intimate neighborhood restaurant in Miami’s Design District.

Akino West, the restaurateur behind The Copper Door Bed and Breakfast in Overtown, earned a nomination for Rosie’s, his South American-themed restaurant with an Italian accent in Miami’s Little River neighborhood.

Venezuelan father and son bakers Manuel and Jesús Brazón, both studying under Zak Stern, were nominated for Doral’s Caracas Bakery.

Chef Michael Pirolo earned the honor for his rustic Italian restaurant Macchialina in Miami Beach.

Café La Trova, a popular Cuban cocktail bar on Miami’s Calle Ocho, designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein, was named a semifinalist.

For a complete list of nominations, please visit JamesBeard.org.