Big congrats to NAOE and Azul, the only two Florida restaurants to be awarded the coveted Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide. The Miami restaurants join an elite group including Thomas Keller's Per Se and The French Laundry, Eric Ripert's Le Bernadin, Grant Achatz's Alinea and not too many more. Two of 28 restaurants in the world, in fact. Impressive, huh? Huge, actually, considering it's the first time any Miami restaurants have ever been awarded the Five Stars. The former Mobil Travel Guide has stringent criteria for five stars, saying "These top-of-the-line hotels, restaurants and spas are the best in the world." As for restaurants specifically, "A Five Star restaurant consistently provides exceptional food, superlative service and elegant decor. An emphasis is placed on originality and personalized, attentive and discreet service. A gracious, warm dining room team attends to every detail of the meal. " This was the honor we were implying that would be bestowed upon NAOE in our Rumor Mill post on February 8, FYI.
And here's what Forbes had to say about the two restaurants specifically:
"At Azul, the restaurant inside Mandarin Oriental, Miami, you'll find a light and airy room overlooking Biscayne Bay and a menu that takes its cues from its waterfront location. Naoe, a jewel box of a Japanese restaurant tucked away on the city's Brickell Key, is the domain of chef Kevin Cory, who serves just a handful of diners each night during two seatings that are often sold out months in advance. Those who do snag a seat are treated to an impeccable experience in flavor, presentation and gracious service, as they dine on the freshest, purest Japanese dishes found this side of Tokyo."