LA PETITE MAISON Hustle, bustle and culinary muscle characterize the scene at the first US outpost of La Petite Maison—already famous for its London location and now, thankfully, in our midst as well. From the first bite of crispy-crusted baguette anointed with olive oil, pepper and fresh tomatoes that you slice up yourself (they’re on your table waiting for you) to the numerous hors d’oeuvres, or appetizers, you’ll be intrigued, and rightly so. Choose several, being sure not to miss any one of the issue-thin carpaccios (the beef packs more happily married flavors than one could imagine possible) or the grilled eggplant with mozzarella and prawns. Move on to a pasta—we’d be remiss not to recommend the tiny, buttery-smooth gnocchi afloat in a light, creamy cherry tomato sauce and topped with a delicate tangle of basil threads, which is meant for sharing but we’ll bet you won’t want to. Seafood offerings are fresh and perfectly prepared, including a whole sea bream baked en papillote with lemon, herbs and olive oil, accompanied by a barely dressed (just as we prefer everything in Miami) crispy shaved fennel salad, that’s expertly filleted and served up in two generous portions. Save room for any one of the calorie-worthy desserts, including a masterfully done crème brulee and a simple-sounding vanilla yogurt with strawberry foam that just might have you breaking into verses of “L’Hymne à l’amour.” And no one would blame you.
1300 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, 305.403.9133; lpmlondon.co.uk
‘O MUNIACELLO Hey, pizza lovers: Napoli has come to the MiMo District in Miami in the form of ‘O Munaciello. The full-menu restaurant and pizzeria, which is one of the most celebrated restaurants in Florence, Italy, recreates and interprets traditional Neapolitan dishes for hungry Miamians using local produce and the best imported goods—among them, the pizzas baked in a made-to-measure handmade brick oven, imported from Napoli, are the stars. From the ambiance to the the wine list, menu and décor, the restaurant invites both local residents and seasonal visitors of Miami alike to experience the unique cultural experience and outstanding cuisine at this approachable everyday neighborhood eatery.
‘O Munaciello 6425 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, muniacello-miami.com, 786.907.4000
COMMONWEALTH MIAMI Sometimes you just want to chill out, thrown on a concert tee and head to a really good whiskey bar for drinks and no-frills, really good food. When that urge overtakes you, head to Commonwealth, which bills itself as “an intimate saloon” but is really so much more. Rustic wood and warm lighting envelop the place in a relaxing glow, all the better in which to savor the flavor-saturated offerings from Chef Daniel Roy. Starters take old favorites to a new level, like Fried Calamari with Swank “Yummy” Peppers. Specialties include intriguing offerings like Red Ossabow Pork Shank, Gnocchi, Braised Mushroom, Parmesan and Sauté Greens (yes, all in one plate) and a selection of tacos and burgers is far from the expected—witness The Bleu Burger, with Smoked Pork Belly, Pickled Red Onion and Chicken Tacos with Crispy Chicken Skin, Achiote Avocado Mousse, Pickled Onions and Cotija. Before, during and after your repast, taste-test some craft beers or dark spirits—Commonwealth’s specialty—including scotches and bourbons from around the globe. Tip: You won’t regret an encounter with A Pig Named Maple, made with Tap 357 Canadian Maple Whisky, Angostura bitters and maple syrup, and garnished with a dehydrated slice of Benton’s bacon.
1216 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, commonwealthmiami.com, 786.773.1813