The Full-On Experience
Ghee Indian Kitchen
Why it’s a winner: Because even those who aren’t crazy about Indian food are mad for this place, which opened two years ago in Dadeland (there’s now a Design District location). Owner and chef Niven Patel offers addictive dishes like ghost pepper cheddar nan, short rib dosa and sticky date cake—what else is there to say? gheemiami.com.
The Jim & Neesie
Why it’s a winner: Located in the lobby of Generator in Miami Beach, the first U.S. outpost of the European hostel chain, this spot—led by Chef Daniel Roy, previously of Habitat and Stubborn Seed—scores with plates like Pan Seared Snapper with sweet chili sauce and pea tendrils and a noteworthy Crispy Skin Airline Chicken with chicken jus, poblano emulsion and Andean Pride quinoa. Call 786.496.5730.
The Surf Club Restaurant
Why it’s a winner: Simply put, Chef Thomas Keller, he of the famous French Laundry in Napa. Here, however, you can actually get a reservation (if you plan months in advance) and once you enter the gorgeous space, you’re off on a journey of white-glove service and a level of dining that makes you understand why Keller has the reputation he does.
La Fresa Francesa
Why it’s a winner: Enter the tiny, antiques- and vintage filled strip-mall spot in the heart of Hialeah and you feel like you’re back in Paris. The baked cheese served with fresh baguette and honey might just make you wild with desire, and that’s only a starter. Drink lots of their delicious wines, and save room for a crepe as the coda to a sublime repast. 59 W. 3rd St., Hialeah.
El Cielo by Juan Manuel Barrientos
Why it’s a winner: The fascinating trees of bread, the liquid chocolate to be eaten after submerging your fingers in it, the truly unique and delicious dishes, all to be consumed in bliss amidst a gorgeous setting along the banks of the Miami River—that’s why.
New(ish) & Exciting
Café La Trova
We’re always psyched to try out a restaurant that considers drinks as important as food when it comes to an indulgent experience, and that’s what this joint venture between Michelle Bernstein and cantinero extraordinaire Julio Cabrera does. It’s been written that this is a “love song to Cuba and the American Dream,” and one taste of Chef Raulito Salgado’s preparations—born of Bernstein’s concepts—will transport you straight to the island. cafelatrova.com.
Root & Bone
Tuck into mouthwatering delights like smashed sunchoke tostones with buttermilk crème fraiche, caviar and chives, or go lighter with a watermelon and farmer cheese salad tossed with lime, cayenne, Marcona almonds, mint and oil. The dynamic duo of Booth and McInnis never disappoints, and that goes double for this place. rootbone.com
Dismiss visions of those childhood candy dispensers and think seafood, where Mexican and Mediterranean merge to form a cuisine heavy on oddly named but delicious options, such as Tlayuda OaxaCalifornia, a crunchy tortilla carrying wahoo, sea urchin, black bean spread, guacachile and watercress. pezmiami.com
Yes, initially Jose Menden’s latest venture captured attention for the immense mural of the Puerto Rican flag that wraps around the building’s façade, but with Pubbelly badass boy Mending behind it, classics from the island—alcapurrias (fritters of grated yucca) topped with ropa vieja, salted cod fritters with coconut aioli—take on an interesting spin. pubbellyglobal.com
Does Miami really need another robatayaki/crudo concept? As it turns out, yes. Order the Koji Butter-Wings with truffle chili ponzu butter and chase it with the Lemongrass Duck Sausage with Kaffir Lime Crème Fraiche, and you’ll see why. kaidomiami.com
Besides the fact that the atmosphere is always lively, brunch here is, er, a different animal, offering an assortment of unbrunch-like hors d’eouvre such as Steak Tartare Du Parc and Chilled Cucumber Soup, an assortment of cheese plates, Truffle Pizza and a remarkable Grilled Snapper Sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes, olive, broccoli rabe and chili aioli. lezoo.com
Brunch here continues year after year to be not just a meal, but an event. If you know, you know; if you don’t know—go. zumarestaurant.com
At night it’s all about cocktails, Mediterranean specialties, DJs and dancing, but on Sundays, this is where you go for Baklava Pancakes, Salmon Tartar and Shakshuka—along with a killer Bloody Mary topped with bacon and guajillo chile. astramiami.com
Corsair Kitchen & Bar
The brunch at this spot inside the Turnberry Isle Resort, The 52 By Corsair, is offered both Saturdays and Sundays and available something new every weekend—but you can always count on the $8 Endless 52-Item Bloody Mary Bar. jwturnberry.com
This unexpected pleasure consists of a full buffet comprising both breakfast and lunch dishes—don’t miss Egg Foo Yung with rock shrimp, Chinese sausage and shiitake—a selection of entrées and bottomless champagne, all for under $60. Fill ‘er up.
Food Halls & Trucks
They’re not all new, but we’re still fascinated with them. If you’re late to the party—really late—the good news is, you can show up at any time and still get to revel in the joy of sampling the treats all have to offer.
La Centrale: More than just a food hall, this is akin to eating your way through Italy without having to negotiate the nightmare known as Miami International Airport to get there. They aren’t kidding when they call the restaurants “elevated dining” spots, plus there’s a market, bars and cooking demos. lacentralemiami.com
St. Roch Market: Like its original New Orleans counterpart, this one is a chef-centric destination. From Hot Lime Craft Tacos & Ceviche Bar to Miami-born Chef Andrew Zarzosa’s Asian concept Yuzu to Dal Plin Italian Eatery, helmed by native Milanese partners Massimo and Elisabetta Tundo, the options are topnotch. miami.strochmarket.com
Monsieur Poutine: Four words: French fries and gravy. That would be enough for us, but Monsieur Poutine food truck has gone beyond that, adding to its menu variations like Poutine Poulet Buffalo—smoked gouda mornay, pulled buffalo chicken and scallions atop fries—among others. roaminghunger.com.
Lincoln Eatery: One of the newest on the list, this elegant, Arquitectonica-designed compendium of 16 inspired eateries includes everything from Thai to burgers to sushi, all taken up more than a few notches. thelincolneatery.com.
Time Out Market Miami: Superstar chefs—Norman Van Aken, Jeremy Ford and Giorgio Rapicavoli among them—have all signed on to feed our faces full of the best darned fare you’ll find in a food hall. timeoutmarket.com
Sweets Worth Dumping the Diet For
Dasher & Crank
Why it’s special: unusual flavors like Chicken and Waffles, Coffee and Cinnamon Rolls (which contains Knaus Berry Farm’s rolls and Per’la’s coffee) and Fat Elvis, a concoction of peanut butter, banana and bacon. dasherandcrank.com
Night Owl Cookie Company
Creativity abounds here in the form of Birthday Cake, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Rainbow Over Bedrock, a combination of Fruity Pebbles and white chocolate chips. nightowlcookieco.com
Ice Box Café
When you just have to have that sugar fix and nothing but ooey, gooey chocolate will do, stop in for a hunk of Chocolate Delight, layers of chocolate cheesecake brownie with chocolate mousse filling and dark chocolate ganache. iceboxcafe.com
Kind of Fancy
French desserts seem posh even when they’re basic, but the Tarte Tatin aux Pommes at this Coral Gables mainstay—calvados sauce, spiced crumble and salted caramel ice cream—is undoubtedly both. leprovencalrestaurant.com
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
We’ll break it down for you in one word: Torrejas—the perfect marriage of dulce de leche-dipped French toast pieces, caramelized apples and cinnamon ice cream. sugarcanerawbargrill.com
Baby Jane Cocktail
House & Eatery
Where else will you find a libation like Big Trouble in Lil Havana, a mix of wonton-infused Flor de Cana 7-year rum, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Lemon Bitters? babyjanemiami.com
Nothing says “fresh” like a Green Ghoul—tequila, mescal, poblano, cucumber, chamomile and lime. Ahh…. jaguarsunmia.com
On the lighter side, go for a London Breeze: Beefeater London Pink Gin, dry vermouth, fresh basil, lemon and simple syrup. Or go for something more substantial, like the Kiss My Coco: Bacardi, coconut cream, pineapple, grated cinnamon and toasted coconut sugar. boomboxmiami.com
Astra Rooftop Bar
Great music, great vibe, great drinks, for adventurists or traditionalists, who will love the Alpha Old Fashioned made with Makers Mark, brown sugar and black tea-infused syrup, Angostura bitters and finished with smoke. astramiami.com
Uvaggio Wine Bar
It’s all about vino here, from a Large and In Charge selection of whites to a selection of “Sweety Pie” dessert wines, all of which can be accompanied by impressive offerings from the kitchen by Chef Gil Tanner. uvaggiowine.com
Go for the cocktail names alone, among them Sex Panther, Porn Star Martini, Left Hand Cocktail and Mentirita. But you won’t stay just for the names alone. mamatriedmia.com
Ball & Chain
Since it opened its doors we’ve been loving this place for its delicious, Cuban-inspired concoctions, and we still do—especially the Pastelito Daiquiri made with Bacardi, guava purée, housemade honey syrup and lime juice, garnished with a pastelito. ballandchainmiami.com
This intriguing hidden gem upstairs from Taquerias el Mexicano in Little Havana (also from our friends at Ball & Chain) has a Mexican vibe and is the perfect place to test out a few specialty cocktails late into the night. losaltosmiami.com
No. 3 Social
Cleverly named drinks are fun, but they have to deliver—and the ones you’ll find here certainly do. Favorites include Norman’s Revenge—tequila, agave nectar, lime, jalapeño and black salt—and Mezing Around, a mix of mescal, hibiscus, cucumber juice, and habanero bitters. no3social.com
Fancy a glass of Viognier-Assyrtiko from Greece, or maybe a full bottle of that Albarinho you enjoyed on that vacation to Spain? This place has both, and many, many more, from France, Austria, Italy, Slovenia—you name it—plus bar bites and a full menu of tapas, salads and entrées. barmeli.com
Pardon us if we seem repetitive, but some chefs are just the Tom Bradys of the culinary world, and there’s no denying it. So you’ll no doubt recognize at least a few of the names on this list…those who have earned their place among not just Miami’s but the nation’s crème de la crème.
Seems he’s always up to something new, and this time it’s International Smoke, alongside the dynamic Ayesha Curry, located right here in the Aventura Mall. Here, Mina takes barbecue up a notch, with options like a Short Rib Hero and a bar serving up homemade pickle-back shots.
The Top Chef Season 13 winner has come so far, that distinction hardly seems relevant anymore. From the exceptionally good Stubborn Seed to his participation in Time Out Market Miami to his upcoming (2020) A-fish-o-na-do in Coconut Grove, Ford continues to outdo himself again and again.
Today equally famous for his humanitarian efforts—he landed on the Time magazine list of the most influential people in the world—the Spanish-American chef owns restaurants across the country, from Washington to L.A. and in between, but we in the 305 like to pretend he belongs to us.
Bernstein actually does belong to us. The native Miamian and James Beard Award winner has been a household name for decades now, thanks to her numerous notable dining concepts, cookbooks, TV shows and trademark megawatt smile.
Formerly of Michael’s Genuine, the man who brought Ghee Indian Kitchen to Miami is one of South Florida’s newest heroes. Up next, he’ll be indulging his passion for pasta by opening an Italian restaurant, Erba, later this year.
Recently dubbed in the press as the “restaurant empire-builder to watch,” Kilgore is already worth more than a look. At only 32, he takes exciting chances with food that most chefs would warn against—deep-fried A5 Wagyu? Sure, why not?—and the results are taking him and his career to new heights.
Janine Booth & Jeff McInnis
Talk about a dream team: To put it in plain terms, these two can do no wrong. The betrothed chefs are the brains and talent behind Stiltsville Fish Bar; they continue their run with more locations of their well-received Root & Bone, which originated in New York.
Hedy Goldsmith & Jamie DeRosa
Coral Gables is now home to a joint venture by these two stars in their own right, Ad Lib. DeRosa takes on the savory side while Goldsmith, famous for her sweet endings, puts the coda on each experience with insanely yummy inventions like Brown-butter Semifreddo with Moroccan spices.