The Best Restaurants in Miami

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Miami is an international city surrounded by an ocean full of fresh seafood. Combine the two and the dining options are exciting and delicious. The international population brings rich culinary traditions from across Central and South America, as well as Europe, making it easy for food lovers to experience a wide variety of vibrant and authentic foods. Choices range from homey Cuban diners to high-end steak and seafood places. Here’s our favorites:
  • 1. The Top Restaurants in Miami Miami is an international city surrounded by an ocean full of fresh seafood. Combine the two and the dining options are exciting and delicious. The international population brings rich culinary traditions from across Central and South America, as well as Europe, making it easy for food lovers to experience a wide variety of vibrant and authentic foods. Choices range from homey Cuban diners to high-end steak and seafood places. Here’s our favorites:
  • 2. 1. Joe's Stone Crab Joe’s Stone Crab has been a South Beach institution for over 100 years. Joe Weiss and his wife Jennie opened for business in 1913 by putting some dining tables on their front porch, and the plan was to sell fish. However, as fate would have it, an ichthyologist (fish scientist) came in one day asked and why Joe wasn’t cooking any of the stone crabs that were plentiful in the area. They cooked some stone crabs to see how they tasted, and the rest is history. Everything is good, but the crabs are the thing to get. Stone crabs are in season October to May, so check the web site to make sure they are open in summer. The crab legs are harvested by pulled one leg off of the crab, and then the crab is returned to the water to grow another one. • Seafood Bisque • Stone Crab Claws served chilled with Mustard Sauce. • Joe’s Original Key Lime Pie. The restaurant is reputedly referenced in Ian Fleming’s novel “Goldfinger” as “Bill’s on the Beach,” and James Bond says he had the best meal of his life there. Famous people who have dined at the restaurant include Frank Sinatra, Babe Ruth, and Al Capone, and Dennis Rodman, who was thrown out. Joe’s does not accept reservations, so plan to order a beer or margarita and some conch fritters and wait - read more here (Photo by ChrisCruises)
  • 3. 2. Puerto Sagua Restaurant Puerto Sagua Restaurant is a true Cuban diner that’s been a staple of South Beach for years. It’s open 24 hours and attracts a cross-cultural mixture old elderly Cubans drinking coffee and young South Beach beach-goers getting value-priced food. It’s busy, inexpensive and no-frills. The Cuban fare offered includes Roasted Chicken, Fried Plantains, Black Beans and Rice, Ropa Vieja, Pernil Asado, and Cuban Sandwiches. • Cafe con Leche • Oxtail Stew with Rice and Plantains. • Ropa Vieja – Shredded Beef Cuban Style with Rice and Tostones or Fried Plantains. • “The Cubano” – Pressed Pork Sandwich with Cheese, Pickles and Mustard • “Medianoche” – Midnight Cuban Sandwich with Cheese and Pork on Egg Bread. The iconic Cuban diner has been featured on the Travel Channel‘s Food Paradise for their fabulous pork dishes, and it has also earned a reputation as a late-night dining spot after hitting the South Beach clubs. In fact, it can get very crowded after midnight - read more here (Photo by David Berkowitz)
  • 4. 3. Versialles Restaurant Versailles Restaurant is a landmark Cuban restaurants and bakery that has been called “The Most Famous Cuban Restaurant in the World,” and it’s been the headquarters of Cuban life of Little Havana since opening in 1971. In fact, Versailles is where the politicians go to court the Cuban vote. The restaurant is large and features a cafeteria- style set-up with many tables for seating, plus a bakery, a take-out counter, and an outdoor coffee window. Save room for the flan – it is often been voted as the best in Miami. • Cafe con Leche. • Oxtail Stew braised with Spices in a Red Wine Sauce, served with White Rice and Sweet Plantains. • Yuca Croquettes stuffed with “Picadillo” Ground Beef and served with Cilantro Sauce. • Fried Pork Chunks with White Rice, Black Beans, and Sweet Plantains. Versialles Restaurant is open from breakfast until late at night - read more here (Photo by Eugene Kim)
  • 5. 4. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink opened in 2007 in Miami’s Design District as Chef Michael Schwartz’ first restaurant in his burgeoning empire. In 2010, Schwartz won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South. In addition to this restaurant, he also owns a Michael’s Genuine Food in the Cayman Islands, Restaurant Michael Schwartz at the Raleigh Hotel, Harry’s Pizzeria, and The Cypress Room. He also brews beer under the Genuine label. The food is described as “Fresh, Simple, Pure,” and they prize themselves on using improvisational cooking techniques on seasonally-available ingredients, whether it’s fresh fish or local produce. The result is consistently delicious without being overtly showy. Their hamburger was named one of “14 Mouthwatering Burgers for National Hamburger Month” by Conde Nast Traveler. • Crispy Sweet and Spicy Pork Belly with Kimchi, Crushed Peanuts, Paradise Farms Pea Shoots. • Crispy Rice Cake with Chorizo, Florida Rock Shrimp, Chili Aioli, Lake Meadow Farm Egg. • Chargrilled Octopus with Salad of Gigande Beans, Roasted Peppers, Tomato Harissa, Green Olive, Torn Herbs. The restaurant is small and popular, so get a reservation if possible - read more here (Photo by Animesh Sabnis)
  • 6. 5. Yardbird - Southern Table & Bar Yardbird – Southern Table & Bar has come on the dining scene quickly and with much fanfare. Their Chicken and Biscuits were featured in Southern Living. Their Fried Chicken is brined for 27 hours and has been written up in New York Times and Food & Wine. Bon Appetit named Yardbird one of the “Top 50 New Restaurants of 2012.” Chicken is king here, but the cocktails are also good, as is the Shrimp and Grits. • Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade – Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Fresh-pressed Lemon Juice, Organic Blackberry and Cardamon, topped with Sparkling Wine. • Mama’s Chicken Biscuits – Free-Range Fried Chicken, Pepper Jelly, House-made Buttermilk Biscuit. • Llewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken – One-half Range Bird with “27-hour” Recipe and Spicy Tabasco Honey. • Shrimp and Grits with Florida Shrimp, Crisp Virginia Ham, Stone Ground Grits. Yardbird also has a very good weekend brunch. The same people who run Yardbird also run Swine Southern Table & Bar in Coral Gables. As the name suggests, Swine specializes in pork - read more here (Photo by Alissa Walker)
  • 7. 6. El Palacio de Los Jugos El Palacio de los Jugos is Spanish for “the Palace of Juice,” and it’s a Miami restaurant that serves true Cuban food – the kind that could have been found in 1940’s-era Cuba. El Palacio de los Jugos opened in 1977 as a small, brightly adorned, take-out juice stand. As the stand expanded and grew, more native and tropical fruits were incorporated into the menu, followed by traditional Cuban foods. Everything is homemade and fresh. The restaurant is open-air and is divided into three areas – a juice bar, a sandwich counter, and a hot-food section. For fresh, try the fresh-squeezed juices (guava, papaya, sugar cane, mango) and tropical shakes. For Cuban, try the roasted pork, roasted chicken, and oxtail. For the bonus extras, try the arroz con pollo, the red beans and rice, and the boiled yuca with garlic and citrus mojo sauce. El Palacio De Los Jugos has a few locations in the Miami area. Check their web site for details - read more here (Photo by T.Tseng)
  • 8. 7. La Sandwicherie La Sandwicherie is a tiny French sandwich bar with huge sandwiches, fresh-fruit smoothies, and perfect espressos. The key is fresh, quality ingredients, awesome bread, and their special French house-made vinaigrette. The sandwiches are a bit pricey, but they’re also huge. The seating all outside is on barstools along a counter. The place stays busy at all hours, so seating can be crowded at the counter. Luckily, Miami weather usually allows for many outdoor dining options just a short walk away. • Napoli – Prosciutto Sandwich on a Croissant with Fresh Mozzarella. • SOBE Club – Turkey, Brie, and Avocado on a Croissant • Croque Monsieur – Grilled Toast with roast Beef, Swiss Cheese, and a Side Salad. • Rainbow Smoothie with Strawberries, Peach, Blueberries, Kiwi, and Banana. A second location of La Sandwicherie on 8th Street in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami. Both restaurants are open practically around the clock and cater to people out late at clubs. They also make deliveries - read more here (Photo by magnoid)
  • 9. 8. Pubbelly Pubbelly is a comfortable, pork-forward, Asian fusion gastropub featuring small plate dishes accompanied by craft beer and a discerning wine list. There’s also a good list of sakes and cocktails. The hip setting includes high ceilings and exposed brick walls and pipes, and the mix of loals and visitors adds a comfortable vibe. The food melds Asian and Latin American influences in a creative, only-in-America way. The small plate format encourages sharing and trying new things. • Dates Avec Chorizo with Spicy Tomato, Goat Cream, Smoked Bacon. • Pork Belly Dumplings with Onion Marmalade, Su-shoyu, Schichimi. • Shortrib Tartare with Apple, Tobanjan, Pinenut Powder, Yuzu Dijonaise, Quail Yolk, Goat Butter Toast. • “Chopped” Bone Marrow with Citrus Gremolata, Miso Butter Toast, Bacon Marmalade. • Ramen with BBQ Pork with Belly, Spicy Lemongrass Broth, Beansprouts, Poached Egg, Scallions, Cilantro. Pubbelly gets crowded, so get there early or be willing to wait - read more here
  • 10. 9. Blue Collar Blue Collar is located in a storefront of the Biscayne Inn motel and serves well- prepared, reinvented comfort food in a comfortable and casual diner. Chef and owner Daniel Serfer opened his restaurant in 2012, and his goal was to serve quality food and evoke the idea that sharing and enjoying a meal should be a goal of going out to eat. With an open kitchen, warm wood laminates, molded plastic chairs, and retro furnishings, the vibe has a modern, clean, and sleek diner-like feel. The prices are easy on the wallet, and the food is honest and extends beyond the usual bacon and eggs and patty melts of the standard diner. Blue Collar does a great job with fresh, local vegetables, and they also excel at items such as shrimp and grits, oxtail, and fresh fish. • Pulled Pork Benedict – Jalapeno Cornbread, Golden BBQ Mayo. • Shrimp and Grits – Trugole Cheese, Neuske Bacon, New Orleans style “BBQ” Sauce. • Mac – Cavatappi, Trugole, Cheddar, and Parm Cheeses – with optional Bacon or Rock Shrimp. • Pork and Beans – Smokey Bacon, Berkshire Sausage, White Beans, Fried Egg, Toast. • The Big Ragout – Tagliatelle, Pork and Veal Shoulder, Brisket, Reggiano, San Marzano Tomatoes. The place is small diner in a non-nondescript, cheap motel, but don’t be fooled by the surroundings - read more here
  • 11. 10. The Broken Shaker The Broken Shaker is a tiny, postage-stamp American bar in the Freehand Miami hostel offering super-inventive cocktails and a great outdoor space for enjoying them. The candlelit bar is a good mix of a dark hideaway and a tropical outpost. With only four bar stools, there’ almost as many stool as bartenders. Everything works wonderfully, though, because guests can take their drinks out to the hostel’s large patio and enjoy their drink under the stars, which is hard to beat. The crowd is friendly, and there’s board games, ping pong tables, and bocce ball for entertainment. Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi are the two visionaries behind the bar. They offer a small menu of six cocktails that changes regularly, or the bartender can custom-make a drink on the spot. Punch bowls can be ordered that serve 4-8 people. The Broken Shaker specializes is hard to find liquors and unusual ingredients. In fact, they grow about half of the herbs and vegetables used for their drinks in the hostel’s courtyard. In addition to the cocktails, there’s also a select list of beers and wines - read more here (Photo by yonolatengo)
  • 12. 11. Ortanique on the Mile Ortanique on the Mile offers Caribbean “Cuisine of the Sun” food in a warm and bright restaurant in Coral Gables. Upon opening, Ortanique on the Mile was named the “Best New Restaurant in American for 1999” by Esquire magazine. A new location of the restaurant opened on Grand Cayman in 2010. • West Indian Curried Fresh Jumbo Lump Crabcake with Blended Curries, Red Peppers, Scallions and Japanese Panko, served with Sorrel Flower Paint, Papaya- Lime Coulis, and Yucca Chips. • Escovitch Mahi Mahi over Jamacian Rice and Peas with Spicy Bonnet Peppers, Sweet Vidalia Onions, Carrots and Chayote. • Caribbean Seared Ahi Tuna marinated in Sesame Oil and Caribbean Spices, with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Tropical Mango Papaya Salsa. • Rum Soaked Banana Fritters rolled in Cinnamon Sugar, drizzled in Caramel Sauce, and served with Ice Cream. Start with what may be Miami’s Best Mojito while perusing the eclectic, inventive food options - read more here (Photo by Jeff Turner)
  • 13. 12. Zuma Zuma is the lone US outpost of an international high-end Japanese chain of restaurants based in Tokyo. Zuma’s first location was in London, followed by restaurants in Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Dubai before opening at the chic Epic Hotel in downtown Miami neighborhood in 2009. Zuma serves meals Izakaya style, which originated in sake shops, With Izakaya-style dining, food accompanies the drinks, and dishes are brought to the table continuously throughout the meal. Dishes can be shared or eaten individually. • Ika No Kari Kari Age – Crispy Fried Squid with Green Chili and Lime. • Gyu To Shishito No Kushi Yaki – Beef Skewers with Shishito Pepper and Smoked Chili Soy. • Gyuhire Sumibiyaki Karami Sauce Zuke – Spicy Beef Tenderloin with Sesame, Red Chili and Sweet Soy. • Gindara No Saikyo Miso Yaki – Black Cod marinated in Saikyo Miso with Homemade Hajikame. • Green Tea and Banana Cake with Coconut Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce. Zuma also offers a Signature Tasting menu. Make reservation well in advance - read more here (Photo by
  • 14. 13. Wynwood Kitchen & Bar Wynwood Kitchen & Bar is an Arts District hot-spot featuring Latin-influenced cuisine mixed with live music and visually stimulating murals, sculptures and paintings. Eat indoors in the cavernous art gallery dining room or outdoors on the grassy patio with a view of the famous Wynwood Walls. Either way, expect an adventurous dining experience while sampling the tapas and small plate menu. The hip crowd makes for good people-watching. • Ropa Vieja Empanadas – Chicken, Cilantro Crema. • WKB Hamburguesita – Chorizo y Pollo, Pickled Jalapeño, Romaine Lettuce, Cascabel Glaze. • Scallops – Pan seared with Crispy Polenta, Tomatoes, Feta. • Flash Fried Bok Choy with Soy Garlic Dressing. Wynwood was a former warehouse district until developer Tony Goldman began buying the abandoned warehouses and inviting artist from around the world to create giant murals on the outside walls. The area has slowly evolved into a vibrant center of art and culture. In 2010, Goldman opened the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar at the center of the burgeoning neighborhood, and soon, and after a somewhat mediocre start, chef Miguel Aguilar was brought in to revamp the menu. Unfortunately, Tony Goldman died in 2012 - read more here (Photo by Miamism)
  • 15. 14. Robert is Here Although not really a restaurant, Robert Is Here is definitely a place that needs to be visited. The over-the-top fruit stand is located south of Miami in Homestead at the last turn before the long stretch of road that leads into the Florida Keys. Robert started as a 6-year-old boy selling cucumbers on the side of the road in 1959. He didn’t have much luck until his father wrote the words: “Robert Is Here” on two signs and attached them to the side of the table. The next day, all of the produce was sold by noon. Today, Robert is all grown up, and his produce stand is a must stop for handpicked fruits and vegetables. The fruit stand has many rare fruits that the average person has never heard of. In addition to the produce, Robert is Here is known for delicious smoothies, milkshakes, hot sauces, relishes, and key lime cheesecake. For kids, there’s a splash park and a small zoo with emus, burros, goats, parrots, honeybees, chickens, geese and tortoises. On the weekends, there’s live music - read more here (Photo by A. Drauglis)
  • 16. 15. Mandolin Aegean Bistro Mandolin Aegean Bistro serves understated and excellent Greek and Turkish food in Miami’s Design District. The spacious, shaded patio provides the perfect romantic setting for lingering over a candle-lit dinner. For lunch dress casually and wear sunglasses while drinking white sangria made with rosewater. The Mandolin Aegean Bistro grows some of their foods in their own organic garden. Save room for the exquisite baklava. • Marinated Grilled Octopus. • Mandolin Sirloin and Lamb Cheeseburger. • Village Pasta: Greek Noodles with Ground Beef and Bechamel Sauce. • Fresh Whole Fish Simply Grilled with Olive Oil, Lemon and Oregano. • Perfectly-grilled Lamb Chops over Orzo Pilaf. The area around the restaurant can be sketchy at night, so consider using Mandolin Aegean Bistro’ reasonably-priced valet service - read more here (Photo by Klearkos Kapoutsis)
  • 17. 16. NAOE NAOE is a tiny, unassuming place with no sign, but they serve some of the best Japanese food around. The Forbes Travel Guide declared NAOE one of the “Top 4 Japanese Restaurants in North America” in 2012. USA Today Travel named them one of the “Top 30 Restaurants in America.” The husband and wife team of Wendy and Kevin Cory run the restaurant, with Wendy greeting customers and Five-Star Sushi Chef Cory overseeing the kitchen. The seafood is flown in fresh from Japan. Dinners are omakase and consist of many small courses, with the wait staff explaining each dish as they present it. The vibe is quiet and relaxed. Eating at NAOE is about a culinary experience – expect to spend about three hours. Make reservations very early - read more here (Photo by David Berkowitz)
  • 18. 17. OLA Restaurant OLA Restaurant is located at The Sanctuary Hotel in Miami Beach, and it does provide a peaceful respite from the usual glitz of South Beach. Chef Horacio Rivadero brings innovative ideas to traditional Latin American cuisine, and, for his efforts, he won Food & Wine‘s “Best Gulf Coast Chef” award for 2012. The eatery is an elegant, yet relaxed and unpretentious. Signature ceviches (especially the Fire and Ice Ceviche) and Latin- inspired tapas are the specialties. Many diners start with a refreshing Mojito. • Fire and Ice – Cobia marinated in Sour Orange, Thai Chilies, Cilantro, and Jalapeño over Saia Pear Granita. • Smoked Marlin Tacos with Rum-vanilla Cured and Smoked in a Crispy Malanga Boat, with Pickled Jalapeños. • Lobster Empanada – Squid Ink Dough filled with Maine Lobster and Butter, with Avocado Sauce and Salsa Rosa. • Filet Mignon Churrasco with Grilled Asparagus, Chipotle Crabmeat Dressing and Chimichurri. • Deconstructed Key Lime Pie – Key Lime Custard, Toasted Meringue, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, finished with a Toasted Cinnamon Walnut Tuile. OLA is a small restaurant with seating either indoors or al fresco is available on the terrace. A rooftop dining is available for private parties, or it can be reserved for a romantic dinner-for-two prepared special by the chef - read more here (Photo by stu_spivack)
  • 19. 18. La Camaronera Seafood Joint & Fish Market La Camaronera Seafood Joint & Fish Market is a Little Havana landmark restaurant that has been featured on both Guy Fieri€€s Diner€€s Drive-Ins and Dives and on Michelle Bernstein€€s Check, Please! Fried fresh seafood that has been caught locally is the specialty. The fish market was opened in 1966 by the 11 Garcia brothers, who had escaped Cuba two years prior. In 1976, they were able to open a small counter to serve customers fried fish. The place has expanded and has tables now, and the menu has expanded, as well. Bollitos de Carita (Black-eyed Pea Fritters). Pan con Minuta (Fried Red Snapper Sandwich) with Fresh Onions, K
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