COURTESY OF NAIYARA
Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Miami Right Now

Published On 10/09/2017
Ernie Rodriguez

Eating House

Coral Gables

Though Miamians won’t really line up for anything that doesn’t involve a Pitbull meet and greet, somehow Giorgio Rapicavoli manages to get us to do it for brunch EVERY Sunday, even in oppressive humidity. Cap’n Crunch pancakes can do that to a person, but so can the “what is he smoking” creativity that perpetually comes out of this kitchen, making Eating House a constant topic when people talk about the best restaurants in town.

Courtesy of Yardbird

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Miami Beach

It’s quite the contradiction that in a city obsessed with keeping fat off, the most popular dish not called a Cuban sandwich is Yardbird’s fried chicken. Or maybe its chicken biscuit. Either way the 50 Eggs folks have managed to do the impossible and convince a body-obsessed city that fried food is cool. Combine that with the best bourbon selection in South Florida, and you’ve got the best southern thing to hit this city since it was pronounced “Mia-muh.”

Courtesy of Toni's Sushi bar

Toni's Sushi Bar

South Beach

It’s gotten to the point in Miami that sushi is so ubiquitous, it's almost a staple at Italian restaurants. But there is much to be said for doing one thing, and doing it better than anyone else, and this South Beach sushery has consistently been named one of the top in the city, despite the influx of fancier competitors. And for beach denizens who want great, affordable sushi and don’t want to drive to the mainland to get it, this spot becomes a fast favorite.

Courtesy of Red, the Steakhouse

Red, The Steakhouse

South Beach

We’ve not only named this place the best steakhouse in Miami, its also made the list for best tapas, best donuts, and even the best steakhouse in Ohio. But that doesn't slow down Peter Vauthy, who makes the best meat on the Beach with absolutely zero attitude or pretentiousness, and aside from his Certified Angus Beef steaks, also has a top-notch Italian menu, highlighted by literally anything with the "Red Lead" sauce.

George Apostolidis

La Mar by Gaston Acurio

Brickell

Remember that time we said you couldn’t get a bad meal at a Mandarin Oriental? Gastón Acurio knows that, too; that’s why the hottest chef in Peru put his first American outpost here, where he’s serving up the best ceviche in Miami plus Peruvian favorites like lomo saltado and an insanely extravagant seafood brunch. And the view here may be even better than Azul’s this time of year: You can actually sit outside and listen to the water while you eat.

Liz Clayman

Macchialina Taverna Rustica

South Beach

Well, all that traffic and all those closed-down restaurants later, and it seems South Beach is still flooding. But until we’re all underwater, best to enjoy one of the few spots that survived the Alton Road Apocalypse, mostly by serving the best Italian food in Miami. Michael Pirolo plates up thick red sauces and house-made pastas, accompanied by a rotating menu of craft cocktails in a space that feels more South Italy than South Beach, and makes this a homey standout among sometimes-snooty feeling Miami Italian joints.

Courtesy of Bombay Darbar

Bombay Darbar

Coconut Grove

Despite Miami’s restaurant explosion in the last decade, anyone who dines out regularly has said something like, “But you know what we still don’t really have? Good Indian food. Except that one place in the Grove, but it’s always so crowded.” Well, “that place in the Grove” is Bombay Darbar, and it just moved into some massive new digs on Commodore Plaza. So you can finally try the one legit Indian restaurant we have, but still complain about why we don’t have more.

Courtesy of Pincho Factory

Pincho Factory

South Miami

You don’t go from a hole in the wall in a strip mall to having your own concession stand at the AAA in just a few years by serving mediocre, expensive food. Somehow Nedal Ahmad figured this out, while about 400 other restaurants couldn't, and now has the hottest fast-casual concept in Florida. After winning the burger bash with his Toston burger, Nedal’s expanding to Orlando and taking said burger, as well as his savory bowls and pinchos, to the rest of the state. So it’s only a matter of time until that Toston burger isn’t quite so “only in Miami.”

Courtesy of Blue Collar

Blue Collar Restaurant

MiMo

Don’t have a heart attack, Danny Serfer! Never mind you’ve probably given them to half the city with your potato latkes, Corben sandwich, one of the best breakfast sandwiches in America, and an entire menu of stuff our cardiologist warned us about. We still included you on the list. But kinda like we do when there’s no tables at Blue Collar on a hot summer night, we just wanted to make you sweat.

Courtesy of NaiYaRa

NaiYaRa

South Beach

“We don’t fuck around” spicy food is harder to find in Miami than one might think. Since our idea of Asian cuisine seems to be either high priced sushi or fill-in-the-blank fusion, the authentic stuff is few and far between. So thanks to Chef Bee for opening up this spot in Sunset Harbour, where he’s plating sweat-inducing curries, rich noodle bowls, cured beef jerky, and jerky-infused whiskey cocktails. Even if you don’t love the hot stuff, the regular menu is the best Southeast Asian in the city. But if you feel like proving yourself at dinner, ask for your dinner “the way the chef eats it.”

Mignonette

Mignonette

Edgewater

Seafood is as much of a staple on Miami menus as kitschy takes on the Cuban sandwich and an 18% automatic gratuity. But like with so many things in life, the ones who do it simplest, do it best. Case in point: Danny Serfer’s Edgewater outpost, where the menu starts off with the best selection of fresh oysters in Miami, then graduates onto a lobster heavy-list of appetizers highlighted by the croissants with lobster butter. The “plain” entrees are the way to go here, where Serfer lets the selection of local fish speak for itself. But if you insist on venturing the fancy stuff, the swordfish with duck confit is your best bet.

Courtesy of Alter

Alter

Wynwood

If there is a restaurant that is completely emblematic of what Wynwood has become, it’s Alter. The place is hipster and casual at first glance, but actually sophisticated and upscale. The big, light, warehoused area is full of causal seats, waiters in jeans, and tropical plants. The food however, is as fine-dining as it gets. Because Brad Kilgore is constantly creating new plates, you’ll have a different experience every time you go, and probably a fairly-different menu. But each plate is exquisitely created and crafted with flavor profiles you’d never think to put together. And it might be the perfect place to take out-of-towners who think everything great in Miami lies in South Beach.

Coyo Taco

Coyo Taco

Wynwood

“Aspiring taco restaurateur” might have been the second-most popular occupation in Miami this past year after “runs some businesses.” But the clear cut winner has been Coyo, the grilled-meat taco emporium that has lines out the door from open until close. Their creations like cactus tacos, pollo al pastor, and carne asada served on housemade tortillas with fresh, local salsas have taken the city over, and they’ve opened three locations in just over a year. The Wynwood original even has a hidden bar in the back, and might be the odd Miami nightspot where the endless line might be actually worth braving. But only because it has tacos at the end.

Mina's Mediterraneo

Mina's Mediterraneo

North Miami

Though a lot of restaurants like to use the term “Mediterranean” to describe what’s better explained as “generic restaurant food,” Mina’s brings the real deal. Here, owner Yasmine Kotb uses a combination of family recipes she learned from her grandparents in Cairo, with food she experienced over a decade-plus on tour with everyone from Beyoncé to Cher. The menu combines grilled staples like kafta kebab and fish tagine, and adds inventive pizzas with stuff like lamb sausage. Out back, Mina’s has a pleasant dining terrace that doubles as one of Miami’s best places to drink outdoors.

Crust

Miami River

In an era when Miamians have been conditioned to say unconscionable things like “$22 for a pizza seems fair,” one place is bucking the trend. This family-run Italian spot on the Miami River not only serves up some of the consistently best pizza in Miami, it does so at prices that don’t make you feel violated when you leave. It’s a throwback to the Italian restaurants of your childhood, where oversized family-style pasta dishes and humongous cuts of meat are served for the price of small entrees at other places. And all of it's done in an atmosphere that feels as much like eating in your family’s living room as it does a romantic waterside bistro.

Santorini by Georgios

Santorini by Georgios

Miami Beach

Traditionally, poolside cuisine in Miami has been relegated to $20 hamburgers with mini bottles of Grey Poupon and/or a $7 slice of watermelon. All that’s changed at the Hilton Bentley Bay, where the poolside restaurant is serving the best Greek food in Miami. Creator, owner, and executive chef Georgios Vogiatzis has crafted a fresh menu long on creative salads, flavorful meats, and humongous gyro and pita sandwiches. If you want to be indulgent, opt for the seafood platter, where every piece is grilled with a buttery, lemon glaze and tastes just like it would on an island in the Med. It’s the odd place where you can take in the Miami scene, dine on great food, and not lose half your paycheck in the process.

Bazaar Mar by José Andrés
 

Bazaar Mar

Brickell

For the amateur critics, no space in Miami is hotter right now than José Andrés' new venture at the SLS Brickell. His first restaurant on the 305 mainland has a more seafood-centric menu than his South Beach outpost. The menu starts with “Sea Little Snacks” like codfish croquettes and a hefty menu of ceviches. Adventurous eaters should try the head-to-toe menu that serves fish in ways you never wanted to know were edible, like monkfish liver and codfish blood sausage. The Josper grill in the kitchen gives the dishes a unique flavor never before seen in Miami seafood restaurants.

JONATHAN POSNIAK

Phuc Yea

Downtown

When you first hear a restaurant is doing Vietnamese-Cajun fusion, you might think Ani Meinhold and Cesar Zapata got bored, threw a bunch of cuisine names in a hat, and went with the first two they picked. And while there’s no doubt this duo is skilled enough to pull that off, the menu here is actually a carefully planned combination of the former-Federal team’s culinary background. You’ll be able to get stuff like caramel pork riblets, cast-iron lemongrass chicken, or the trademark Cajun pots where you pick a spicy Asian sauce and a seafood and wait for a big metal cask to show up at your table filled with your dinner. What’s more, the restaurant also boasts the Lantern Garden out back, where you can sit in an outdoor Asian garden and sip on tropical cocktails, completely forgetting you’re about 30 yards from US-1.

Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Brickell

The name here refers to golfer Ernie Els and has about as much to do with New Orleans as winning basketball. Instead, this anchor of Brickell City Centre is the first large restaurant to offer up takes on Els’ native South African cuisine, all with an open kitchen, fragrant fire, and extensive collection of hard-to-find wines. The star of the show here is the Piri-Piri Chicken, a hot, tangy, tomato-based dish that Big Easy does better than anyone else in town. Other unique items include the Rabbit Chow, which is obviously a giant veal shank served in a spicy tomato sauce inside of a giant bread bowl.

Ghee Indian Kitchen

Ghee Indian Kitchen

Dadeland

Miami’s dearth of great Indian food gets a little smaller with Ghee, an intimate 70-seater adorned in décor imported from India -- including the signature mango wood tables. Chef Niven Patel, who honed his craft at Michael’s Genuine, opened Ghee with his wife Shivani. The menu changes every day based on what fresh, local ingredients they come across, making it the perfect place to get out of an Indian food rut and try a dish you’ve never even heard of. And if you want them to jack up the spice and heat to uncomfortable levels, they’re more than happy to oblige in your masochism.

Kiki On The River

Kiki on the River

Miami River

Miami’s riverfront has long struggled to strike the balance between stripped-down fish markets that sell their catches at sticky wood tables, and overly-pretentious “scene” spots. But Kiki does it masterfully with an elegant menu of Middle Eastern favorites like souvlaki and fresh caught seafood paired with an outstanding selection of wines and a serene view out over the Miami River. It’s a place you can enjoy in shorts and flip flops or decked out in couture, and as long as you can afford the not exactly cheap prices, it’s possibly the best direct waterfront dining in the city.

QUALITY MEATS

Quality Meats Restaurant

Miami Beach

Prime steaks, when cooked correctly, are almost a commodity. So to set your steaks apart, you’ve gotta do something special. Quality Meats not only has the feel of a 1930s Chicago Chophouse with the butcher case right in the dining room, but it makes a tableside steak sauce that might be the only one worthy of the prime steaks being served. Steak purists, you can trust us on this one. And if the meat isn’t enough, this place has also pioneered the Chicken Parm Pizza -- a 12-inch circle of chicken Parm topped with marinara and fresh mozzarella that looks like a pizza, but is actually an entrée that’ll last you four meals.

Up Next
Monkitail
Food & Drink

Miami's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
W ell 2017, it’s been real. As we head down the homestretch of perhaps the most surreal year any of us can remember, it’s time to forget about things like Brickell Avenue becoming the Brickell River, headlines beginning “Senate Hopeful Kid Rock,” and literally anything involving the Dolphins. Rather, let us shift our collective focus on the highlights: The Marlins finally got sold. We’ll soon have a train that gets commuters from Dade to Broward in 20 minutes. And we got a plethora of amazing new restaurants, many of which are owned by locals and charge reasonable prices (really!). While we can’t promise playoff baseball or on-time trains, we can guarantee a trip to any of the 15 best new restaurants of 2017 will be time well spent.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Brickell

South African eats and wine in a dimly lit space
Until Ernie Els opened up his namesake spot atop Brickell City Center, nary a South Floridian could tell you what South African food was. Or that it even existed. But thanks to this dark, wine bottle-lined restaurant with an open kitchen and a blazing hearth, we not only know what it is -- we want much more of it. The highlights here are easy: The piri piri chicken -- a sweet/spicy sauce draped over fire roasted poultry; pork belly popsicles; and the Durban bunny chow, a giant lamb shank served in a bread bowl with a uniquely flavored tomato sauce.

GLAM Vegan

GLAM Vegan

Midtown

The best vegan food you'll find in Miami
Is it just us, or did it seem like every third restaurant opening in Miami this year was touting its ability to make pistachio paste taste like steak? Vegan food is likely the second trendiest thing in Miami behind butt implants, and the best entrant of the cuisine this year was Todd Erickson’s new Midtown joint. Not that we’d expect anything less out of the guy who Beat Bobby Flay -- and introduced Miami to the fried chicken taco. But Erickson’s new socially-conscious GLAM is plating the best vegan options in the city.

Ghee

Dadeland

Forward thinking Indian food with a constantly changing menu
Though the suddenly undependable Metrorail has given Miamians something new to complain about in 2017, Niven Patel has given us one less. The city’s heretofore dearth of Indian food is no more, as this 70-seater with an ever changing menu, 240 imported spices, and a décor that feels like it was dropped in from Mumbai fills the void. Pro tip: If you’re heading to Dadeland for this culinary adventure, maybe don’t take the Metrorail.

FujifilmGirl

Sherwood's

Little Haiti

Hip new spot serving upscale dishes at moderate prices
Little Haiti is a neighborhood on the come up. The surefire sign of a ‘hood hipsters will claim they knew about first? Restaurants like Sherwood’s, built out of an old medical office with quirky artwork, antique ceilings, and a sprawling backyard patio where group dinners can turn into all-night affairs. But there’s more to Sherwood’s than its Austin-esque décor. The food is impossibly light and filling at the same time, like the chef’s bowl filled with sweet potato and coconut curry, or the Little River ramen served with pork belly. Sherwood’s greatest contribution to the restaurant world, however, is self-serve bread, passing the onus for bread basket refilling from waiter-to-customer in a seamless move of common sense.

Dianne Rubin/Miami Food Pug

Lutum

Sunset Harbour

Interesting fusion dishes in a relaxed atmosphere
While our city’s culinary graveyard is filled with out-of-towners who thought their high-concept stuff would fly in SoFla, locals like Michael Mayta are the ones who actually make it. In Lutum, he’s created a restaurant for locals. The menu’s made up of creative stuff like falafel filled with Scotch egg, fettuccine with sage and pumpkin seed pesto, and pappardelle with short rib Bolognese -- interesting without being unapproachable. All of it at prices that won’t make you choose between dinner and your FPL bill. He does this by serving moderately sized portions of filling food, in a simple, plant-filled space that’s relaxing and inviting. For all around value and dining experience, this is our favorite new addition of the year.

CHAT CHOW

Kiki on the River

Miami River

Pricey waterfront restaurant that's great for dates
The year’s best new date spot is this Mediterranean gem along the Miami River. Though nobody’s confusing it for a bargain restaurant, the light, fresh menu from an Estiatorio Milos alum is full of fresh seafood and lemony sauces, all served on fluffy, elegant tables next to the water. The restaurant strikes the balance of class and approachability, a spot where you’re just as welcome in flip-flops and shorts as you are in your South Beach uniform. In a city where quality food and great views is often paired with a heaping side of pretension, Kiki is a welcomed addition.

Grove Bay Hospitality Group

Stiltsville Fish Bar

Sunset Harbour

Traditional seafood in extremely nautical digs
Back when they called it “Mia-muh" this city felt more like an extension of the Keys. And that laid-back, live-to-fish vibe is captured perfectly at Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth’s latest creation, a fresh seafood spot done up with seashell chandeliers and grey-wood walls. The spoon bread is a creamy southern specialty filled with corn and dill, an absolute must try. But for the adventurous, go with the buffalo fish wings, a crispy piece of fish covered in buffalo sauce making Stiltsville the venerable Anchor Bar of seafood. There’s also a surf-and-turf burger featuring a beef patty topped with lobster. It might seem pricey at over $30 but is easily split two ways. Add that to a tropical cocktail list long on fruity stuff you’d enjoy by the sunset, and you’ve got the most authentically-Floridian new restaurant of the year.

 

BLT Steak

BLT Steak

South Beach

Miami's best steakhouse complemented by amazing people watching
To clarify: This is the same BLT Steak that used to be at the Betsy. That place is now LT Steak and Seafood, but this BLT just opened up in the Berkeley Hotel and is every bit as delicious as the Ocean Drive original. The classic steaks here are prime dry-aged heaven, served on a patio that’s perfect for South Beach people watching. Or opt to eat indoors in the historic art deco dining room and try some of the unique menu items like steak tartare tacos and foie gras empanadas. Combine that menu with the expert grilling of chef Carlos Torres, and you'll find yourself in one of Miami's best steakhouses.

Monkitail

Monkitail

Hollywood

Extravagant small plates in an even more extravagant setting
The Diplomat Resort in Hollywood has reinvented itself like a recent South Florida transplant,. And nothing has signified the sweeping changes better than Michael Shulson’s Monkitail. The interior is an elegant Asian design of light woods and dark lighting, the kind of place you’d 100% expect to see a celebrity if it were in South Beach. The sushi and sashimi can hold their own with anywhere in South Florida, with toro caviar and the inventive hot yellowtail with garlic leading the way. The robata grill has your standard wagyu, kobe, and octopus, but you might find the pastrami bao bun more intriguing. Finish off with a big bowl of shareable short rib of the miso-glazed sea bass, then wash it down with a grilled peach mojito. It’s the kind of chic-trendy spot you’ve never seen north of the county line, and might be Broward’s best new spot of the year.

Michael Pissari

Etaru

Hallandale

Robata and sushi with unobstructed ocean views
Dining with an unobstructed view of the ocean is harder to come by in South Florida than you’d think. But the best new place to do it this year is at the Hyde Resort, where Rainer Becker of Zuma fame has brought his robata-and-sushi game to the sand. With the cool breeze blowing off the ocean, enjoy an old fashioned made with Japanese whiskey and the black kampachi with truffle to start. Then pick from the long list of grilled meats, cooked on a giant robata grill that dominates the inside part of the restaurant. You can’t go wrong with filet mignon by the sea, but if you’ve got an herbivore among you the grilled corn is a surprising highlight.

Mojito Bar and Plates

mojitobar & plates

Sunrise

Modern Cuban food paired with a vast cocktail menu
This semi-touristy mojito stand in the middle of the Oasis at Sawgrass Mills is the low-key best new Cuban restaurant of the year, where local boy Douglas Rodriguez has taken his modern take on traditional stuff north of the county line. If you can get past the blaring salsa and meringue, the food here is fire, with stuff like the matalo burger -- topped with ropa vieja -- and Cuban fried chicken with orange mojo glaze joining the famous Cuban sandwich on a stick on the menu. This makes it both a perfect spot to go before a Panthers game, or really any time you find yourself in Sunrise.

Leynia Restaurant

Leynia

South Beach

Argentine brunch which may be the best new brunch in Miami
Seems like only yesterday the only brunch options we had in Miami were the put-your-house-up-for-collateral spread at the Biltmore, or Cuban toast at your neighborhood ventanilla. Now we’ve got more options than we have Sundays in the year, and the best one to land in 2017 is at the new Argentine fusion spot in the Delano. The impressive spread of fresh fruit, pastries, salads, and sushi would be enough to get it near the top. But for $70 you also get two items off the a la carte menu -- like short rib empanadas or smoked salmon Benedict -- plus an entire parrilla of grilled meats by the pool ranging from sausage to steak to chicken. Plus the requisite unlimited mimosas and Bellinis.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Halal Guys

Davie

Famed NYC street food at affordable prices
As proud residents of South Florida, we’re long trained to take any New Yorker’s superlatives with a block of salt. And unlike roughly 99.7% of the things from “the city” they claim are “the best,” Halal Guys lives up to the hype. This year we got our first taste of the Big Apple’s premier Middle Eastern food truck, and the lines have been pouring out the door ever since. It’s the year’s best new cheap eat, where eight bucks gets you a heaping plate of rice, lettuce, tomato and either beef or chicken, topped with their famous white sauce and painfully hot red stuff. Or you can throw it all in a pita if that’s more your style. For a quick meal there might be nothing better in Broward, and it’s the rare Northeastern transplant everyone here is welcoming.

La Santa

Edgewater

Outdoor taco spot from a Mexico City transplant
The best tacos are always found in a truck outside the garden center, right? Of course this being Miami, we had to take that concept a little bit upscale, and the result is this edison-bulb lined al fresco spot in the hipster-chic midtown garden center. Here chef Omar Montero has a menu full of tacos you might find regularly south of the border, but are hard to come by anywhere else. Your best bet is the Villamelon Cecnia -- a staple at Mexican bullfights filled with dried ribeye, chicharones, and Mexican sausage. Though the smoked chile relleno is perfect if you’re not into loads of meat.

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