There were a lot of restaurateurs blasting Bananarama from their moving trucks these past few months, because for Miami restaurants it has indeed been a cruel, cruel summer. But the news isn’t all bad: a bunch of fantastic new spots have popped up to take their place. From the reinventing of Michy’s and OTC to a new home for Filling Station, here’re the 15 best new restaurants of summer.
Say you want to dine along the Miami River, but you’re not so big on seafood or heaping servings of douchebaggery. You can thank Klime and Anita Kovaceski, who’ve brought house-made pastas, fresh pizzas, and an impressive wine selection to this little spot right by the 7th Ave bridge. Inside, you’ll harken back to childhood family dinners in laid-back Italian restaurants. And the prices will harken back to those days too: it's the rare Miami restaurant where a heaping serving of pasta with loads of meat is still under $20.
With restaurants in Miami closing faster than Ryan Tannehill’s window of opportunity, only Michelle Bernstein could get away with closing her place ON PURPOSE. Aside from literally raising the roof on the old Michy’s space, she’s created a whole new family-style menu highlighted by sweetbread tacos, kale gnocchi, and the MB Favorite burger, probably the best new hamburger of the year. And until the end of September, yes, her legendary Wednesday fried chicken feast is back.
With more Italian restaurants in South Florida than insured motorists, it’s hard to make yourself stand out. But this new Italian joint on Las Olas not only serves up stuff you haven’t seen before -- like the pasta mafaldine: the yummy burnt ends of the lasagne tossed with a beef and pork ragu -- it also dry-ages steaks in-house, dishes out wood oven-fired, Italian-style pies, and has a back patio that feels much more Florence than Fort Lauderdale. All part of what makes it one of the best Italian restaurants in South Florida already.
Oh, you thought the McGriddle was a hearty breakfast? Stephen Starr sees that and raises you a Lipitor with his foie gras and pancakes: foie gras, egg, hollandaise, bacon, cheese, and maple syrup on a griddle cake bun. Which isn’t nearly as catchy to say as the Big Mac jingle, but tastes a lot better and can be enjoyed in this retro-'50s space on a quiet poolside patio while sipping tropical drinks from Tiki glasses. This space at the base of the new Aloft hotel keeps much of the old Continental Hotel’s '60s coffee shop charm, but definitely one-ups the food.
If we told you there was a restaurant on Ocean Drive that served giant burgers, fresh pastas, and oversized colorful drinks, you’d probably think we were sending you somewhere like the worst restaurant in Miami. But Sugar Factory actually does Ocean Drive food right, starting off with its trademark liquid-nitrogen fishbowl cocktails -- some complete with gummy worms -- then moving on to stuff like the epic jalapeño burger and finishing you off with a brownie ice cream sandwich. If your teeth are still in your mouth, you can hit the candy store up front with all sorts of bulk sweets, ice creams, and adorable rubber duckies.
Though we regret to report this hot new taco joint actually DOESN’T have a speakeasy in the back, it doesn’t have much of anything else in the back either. That’s because it’s built around a giant open kitchen, where you can watch your tortillas get made and your chorizo, skirt steak, or cactus get grilled. This place’ll put painfully large portions of that meat in said tortillas, and serve you a lunch that guarantees a completely unproductive afternoon.
If you respect the opinion of a French chef like Semilla’s Fred Joulin, this is the best place in Miami to have brunch. And while that’s a debate that lasts a lot longer than that one with Trump and Rubio, there’s no debating that this laid-back Midtown offshoot of South Beach party-resto Villa Azur serves up some of the best authentic French food on the mainland. The décor’s not unlike Villa, just replace chandeliers with a foosball table, and the white drapes with exposed brick. Kinda like a Villa Azur for the Midtown crowd.
Kind of like legible street signs, fresh seafood fine dining seems to be everywhere in Miami, except Coral Gables. And while the folks behind MesaMar can’t bring signage to eye level, they can put you eye to eye with your dinner. The catch of the day is packed on ice in the dining room, then fried and served whole. If you like a slightly less-personal experience with your seafood, try the mixed seafood ceviche with passion fruit.
This Miami outpost of Rome’s blue-collar Italian joint is fashioned to look like an old Italian workshop. And while you won’t find anyone making wooden boys who come to life, you will find stuff from the people behind Fratelli La Bufala like Neapolitan flour pies with buffalo mozzarella, and spaghetti with Oetra caviar. Have a seat at the workshop bar and try the Ernesto: Mount Gay rum washed with peanut butter and garnished with a peanut.
Toronto has given us a great many things. Like the concept of a taxpayer-funded retractable roof stadium. And snow. And, most recently, this upscale Mediterranean gem where you’ll be greeted by uncomfortably attractive hosts and hostesses before sitting down to some booze-infused tea. Move on to a meal of Japanese Wagyu with chemen marinade and truffle sauce and Persian fried rice with sujuk and Key West shrimp. And don’t fear the prices: it’s also one of the top 10 values at this year’s Miami Spice.
Like so many longtime Dade County residents, this burger-and-beer stalwart had enough of the Miami insanity, packed it up, and moved to Broward. Now, after many months away, you can once again try one of Miami’s toughest eating challenges -- the nine-patty 18 Wheeler -- or just enjoy one of the signature burgers with a craft beer in Oakland Park. Then consider an Uber home... oh, wait.
Since OTC stopped serving Over The Counter, the moniker seemed a little dated. And so did the food. Which is why OTC closed a few months back and has reopened as Golden Fig, a giant chia-pet of a restaurant with a menu crafted by Tomas Prado, formerly of Bazaar. Here you can dine on grass-fed burgers, crispy pork belly with IPA mustard, or buttermilk fried chicken next to a grass wall, or on the patio in front of another grass wall., which combined now make up roughly 78% of the green space in Brickell.
The people who live in those giant fancy high-rises in SoFi can only go to La Piaggia so many times before some Japanese food sounds pretty damn appealing. Enter Red Ginger, an upscale Asian joint that features a robata grill full of steaks and fresh seafood, fresh omakase sushi, and a bar with the best selection of Japanese whiskey in the city.
Poolside dining in South Beach is typically limited to stuff you’d rather not be eating (*cough* $20 hamburgers *cough*), or a giant bowl of fruit that costs more than your car payment. That is unless you hit the pool at the new Hyatt Centric, where high above the insanity of Collins Ave, you can lounge by the pool and enjoy Spanish-Mediterranean bites like grass-fed hanger steak with mustard chimichurri. Which might not help your pool body, but IS better than a big bowl of fruit.
“We are avid surfers... so naturally, our first U.S. location would be Miami.” Let’s put 9Beach owner Itay Sacish’s strange logic aside for a minute, and appreciate this spot straight from Tel Aviv, that boasts a 5,000sqft patio that’s sure to be home to some of Miami’s best day parties. Inside you can dine on Med-fusion specialties like beef cheek tortellini with U12 scallops and quail egg under violet lights. Plus there are golden statues with classic rock lyrics. Which will hopefully help get “Cruel Summer” out of your head.
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1. Crust668 NW 5th St., Miami
2. Cena by Michy6927 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
3. Louie Bossi's Ristorante1032 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
4. The Continental2360 Collins Ave, Miami
5. Sugar Factory1144 Ocean Drive, Miami
6. Wapo Taco2526 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables
7. Brasserie Azur3252 NE 1st Ave, Miami
8. MesaMar264 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables
9. La Moderna1874 Bay Road, Miami
10. Byblos1545 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
11. The Filling Station3200 N E 12 ave, Oakland Park
12. Golden Fig1250 South Miami Ave. , Miami
13. Red Ginger736 First ST., Miami
14. Deck Sixteen1600 Collins Avenue, Miami
15. 9Beach1626 Collins Ave, Miami
The husband and wife duo behind this casual Italian restaurant are doling out house-made pastas, fresh pizzas, and an impressive wine selection at very reasonable prices. The Spanish-roofed spot right by the 7th Ave Bridge is almost made for big group meals and family dinners, but Crust also delivers to downtown Miami and Brickell. The pizzas are pretty outstanding, especially when topped with sirloin tips, mushrooms, and caramelized onions.
This follow-up to Michy's is still serving the same famous, incredible, fried chicken -- but they've limited it to only Wednesdays. Every week, you can get it with watermelon salad, southern slaw, biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, and brown butter peach cake.
Unique Italian recipies are the backbone of this restaurant, with dishes like the pasta mafaldine: the yummy burnt ends of the lasagna tossed with a beef and pork ragu. Chef Louie Bossi has worked his way up the restaurant chain from dishwasher, to grill cook, and now chef. They also have a full bar and Neapolitan style pizzas like the Funghi Misti, with wild mushrooms, smoked buffalo mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, and truffle oil.
With tiki-inspired cocktails, a tropical patio, and a 50's style dining room, The Continental is an easy Miami favorite. Offering eclectic global cuisine, and plenty of shared plates , the beachside eatery has something for everyone -- dishes ranging from short rib empanadas and pastrami fried rice, to Baja fish tacos and Jamaican jerk chicken. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with all-day dessert (try the caramel popcorn sundae), the retro Miami Vice-esque patio is an excellent place to pass the hours. Happy hour ends at 7, but there is no shortage of festive cocktails, all night long. Whether you're feeling a classic martini, or a paper umbrella-topped watermelon-mezcal creation served in a tiki glass, The Continental has got you covered.
Set inside the Hotel Victor on Ocean Drive, Sugar Factory American Brasserie is like an adult version of Candyland. A hip dining room and two patios serve up sweet and savory comfort food -- French Toast and crepes, burgers and steak frites -- while the adjoining retail space is dedicated to all things sugar. Make your way through novelty and bulk candy items, milkshake in hand, weaving through celebrities to get your hands on a famous Couture Pops. Cocktails are sweet treats in and of themselves, like the signature, 60oz alcohol-infused Lollipop Passion goblet, replete with a lollipop garnish. And desserts (yes, there’s more), are nothing short of outrageous, like premium large format fondues -- the Chocolate Gold, for one, glitters with 24 karat gold and is served with vintage Dom Perignon, a 50-year Cognac, a 2lb chocolate bar, and more, all for a cool $1000. Or just stop in for a frozen hot chocolate (and a Kardashian sighting, if you’re lucky) on your way to the beach, your call.
Prepare yourself for insane portion sizes, which is never a bad thing.
This Miami spot has the trifecta: a rotisserie station, a pizza oven, and a chariot de desserts a la Francaise (a glorious French dessert cart, that is). And if, for some absurd reason, none of these appeal, the joint has a foosball table, happy hour until 8pm, and a full menu of upscale Mediterranean dishes. Beyond pizza and pastries, the chefs at this trendy eatery are serving things like grilled filet of salmon, rigatoni with house-made bolognese, and steak tartare prepared table-side. The patio space is littered with palm trees and string lights, and the dining room is equally charming, with exposed red brick, and ceilings lined with ivy. Brunch is served on the weekends, complete with bottomless mimosas, and happy hour at the bar means 5$ cocktails, and a whole bunch of free gourmet snacks (no catch, I swear).
If anyone knows how to prepare fresh seafood, it's MesaMar.
This Italian place has a sister restaurant in Rome, so you know that their food is the real deal.
A warm weather offshoot of the Toronto original, Miami Beach's Byblos will make you rethink your standard understanding of Mediterranean food. The menu is a creative masterpiece that showcases mezze plates like Turkish dumplings with smoky eggplant and shakshouka with duck egg, as well as wood-fired flatbreads and seafood, raw or grilled. However, the highlight of the menu is the rice dishes that incorporate Middle Eastern ingredients like saffron, sujuk sausage, and sabzi herbs.
The Filling Station, now closed, was once home to one of Miami's toughest eating challenges, the nine-patty 18 Wheeler. Nine onion rings were stacked between the patties in addition to 18 slices of cheese and two whole pickles. If you finished it in an hour, it was free! What a steal, right?
Good luck choosing between the crisp pork belly with IPA mustard or the buttermilk fried chicken...
Red Ginger has the best selection of Japanese whiskey in the city. It's a perfect place to start expanding your whiskey knowledge.
This poolside eatery features delicious Spanish-Mediterranean cuisine that will make you forget all about your beach body.