As the weather cools off, that can only mean one thing: snowbirds! Yes, just when you thought it was safe to roll down the Palmetto Expressway free from Quebec license plates, it’s almost time for our annual influx of seasonal residents. Yay. So for all of you sitting in your rapidly cooling homes up north and counting the days until you come south for the winter, here are the best restaurants that opened while you were away. And for those who live here year-round -- here are the places to hit in the next few weeks, before they’re all filled with snowbirds.
All of the restaurants on this list are part of our ongoing quest to find this year's best new restaurants in America, and we're combing through every opening in every Thrillist city. Get involved on Instagram -- #BestRest2016 -- to let us know your picks and your favorite dishes at each of these new spots.
The spot that was formerly BLT Steak -- aka the one restaurant on Ocean Drive you’d actually admit to eating at -- has dropped the B and become the complete creation of chef Laurent Tourondel. He’s shrugged off the chains of corporate management and created an even grander menu, packed with stuff like short rib bao buns and Japanese tuna tacos. And while it’s still got all the signature steaks you’d expect going in, entrees like the black garlic charred short ribs will have you rethinking your traditional filet.
If there’s an area of Miami Beach you might -- ever -- describe as “laid-back,” it’s SoFi, which is why the married couple from Maui who run Lilikoi have decided to set up shop right at the foot of Portofino. This open, relaxed café focuses on healthy and organic foods without shoving it in your face, featuring a menu long on vegetarian specialties, like the falafel wrap, or an actually delicious vegan burger (probably why it’s already one of Miami’s best places for vegetarians). But Fat Duck alum Manuel Torterola can also plate meat perfectly, exemplified by his chicken & brie sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, and pesto. And if you’re like so many in SoFi and “food” isn’t really your thing, there’s a juice and smoothie bar with all your detoxing favorites.
Checking out one of the best hotel pool views in the world is reason enough to make your way to the top of the 1 Hotel. Of course, you can’t really just stand there and look at the view without being hassled for a room card, so you might as well make the most of it and check out this Polynesian-Japanese spot that’s plating all sorts of poke, sushi, and pork belly banh mi with sweeping views of the Ocean and Downtown.
When you think of countries with great pan-Asian cuisine, your thoughts always turn to... Russia? Tanuki is one of the most renowned Asian restaurants in Putinland, and for reasons no one can explain, it didn’t open in Sunny Isles. This shows that a) it’s actually NOT a front for money laundering, and b) it’s going to be your new late-night sushi destination, full of sushi, sashimi, specialty rolls, and grilled robata, served under LED lights until 2am. And if your late-night inner fat kid wants something more than raw fish, the raspberry cake with shiso sponge and four-berry mousse is like nothing you’ve ever had.
Though you can’t just roll in here in your swimsuit and flip-flops like you can at the original in Uruguay, the food here is no less spectacular. The sand at Parador la Huella has been traded in for a chic, cosmopolitan crowd at Brickell’s new East Hotel, where they’re plating Uruguayan favorites like white fish tiradito and octopus a la plancha. Speaking of that plancha, Quinto has an entire room devoted to its grill, where you can sit at the bar and watch chefs work their magic on your South American steak. Or opt for a cooler experience outside on the expansive patio.
Well, Miami finally has a mead bar. So when your viking friends come to pillage Coconut Grove, they’ll have a place to fill up their drinking horns. The place is from the same guys who brought us some of the best burgers in Miami at Kush and LoKal, and they're doing to fresh seafood what their other locations did to burgers; namely, making it better than almost anyone in Miami, using all local ingredients for inventive creations. Try the Paul and Alba’s Jambalaya with Proper Sausages, Gulf shrimp, and local grouper.
When it comes to the quality of nightlife, Brickell has almost caught up to South Beach. When it comes to the quality of after-nightlife pizza, it’s still light years behind. This summer the high-rise ‘hood took a big step forward with Tino’s, a wood-oven pizzeria serving hungry Brickellites until 5am. Though it’s open normal hours too, the best way to experience this new spot is to grab a pie late at night and head out to the small patio. It's there you’ll scarf down a Neapolitan-style pizza while sitting under strings of tiny lights, like a combination beer garden and Italian restaurant wedged between a jungle of condos.
While Jeffrey Chen seems to have the monopoly on every Asian food trend from 2010 and beyond (ramen, dumplings, cash-only establishments), he’s bucked that trend with the opening of a spot that has a pretty solid established competitor just north on Miami Ave. Believing there is indeed room in Brickell for TWO oyster bars, Chen set up this cozy little shop on SW 11th St. with over 50 varieties of oysters from the East Coast, West Coast, and Europe. But it’s not just a place to get your shellfish on; the extensive seafood menu has lobster rolls, king crab legs, crab cakes, and even the occasional AYCE lobster.
If only there were an absinthe & arepas bar nearby, you could add it to this place and get the square of a hypotenuse. As it is, you’ll have to be satisfied with this new burger and beer bar (which is B Cubed, right?) on Las Olas that’s bringing Broward its most inventive burgers to date. The most heart-stoppingly amazing is the Dad Bod, topped with melted Maytag blue, truffle mushroom, purple caramelized onions, and a sunny-side-up fried egg. Or go even crazier with the Decadent Dog, a foot-long Kobe beef hot dog with truffle oil, sautéed lobster, and garlic butter. It’s all best enjoyed at the 28-seat indoor/outdoor bar, perfect for looking at the beautiful people of Las Olas and thinking “maybe I shouldn’t be eating this.”
The long wait is over. The spot that all your friends from Central Florida kept telling you crushed any barbecue down here, and was named the best 'cue in the state by some legitimate experts, has opened its first SoFla outpost. Yes, it’s all the way out in Coral Springs. No, there are no plans to open one in a sexier locale right now. BUT be excited that it’ll now take you less than a day to get that 18-hour hickory-smoked Texas brisket, prepared by a chef who’s been invited to cook -- multiple times -- at the James Beard House.
In perhaps the most meta restaurant concept to hit Miami since we started opening actual restaurants, this new spot at Merrick Park is taking Latin-Asian fusion… and fusing it again! In physics, this would probably cause the Gables to explode, but in food it’s just a gastropub-style joint with concrete tables and metal chairs serving up stuff like Vaca frita buns, skirt steak croquetas, and charred bok choy soup. So it’s like fusion cuisine mixed with ramped-up bar food, served with cocktails from Thomas Merolla, who you may remember from Blackbird Ordinary and Living Room.
When Miami’s best pastry chef (so think the folks who nominated Antonio Bachour for a James Beard Award) teams up with a former chef/owner at Eating House, the result is going to be nothing short of spectacular. And when it comes to fresh-baked breads, pastries, croissants, and cookies in Brickell, there is no question where to find the best. Though it might be the new go-to for a not-so-healthy breakfast on the go, a quiet sitdown meal here can be just as enjoyable. The lunch menu is long on creative sandwiches, most notably the house specialty Butifarra with cilantro turkey and aji amarillo.
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1. LT Steak & Seafood1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
2. Lilikoi Organic Living500 S Pointe Dr Ste 180, Miami Beach
3. Watr2341 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
4. Tanuki1080 Alton Rd, Miami Beach
5. Quinto La Huella788 Brickell Plz, Miami
6. The Spillover2911 Grand Ave, Miami
7. Tino's1040 S Miami Ave, Miami
8. Momi Oyster & Raw Bar1040 S Miami Ave, Miami
9. B Square Burgers & Booze1021 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
10. 4 Rivers Smokehouse2660 N University Dr, Coral Springs
11. 320 Gastrolounge320 San Lorenzo Ave, Coral Gables
12. Bachour Bakery + Bistro600 Brickell Ave, Miami
Helmed by award-winning chef Laurent Tourondel, this sleek, contemporary eatery excels at classic French plates and traditionally prepared sushi and sashimi. While the menu may be wide-reaching, it doesn't sacrifice quality -- that succulent filet mignon you ordered is going to be just as heavenly as, say, the spider dragon roll you devoured as an appetizer -- which is part of the reason why South Beach residents and Betsy Hotel guests alike consistently return to LT Steak & Seafood for special occasions (or simply to treat themselves, should their wallets allow it).
Opened by Maui transplants, Lilikoi takes organic and plant-based cooking to a new level. The kitchen works with nearby farms to ensure that its menu is built around fresh and local produce, and dishes like vegan nachos, mushroom farro risotto, and loaded veggie burgers will tempt typical meat evangelists. Though Lilikoi certainly highlights vegan and vegetarian options, the chicken & Brie sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, and pesto proves that nothing can truly replace the simple combination of meat, cheese, and bread.
Serving a seafood-centric menu of pan-Asian small plates, this rooftop eatery offers a dining experience that is both trendy and tranquil. Expect elegantly presented plates with a Polynesian and Japanese lean, like sockeye salmon poke and crispy rock shrimp with yuzu aioli, alongside well-stocked raw bar of sushi and sashimi (omakase, anyone)? Combined with live DJ performances, sweeping views of Downtown Miami, and a full bar of tropical-themed specialty cocktails, Watr is a weekend hotspot in its own right.
A solid addition to Miami's Pan-Asian dining scene, Tanuki serves hand-crafted sushi, sashimi, and nigiri, alongside a menu of traditional light bites and entrées. The sleek South Beach outpost is an especially popular late-night option, with trendy folk swinging by after midnight to snack on edamame, pork belly, and gyoza -- or to keep the party going with a fruit-forward specialty cocktail or bottle of sake.
Located within the East Hotel in Brickell, this rustic-chic spot serves specialty cocktails and refined Uruguayan fare like shrimp tostadas, calamares fritos, and white fish tiradito. Surf and turf shines on the plancha-centric menu, boasting highlights like rack of lamb, hake fillet, and traditional mollejas (sweetbreads), and there's even a room where you can watch the chefs at work grilling your selections to perfection. While the interior is sleek and woodsy, the ambience is definitely classy; we suggest you plan ahead and find a pair of dress pants that accommodates your post-feast waistline.
Successfully fulfilling Miami's "mead bar" quota, this Coconut Grove spot serves rare mead, cider, and sour brews, alongside a seafood-centric menu that highlights Floridian tastes. The Spillover is another project from the team behind Lokal and Kush, focusing on regional comfort food -- shrimp-topped mac n' cheese, jambalaya, and local grouper -- in a hip, industrial-chic setting with exposed brick, street art, and blue accents.
Rarely does one find authentic Italian pizza in Miami, and it's even rarer to find it late at night. Which is why Tino's is such a blessing: boasting a wood-fired oven that creates robust, delicious pies with locally sourced ingredients and house-made dough, this Brickell spot is open until 5am Thursday through Saturday. No longer will you have to stoop to the likes of greasy, predictable chain pizza when you're craving a late-night bite -- now you can order a Neapolitan-style pie and post up on the outdoor patio, which is pleasantly decked out with strings of light and lush fauna.
Helmed by Miami restaurateur Jeffrey Chen, this bright, minimalist eatery boasts over 50 different oyster varieties from the East Coast, West Coast, and Europe. It's a veritable mecca of shellfish, highlight lobster, king crab leg -- even spicy seafood ramen and gyoza from Chen's neighboring Momi Ramen outpost. Pro tip: consider pairing your oysters with the house grapefruit beer for optimum umami.
Offering a gourmet take on the tried and true pairing of burgers and booze, this industrial-chic eatery (sparkling white tiled walls, exposed lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling, weird bird cages that have been repurposed into chairs) has quickly become a Fort Lauderdale staple. While the array of non-denominational light bites is surprisingly legit (the garlic and chorizo-topped Palomino oysters, turkey meatballs à la pomodoro, and duck spring rolls are each drool-worthy in their own right), it's the burgers that have the masses coming back to B Square. We suggest you opt for the heavy-hitting standout "Dad Bod," not simply because it has an amazing name, but because it's combines bleu cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and a fried egg on top of a perfectly cooked, juicy burger.
The BBQ joint that helped turn Winter Park into one of America’s best small food cities has a South Florida outpost in Coral Springs, too. The barbecue at 4 Rivers encompasses most regional styles in America perfectly, from St. Louis ribs to an 18-hour hickory-smoked Texas brisket. And it even throws in a South Florida twist with its Smokehouse Cuban sandwich, made with smoked pork and ham added to the traditional mustard, mayo, pickles, and cheese.
320 Gastrolounge is what you get when you combine Latin-Asian fusion, a gastropub floorplan, and a live music venue. The sleek, airy eatery has quickly become a Coral Gables staple in its own right, with regulars returning for menu highlights like charred octopus with pico de gallo, bok choy soup, and all-day braised short ribs with manchego grits. Combined with the nightly live DJ music (whether touring acts or the house musician) and specialty cocktails like the "Pink Flamingo," (raspberry-infused Beefeater gin, lemon juice, and sparkling wine), any evening here appeals to uniquely Floridian tastes.
Helmed by the culinary dream team of chefs Antonio Bachour and Henry Hané, this new Brickell spot is every breakfast and lunch enthusiast's dream. Hané creates the savory plates -- leafy salads like the brussel sprout Caesar, loaded tartines like the BBB Bolognese, with mascarpone, herbs, and roasted garlic purée -- and Bachour bakes addictive bon bons, macarons, croissants, and a variety of exquisitely flavored mousse cups. The refined café boasts exposed concrete, large windows overlooking lush greenery, and sleek modern furniture, which makes it a great option for a decadent bite on the go or a tranquil dine-in lunch.