Eat Seeker

Where to Eat in Miami Right Now

From upscale Mexican to new Korean fried chicken.

Well, we’ve almost reached the end of 2020, and somehow our restaurant scene is still plugging along. Sure, we lost some favorites this year. And while we’re sad we’ll never be able to have another burger at John Martin’s or a fire-roasted lasagna at Ember, many of the city’s best have survived. There are also some scrappy new spots that miraculously found a way to open during the height of a pandemic.  So as we move into outdoor dining season—at least the one that’s not state-mandated and oppressively humid—here are our picks for the best new spots of summer and fall, and some other greats from the last five years that are still around.

Crust

Riverside

The gist: The family-style, big-portion, low-price Italian favorite is possibly the most versatile restaurant in Miami, perfect for dining in, an intimate date, or a big, group dinner (once we’re doing that again).
The food: If you’re a fan of rich red sauces, addictive pizza, and entrees so big you could curl them to burn off a few extra calories, Crust is the ultimate in Miami dining. Nearly every pasta on the menu—from the top-selling chicken parm to the decadent baked penne with beef and sausage ragu—is enough for two people to eat over two meals. And the pizza can make a solid argument for best in the city, especially if you opt for the meatball and ricotta special. 
The cost: Specialty pizzas range from $18-22, pastas are $20-$25, oversized salads are $12-14.
How to order: Call 305.371.7065 for takeout or order delivery through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, or Grubhub.

Novikov

Brickell

The gist: Though it’s good to be skeptical of any Miami restaurant that serves expensive sushi with a heavy side of scene, this London transplant is the odd eatery where the food lives up to the high prices. 
The food: It’s Chinese-Japanese fusion, which sounds like a recipe for disaster if you grew up eating in strip malls, but works masterfully here. Novikov’s best known for its dim sum, with duck-and-foie-gras-filled dumplings complimenting stuff like the spicy prawn moneybag. The makis, sashimis, and bao buns can stand up with any in Miami, and if you want a big plate delving into the cilantro pesto branzino or sweet and sour mango chicken won’t lead you astray.
The cost: Sashimis and makis run from $20-30, bao buns and veggies are $15-20, entrees range from $31-115, and cocktails are $15-18.
Open for outdoor dining: Yes
How to order: Make your reservation for outdoor dining online or call 305.489.1000

Ghee Downtown Dadeland

Downtown Dadeland

The gist: Niven Patel—who Food & Wine named one of its top 50 new chefs this year—takes whatever’s fresh on his Homestead farm and uses it in his Floridian twists on Indian classics.
The food: The menu varies wildly at Ghee, as much of what you’ll find is based on what’s in season at Rancho Patel. One week you may wolf down an entire tomato and eggplant curry. Another week you’ll order multiple ears of charred corn with smoked paneer. Niven’s happy to play the hits too, and does tikka masala and saag paneer as well as anyone in America. 
The cost: Most plates run from $10-15, naans and chutneys are $3-5. 
How to order: Make a reservation for outdoor dining on OpenTable, order takeout on the website, or get delivery through Uber Eats.

Chotto Matte

South Beach

The gist: A Nikkei hit from London lands in South Beach, where you can feast on Peruvian classics in a retractable-roof space that feels a little like eating in a cenote. 
The food: When the weather cools off (and the restaurants hopefully reopen for good), the soft breeze that blows through the open roof makes the Nikkei nibblers like chilled branzino ceviche and chu-toro tiradito taste especially refreshing. Currently, Chotto is doing dine-in on its patio, and still delicately plating its sushi and sashimi with house-made sauces. On the meatier side, the pork belly and lamb chop anticuchos are the must-haves off the extensive robata menu.
The cost: At $85 a person, the tasting menu is, believe it or not, is the best value at Chotto Matte. But if you opt to go a la carte, sushi is around $18 for rolls, anticuchos range from $17-36, and robata-grilled meats are $18-30. Cocktails are $16.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations online or by calling 305.690.0743 or order delivery through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Seamless, and Grubhub.

The gist: Set in an unassuming strip mall a few blocks from Hard Rock Stadium, this family-run spot is bringing unique Ethiopian flavors to a city that’s often a North African food desert. 
The food: If you’re new to Ethiopian cuisine, the best way to enjoy this is around a large table, scooping up the spicy, savory dishes with injera—a spongy teff grain flatbread which some tout as a superfood. For the optimal experience, go with the Taste of Awash, which offers a substantial sampling of stuff like doro wot (stewed chicken), kitfo (ground beef with spices and herbed butter), and shiro (split peas with red pepper). Awash is especially inviting for vegetarians and vegans, too, as much of Ethiopian cuisine is entirely plant-based.
The cost: Starters are $5, entrees are $10-14, and the Taste of Awash is $30 for two people.
How to order: Make reservations by calling 305.770.5100 or order delivery through Grubhub.

The gist: About as close to My Big Fat Greek Wedding as you’re getting in South Beach, this family-run spot at the Hilton Bentley serves up massive portions of Greek food with sides of music, dancing, and dips in the pool.
The food: Despite a setting that could lend itself to overpriced, mediocre food, this poolside masterpiece is putting out heavenly plates of grilled souvlaki, monstrous Greek salads, and head-turning king prawns. The super-sized dishes match the personality of Georgios and his family that welcomes you, and every time you leave your spirit feels almost as full as your stomach.
The cost: Cocktails are $14, tapas and mezes range from $12-24, entrees are $25-40 range, and sandwiches are around $15. 
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations online or by calling 305.672.6624

Glass and Vine

Coconut Grove

The gist: Chopped champ and Eating House impresario Giorgio Rapicavoli ventures into fine dining outside the old Peacock Park library. Breezy dinners and decadent brunches ensue.
The food: For social distance dining, it doesn’t get much better than Glass and Vine, where you can enjoy sweet potato tater tots, local heirloom salad, and grilled Florida snapper in glorious fresh air. The new American creations aren’t as stonerriffic as what you might find at Eating House, but brilliantly showcase Rapicivoli’s diversity as a chef. It’s especially evident at brunch, where carbonara fries, passion fruit waffles, and short rib benedicts highlight the strongest a la carte brunch menu in the city.
The cost: Starters and salads are $10-15, entrees are $20-35, and brunch mains are around $15.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations by calling 305.200.5268 or through OpenTable, get takeout through ToastTab, or delivery through Grubhub and Uber Eats.

Society BBQ

Multiple locations

The gist: Richard Hales of Blackbrick and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives fame is plating the best barbecue we’ve had outside of Texas at the Citadel food hall. It’s all reasonably priced, too, and is a must-visit for any barbecue fans spending time in Miami.
The food: Though Society’s logo has a big map of Florida, this is pure Texas-style goodness with slow-smoked brisket that could go up against anything in the Lone Star State. The pulled chicken and pulled pork sandwiches make for lunches that’ll keep you from accomplishing anything in the afternoon, and the vegan burnt ends also taste fantastic with Hales’ collection of homemade sauces drenched on top. Reading this from outside South Florida? No need to get on a plane, as Society is happy to ship the stuff nationwide. 
The cost: Meats are $6-10, sandwiches $10-12, and the 1.5-lb. beef rib is $32.
How to order: Open for outdoor dining, order takeout through Toast, or delivery through Uber Eats and Postmates.

The gist: Miami culinary power couple Anice Meinhold and Cesar Zapata, who wowed us with The Federal for years, reinvent the Vietnamese-Cajun popup that made them famous.
The food: At first glance, you might think mixing Cajun and Vietnamese foods would be an odd combination. But both have heavy focus on seafood and heat, demonstrated masterfully on Zapata’s menu with steamed curried mussels and lemongrass soft shell rice vermicelli. The pho options are the best you’ll find in Miami, and if you’re free this Thursday, make sure to pre-order the fried chicken, a once-weekly special that makes the weekend come one day early.
The cost: Appetizers are $12-15, epic bowls of pho are $26-45, entrees are $24-42, and cocktails $14 each or $50 for the whole table.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations online through OpenTable, order takeout through UpServe, or delivery through Uber Eats.

Lung Yai Thai Tapas

Little Havana

The gist: This is the legendary Little Havana hole in the wall where the air is thick with fish sauce and chili paste, and you’re only allowed to order once. 
The food: Take your time perusing Lung Yai’s menu: It’s long and you only get one crack at ordering. As the name implies, you’ll find small portions of authentic Thai food, so start with the crispy spring rolls, then move onto the som tam (papaya salad) and steamed dumplings. From there, it’s an adventure in trying things you haven’t before, but we’ve been impressed by palo moo (slow cooked pork belly) and literally all of the Thai curries.
The cost: Tapas are $5-15. Order lots of them.
How to order: Open for limited outdoor seating or order takeout by calling 786-334-6262

Boia De

Buena Vista

The gist: Intimate modern Italian spot from the people behind the massively popular La Pollita food truck, where you’ll find a collection of wines worthy of a restaurant ten times its size.
The food: The menu at Boia de is almost as small as its new 19-seat outdoor patio, but you literally won’t find a weak link anywhere. The food’s Italian without being in-your-face, with subtle options like crispy polenta and marinated eggplant, ribeye carpaccio with black truffle, and squash blossom tempura leading off. The entrees hold up just as well, highlighted by the homemade pappardelle with rabbit and rosemary, and the massive lamb ribs with peaches and parsley. And be sure to do yourself a favor and ask for a recommendation from the wine list; there’s stuff on there you’ve never heard of that you’ll spend years trying to find again.
The cost: Appetizers are $7-21 and entrees are $20-25.
How to order: Make an outdoor dining reservation through Resy or order takeout through UpServe.

Pastificio Propaganda
Amatriciana and Spaghetti Vongole | Photo Courtesy of Carma Connected

The gist: Homey, intimate Sicilian date spot that feels a little like a countryside home. But also gives you the opportunity to dine al fresco under one of Shepard Fairey’s most famous murals.
The food: Pastificio Propaganda happily explains Sicilian cuisine through a seafood-heavy menu highlighted by the polpo with lemon smashed potatoes and the tonno rosso tuna tartare. As the name suggests, you definitely also want to try the pastas—either the Norma with paccheri and eggplant or the vongole with clams and lemon pesto. And make sure to ask your server for a suggestion on the Sicilian wines—almost all are selections we’ve not seen elsewhere in the city.
Cost: Antipasti are $14-20; pastas $15-24; entrees $27-35; pizzas $16-20.
How to order: Make a reservation via OpenTable or order online.

Mayami

Wynwood

The gist: The folks behind El Patio bring the pre-club restaurant vibe to a breezy outdoor space in Wynwood, where you’ll take insect-infused shots next to promoter tables and Instagram models.
The food: Don’t drop into this new Wynwood Mexican spot expecting $2 taco Tuesdays and BOGO margs. This upscale Mexican restaurant has a menu to match its flashy décor, where you can order a steak au poivre topped with chapulines (aka grasshoppers) or a chile-tuna ceviche that’s one of the best we’ve found in a Mexican restaurant. The blue corn masa tortillas make the red snapper and adobo Puerco tacos stand out, too. So be sure to coat your stomach with a couple of them before delving into the insect-infused mezcal shots. 
Cost: Cocktails are in the $14 range, with the insect shots at $11; tacos are $5 each and appetizers in the $15-20 range; entrees start at $12 and go up to $38
How to order: Reserve a table on the website.

The gist: The Key gets the kind of fresh, addictive bakery people in big cities wait in line for hours to try. Fortunately, there’s rarely a line here for the baguettes, croissants, and pastries we’ll easily call the best in Miami
The food: If you’re willing to wait in line for bagels, you should be willing to jump in your car and cross the causeway for the best new breakfast spot of 2020. This quirky bakery on the Key is baking up croissants, muffins, cookies, baguettes and other fresh breads that are so good the word “carb” will leave your vocabulary. They’ve also got a solid menu of sandwiches served on their fresh baked creations. Do yourself a favor and get a little bit of everything to take home, just try not to eat it all before you get there.
Cost: Croissants and other pastries are $4-5; sandwiches $12-14.
How to order: Order via Toast.

Sistrunk Marketplace
Hot Lime Ceviche | Photo Courtesy of Sistrunk Marketplace

Sistrunk Marketplace

Ft. Lauderdale

The gist: Sistrunk’s long-awaited food hall offers options from all over the world alongside the new Khoffner Brewery and a sexy new distillery.
The food: Whether your dinner of choice is ramen, falafels, or vodka, you’ll find some of the best in South Florida at Lauderdale’s long awaited new food hall. The absolute can’t miss is Senbazuru Ramen, who moved here from 1-800 Lucky and somehow upped their game. The Empanada Bodega and Osum Crepes are fantastic if you’re just looking for something to soak up the beer. But you’ll also find fantastic pitas at Needa Pita and a Broward Outpost of Poke OG. Plus a pizza spot, shaved ice, and a full on chop-house if you’re not planning to leave for a while.
Cost: Most places will run you about $15 for a meal; beers from Khoffner and drinks featuring vodka from Shady Distillery range from $6-14, depending what you order.
How to order: Make a reservation online.

Seoul Kitchen

Design District

The gist: Michael Schwartz saw a massive Korean food void in Miami, and decided to fill it with this kitchen-within-a-kitchen at the original Harry’s Pizza.
The food: Though a slew of delivery-and-take-out only places have popped up during the pandemic, the only one we see with staying power is Seoul Kitchen, where you can order whole or half chickens, bowls, and salads with spicy Korean sauces. Schwartz nails the Korean flavors in both his ssamjang barbecue sauce and his pickled kimchi, and the whole chicken will be hard not to finish if you’re hungry. If you’re not trying to down a whole bird, go for the Seoul Bowl, which comes with chopped chicken, white rice, marinated cucumber, spinach, kimchi, and scallions.
Cost: Bowls are $13, half-chicken is $10, whole chicken is $24
How to order: Order from UberEats for delivery or Toast for pickup.

The gist: Michael Mina brings a fresh Mediterranean seafood concept to his space in Aventura Mall, with generous portions of traditional Greek food and a fish sommelier.
The food: While we’re not exactly sure what the testing (and tasting) procedure is for a “fish sommelier,” we can say it does produce some spectacular seafood, as evidenced at Ornos Estiatorio. The “fish map” shows the regions from Greece to Baja where the restaurant flies in its fish, and you’ll want to try both the Greek and Florida snappers if you have a big enough group. Not into seafood? No problem. The lemon-roasted chicken and 10-ounce filet medallion kebabs are equally as satisfying, even without their own sommelier.
Cost: Spreads are $10; raw bar and appetizers range from $15-20; entrees are $35-50.
How to order: Make reservations via OpenTable.

Public Square
Public Square | Photo Courtesy of Michael Pisarri

Public Square

Coral Gables

The gist: A sceney new Coral Gables steak and seafood emporium from the people who brought us Mi’Italia and Root and Bone brings fine dining back to Red Road.
The food: The sexy new spot across from Sunset Place feels a little like eating in a boutique hotel library, provided that library also served up fresh grilled steaks and cool jalapeno Hamachi. It’s an ideal spot for both dates and group dinners, with a sushi menu that’s pleased to play the hits, complimented by a brilliant selection of steaks. Opt for the corn fritters and filet mignon bites to start, then dabble in the Peruvian ceviche and spicy tuna crispy rice before moving onto the meats.
Cost: Starters are $15-20 and sushi rolls are all about $15; entrees start at $24 for the cauliflower steak and get up to $58 for grilled branzino; steaks around $40-50.
How to order: Make reservations via OpenTable.

Mamey

Coral Gables

The gist: Fresh off his placement on Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs list, Niven Patel brings a menu full of island-inspired cuisine to the floral and colorful ground floor of the Thesis Hotel.
The food: Patel gives Caribbean and Southeast Asian favorites the same treatment he gave Indian food at Ghee, blending South Florida elements into familiar dishes. Think roasted pumpkin empanadas with caramelized onions; wagyu churrasco with yuca and red pepper chimichurri; island spiced pork chop with sweet potatoes; and roasted plantains with jerk spiced crema. It’s one of those menus where every description sounds like a burst of flavor you’d never thought to combine, and is best experienced ordering lots of the smaller plates.
Cost: Small bites are $13-18; large plates $20-$35
How to order: Make reservations via OpenTable or order online.

Barbarella
Barbarella | Photo Courtesy of Miami Food Pug

Barbarella

Dadeland

The gist: The family who delighted us with 33 in the Grove opens a new, fancy fast-casual restaurant at Dadeland, with seafood, pastas, and the best new pizza of 2020.
The food: Mall food really has come a long way since the days when your only choices were knockoff Chicken Kitchen and Manchu Wok. Case in point: Barbarella, who in addition to a menu of house-made pastas and perfectly grilled meats also gives Miami its best new pizza of 2020. Bold statement, yes, but the wood fired stuff here could go toe to toe with any Neapolitan style pie in the city. And even if you’re not into pizza you’ll be impressed by pastas like the pappardelle with little neck clams and truffle Bolognese tagliatelle.
Cost: Appetizers are $10-15; Pizzas $12-14 and worth every cent;  Pastas run $20-25.
How to order:  Make reservations on OpenTable, call 786-542-5661 for take out or use UberEats or DoorDash for delivery.

Moxie's

Brickell

The gist: Chic, sleek Canadian import with a lively bar and a menu spanning multiple cuisines. Think of it like an ultra-modern Cheesecake Factory, with exponentially better food.
The food: Massive menu dining is not, in fact, dead and is absolutely crushing it in the former Rosa Mexicano space. And while, typically, being a jack of all trades is a recipe for mediocrity-at-best, Moxie’s nails them all. So go ahead and order the tuna ceviche, Thai chili chicken, and Korean cauliflower to start. Then move on to a filling kale and quinoa salad before delving into curry bowls, veggie power bowls, vindaloos, and blackened mahi. Or just keep it simple and order something from the best new list of prime steaks we’ve had this year.
Cost: Appetizers are $11-19; salads in the $15-20 range; steaks are $40-50, and if you’re not into steak the extensive entrée list is $20-30.
How to order: Make reservations via OpenTable or order delivery and takeout from Moxie’s website.

Paradise Tiki Bar & Grill
Paradise Tiki | Photo Courtesy of Levy PR

The gist: A boat-up and drive-up tiki bar on a peaceful canal in Dania Beach, with affordable, powerful drinks and a food menu you’d never expect.
The food: Not so very long ago, this spot in the back of a boat storage facility was the kind of waterside dive bar where boaters would bring their own food into the kitchen and make it themselves. But this fall it got a major overhaul, and now has a menu of up island-inspired food we promise is the best you’ve ever had at a tiki bar. The chef came to Paradise from Steven Starr’s failed Continental in South Beach, and his signature creation are the huli-huli skewers—a collection of satays served atop coconut rice. You’ll also want to try the mahi ceviche and tuna and avocado poke, all of which tastes like it was caught that morning.
Cost: Almost everything on the menu is $10-20. That includes the tiki drinks, so getting out of here for under $50 in an afternoon is actually realistic.
How to order: Call 954-391-7384.

Le Jardinier
Grilled Swordfish | Photo Courtesy of Le Jardinier

Le Jardinier

Design District

The gist: Michelin-starred chef Alain Verzeroli plates beautiful, vegetable-forward dishes in a colorful, contemporary space with a brand new patio.
The food: You don’t have to be a vegetarian, or even like vegetables much more than a stubborn seven-year-old, to appreciate what Verzeroli and his Chef de Cuisine Seth Blumenthal are doing at Le Jardinier.  The menu is driven by which veggies are in season, meaning you’ll find stuff like gnocchi with red kuri squash, brown butter and sage this time of year. Or sweet potato velouté with grilled Honeycrisp apple and cardamom. Le Jardinier still has a handful of solid seafood and steak offerings, but the veggies are the stars of the show. 
Cost: Small plates hover around $20, medium plates around $35. The larger plates (aka meat) are $28-38.
How to order: Make reservations via OpenTable or Resy or order takeout online.

L’atelier De Joël Robuchon
Beet, apple and avocado sorbet | Photo Courtesy of L’Atelier de Joel Rubichon

The gist: Fine dining at its finest with creations that carry on the legacy of Joel Robuchon, served in a dark, sexy setting with the quietest open kitchen you’ve ever seen.
The food: You will be hard pressed to find anything short of “the best thing I’ve ever had” on the menu at L’Atelier, where scallops in cilantro broth, a beef and foie gras hamburger, and spiced Long Island orange duck are but a few of the masterpiece that greet you upon opening the menu. The choices can be overwhelming, so save yourself some stress and opt for the seasonal prix-fixe menu where you’ll get five courses for $135. Then snag a seat at the bar and watch the kitchen work with the precision of a silent drill team, plating each dish with immaculate detail and culinary beauty.
Cost: Prix-fixe is $135; a la carte small plates are $20-35; larger plates start at about $40 and can go all the way up to $90.
How to order: Make a reservation via OpenTable or Resy.

The gist: This upscale Nikkei favorite from South America opens its first Miami outpost, with a sexy interior, a robata grill, and Brickell’s best new sushi.
The food: The food: If you’ve delved into the world of Nikkei cuisine you know the drill: Loads of fresh seafood, sushi rolls, and grilled meats with an only-on-robata flavor. Osaka’s standouts are the OSK ceviche with tuna and crispy quinoa, the smoky Peru tiradito, and the wagyu nigiri. Meat lovers would be wise to try something from the robata, where every selection absorbs the grill’s signature smoke. And if you want something different, the nori tacos are a unique take on the Tuesday night classic—if you like the taste of seaweed.
The cost: Nigiris are around $13 for three pieces, ceviches and tiraditos around $25, grilled meats are $32-120.
How to order: Call 786-627-4800 or reserve a table on OpenTable or get delivery through Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Grubhub.

 

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