When selecting an all-star team, “booziest” doesn’t always mean “best”, otherwise David Wells would have started every All-Star Game ever. So, even though we’ve already told you about Miami’s Booziest Brunches, we decided to pick the city's best dish in every important AM(-ish)-eats category for our list of Miami's 10 most essential brunch items. A list that includes everything from chicken and waffles to shrimp and grits. And maybe, one Bloody Mary...
Miami's 10 most essential brunch items: from Cap'n Crunch pancakes to kimchi Bloody Marys
Essential Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and waffles, Morgans Restaurant
While people are putting everything from fried rice to garbanzo beans on top of chicken and waffles these days, this Miami brunch stalwart hasn't started doing anything crazy since the craze started. They just top hot, crispy waffles with even hotter, crispier fried chicken, serve it with syrup, and get tons of hungover Miamians to wait outside in the humidity, on a weekend, to eat some.
Essential French Toast
Cookies and cream French toast, The Federal
Nabisco told us a long time ago that the Oreo was milk’s favorite cookie. They failed to inform us, however, that it was also the favorite cookie of ricotta whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and maple syrup sitting on top of fresh-battered French toast. That’s kind of a mouthful though, and might not actually fit on a box of cookies, so, Nabisco, we good.
Essential Chicken Biscuit
Mama's Chicken Biscuits, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
These giant, made-fresh-every-day buttermilk biscuits filled with fresh fried chicken, pepper jelly, and a homemade pickle are why this is one of America’s best Southern restaurants outside the South.
Essential Bloody Mary
Kimchi Bloody Mary, Michael's Genuine
If you’re the type who believes brunch is better consumed in liquid form, which, admit it, is pretty much everyone, there’s nothing better than this Michael Schwartz classic that starts with Absolut Elyx, then adds Michael’s Bloody Mary mix, and tops it off with house-made kimchi and a Florida rock shrimp. Which means, technically, yes, you ate SOMETHING.
Essential Mexican Brunch
Nothing says “Mexican brunch” like washing it down with a craft beer on draft, right? Of course right. And really the only place you’re gonna be able to do that is at OTC, where they're serving up this pile of corn chips, Mexican chorizo, chipotle-braised chicken thigh, Cotija cheese, avocado, ranchero sauce, and a sunny-side up egg.
Essential Caja China
Caja china, EDGE Steak and Bar
Sure, you COULD drive all the way out to Hialeah at the ass-crack of dawn Sunday morning, help your relatives carry that box that probably weighs more than an atomic bomb out to the back yard, bury it, then wait, like ALL DAY to actually eat a giant pig. OR you could just stop by the patio at the Four Seasons in Brickell, grab some pork off the whole hog they roast every week, and use Sunday to do something useful, like catch up on Game of Thrones.
Essential Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and grits, Blue Collar
In his never-ending quest to make the best un-Kosher food humanly possibly, Danny Serfer takes traditional shrimp and grits, adds trugole cheese and New Orleans-style BBQ sauce, then throws in Nueske bacon to ensure he’ll never be able to open a restaurant on 41st St.
Essential Eggs Benedict
Crab Eggs Benedict, Local House
Read that carefully so you don’t think you’re getting a plate full of crab eggs (do crabs even have eggs?) topped with Hollandaise sauce. What you are getting is a fresh, house-made crab cake topped with a poached egg, tomatoes, garlic-sauteed spinach & Hollandaise served across the street from the ocean. Convenient if, ya know, you were really hung up on getting crab eggs.
Donut holes, Tongue and Cheek
In a city where gourmet donuts are rarer than English-speaking cab drivers, it’s just a shame that Jamie DeRosa only offers these made-fresh, from-scratch donut holes filled with chocolate, jelly, or Bavarian cream -- that’re some of Miami’s best donuts -- at brunch. The free coffee helps make up for it, though.
Cap'n Crunch pancakes, Eating House
Sadly, you will not find any free plastic scuba men when you get to the bottom of Giorgio Rapicavoli’s signature Wakin’ and Bacon brunch dish. What you will find after finishing these cakes topped with condensed milk syrup, vanilla butter & candied Cap’n Crunch is a reason to call your mom and tell her she was totally wrong when she said those sugar cereals were a waste of money and forced you to eat Malt-O’s.
1. Morgans Restaurant28 NE 29th St, Miami
2. The Federal Food Drink & Provisions5132 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
3. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach
4. Michael's Genuine130 NE 40th St, Miami
5. OTC1250 S Miami Ave, Brickell
6. Edge, Steak & Bar1435 Brickell Ave, Miami
7. Blue Collar Restaurant6730 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
8. The Local House400 Ocean Dr, South Beach
9. Tongue & Cheek431 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
10. Eating House804 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Miami
From a chef who teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health in NYC, and has reworked classic comfort dishes via healthier ingredients and methods, Morgans sits in a 1930s family home re-worked as a resto, with dining downstairs and downstairs.
The Phuc Yea! crew's homey spot on Biscayne is serving comfort food that you can wash down with 15 wines, beers on tap, and cocktails... just not all at once. Their light, fluffy biscuits have been ranked as some of the best in the country and are just a little sweet with a honey apple cider glaze. This modern American tavern serves up lunch, dinner and boozy brunch, and their Bloody Mary, made with Southwestern-style chipotle, cilantro, horseradish and agave wine, is not one to miss.
Before Yardbird opened in 2011, Miami wasn't known for its Southern comfort cuisine, which somehow seemed odd for a city that's geographically part of the American south. All that changed when Top Chef finalist Jeff McInnis, along with restaurant vets Chris Romero and John Kunkel, opened Yardbird in Miami Beach and instantly made a name with their fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and watermelon salad. The menu is chock full of quintessential down-home foods, and the well-stocked bar doles out house cocktails like blackberry bourbon lemonade and Bloody Marys with bacon-infused bourbon.
Take advantage of MG's brunch and order the kimchi Benedict or lemon ricotta pancakes. You can also head to their happy hour to get loose on craft beers, specialty ‘tails and snacks, or dive in to a full sit-down meal like the pan-roasted 1/2 "Poulet Rouge" chicken with roasted vegetables or the short rib and fontina cheese panini.
OTC does it right with fast, order-at-the-counter service and a laid-back Southern Florida atmosphere. There's a progressive menu with a fresh ingredient presence (duh). Also, they're pretty proud of their Indie-rock music selections.
There are several things that separate this sophisticate venue from the high-brow steakhouses of Miami: for one, executive chef Aaron Brooks was named the Miami "Lambassador" by the Australian lamb council, and his lamb chops, served with chickpeas, fire-roasted peppers, red chimichurri, and coriander cream, are an award-winning signature. The rest of the meat-centric menu features Creekstone Farms steaks that are cooked over a mesquite-chipped grill, giving them a smoky, outdoorsy flavor that'll make you forget you’re sitting in the Four Seasons. And though the prices won't make a meal at Edge a casual spend, specialty seafood that's flown in every day makes the trip worth it.
Blue Collar's mission is to give off a true neighborhood hang-out vibe, which it successfully does with a huge menu of comfort food staples. Every day, the kitchen serves a different rib dish (baby back, short ribs, spare ribs, etc), parmesan dish (chicken, veal, pork, eggplant, etc), and a braised dish (brisket, pot roast, ox tails, pork shoulder). There's a whole chalkboard of vegetable sides to counter the meaty entrées, and appetizers like definitely-order-or-you'll-regret-it potato latkes. Don't even get us started on brunch -- just make sure you get there early.
The Local House boasts rustic communal tables and comfy chairs that encourage you to relax, eat, and maybe even take a nap.
This down-home American spot is serving up awesome craft 'tails and twists on classic eats like meatballs and gravy, fried chicken, cured pork belly, and fish-n-chips.
Eating House isn't a regular restaurant, it's a cool restaurant. Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli's spot began as a pop-up in 2012 before it took a permanent, brick-and-mortar turn in Coral Gables a few years later. It's hard to decide what Rapicavoli does better: local ingredient-driven dinner or over-the-top brunch. Whatever it is, all the dishes coming out of the kitchen -- like Cap'n Crunch pancakes or black truffle carbonara -- are similar in their sheer creativity.