The Second City: Miami remains a magnet for second outposts by brand name chefs and restaurateurs. Scott Conant, Michael Mina, Nobu Matsuhisa, Alfred Portale, Laurent Tourondel, and Alan Yau are just a few of those who've brainstormed their way here — while leaving their hearts in the cities of their flagship restaurants. The culinary carpetbagging slowed to a trickle yet still brought one of the very best new restaurants (Michael Psilakis's Eos) and one of the, um, not very best (Mr. Chow). Speaking of which...

Chow Down: Last year, it was Philippe Chow; this year Mr. Chow. Even if they weren't fighting among themselves, we're still pretty certain this would be two more Chows than any city really needs.

Star Van Aken 2: The Next Generation: Last year, we noted the stagnant nature of restaurant action in Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, South Miami, and the once proud Coral Gables. Not much has changed for the first three hoods, but Charlotte Bistro, Le Provençal, Talavera Cocina Mexicana, and the imminent return of Norman Van Aken to his old stomping grounds might be enough to get the Gables rollicking once again. Norman's 180, the most anticipated opening of 2010, will feature Van Aken working in the kitchen with son Justin — maybe the surest way to guarantee the perpetuation of a vibrant dining scene.

Joe Rocco

Location Info


Ahnvee Restaurant & Lounge

621 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Cajun

Region: South Beach

Apple Restaurant and Lounge

1437 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach

Hot Tuna

764 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139-6210

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: South Beach

Hed Kandi Lounge

1200 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: South Beach


4441 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33140

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Mid/North Beach

Charlotte Bistro

Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: South Dade

Burger & Beer Joint

900 S. Miami Ave., 130
Miami, FL 33130

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Brickell

Pizza Volante

3918 N. Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33127

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Midtown/Wynwood/Design District

Red the Steakhouse

119 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Steakhouse

Region: South Beach

STK Miami

2377 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Steakhouse

Region: South Beach

Band of Bloggers: Before you can perpetuate a vibrant scene, you have to create one, and the maturation of our online food community will almost certainly bring that about sooner rather than later. Just a few years ago, the collective public commentary about Miami's restaurants consisted of a couple of critics and a handful of Chowhounders. Local food blogs have since multiplied faster than annoying Food Network personalities, and national sites such as Eater, Thrillist, Urban Daddy, and Yelp have taken Miami into their fold. (Short Order also came of age this year, which we like to think of as a positive development too.) It can be argued that the increased sharing of local information on the web, along with the attendant linkage to national sites — the socializing of the food media in general — has already helped usher in a couple of culinary trends that have long been an integral fixture of other American cities: gastro trucks and underground dinners. In fact, blogs just might end up being the cogs that finally gear us toward getting the fish houses, cheese shops, meat markets, green grocers, bakeries, diners, and all the other missing pieces we have been patiently waiting for.

So we close our wrapup with a bright prognosis for 2010 and beyond: It takes a village to raise a food scene, and Miami finally has one.

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