Best of Miami®

Best Of 2008


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  • + Coral Gables/South Miami
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  • + Cutler Bay/Palmetto Bay
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  • + Little Haiti/Liberty City
  • + Little Havana
  • + Miami Gardens
  • + Miami Lakes
  • + Mid/North Beach
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  • + Miramar
  • + North Dade
  • + North Miami
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  • + Oakland Park
  • + Out of Town
  • + Outside South Florida
  • + Palm Beach County
  • + Palm Beach Gardens
  • + Pembroke Pines
  • + Plantation
  • + Plantation/Sunrise/Tamarac
  • + Pompano Beach
  • + Pompano Beach/Deerfield Beach/Coconut Creek
  • + Riviera Beach
  • + Sea Ranch Lakes
  • + South Beach
  • + South Dade
  • + Sunrise
  • + Sunrise/Plantation
  • + Surfside/Bal Harbor/Bay Harbor Islands
  • + Sweetwater/Westchester/West Miami
  • + Tamiami
  • + Unknown
  • + Upper Eastside/Miami Shores/Biscayne Park
  • + Wellington
  • + West Dade
  • + West Kendall
  • + West Palm Beach
  • + Weston
  • + Wilton Manors
Map It

Bars & Clubs

Food & Drink

People & Places

Shopping & Services


Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Hot Dog

Scene: A distraught man is sitting in a psychiatrist's office.

Doctor: Sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog.

Patient: No, you don't understand. It isn't just that this hot dog is Colombian-style, which means fatter and juicier than those little wieners they hand out at those cruddy chains. And it isn't that La Perrada's dogs are addictive, nestled in those fresh, plush buns. It's the toppings, doc. The toppings are driving me mad!

Doctor: Please, lower your voice. If people in the waiting room hear you screaming about frankfurters, they'll think you're crazy.

Patient: Crazy? I'll give you crazy. How about Edgar Gomez, a former fashion designer, turning into the hot dog's top dog in Bogotá before letting his dogs out on the Little Colombia stretch of Collins Avenue and 70th Street? And if you want frickin' crazy, how about putting sausage, mozzarella, pineapple, potato sticks, and cheese sauce on a hot dog? Or the same mix but with shrimp and crab instead of pineapple? Or — heavens to Betsy — pineapple, peaches, plums, and whipped cream. On a frankfurter! And they all cost less than five dollars!

Doctor: Sometimes chopped onions and pickle relish are just chopped onions and — wait, did you say pineapple, peaches, plums, and whipped cream?

Patient: Yes, thank goodness you're finally catching on.

Doctor: I'm afraid our time is up. Well, maybe it's a little early, but we'll add it to next week's session. I've just been consumed by the strangest craving ...

6976 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 33141
Best Alfajores
Buenos Aires Bakery

Remember that trip to Buenos Aires? There was supposed to be tango dancing until dawn and a smoky-eyed lover. Instead you tripped over your own feet and got fat eating alfajores. Now that you're back in Miami, the porteños are gone, but there are still alfajores. Buenos Aires Bakery offers three kinds of the cookie and dulce de leche sandwich at $2 a pop: dark chocolate, white chocolate, and maizena. The cookies are moist and the Argentine caramel perfectly gooey. Take a bite, make peace with your chubbiness, and daydream about the Paris of South America.

7134 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 33141
Best Argentine Restaurant
Estancia Argentina

Argentine steaks are revered not because of how they're cooked, but because the meat is incredible. The cattle roam the fertile pastures of the pampas and are never forced to exert themselves (because exercise makes the meat tougher). They are carted around the country in train cars. This special treatment produces beef that melts when it hits your tongue and is unrivaled in tenderness and flavor.

But until just last year, the USDA — out of protectionism and semi-legitimate fears of hoof and mouth disease — banned the import of Argentine beef. Now that it can again be imported, you don't want to go to some fancy Argentine steak house and have them jack up the price on you just for cooking the meat. That's where Estancia Argentina comes in. It's a Miami-based chain owned by Buenos Aires transplants, with locations in Aventura, Coral Gables, Kendall, and Miramar. It's half restaurant, half market, and all good. The empanadas ($1.55) and sandwiches ($8) are delicious, made fresh with quality ingredients. The walls are lined with bottles of wine, so you can buy a Malbec and drink it with your meal. The meat counter is to drool over, with all sorts of Argentine beef cuts, cheeses, chorizos, and chimichurris. They also have great desserts ($1 to $5). The place is always packed with Spanish speakers enjoying a cup of vino or guarana soda with meaty skirt steak or prosciutto and mozzarella sandwiches. Join them.

17870 Biscayne Blvd., Sunny Isles Beach, 33160
Best Bagels
The Bagel Express

There's no Brie, quail eggs, or diced jalapeños baked into the dough of the bagels at this Kendall joint. Nor is there any caviar-infused shmear or exotic fruit toppings shipped from some remote village in the heart of the Amazon. That's because The Bagel Express, a non-descript delicatessen squeezed into a small, suburban strip mall, simply makes great bagels. There's greatness in the first bite. And the second. And the thirtieth.

Made from scratch and baked fresh daily, the bagels here are classics — pumpernickel, sesame, egg, poppy seed, garlic, salt, cinnamon, plain, and everything. The price: $6.60 for six and $11.95 for a baker's dozen. For the carb-conscious, there's also whole wheat and eight-grain available with your choice of regular or low-fat cream cheese (plain, chive, vegetable, strawberry, and honey walnut) for $2.75 a pop. Speaking of pop, The Bagel Express has Dr. Brown sodas (diet and regular). Then there's fresh, hand-sliced Nova lox for $7.99 per quarter pound and delicious, buttery rugelach for $10.95 a platter.

Still not convinced? Oy vey! Then swing on in after the morning rush and try a Boar's Head deli sandwich served in a large woven basket with your choice of bagel, for $7.95. While you're there — now don't get all verklempt — ponder this: Although a bagel topped with Alba white truffle cream cheese and goji berry-infused Riesling jelly sounds superb, it'll run you $1,000 at the Westin Hotel in Times Square. But these tasty bites in Kendall will cost you a mere $1.25 each. Enjoy!

11616 SW 88th St., Miami, 33176
Best Bakery
La Provence

If great bread is the staff of life, all of us here in South Florida are living on borrowed time, eating mushy, pallid, tasteless loaves made from ultrarefined flour that no self-respecting Parisian or Italian would use for a doorstop. But thankfully, for those special occasions, we have La Provence, where you can get a proper baguette ($2) or crusty loaf of sourdough ($2.25) or hunk of multigrain ($4.35). But man (and woman) doesn't live by bread alone, so if you're hungry for a light, flaky croissant; luscious Danish, fruit tart, or cheesecake; even savory quiches or empanadas, La Provence has you covered there too. Just no doorstops.

Multiple Locations
Best Brazilian Restaurant

For more than nine years, Aziza Yuself has made Varanda's a place where Brazilians can savor authentic cuisine. That's why the low-key eatery draws so many of the Brazilian expatriates residing in North Beach, who can watch Brazilian television and have long conversations in Portuguese while dining on exceptionally good food, especially the muqueca de peixe, fish perfectly simmered in a coconut sauce ($14.95). Meat lovers will enjoy the picadinho ao mohlo, beef strips in a delicious hot sauce, for $10.95, or the frango ao mohlo curry, curry chicken in coconut sauce for $13.95. For many folks, Varanda's is a home away from home, but even if you're not from São Paulo, you can drop by too.

6616 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 33141

Best Hot Dog: La Perrada de Edgar


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