Best of Miami®

Best Of 2017

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Baleada
Jennifer's Cafeteria
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

At first blush, there doesn't seem to be a thing wrong with a baleada for breakfast, particularly when for five bucks you can snag one of the thick whole-wheat tortillas from this compact North Miami Beach cafeteria where women rightly rule. Yet consider the history of this breakfast benchmark. The chewy, pillowy tortillas are thought to have first appeared in the early 20th Century near the banana plantations of Central America. Women pushing ramshackle carts would sell them to farmworkers striking out in the hot sun for a brutal day's work. For many, the thick tortilla with perhaps a smear of black beans was all they could afford. Jennifer's Cafeteria takes some of the sting out of the story via gently fried eggs, refried black beans, and — if you like — an ultrafragrant and spicy chorizo tangled up with melty cheese. Be sure to give thanks to those who paved the way.

16462 NE 16th Ave., North Miami Beach, 33162
MAP
305-940-3180
Best Coffeehouse
All Day
Zachary Fagenson

When Panther Coffee alum Camila Ramos announced the opening of her own java shop, we knew it would be something special. Nestled downtown between the Corner and Fooq's, her bright, expansive space is a welcome addition to the neighborhood's club-dominated scene. Inside, a simple neon board shows All Day's coffee varieties, including pour-overs ($5) and cortados ($4.25), along with more distinct brews such as Thai iced coffee with xocolatl mole bitters ($5) and a nitrogen-infused Brooklyn brew by Toby's Estate Coffee ($5.50, $7.50, or $9.50). Coffees come wet or dry, which is a sophisticated way of saying creamy milk versus a cap of froth. Curb your hunger with small and large bites such as French toast, soft-scrambled eggs, house-made pastries, and pan con croqueta ($10), a sandwich stuffed with ham croquetas, Gouda cheese, egg spread, and pickles.

Readers' choice: Panther Coffee

1035 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 33136
MAP
305-699-3447
Best Cold-Brew Coffee
C.B. Station
Courtesy of C.B. Station

There is a food truck for almost everything: tacos, burgers, French fries, and doughnuts. Now there is one for coffee. Miami-based wholesale coffee purveyor Relentless Roasters is behind one of Miami's newest food truck concepts: cold-brew coffee on wheels. At C.B. Station, short for "Cold Brew Station," java is iced and put on wheels. Find a variety of flavor pairings made with two bases. Awaken and its sister brew, Awaken Nitro, which offers a creamier consistency similar to a Guinness beer, are blended with sundry ingredients, creating flavors such as raspberry-lemonade, an Arnold Palmer variety, and a classic milk-and-cream version. The truck serves two sizes — 12 and 16 ounces — priced between $4 and $5. To find out where the truck is parked, check its Instagram page.

Best Coffee
Vice City Bean
Courtesy of Vice City Bean

Opened a little more than a year ago, Vice City Bean caffeinates Miami's not-so-sleepy Omni neighborhood. The café was founded by Roland and Eva Baker, who moved from Los Angeles, where they had recognized and enjoyed the sophisticated coffee culture. It's a perfect place to sip a cup of joe after a poolside live music session at the Filling Station Lofts or meandering through the stalls at the Miami Flea. Large street-facing windows fill the industrial space with warm light. It's located within walking distance of Wynwood's kaleidoscopic murals, but this café's vibe is far less pretentious than anything you'll find over there. An easygoing vibe fills the space and local artists' illustrations hang on the walls. There's plenty of seating for anyone to buckle down with a laptop for a few hours. The menu includes everything from crisp empanadas to rooibos tea latte. The highlight, though, is the specialty coffee from Madcap Roasters of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

1657 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 33136
MAP
305-726-8031
Best Café Con Leche
Tinta y Café
Courtesy of Tinta y Cafe

While the rest of America goes to Starbucks, Miami heads to its neighborhood Cuban spots. Of course, born-and-bred South Floridians will always have a difficult time deciding on their favorite ventanita, but it comes down to who makes the best coffee: the strongest cortadito, the most authentic cafecito, or the smoothest café con leche. If it's the last you're searching for, look no further than Tinta y Café, a tiny Coral Gables coffee shop and eatery open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Located on Ponce de Leon Boulevard, it's a small slice of home for anyone who wanders in from the street to relax. You can sit in the lounge space, adorned with mismatched furniture, or line up at the outdoor window. Inside, a small bar peddles all manner of caffeine, including a version of the cortadito made with evaporated milk ($2.25) or without ($2). It's like café con leche on steroids. But it's the traditional café con leche ($2.95 to $3.25 depending upon size, plus 60 cents extra for a double shot) that's won the hearts of many. Maybe it's the perfect balance of dense foam and warm, creamy milk that mellows out the dark, rich flavor of the espresso. The final touch: expertly crafted leaf- or heart-shaped latte art so beautiful it's a shame to ruin it with your first sip.

1315 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, 33134
MAP
305-285-0101
Best Juice Bar
Roots Juicebar
Courtesy of Roots Juice Bar

This light, airy juicery is all about the positive vibes. If you forget to turn your frown upside down before entering, an array of inspirational signs will remind you. And if all else fails, the prices are sure to put a smile on your face. Cold-pressed juices in a rainbow of hues cost only $8 each — maybe Miami's tastiest cheap drink. Try the Got the Beet, an infusion of beet, carrot, celery, apple, and lemon. Down the Love Potion #9, a concoction of pear, pineapple, beet, chia, and ginger. Or sip the Essential, a verdant mix of green apple, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, ginger, lemon, and spirulina. And liquid magic isn't the only thing on the menu. Smoothies ($8) contain exotic ingredients such as dragon fruit and maca. Check out a zoodle (zucchini noodle) bowl ($9.50), avocado toast ($5.50), green vegetable soup ($4.50), or a superfood salad ($9.50). The juice bar is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. At Roots, you'll drink the rainbow, eat the rainbow, live the rainbow.

8530 SW 124th Ave., Miami, 33183
MAP
786-534-5087
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Best Baleada: Jennifer's Cafeteria

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