Food & Drinks

  • Best Black Bean Soup

    Taco Rico Tex Mex Café

    Let's face it, a bowl of black bean soup can be a bounty of blasé. But the chefs at these little Mexican diners add a magical elixir to their pot: a splash of beer, Dos Equis Special Lager, to be precise. That's why they call it drunken bean soup. You won't get a beer buzz, but the effect is definitely… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Kon Chau Restaurant

    It's Tuesday afternoon and you're craving chicken feet again. You had the little morsels just two days ago, but that didn't do the trick. At the same meal you scarfed turnip cakes, steamed shrimp dumplings, sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf, baked roast pork buns, spare ribs with black bean sauce, rice noodles har mon, and for dessert, steamed… More >>
  • Best Pizza


    Contrary to popular belief, the Italians didn't invent pizza. The Greeks did, who in turn got the idea from the enterprising Etruscans, who used focaccia as plates. But the Italians certainly improved the dish. In Naples they added tomato sauce, and in the late Nineteenth Century the classic Margherita (four-cheese pizza) was invented and named for the then-queen of Italy.… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For The Hearing-Impaired


    It's probably no surprise that this dynamic but industrial-looking place is noisy: Most of the mod décor is metallic. Talk about reverb. Not only that, China Grill Management owns this Asian noodle shop, and this particular restaurant group seems to excel in creating high-end eateries that are sweet to the taste but hard on the eardrum. Sitting outside at the… More >>
  • Best Bagels

    Bagels & Co.

    "Wait, let me get you a warm one," the counter clerk says as he hovers a hand above the trays of doughy bagels. In no time his heat-seeking fingers land on a poppy-seed bagel that's as piping hot as it is flush with flavor. At Bagels & Co. freshness is never in question. Beyond fresh, the bagels are unusually dense… More >>
  • Best Caribbean Restaurant

    Christine's Roti Shop - CLOSED

    This town knows a thing or two about heat. But it's never known anything like Christine Gouvia's jerk chicken. The tender, unassuming morsels of dark meat tingle the tongue and placate the palate. And though this experience alone is worth the pilgrimage to Gouvia's tiny North Miami Beach eatery, the spicy bird takes second billing to the roti. Sort of… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Oasis Café

    Think French fries and plump white potatoes cooking in a deep pool of sputtering oil comes to mind. Certainly not health food. The menu at healthy Oasis Café features staples such as tofu, brown rice, and garden burgers, but they're not your ordinary bland concoctions. Oasis gives their food a decidedly Mediterranean twist. And they give their menu a twist… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant


    An instantly recognizable two-word dish: crispy spinach. Or perhaps aromatic duck. Or even purple eggplant. But two words, no matter how memorable they are, can't really describe the complex flavors and contrasting textures presented in these outstanding Chinese dishes. Only taste will tell. After six years in business on flighty South Beach, we might have expected this eatery, which has… More >>
  • Best Appetizers

    Casa Panza

    The Spaniards may not have invented the appetizer, but they are conquistadors when it comes to premain-course specialties. They have even captured a foothold in the English language with the word tapas (means appetizers, yanqui). Back in the land of Sancho Panza, tapas are free at many an inn, as long as you and your compadres order beer or wine.… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    El Fogon

    A fogon is an oven, and the one here is obviously put to good use. Owner Agustin Paz uses his to melt the cheese over molletes (open-face French bread sandwiches), bake cochinita pibil (marinated pork) burritos, and roast poblano peppers stuffed with ground beef. Fare isn't fancy, but it is attractively presented, not to mention generously portioned. Wash down those… More >>
  • Best Post-Soviet Appetizers

    Red Square

    Siberian nachos. What a concept. Better yet, what an execution. Caviar, tuna tartare, crème fraîche, a nacho. The combination is sublime. (The tuna tartare appetizer on its own is pretty glorious.) Of course, the restaurant's name and welcoming statue of Vladimir Ilich Lenin are supposed to make you think kitschy communist, but no comrades of the average sort were eating… More >>
  • Best Restaurant In Coral Gables

    Norman's - CLOSED

    Perhaps poet Ricardo Pau-Llosa wrote it best: "... what perfect/form a taste can set before the eye/the primary tongue./Con the cheek with bliss." Pau-Llosa was extolling Norman Van Aken's talent, and he hit it right on the proverbial head. Van Aken and his "perfect form" have conned us all into believing none in the Gables (nor in Florida, nor even… More >>
  • Best Cafe Con Leche

    La Casita No. 1

    When the La Casita team took over this Calle Ocho location eight years ago, they showed their acumen by holding on to the best part of the previous restaurant: Amparo Jidy, concocter of the creamiest, sweetest, foamiest café con leche in town. Amparo has ruled the coffee bar ever since, serving up plenty of smiles, along with coladas and cortaditos.… More >>
  • Best Service

    Crystal Café

    Two reasons why this elegant neighborhood restaurant consistently earns kudos for its service: The staff respects chef-owner Klime Kovaceski, and he respects them. With all this mutual regard going on, it's pretty hard not to be a recipient of it. The host has a toy or two stashed away for a fussy baby. The servers cater to customers shamelessly but… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Bakery

    Oriental Bakery and Grocery

    From their pita bread to their desserts, the Oriental Bakery and Grocery store is one of those rare finds that make living in South Florida a truly diverse experience. All the baking and cooking is done on the premises and they sell more than 400 loaves of pita bread per day. It's been a family- run business for nearly 30… More >>
  • Best Cheap Cuban Feast

    Laguna Restaurant

    As out of the way as it might seem to the downtown lunch crowd, this all-substance/no-style Cuban eatery is a big hit with our men and women in uniform. On any given day, Laguna's crack squad of blue-aproned waitresses can be seen pressing prodigious platters of moros, yuca, maduros, and succulent meats of all descriptions on National Guardsmen, police officers,… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Strawberries

    Burr's Berry Farm

    You are down south in late April. An intense summer sun seems to have bypassed spring. Those strawberries dotting the fields look red and juicy, but the thought of picking fruit in this heat makes you turn the car air conditioner up a notch. Fortunately Charlie Burr has already gathered them for you. They await at his stand just like… More >>
  • Best Fine-Dining Restaurant To Have A Highchair

    Caffe Sambuca

    Locals love this elegant Italian eatery for several reasons, including the succulent homemade pastas, the high-quality grilled veal chops, the genteel atmosphere, the sincere service. But there's a bonus factor here that makes the Caffe even more inviting: highchairs. Now new parents can enjoy the tastiest tortellini in the business while reveling in the knowledge that their bambinos are snug… More >>
  • Best Hot Chocolate

    Hoeflinger & Chiarini World Marketplace

    Although it might make more sense to sip hot chocolate after ice-skating in Michigan than after Rollerblading along Coral Way, make an exception at Hoeflinger & Chiarini. It's that good. The pastry chef takes dark Swiss chocolate, melts and mixes it with sugar and milk, and makes it creamy and smooth. Then he squeezes out generous dollops and refrigerates them.… More >>
  • Best Place To Dine Alone

    Johnny V's Kitchen

    The key here is "dine." You can grab a fast-food burger by yourself just about anywhere, but the only thing you'll be treating yourself to is a Pepcid AC. Replace Mickey D's with Johnny V's, and instead you'll munch on corn-crusted snapper stuffed into a soft taco with avocado tartar sauce, a basil-roasted turkey with plantain stuffing, or grilled rare… More >>
  • Best Contradiction In Terms

    Cuban Lite by Fat Busters

    No sweet maduros dripping with grease, no deep-fried croquetas or rich, fatty chunks of lechon asado. No, this is Fat Busters, home of Cuban Lite, where the mantra is: "No added fat or sugar." And before you dismiss this small strip-center cafeteria/cantina as an insult to real Cuban cooking, at least sample the wares. Turkey meatballs, turkey picadillo, grilled chicken… More >>
  • Best Haitian Restaurant

    Fidele Restaurant

    A walk through Little Haiti delights the olfactory senses. Exotic aromas from the islands waft by like enticing invitations. But there are few restaurants where one wants to sit. Why? Because take-out is the rule. And Fidele is the best. Be clear, this is no yuppie joint. It's located on a seedy stretch of Biscayne and a smudged Plexiglas window… More >>
  • Best Chocolate

    The Sweet Tooth

    The Sweet Tooth is ready for any holiday. Make that every holiday. The North Miami Beach institution prepares foil-wrapped hearts for Valentine's Day, of course, and chocolate clovers for St. Patrick's Day. But even lesser festivals are covered. How about a Mardi Gras mask on a stick? Or an edible football-playing figurine for a Heisman Trophy party? Hand-dipped chocolate matzo… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch

    Nemo - CLOSED

    This past year Nemo owners Myles Chefetz and Michael Schwartz made a wise decision; they hired executive chef Frank Jeanetti to take the reins of the open kitchen. Jeanetti not only has a fine touch with Pacific Rim flavors (honed under Jonathan Eismann at Pacific Time and Pacific Heights), he's a great garde-manger, and he proves it every Sunday while… More >>
  • Best Chili

    Firehouse Four

    The chili at Firehouse Four is a very traditional blend of meat and spices, simply stewed to perfection. The secret is its stick-to-the-basics formula and a reliance on quality ingredients, especially ground sirloin. The recipe is the same one used by the original Firehouse Four when it was first opened more than a decade ago. After a troubled hiatus, when… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    Café Demetrio

    With its light-wood interior, Italian coffee drinks, and Austrian desserts, Café Demetrio looks as if it's been imported from the Alps. All that's missing is some snow and a Saint Bernard or two. But the coziness of this coffee shop doesn't mean we should only enjoy it during the cooler weather. The gourmet frozen cappuccino, the coffee mousse, and the… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Taquería El Mexicano

    The tacos in this barrio-style taquería are truly Mexicano, as are the prices. For a buck and half you can erase all traces of Taco Bell from your taste buds. You'll become a born-again taco eater once you indulge in the light, crispy corn tortilla or the soft flour wrap with your choice of chicken chunks, carnitas, picadillo, barbacoa (steamed… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Selection

    Brickell Emporium

    Where else but at the Brickell Emporium can you get a tongue omelet at 7:00 a.m.? Okay, maybe that idea, especially early in the morning, is horrifying. Fortunately this restaurant has 22 other types of omelets from which to choose. The selection ranges from the traditional Western to a lox spread. Rumored to be the first deli in Miami, the… More >>
  • Best Carry-Out Chinese

    Sam Woo

    In My Year of Meats, a novel by Ruth L. Ozeki, an Asian character says, "Name is very first thing. Name is face to all the world." No doubt she'd appreciate Sam Woo's moniker, which in English means to seduce. And that's precisely what he does with his "snowballs," chopped shrimp molded into balls and dressed with a sweet mayonnaise,… More >>
  • Best Puerto Rican Restaurant

    Casa Salsa

    If you're Puerto Rican you know better than to venture out to a restaurant to eat comida criolla. Nobody makes better arroz con gandules than your abuela, nobody's alcapurrias are quite as tasty as mami's, and mofongo -- well forget it -- you just can't get good mofongo off the island. Until now. This past December Puerto Rican singing-sensation-superstar Ricky… More >>
  • Best Frozen Altar

    Andalusia Bake Shop

    In Andalusia's vacated Kendall location the ghost of a bakery remains. Through the darkened windows you can still see boxes of wax paper, ovens, cash registers, and industrial mixers, all just waiting to spring back to life and commerce. Faithful customers await a resurrection, combing the recesses of their freezers for a loaf of rye, a danish, any bittersweet memento.… More >>
  • Best Place To Park Your Yacht And Order Paella

    Big Fish Mayaimi

    We just want to dine overlooking the water. Is that so wrong? Apparently. Miami may be practically surrounded by H2O, but very few restaurants boast waterfront dining. Enter the Fish, positioned on the south bank of the Miami River. Originally a fruit-packing plant, then a gas station, next a fish-sandwich joint started by local personality T.O. Sykes, Big Fish Mayaimi… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Grocery

    Epicure Market

    The Epicure is to serious gourmands what Times Square once was to perverts: an endless display of guilty pleasures one can ill afford. Inches-thick columns of blood-red filet mignon in the meat department; tins of Beluga caviar at $50 for 1.75 ounces, or $795 per kilo; fragrant, exotic cheeses; exquisitely fresh vegetables; an array of freshly baked goods; and unique… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Fishbone Grille

    Being surrounded by water in South Florida, we'd expect a plethora of excellent seafood restaurants. There are a number of places that call themselves fish houses, but far too many are overpriced, greasy, or just plain boring. Fishbone Grille is none of the above. Both the original downtown location, which recently underwent a long-needed facelift, and the newer Coral Gables… More >>
  • Best Café Cubano

    La Minuta

    Working in the music business is no nine-to-five job. Recording sessions that start one day can finish the next, and pulling all-nighters is par for the course. No surprise that producers and engineers who work at North Miami's famed Critieria Recording Studio know what to do when they need a little something to keep them going. No, not that. We… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Dining

    Café Hammock at Miccosukee Indian Gaming

    The numbers flash with astonishing speed, and you've got ten boards to cover. The smoke in the room, as thick as alligators in the nearby canals, is getting in your eyes, making it difficult to see, and the hour drags on. You're simply too worn out to concentrate. What's a dedicated bingo player to do? Take a refueling break, of… More >>
  • Best Key Lime Pie

    Knaus Berry Farm

    Are you sick of key lime pies that taste treacly, like green-color candy? Yet you live in South Florida and, damn it, when visitors come to call, they expect the local confection. Fret not, there is hope. Oddly enough it comes from sternly dressed German Baptists. More than a half century old, the Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead is rightly… More >>
  • Best Middle-Eastern Restaurant

    Pita Hut

    The road to peace in the Middle East is a little rocky these days, so travel could be rough. Good thing there's Pita Hut to give us our fill of Levantine fare until the dove returns. The Israeli-owned restaurant makes no distinctions between nationalities, unless it is to identify which specialty comes from where. Like the Greek eggplant salad, fried… More >>
  • Best Croissant

    Publix Bakery

    Anyone can make a buttery, flaky croissant, like the fat golden crescents you find at the Publix Bakery. But not anyone can take that very same croissant and turn it into ... a doughnut. Sometimes the bakery counter's best-selling item is glazed after the raw croissant dough has been dropped like a fritter into the deep-fryer. Sometimes it's coated with… More >>
  • Best Restaurateur

    Kevin Rusk

    In 1982 two Florida International University students in their early twenties, Patrick Gleber and Kevin Rusk, helped transform Miami's oldest bar, Tobacco Road, from a decrepit, crime-ridden dive into one of the most popular food and music venues in the county. Then came Fishbone Grille, continuing a tradition of excellent food at a moderate price. So in 1997, when Rusk… More >>
  • Best Flan

    Lila's Restaurant

    It would be impossible for any flan to have a more perfectly silky, dense texture and rich taste than Lila's flan does. So many Lila's customers grew to love the flan (a most fitting finale to Lila's also-celebrated palomillo steak heaped with crisp fresh-cut fries) that ten years ago owner Reinaldo Navarro began selling the delicacy to stores. Now you… More >>
  • Best Innovative Menu

    Blue Sea (in the Delano Hotel)

    We've had some innovative Floribbean and Pacific Rim concepts recently, but not many can hold on to their uniqueness over time. Not so Blue Sea, a tiny Asian seafood bar in the Delano that features communal seating and adventurous food you just don't see elsewhere -- not even on the menus of other sushi bars guilty of taking liberties with… More >>
  • Best Fajita

    Paquito's Mexican Restaurant

    Step into this spacious restaurant in a modest stripmall off U.S. 1 and you'll think you've taken a wrong turn over the border. Furnished with tile floors, ceramic crafts, woven wall hangings, and a wandering mariachi band, Paquito's feels authentic without being kitschy. Likewise the food here is really Mexican, not that overstuffed Americanized variation often found at so-called Mexican… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Dining

    Pacific Time Next Door

    All the pleasures of dining at chef-owner Jonathan Eismann's Pacific Time, PT Next Door's sister restaurant (literally a neighbor), and none of the pain. Specifically the pain of trying to get a reservation, the pain of waiting for that reservation while pushing and shoving for a glass of wine at the bar, the pain of shouting your order at the… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Mr. G's USA

    Miami is a great food town, of course. Most famously for the chefs who fuse Caribbean foods into a mango-habanero mojo of New World cuisine. Less exotic, but still welcome in the mix, are the cheese steaks and inimitable pizzas transplanted from Philadelphia and New York. To this Americana end, at long last, Miami can add the hot dog. Make… More >>
  • Best Cuban Restaurant

    Rio Cristal

    Don't be fooled by the Fifties-diner look: This place is as Cuban as it comes. In fact once the waitress slams down a crowded plate of blanket-size bistec empanizado with papitas fritas hanging over the edges of the oval-shaped dish, visions of North America will quickly fade. The specialty of the house is steak a la plancha and the black… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream Parlor

    The Frieze Ice Cream Factory

    This tiny titan of independent ice creamery has made a smooth transition to its new digs on Lincoln Road, as opposed to its previous location just south of the mall. Its bigger space is now more directly in the flight path of snowbirds and locals doing laps around the Road on in-line skates with their dogs. Even better a bigger… More >>
  • Best Central-American Restaurant And Club


    If Central America became unified, Managua might be its center, Yambo its expatriate capital. The authentic food, particularly the grilled meat, is excellent and startlingly cheap. Best of all, though restaurant service ends at 3:00 a.m., Yambo is open 24 hours. At 2:00 a.m. the place is often packed with families, teenagers, and novios. Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán drops in… More >>
  • Best Rice Pudding

    Latin Cafeteria and Bakery

    Rice pudding is rightly loved and cherished by a multitude of cultures. Here in Miami it's a rare Jewish or Cuban restaurant that does not offer this tasty and easily prepared treat. In fact its very ubiquitousness makes it no easy task to find a rice pudding that truly stands out from its peers. The pudding at Latin Cafeteria and… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Palm Grill

    Okay so Palm Grill ain't exactly new. The creative eatery attracted tons of national attention when it was located in Key West, where it operated for nine years before its proprietors decided to move. But the playfully swank restaurant is new to North Miami Beach, where it set up shop this past fall. And the cuisine (items like "big ass… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Cheeburger Cheeburger

    Here they come on the run, with a burger on a bun.... Actually it's more like they come on a walk, or even a slow crawl; some of these burgers are so hefty you can build your biceps with them. The "Delirious" burger, for instance, is a hearty fourteen ounces. And the "Famous Pounder" is twenty ounces. Okay, so math… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For Intimate Conversation

    Pan Coast

    When you think of the best restaurants for an intimate conversation, you usually think small. Which isn't always the best when the couple next to you can hear your every word. Pan Coast certainly has an intimate quality, but its ten tables are nicely spaced on a patio that surrounds a quaint, fish-filled fountain and a tropically landscaped pool. At… More >>
  • Best Falafel

    Daily Bread Marketplace

    What compliment do you give a Christian Arab family who emigrated from Israel in 1969 and turned a dumpy little Lebanese market on Seventeeth Street off South Dixie Highway into something akin to a Persian empire, a market-bakery-restaurant where the fare was in as much demand as the hard-to-find Middle-Eastern spices? Easy: You've got balls. Falafel balls, to be exact,… More >>
  • Best Wine Selection In A Restaurant

    Smith & Wollensky

    Bad news for wine-loving vegetarians. Most of Miami's best wine lists are in restaurants that cater to carnivores. This year's best is no exception. It's the popular and pricey New York import Smith & Wollensky. They've got some 350 very drinkable choices, and a mind-blowing inventory of more than 14,000 bottles. Out of necessity the neatly stacked bottles make up… More >>
  • Best Napoleon

    Peppy's in the Gables - CLOSED

    Thick, solid, gooey, is the typical Napoleon experience. At the hand of most bakers, the compact dense pastry is sugar shock on a lacy white doily. Oddly at Peppy's, a restaurant noted for its northern Italian cuisine, the chef offers a newfangled Napoleon. Thin layers of the airiest puff pastry are sandwiched together. Sweet creamy custard and heaps of succulent… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Yasumoto Japanese Bistro in the Bal Harbour Shops

    In Japanese yasumoto means "surrender." But perhaps owner Bok H. An should have given his eatery, located on the second floor of the Bal Harbour Shops, a name that means "conquer." 'Cause that's what this place does to its competition. At what other local Japanese spot can you get soft-shell crab encrusted with cornmeal, served over arugula, and dressed… More >>
  • Best Fish Sandwich

    Garcia Seafood & Grill

    The Garcia family has been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years, and has managed this particular eatery on the Miami River for the past six. Already it's an institution. Run by two brothers -- Esteban Jr., and Luis -- with help from their father, Esteban Sr., Garcia's Seafood & Grill is a much-needed retreat close to downtown… More >>
  • Best Restaurant In Coconut Grove

    Bice - CLOSED

    The second time's the charm. This high-end restaurant chain failed in its first Miami location in South Beach in the mid-Nineties, but succeeds wildly this time around in its new setting in the Grand Bay Hotel. Gilded mirrors, brightly hued murals, plush banquettes, and striped wood floors create an elegant atmosphere, complemented by the luxurious menu items: baby artichoke salad… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    People's Bar-B-Que

    Millennium, schmillennium. You want something to celebrate in Y2K? Revel in People's Bar-B-Que, one of Miami's true culinary treasures. George Lewis, Jr.'s progeny have carried the torch (or, in this case, the oak-burning fire pit) from the original, ten-stool location in George Sr.'s drugstore, to a tidy, peach-hued restaurant right next to I-95. Yet in the shadow of the freeway… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Tani Thai

    The name "Cocky Bob" sounds as though it should describe the guy that does those obnoxious FPL commercials, but it's actually the name of the tastiest fried chicken dish, glazed with garlic and honey, that's available here. And that's not the only evocative nomenclature: "Lost in the Garden," your choice of meat, chicken, or shrimp sautéed with ginger and fresh… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    Las Molas

    There once was a chef named NcNish/Who had a Panamanian way with raw fish/She squeezed on it some lime/Let it marinate for a time/And added shrimp and onions to the dish/Delish! … More >>
  • Best Fine-Dining To Do Take-Out

    Allen's 2 Go

    There are two ways a world-class, James Beard award-winning chef with a signature restaurant can go. Open another restaurant in a different city, train an executive chef to cook your food, and hope your reputation will suffice to attract customers. But then you take the chance of compromising the standing of not only the new restaurant, but your original eatery… More >>
  • Best Italian Grocery

    Laurenzo's Italian Market

    The true excellence of Laurenzo's is confirmed by the out-of-towner's test. A New Yorker, spoiled by that city's abundance, visits for the first time. His excitement begins at the door where he spies the extensive wine selection. Soon he is exclaiming at the low cost compared with pricey Gotham. He moves on to the sauces, a collection that embraces an… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Gourmet Diner

    An umpteen-year veteran on the North Miami dining scene, this place is simply not what it seems. The outside is steel and chrome, a typical New Jersey or Philadelphia diner look. But while the outside says "Yo," the inside says "Bonjour." It shouts it with the homemade vinaigrette that dresses the steamed artichoke, the tuna-pasta, and the hearts of palm… More >>
  • Best Smoothie

    Sun Juice

    If you took a poll across the nation, you'd find that Miamians rank among the most dehydrated citizens in the country, right behind Texans, New Mexicans, and Salt Lake City denizens (it's not the air there that's dry). That's because it's not just the heat, it's the heat and the humidity that drains our bodies of life-supporting nutrients. So it… More >>
  • Best Brazilian Restaurant

    Camila's Restaurant Brasileiro

    The many Brazilian tourists who choose Miami as a shopping destination know a good deal when they see it. That's why at lunchtime they head to Camila's. There are fancier local Brazilian eateries with more sophisticated food, but the dishes at this unassuming self-service restaurant probably bear more resemblance to what the Brazilians eat in their hometowns. Camila's "super buffet"… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Biga Bakery and La Biga Bakery & Café

    Biga's hearty loaves, irresistible to the eye as well as to the palate, have become quite popular in South Florida since the first store opened on Alton Road in Miami Beach in 1993. A year and a half ago, Biga was bought out by a giant Mexican bakery. But that didn't change Biga's name and it doesn't seem to have… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    K.C. Cagney & Co.

    The original owners have moved on, but the menu remains the same delicious oddity as ever, and still shakes up the neighborhood. Items like "A Glorious Fungus Among Us" (fried mushrooms topped with garlic butter and Parmesan cheese) and the "Reuben & Rachel -- Still Not Married" (one of the best corned-beef sandwiches around) are hardly subtle, but delicious. Political… More >>
  • Best Caesar Salad

    Sweet Donna's Country Store

    Okay, so it's not quite traditional. But who can argue against the wealth of romaine, coated with a delicately balanced, Parmesan-rich caesar dressing, which hides nuggets of grilled chicken breast, plump and juicy? Or dismiss as worthless the emerald-cut pumpkin seeds peeking out here and there? Or devalue the ruby-hued roasted peppers accenting the greens? And just in case all… More >>
  • Best Restaurant In South Beach

    Red Square

    Marquee chef Robbin Haas may have moved on to newer pastures (Baleen at Grove Isle), but he left behind a well-rehearsed kitchen and his decidedly distinctive menu. Which means it's still possible to feast on filet stroganoff, luxurious blinis with crème fraîche and caviar, and spicy Georgian fried chicken with mashed spuds and red beans. But the fare accounts for… More >>
  • Best Seafood Chowder

    Bahama's Fish Market

    Like the sea it comes from, a good chowder should also be something of a mystery. Bright yellow in color and stocked with tasty bits of grouper, this fish soup is stewed in its own juices, along with rice and a little seasoning. It seems so easy, yet tastes so good. Add a squeeze of lime, and life is wonderful.… More >>
  • Best Spanish Restaurant

    El Bodegon Gallego

    We've got your budget Cuban, reasonable Nicaraguan, moderately priced Peruvian, homey Mexican. We've even got easy-to-afford Dominican and Panamanian places. But when it comes to Spanish fare, the cuisine that sparked all these derivations, most of the good stuff is pretty pricey. Enter El Bodegon Gallego, and don't go anywhere. Not only is this narrow, storefront Spanish eatery the best… More >>
  • Best Health Food Store

    Wild Oats Market

    Man (and woman) cannot live by tofu alone, and this cheery good-for-you superstore on South Beach (the other one is in Pinecrest) offers proof that food does not have to taste like cardboard to be healthy. Wild Oats carries the usual granola-eaters' staples: nuts and grains, sold in bulk; dried fruit, juices, veggie burgers, and of course, lots of granola.… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Kebab Indian Restaurant

    "The best beef I ever tasted was, perhaps needless to say, in Bombay, at a restaurant gleaming with chrome, chandeliers, and mirrored walls, not far from the central market where cows, in their capacity as manifestations of the divine, were permitted to roam freely and graze at the produce stalls," Francine Prose writes in an essay included in a book… More >>
  • Best Oriental Grocery

    Vinh An Oriental Market

    Most of Miami's Oriental markets shouldn't really carry that pan-Asian moniker. Sure there's an occasional aisle with an Indian curry, dehydrated miso, or Thai peanut glaze. But for the most part, Asian in these joints really means Chinese -- rows and rows of Cantonese condiments and Mandarin teas. Nothing wrong with that, but what about all those spices, sauces, and… More >>
  • Best Restaurant In An Art Gallery

    Meza Fine Art gallerycafé

    We'll have the mozzarella, tomato, and basil salad with a Monet, please. No, make that the citrus duck confit with a Degas on the side. Or how 'bout the snapper in champagne sauce with a Gauguin garnish? Okay, we'll let this art gallery get away with billing itself as "ARTernative," because there are some true masters at work here in… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    El Toro Taco

    For a real burrito, you gotta go south. In the heart of Homestead is the Mexican center of Miami-Dade County, and it's worth stopping off on your weekend jaunt to the Keys or Biscayne National Park for the delicious concoctions at El Toro. Everything here is made on-site, from the flour tortillas to the pepper sauces. They grind and shred… More >>
  • Best Food Court

    Galeria Internacional mall

    Amid the electronic shops hawking VCRs and knockoff Rolexes, this tiny food court features more than a dozen ethnic kiosks where you can get Brazilian rodizio-style meats, Colombian empanadas; Chinese noodles; Middle-Eastern salads; Jewish bagels; and spicy Indian fare. The green- and yellow-clad shoppers from Brazil crowd grills serving spits of beef the size of soccer balls, plus chicken, liver,… More >>
  • Best Indian Grocery

    Indian Grocery

    The competition may be less than stiff, but Indian Grocery hasn't slacked off. For eighteen years this crowded yet tidy market has offered an array of spices, nuts, relishes, grains, and chutneys to curry mavens here and abroad. The shop is frequented by Indians transplanted via London (and some straight from the Asian country itself), but it's also become a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For A Romantic Dinner

    The Rusty Pelican

    Okay, okay, there's a substantial kitsch factor here. The anchors, the lobster traps, the nets, the seashells strung all over everything. But come on, watching the sun set over the downtown skyline through those plate-glass windows is an all-time Miami moment, one that is best shared over a couple of Neptune platters and nice bottle of chilled white wine with… More >>
  • Best Juice Bar

    Gables Juice Bar

    Trouble performing between the sheets? Drink a blend of carrot, parsley, and cucumber juices. Trying to fend off an oncoming cold? Gulp some carrot, apple, and parsley before calling your doctor. Acne? Carrot and spinach should clear it up. If none of those combinations are appealing, create one and it could get posted to the vast menu. Besides the tasty… More >>
  • Best Chain Coffeehouse


    I. Iced latte. II. Espresso, decaf or regular. Order a doppio (double) for a multiple charge. III. Hazelnut cappuccino. Nutty, creamy, smooth. IV. Power Arctic mocha, combined with so many proteins and carbs you're practically propelled to the gym. V. Vanilla tea. Or get chai. VI. Raspberry razzmatazz: brandy, black raspberry liqueur, and crème de cassis in a mocha with… More >>
  • Best Jamaican Beef Patties

    Hammond's Bakery

    Fabulously flaky, beautifully buttery, splendidly spicy. Ahhh! Jamaican Beef Patties from Hammond's. Forget manna from heaven. At one dollar each in hot or mild flavors, these tasty treats, which resemble empanadas on steroids, are nirvana from Jamaica. … More >>
  • Best Chain Restaurant

    Café Tu Tu Tango

    Do a little dance, make a little art, get down with appetizers -- it works for Tu Tu Tango. The concept, with tapas from around the world served in a bohemian setting designed to reflect an artist's garret, proved so popular that chairman and founder Bradley Weiser went ahead with plans to expand nationally. Currently the café, launched in 1991,… More >>
  • Best Prepared Foods

    Bread of Life Whole Foods Market

    You may think a health food market's prepared-foods counter would feature 25 different tofu casseroles and some sprouts-n-avocado sandwiches. Not here. Yes, you'll find vegetarian staples such as spinach sautéed with sesame seeds, beets simmered in orange and ginger, luscious tofu steaks marinated in a mustardy Thai sauce, several varieties of pasta salads. But if you're a carnivore you'll be… More >>
  • Best Herald Hideout

    Mike's At Venetia

    If you've called, faxed, and written yourself silly and you still can't reach the Herald, try Mike's at lunchtime: You may find that writer who's been avoiding you. The café, located on the ninth floor of the Venetia condominium, serves tasty and affordable meals that are like catnip to the scribes and editors barricaded across the street in One Herald… More >>
  • Best Milkshake

    Pinecrest Wayside Market

    Before Robert Is Here began peddling shakes from the roadside, the Pinecrest Wayside Market was there, since 1948, gaining fame as the "home of the famous strawberry milkshake." Down the street from Parrot Jungle and adjacent to Pinecrest Elementary School, the open-air Wayside is the place where many a kid has ridden his bike and gulped down frosty frappés. As… More >>
  • Best Place To Cheaply Summon The Spirit Of Paul Gauguin

    Curry's Restaurant

    Is it the large mural depicting tan smiling girls (and a few men) wearing leis and grass skirts, swaying seductively and gathering food? Maybe it's the dozen or so hanging fixtures resembling upside-down baskets lushly strewn with a variety of wax fruit that Carmen Miranda could have used for headgear? Perhaps it's the light-wrapped palm tree twinkling in the middle… More >>
  • Best Conundrum

    Café cubano will wake your ass up from anything ... except from eating comida cubana.… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Larry's All American Restaurant

    Restaurants are where strangers go to eat; diners are where friends and neighbors see each other over a cup of coffee and a turkey sandwich. In that way Larry's All American Restaurant is really misnamed. Larry's is a diner in the proudest tradition of the word. Good food with prices that are easy on the wallet. Run by Larry and… More >>
  • Best Healthy Fast Food

    Amos's Juice Bar

    Although it doesn't sport neon lights or a drive-through window, Amos's Juice Bar in North Miami Beach serves healthy and good food fast. You can sit in a booth surrounded by brightly painted palm trees and giant cartoon fruit. Or grab a seat at the counter next to the Birkenstock-clad regulars who don't flinch at the traffic whizzing by on… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Pasta Fiore

    Alright, okay, so it's not entirely a Greek restaurant. Purists might even argue that Pasta Fiore is Italian. And we'll concede that two-thirds of the menu offer edible baubles from the boot. But we're always enticed back here by the smattering of Greek specialties offered by owners Luccia and George Stilianudakis and chef Walter Rivas's delicate way with flaming saganaki,… More >>
  • Best Cheese

    Scotty's Grocery

    Contrary to popular belief, you can host a cocktail party without serving that platter of artfully arranged orange cheese cubes. It is possible to offer your guests fromage that hasn't been skewered with toothpicks. And, get this, it doesn't have to be baked Brie! At Scotty's Grocery you can choose from more than 80 specialty cheeses from around the globe,… More >>
  • Best Jamaican Restaurant

    Jamaica House

    Carry-out is generally the order of the day at many of Miami-Dade's Jamaican restaurants. So smile at the folks tending to the long take-out line and let them know you'll be in the no-frills dining room. Stick to the tried and true basics of authentic Jamaican cuisine: jerk chicken, curried chicken, curried goat, oxtail, and cow foot. Have it with… More >>
  • Best Fresh Produce

    Coconut Grove Farmer’s Market

    From bok choy to wheat grass, this weekly market features hundreds of fresh organic fruits and vegetables and a large stash of homemade sauces and salads. The selection varies, of course, according to the season, but on a recent Saturday I found eight types of organic lettuce and as many squashes. The goods are brought in from around the world… More >>
  • Best Natural Food/Vegetarian Restaurant


    The x in Lexie's is a carrot crossed with a celery stick. The i is dotted with a strawberry. The possessive s is attached by a mushroom. Any fool can see that this is not the place to order a burger; any gourmet diner with an appetite bigger than a rabbit's knows to steer clear. Or do they? So Lexie's… More >>
  • Best Mashed Potatoes

    Tuscan Steak - CLOSED

    It's a golden rule of commonplace cuisine: Where there is meat, there should be potatoes. Steak and rice? No. Steak and pasta? Absolutely not. Steak and potatoes. Unquestionably. They just belong together. At Tuscan Steak, however, they are kept separate, dished out à la carte. A good thing perhaps. Although the restaurant offers enormous cuts of exceptional beef, they… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For Gluttons

    Emerald Coast

    Here's one of the longest oxymorons we've come across lately: "Florida's largest Chinese gourmet buffet." Could this possibly be true? Well maybe not the gourmet part. But Emerald Coast arguably fronts the most items, hot and cold, we've ever seen: more than 100 spread over seven stations. And for one low price ($16.95 for a weekend dinner is the highest;… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Renaissance Baking Company

    Long known for its bread, Renaissance has now added to its repertoire pastries, danishes, cakes, cookies, and pies. As part of the new look they moved from a hidden back corner of a North Miami stripmall to a Biscayne Boulevard frontage next to the Roadhouse Grill. The bread is still excellent. The baguettes in particular are chewy and flavorful. But… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For A Power Lunch

    Morton's of Chicago

    Will Smith's Miami is filled with supermodels in thong bikinis holding fruity drinks with umbrellas in them, dancing salsa. But if you head downtown for lunch at Morton's of Chicago, you find a very different kind of Magic City: corporate executives in tailored Armani sipping martinis, cutting deals to canned, easy-listening jazz. The twenty years this steak house chain has… More >>
  • Best Multicultural Market

    Miami Produce Market

    Give us your guava, your yuca, your cabbage, your corn, your watermelons, your sweet potatoes, your tomatoes, and your avocados. Each morning before dawn, masses of produce vendors huddle with truckers, grocery store owners, and restaurant buyers at Allapattah's so-called terminal market, just north of Jackson Memorial Hospital. The market supplies ingredients for Miami's cornucopia of cultures. Snatches of Spanish,… More >>
  • Best Expensive Italian Restaurant

    Carpaccio in the Bal Harbour Shops

    After an exhausting day of trying on clothes and jewelry, what else could refortify a stalwart shopper but a plate of handmade pasta, a glass of wine, and a simple fish or chicken dish? Wearing Prada pumps and Gucci loafers, many such hungry shoppers wait in line for the superior northern Italian food served up by chef Manuel Poucar. The… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    People's Bar-B-Que

    Miami often feels more like a city in South America than the Southern United States, but a visit to People's Bar-B-Que will set your geography straight. Known for its succulent ribs and barbecued chicken, the 38-year-old Overtown restaurant is a haven for all manner of authentic soul food. Cooked while you wait, the unparalleled fried chicken is bubbling hot when… More >>
  • Best Inexpensive Italian Restaurant

    Café Prima Pasta

    Owner Gerardo Cea has done his best to accommodate his demanding clientele: He's tripled the original size of his restaurant, breaking through interior walls of erstwhile neighboring businesses. He's added outdoor seating on both the porch and the sidewalk. He's expanded the menu, supplying extra meat, fish, and chicken choices along with dozens of homemade pastas and salads. All to… More >>
  • Best Homemade Pasta

    Oggi Caffe

    More than eight years ago Oggi started off as a simple pasta factory. Within a year, however, a few modest tables were added to its cramped surroundings and one of the finest Italian restaurants in South Florida was born. Oggi has expanded, but it has never lost sight of its roots. It is the homemade pasta that makes Oggi special.… More >>
  • Best Unknown Restaurant

    Piccadilly Garden Restaurant and Lounge

    Mary and Mac Klein own one of the best-known and most-loved bars on Miami Beach, Mac's Club Deuce, but it is their other, more obscure, establishment in Miami's Design District for which they deserve accolades. Piccadilly has been in place since 1965, but the Kleins have only been in control for six years. While keeping some of the restaurant's original… More >>
  • Second Best Mashed Potatoes

    Edelweiss Restaurant

    "I make it just like my mom makes it," Alex Richter says. "In Germany we eat a lot of potatoes." They're boiled, strained, and then hand-mashed with a wooden mallet. Then the Munich native adds salt, pepper, butter, milk, and, the special ingredient, nutmeg. It's all topped off with fresh parsley and a little red pepper. "Sometimes when you eat… More >>
  • Best Early Bird Special

    Here Comes the Sun

    For the price of a designer sandwich on South Beach you can get an entire meal (dessert included) at Here Comes the Sun, one of South Florida's original health food stores. Between the hours of 4:00 and 6:30 p.m., hundreds of bargain-conscious diners come for the $7.95 special, which buys a choice of about a dozen entrées, soup or salad,… More >>
  • Best Pit Stop On The Drive To Key West

    Time Out Barbecue

    Forget grouper sandwiches. In the Keys they're as common as drunken fishermen and usually as boring. Offering a break in the culinary monotony along the southern stretch of U.S 1 is Steve Ehler's Time Out Barbecue, a roadside attraction that serves up some of the smokiest and most tender barbecue in South Florida. The secret, Steve explains, is in the… More >>
  • Best German Restaurant

    Mozart Stube

    Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines gestalt as "a structure, configuration, or pattern ... so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable from its parts in summation." Whew, what a mouthful! Here's a simpler definition: the Mozart Stube experience. Everything gels here, from the quaint setting, the Viennese waltzes playing over the sound system and the good-humored… More >>
  • Best Delicatessen

    Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House - CLOSED

    Their Reuben is to die for! The smoked whitefish platter, geshmak! Tongue, brisket, liverwurst, chicken salad, gefilte fish, and stuffed cabbage taste as though they came straight from Second Avenue. And if you haven't tried the borscht, what are you waiting for? You want it to get up and walk over to your house? It's not like there's no room… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Sushi Republic

    According to tradition sushi chefs are supposed to clap their hands twice and say, "Happy sushi!" before molding the vinegared rice and topping it with expertly sliced fish. That way the good spirit with which they make the sushi transfers to the diner, who enjoys the Zen of a whole and wholesome eating experience. Well these folks must be clapping… More >>
  • Best Microbrewed Beer

    The Abbey Brewing Company

    There's plenty of good microbrewed beer around Miami; at the newly opened Titanic Brewery near the University of Miami; the tourist hot-spot of South Beach, the Clevelander; even at the chain restaurant Hops, in the Falls. If you don't like to go to bars, just pick up a six-pack of our very own Hurricane Reef or Firehouse Four at any… More >>
  • Best Restaurant To Die In The Past Twelve Months


    Under other circumstances, this place might have been awarded "Best German Restaurant." But despite splendid schnitzel and sumptuous strudel, chef-owner Karl Zoisl closed the doors after a brief six-month run. Primarily a caterer, Zoisl found the restaurant too time-consuming. 'Course, clients can still find him at his company called, appropriately enough, Karl's Catering (305-829-5607). Whatever. Doesn't stop us from wanting… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Nemo Restaurant

    Creative cuisine is a Nemo hallmark, but if you're like a lot of adoring customers, you may forget that the desserts here are as much masterpieces as everything else on the menu. Forgo that last mouthful of sea bass if you have to, but try not to miss dessert. Especially exquisite: the tangerine-cardamom crème brûlée (with pistachio baklava on the… More >>
  • Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying


    You might think that restaurateur George Hamilton would overcook his meats the way he does his face. But that would be an urban legend. Not only does Hamiltons provide a terrifically tender rack of lamb and succulent duck, he "auto-bronzes" his face with a self-tanner that he developed and sells at the restaurant. And if you look solely at the… More >>
  • Best Place To Wait For Lost Luggage

    Top of the Port Restaurant & Lounge

    What is this, LAX? The Top of the Port, the restaurant in the towering Miami International Airport Hotel, is a genteel Continental eatery. But its lobby, located on the departure level, is now a bustling sushi bar. For those of us sick of Cuban coffee and sandwich shops, the California rolls and tender tuna sashimi are a welcome relief from… More >>
  • Best Nicaraguan Restaurant

    La Hormiga de Oro

    This is cantina-style Nicaraguan eating. That means sangría, for one thing, and an emphasis on food, not décor, for another. Nicaragua is cattle country and food there is often synonymous with beef. Argentines will lay claim to originating the churrasco steak and its featured chimichurri sauce, but the Nicas have a subtle way of making it their own. La Hormiga… More >>
  • Best Steak House

    The Gaucho Room (in the Loews Hotel)

    Executive chef Frank Randazzo doesn't want you to call this place, located in the St. Moritz building of the Loews Hotel, a steak house. And we can see why. His starters, like the delectable seared foie gras with chili syrup and blue-corn arepas, and his entrées, like the seared turbot with brown-butter escabeche and quinoa, have a seductive South American… More >>
  • Best Place To Watch Fish While Dining On One

    Mike Gordon Seafood Restaurant

    Round about midday at this venerable institution off the 79th Street Causeway, a member of the kitchen staff walks out to the dock that flanks the back of the restaurant. You can watch him through the tall windows that give off a stunning view of the water and passing boats. The man carries a bucket or two. Below the dock… More >>