Food & Drinks

  • Best Hamburger

    Morton's of Chicago

    Oh, we know the myth. The best hamburgers are made from ground chuck, because the meat has more fat in it. The fat then prevents the burger from shrinking into a McDonald's-esque disk while cooking. Well, baloney. At the downtown location of Morton's, the hamburger is a full eight ounces of lean ground sirloin. Hard to feel guilty eating that.… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Siam Lotus Room - CLOSED

    This converted no-tell motel on South Dixie is painted a really disgusting shade of green; a more reliable harbinger of the food within can be seen in the clusters of patrons on the benches outside the front door, eagerly awaiting their tables. Inside it's long and narrow, with a boxcarlike feel, but the friendly service and the pungent scent of… More >>
  • Best Key Lime Pie

    Epicure Market

    Tart enough. Sweet enough. Mellow yellow filling, almost ecru. Velvety texture. Moist, crumbly graham cracker crust. Outside edge daintily adorned with a ring of whipped cream. Center garnished with more cream and a twisted lime slice. Ideal to serve to your friends, but at close to ten bucks, certainly not meant to throw at your enemies.… More >>
  • Best Early Bird Special

    Mama Jennie's

    You just made it. Booth okay? Care for a beverage? Will that be the pasta fagioli or the garden salad? And your rolls: plain or dripping with garlic? For dinner there's lasagna, stuffed shells, eggplant rollatini, chicken parmigiana, veal cacciatore, linguine in clam sauce, ziti with sausage, or something else ... I forgot; I'll be right back. What do you… More >>
  • Best Caesar Salad

    Cafe Ragazzi

    Some folks visit this corner storefront eatery for its baked pastas. Other patrons go for its wonderfully prepared veal scaloppine dishes and fillets of fish sprinkled with capers. And most appreciate the lengths the staff goes to ensure that even those waiting for a table outside have a glass of refreshment. We, however, frequent the cafe for its absolutely fresh… More >>
  • Best Kitsch Tourist Attraction

    Wolfie's Restaurant

    In the restaurant's bygone heyday both the famous and infamous, from Jackie Gleason to Meyer Lansky, were regularly seated in the rounded vinyl booths of the Celebrity Corner. Although Wolfie Cohen hasn't owned it for quite some time, the 53-year-old institution still offers both old-timers and tourists a place to savor an authentic slice of Miami Beach's past, or maybe… More >>
  • Best Tapas

    Macarena Tavern and Restaurant

    The black embroidered shawl of a flamenco dancer drapes down from the arched entrance of this cavelike tavern. The air inside is misty, lanterns hang over the bar, and the waiters are dressed like toreros. Here the tapas are eaten medieval style: standing while chugging down an ice-cold Estrella Galicia (Spanish beer) or sitting at a wooden barrel. To really… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Dining

    Secrets Bar & Restaurant

    In the South Beach scene, late-night snacking really has become the norm. So it's not unusual to see couples supping at 10:00 p.m., parties laughing over veal chops at 11:00 p.m., clubbers strapping on the predance feedbag at midnight. But while you can find plenty of places to eat, it's harder to discover one where you can dine. So far… More >>
  • Best Iced Tea With A Reservation

    Miccosukee Restaurant

    You can work up a desert of thirst out on the River of Grass, whether you're fishing, enjoying an airboat ride, or watching a man tangle with an alligator at the Miccosukee Cultural Center. A twenty-minute drive west of Krome Avenue, this tribe-owned establishment is the perfect spot in which to rehydrate. Here the iced brew is served the way… More >>
  • Best Aphrodisiac Dining


    The "dining" part might be a bit of a misnomer, given that this restaurant is more of a good place to snack on caviar and sip champagne. But you can't argue with the seductive nature of the fare: caviar, lobster, crab, smoked salmon, Kobe beef carpaccio. Ply your sweetie with some of these luxury foodstuffs and no doubt you'll get… More >>
  • Best Cuban Sandwich

    Versailles Restaurant

    Cuban sandwich and Versailles -- in Miami, they go together like, well, José Martí and poetry. Like most everything on Versailles' extensive menu, this Cuban sandwich is a credit to its cuisine. Lots of ham, generally more than in other versions, and melted Swiss cheese between not-overly-flattened slices of very fresh Cuban bread. No gratuitous grease. The only… More >>
  • Best Haitian Take-Out

    Chef Creole Seafood Take-out

    Sadly the Little Haiti Chef Creole at 77th and NE Second Avenue is no more. New Times can still smell the cinders floating through the air the day after the explosion of a propane canister set off a chain reaction that burned out the insides of this beloved take-out storefront and sent one of the chefs to the hospital. Gone… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    The Pit Bar-B-Q

    "What's new?" I asked the blonde at The Pit's service counter. "Nothing," she replied. "Tommy Little has owned this place for 35 years, and his whole idea is never to change anything." Thank the Lord for small things. The food here is as reliable as guessing that the counter lady's hair color began life in a peroxide bottle. Good meat,… More >>
  • Best Caribbean Restaurant

    Ortanique on the Mile

    Proprietor Delius Shirley and chef-proprietor Cindy Hutson had the right idea when they closed Norma's on the Beach! and opened Ortanique. Their first Miami restaurant, named for gourmet Jamaican chef Norma Shirley (Delius's mom and Cindy's mentor) was a solid, impressive venture that we honored as Best Caribbean Restaurant year after year. But with Ortanique (and with apologies to Norma)… More >>
  • Best Fritas

    El Rey de las Fritas

    It's ground beef casserole made into a patty and stuffed in a roll. It's like a sloppy joe, only made a lo cubano, topped with melted cheddar cheese, toothpick-skinny French fries, and shaved onions. In Hialeah or Little Havana, if you can stomach all that, munch a frita fit for a king. At El Rey de las Fritas these Cuban… More >>
  • Best Place To Dine Alone

    S&S Restaurant

    Like a street-smart stray with a knack for survival, the S&S has passed unruffled through a handful of owners in its 62-year history in Miami. And it likely has a few of its nine lives left. Across the street from another notable relic, the City of Miami cemetery, regulars at this down-home diner sidle up to stools at the horseshoe-shape… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    Gourmet Carrot

    Drooling over meat-dripping sandwiches or hot dogs of saturated fat doesn't seem like the civilized thing to do when you're traveling by foot through Miami's urban jungle. Oh, there are plenty of portable grease pits along the way, tempting even the most health-conscious of souls. Real health hazards. But just think of them as obstacles in your journey. What you… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House - CLOSED

    What do you do if you want a quality dessert around midnight but don't want to get gussied up and spend a fortune at some South Beach hot spot? For 46 years Rascal House has had the answer. The place is open until at least 1:00 a.m., and the waiters here wouldn't bat an eye if you sauntered into the… More >>
  • Best Cheese

    Amici's Gourmet Market

    If only Monty Python's John Cleese had gone to Amici's instead of the National Cheese Emporium when "he came over all peckish." Unlike the comedy team's famed skit of a barren shop and deceptive store owner, Amici's offers a cornucopia of "cheesy combustibles" laid out in a helpful manner. Proprietors Carmine Chirico and Carlo Casagrande hail from New York, and… More >>
  • Best Haitian Restaurant

    Le Griot de Madame John

    Madame John used to cook and sell griot (Haitian-style fried pork) out of her Little Haiti home. Her griot became so popular that at certain hours on weekends, cars would clog the street and lines would even spill outside. A few years ago, no doubt at the urging of customers and code-enforcement inspectors alike, the operation moved into a real… More >>
  • Best Healthy Fast Food

    The Last Carrot

    There is a simple menu for this plain restaurant. You can get whole-wheat pita sandwiches filled with chicken salad, hummus, mixed vegetables, or peanut butter. Spread the house dressing over the meal for a tangy flavor. Warm spinach pies stuffed with tuna and avocado or cheese and tomato also are available. Want to delete the carbs? Try the salads made… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For Election Returns

    Versailles Restaurant

    It has long been known that the best place to get political scuttlebutt in Miami-Dade is at the coffee window of the Versailles Restaurant. On election day it's also an ideal location to watch the county's political players: the campaign managers, the ad men, and the precinct captains. These vital cogs in the election machine inevitably come to Versailles during… More >>
  • Best Flop

    People's Bar-B-Que

    If you've never had a flop, or never even heard of one, it's time to make your move. Nearly every soul-food joint in Liberty City, Overtown, and Model City serves this mixture of iced tea and lemonade. It's a smooth and refreshing beverage, highly recommended for the coming season. We like People's mix because they brew the tea fresh. As… More >>
  • Best Miami Sports Museum Disguised As A Restaurant

    The Big Cheese

    This perennially packed Italian eatery features not only huge portions of baked spaghetti and ziti, as well as pizza that lives up to the place's name; it also is stuffed with posters, autographed photos, jerseys, banners, balls, and helmets from Miami sports icons. Shula, Johnson, Schnellenberger, Morris, Marino, The Rock ("Can you smell what the Big Cheese is cookin'?"), the… More >>
  • Best Café Cubano

    Cacique's Corner

    Situated within a block of county hall and the old courthouse, this breezy cafetería brews the black gold that fuels the machinery of Miami-Dade government (such as it is). Though the kind souls behind the counter are mostly Nicaraguan, they've mastered the ancient Cuban secret of making espresso both strong as battery acid and sweet as an abuelita's smile. Your… More >>
  • Best Puerto Rican Restaurant

    Benny's Seafood Restaurant

    If you're going to eat octopus, do it at Benny's, where the house specialties include mofongo (basically mashed, fried, and seasoned plantains) stuffed with octopus, conch, lobster, or other seafood. Benny's is a pleasant place to dine, even if it is in a strip center. It's bright and clean and somehow when the sun is shining in through the front… More >>
  • Best Homemade Pasta

    MiMi's Ravioli

    There is more to MiMi's than just ravioli. Pyramids of imported Italian canned tomatoes stand sentry in the large front window. Along one wall shelves overflow with olive oils, vinegars, artichoke and palm hearts, olives, sauces, plus myriad goodies. In the center of the store sit nuts and salty snacks, sweets such as marzipan and imported chocolates, cookies, and candies.… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant


    One of our most beloved Mexican eateries, this hacienda frequently scores points with us for individual items, namely the smokin' hot fajitas. But you really can't go astray with any of the homestyle fare, whether you order nachos or ceviche or albondiguitas (meatballs). Throw in some tasty house specialties, like the zesty chicken nuggets coated with flour and jalapeņo pepper… More >>
  • Best Fajita

    La Gloria Taqueria Mexicana

    A fajita is a fajita: some kind of meat, chicken, or fish, served on a sizzling platter with a bunch of standard bell peppers and onions. On the side you'll receive some chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, refried pinto beans, maybe a little guacamole or sour cream, plus some flour tortillas to roll around it all. Agreed? Not if you've been… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    La Palme d'Or

    Say what you will about the French, but anyone witnessing the worldwide millennium celebrations would have to agree: They've got style. So does La Palme d'Or, an already excellent restaurant that was elevated further by that rarest of occurrences, an inspired marketing idea. During the first week of each month, a guest Michelin-rated chef prepares signature dishes from his restaurant… More >>
  • Best Raw Bar

    Old Cutler Oyster Company

    In 1992 Hurricane Andrew destroyed the original O.C.O.C. (or O.C. for short), then located on Old Cutler Road. But fisherman Mike Pace soon resurrected his pub-style restaurant a few miles west on a busier strip. Oyster lovers will be merry as clams during happy hour (4:00 to 7:00 p.m. daily) when draft beers are $1.50 per glass and the rocklike… More >>
  • Best Steak House

    Morton's of Chicago

    John Kenneth Galbraith's observation that more people die in the United States of too much food than they do of too little must have been gleaned over a lifetime of eating T-bones the size of small-town airstrips and boulder-size baked potatoes at various American steak houses. It's this conformity of the genre that makes choosing the best steak house, excuse… More >>
  • Best Barbecue Beans

    Shorty's Bar-B-Q

    Ripe, tender young legumes swimming in a smoky sauce, the barbecue beans at Shorty's are more than just a side dish; they are a tangy treat to be savored all on their own. Naturally no one is suggesting you should sit in an enclosed restaurant where everyone is filling up on baked beans, and baked beans alone. Our point is… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Crystal Cafe

    Neighborhood restaurants usually are friendly and informal places that proffer generous helpings of consistent if modest food to an appreciative local clientele. Crystal Cafe's crisp white linens, fresh flowers, comprehensive wine selection, and semiformal service would seemingly add up to a finer dining experience than we expect from this category, yet a closer look through the Crystal reveals it to… More >>
  • Best Croissant

    Renaissance Baking Company

    The best reason to stop in and buy a bag of traditional and terrific croissants at Renaissance is that it gives a busy person an excuse to pause in a first-class bakery and pick up just a few more things. Like their potato-based focaccia, or its chewier cousin, the fougasse, a pesto-smeared loaf that begins life with sun-dried tomatoes and… More >>
  • Best Restaurant In Coconut Grove

    Baleen - CLOSED

    Until recently it would not have been inaccurate to call Coconut Grove "The Land of 1000 Stores and No Great Restaurants." Although in the past couple of years a few excellent eateries have made their home here (most notably Bice, La Gloria, and Anokha), you still need to cross a small bridge to Grove Isle to find the best one.… More >>
  • Best Black Bean Soup

    Little Havana Restaurant

    This Cuban restaurant is an all-around winner. They serve topnotch meats and seafood alongside Cuban staples. But it's the black bean soup that is a standout. Velvety smooth, with a lemony tinge. They won't divulge their secret ingredient, but it's worth a trip up Biscayne Boulevard to try and figure it out for yourself.… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch


    First things first: It's busy, so if you're not up for a half-hour wait, we suggest you arrive early (the restaurant opens at 8:00 a.m.). Brunch at Balans is not served buffet style; instead diners choose from the menu and breakfast is served à la carte. The crowd is typically a mix of bleary-eyed boys and babes, South Beach locals,… More >>
  • Best Pita Bread

    Oriental Bakery and Grocery

    Every morning Rafat Monem gets up at about 4:00 and heads to work, where he will bake more than 7000 individual loaves of pita bread. By early afternoon they will all be sold. Each loaf is an individual work of art, a light and airy source of comfort, whose gentle folds ply easily apart exposing a soft and inviting interior.… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Fishbone Grille

    If you're looking for really top-quality seafood, you'd be better off going to La Dorada or Baleen. Yet for affordable, consistently fresh fish in a friendly environment, Fishbone Grille is still our favorite. A wide array of seafood comes grilled, blackened, sautéed, or fused with New World accompaniments, such as seven-spiced tuna with green mango, kim chee, and peanut sauce;… More >>
  • Best Fine Dining To Do Take-Out

    Joe's Take Away

    You don't have to know the maitre d' to get a good meal quick from Joe's. The take-out division, just to the north of the landmark seafood restaurant, serves the same menu -- without the three-hour wait (same prices, without the tip). In addition to the standard dinner of stone crabs, coleslaw, creamed spinach, and a slice of… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Mykonos Restaurant

    A Miami institution for nearly three decades, Mykonos consistently offers the best in Greek cuisine. From standards such as gyros and souvlaki to richer dishes, including moussaka and pastitsio. They can even make roasting half a chicken seem exotic, seasoning it with just the right herbs and spices. The portions are large and the prices are so reasonable that over… More >>
  • Best Cake Artist

    Sweet Art by Lucila

    Lucila Jimenez has turned her family tradition of baking festive and inventive cakes into a thriving business. Her two Sweet Art bakeries, with their 50 employees, seem to be able to coax batter and icing into almost any shape, for any event. Mountains, hearts, toys, the island of Cuba -- nearly anything is possible. Her signature "jewelry box"… More >>
  • Best Natural Food/Vegetarian Restaurant

    Suzanne's Vegetarian Bistro

    Like any blank canvas, tofu is only as good as the artist who prepares it, and "natural" food can sometimes taste like a form of punishment. Lucky for us Suzanne's chef is first-rate, and her menu is downright indulgent (in a health-nutty, new-agey way). Open since November 1999 for take-out, lunch, and dinner, this meatless wonder offers classy (not stuffy)… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House - CLOSED

    What sets this Jewish diner apart is the bread, made fresh every day in the adjacent bakery. Three plates of goodies are served with every meal. Besides your traditional soft and chewy rolls, they toss in white toast swirled throughout with sweet cinnamon. Also offered are chunks of raisin bread dotted with the gooey black stuff and covered with a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For A Power Lunch

    Bice - CLOSED

    The ambiance is one of restrained elegance. The menu is one of distinct priciness. And the clientele is easily of the double-breasted caliber. So there's no doubt, whether you're a long-time lawyer entertaining clients or a Gen X millionaire meeting potential venture capitalists, you'll want to invest in fine northern Italian fare: delicate seafood and pasta for the fluttery… More >>
  • Best Mall Kiosk


    Got a hankering for a half-sour? A craving for sauerkraut? The palate for a pickled green tomato? Relax, you're covered. The only pickle stand in Miami that's called a kiosk, Picklelicious imports its barrels of pickles, about ten varieties, directly from the Lower East Side in New York. And don't worry if you don't feel like purchasing a pint or… More >>
  • Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying


    Can you say beluga, sevruga, osetra? Petrossian can: It's the largest importer of Russian caviar in the world. Can you say foie gras? Petrossian can: The company's farms in France produce plump, silken specimens. Can you say expensive? Petrossian can, because it ain't cheap to get all that good stuff over here. Indeed you can ply your senses with twenty… More >>
  • Best Medianoche

    Little Farm Store diner

    Chef Pepin -- no, not the famous one, just a hardworking Cuban cook named Pepin -- has been a fixture at Little Farm Store's diner for the past twenty years. More than a fixture; Little Farm Store cognoscenti prize Pepin's homestyle Cuban dishes. But especially his medianoche. Now what is it that makes Pepin's sandwich a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant To Reinvent Itself Again

    Big Fish - CLOSED

    This restaurant has had more lives than Shirley MacLaine. And part of the eatery's perseverance has to do with its location. As one of the only, and certainly just about the oldest, riverfront restaurants in Miami, we almost owe it our patronage. In fact we've seen this place through good times and bad, through Twenties' gas stations and fish sandwiches… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Steve's Pizza

    All you have to do is walk into Steve's and you know you've entered pizza nirvana. For one thing the whole place, really just a glorified stand, smells like the pizza shops in Milan. Then there are the New York-style pies, wafting just a hint of oregano toward you, that are constantly coming out of the oven. The oozing mozzarella,… More >>
  • Best Sommelier

    Laura DePasquale at Norman's

    It's tough to impress the dates these days but you can do it. You score a reservation at Norman's, pick said date up in your new Lexus SUV, and then nonchalantly toss the keys to the valet when you get there. So far, so good. Once inside you relax with a Cosmopolitan at the bar, and voilà! -- … More >>
  • Best Falafel

    Pita Plus

    The exterior of this eatery, located right off a dusty (read: under construction) portion of Biscayne, doesn't look like much: a long, low building with lettering in the windows advertising Middle Eastern food. But don't go by judging the proverbial cover. Inside you'll find wonderful text, not to mention texture -- light, crisp falafel patties, steaming hot in… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Kon Chau Restaurant

    Nothing about Kon Chau's appearance screams "good eating." With its generic décor, harsh fluorescent lighting, and obligatory incense-bristling shrine to General Kwan, this could be almost any strip-mall chow-meinstream Chinese joint. But it ain't, and it's the delectable dim sum that puts Kon Chau over the top. You just plain can't go wrong; place the photocopied dim sum menu in… More >>
  • Best Bakery Expansion

    Upper Crust Sandwich Shop

    First, the history. Renaissance Bakery, which has scored a bunch of awards from us in the past several years for its outstanding sourdough, olive, and sesame-semolina loaves, was founded by Ron Funt. Now, the present. Funt, along with brother Paul, decided to put Renaissance bread to even better use than selling it out of the back of the bakery and… More >>
  • Best Chain Coffeehouse

    Borders Books & Music

    And the best part of all, there is always plenty of stuff around to read.… More >>
  • Best Chocolate

    Krön Chocolatier

    Chocolate's reputation as a caffeine-crammed, cavity-causing, pimple-promoting, fat-inducing treat has finally turned to mud. In fact the rich creamy substance these days is being touted as an antioxidant that packs a feel-good punch. Scientists are still fine-tuning their theories about phenylethylamine and theobromine (the chemical ingredients that put chocolate consumption on the level of orgasm). So while they're in the… More >>
  • Best Blackboard Specials

    Charcuterie - CLOSED

    When it comes to luncheonettes, nobody pays much attention, and that's a darn shame. Some of the best lunch restaurants are downtown and in the Design District, and unless you happen to work nearby, you usually don't hear about them. Such is the case with the Charcuterie, the longest-running restaurant in the Design District. Today the decades-old eatery presents a… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts

    Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

    Doughnuts are sin. You cannot yield to the temptation of a low-fat or sugar-free doughnut. Such abominations are not doughnuts. Therefore, brothers and sisters, he who eats of the glazed, powdered, cream-filled, and all other manner of deep-fried dough, make damn sure it's worth sinning for. Can I get a witness? When you're out there hungering in the depths of… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Mark's South Beach

    Numerous high-profile restaurants with authentically gifted chefs opened this past year: Mayya (Guillermo Tellez), The Strand (Michelle Bernstein), Ortanique (Mary Rohan), and Bambú (Rob Deer) to name a few. Then there's Mark Militello's latest effort at the refurbished Nash, which not only tops these other topnotch contenders but perhaps even his own prior work. The cuisine is more Mediterranean, less… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Moises Bakery

    As the neon sign reads inside, everything in this bakery is made with "chispa Venezolana." The bread comes to you fresh out of the oven in all shapes and sizes. The cakes are topped with fresh strawberries, kiwis, and peaches. The meat, chicken, and cheese empanadas go a long way. Be sure to wash down the dough-wrapped lunch-in-a-pocket with a… More >>
  • Best Brazilian Restaurant

    Barroco Restaurant

    When the Portuguese "settled" Brazil and forced African slaves to cook for them as well as work in the fields, the result wasn't completely tragic, at least from a gastronomic point of view. Without native and African influences, no doubt Brazilians would still think salt cod is delicious. Fortunately for the culinary-minded, the folks who got taken advantage of wound… More >>
  • Best Smoothie

    Athens Juice Bar

    Take a look on the other side of the counter in either one of these locations, and what you see could very well be a picture from a local agricultural promo. The fruits and vegetables are so fresh and ripe they look as though they belong on a billboard rather than in a blender. That's the way it's been for… More >>
  • Best Food Court

    Lincoln Road and Euclid Avenue

    The mallification of the once-distinctive Road is now complete. Just like every other mall, it has: (1) a Williams-Sonoma, and (2) a food court. Though restaurants are strung along its length, the culinary heart of the Road is at the artificial grassy knoll where skaters and homeless folks rub shoulders with the world's best-looking mall rats. What more could you… More >>
  • Best Frozen Yogurt


    It's hard to believe a society capable of cloning sheep can't produce a decent-tasting nonfat dessert. A fellow frozen-yogurt consumer once said, "It's supposed to taste strange; it's nonfat. It's got all kinds of weird chemicals in it." She then continued contentedly munching the junk, not unlike a cloned sheep. Well it tastes like crap, and I'm not going to… More >>
  • Best Chain Restuarant

    Cheesecake Factory

    You may want to call us predictable, common, okay even cheesy, but as far as chain-restaurant food goes, the Cheesecake Factory stands alone. We've even heard that other restaurants like to pick Cheesecake items straight from the menu and serve the delicious dishes themselves. That's the same menu that features page after page of tasty selections, like the sweet-corn tamale… More >>
  • Best Homemade Brew

    Kremas Mapou

    Tucked among the many unexpected treasures in Libreri Mapou are tall bottles of a mysterious ivory liquid. A love potion? A purifying bubble bath? Not exactly, though you could say Kremas Mapou has alchemic properties. Here in this venerable Little Haiti bookstore, the cultural and intellectual heart of Miami's Haitian community, is owner Jan Mapou's homemade contribution to the potable… More >>
  • Best Restaurant In South Beach

    Pacific Time

    Unfurling waves of hot-shot eateries have recently been splashing into South Beach, but this is nothing new. Big-money ventures and top-drawer chefs have been dashing onto our shores for years now, only to crash on the rocks of financial reality and roll quietly back out again. One, Pacific Time, has ticked consistently along like a fine-tuned watch since stunning locals… More >>
  • Best Delicatessen

    Laurenzo's Italian Market

    A family-owned market since 1964, Laurenzo's offers a unique experience here in South Florida. "We're a snapshot in time," offers David Laurenzo, who runs the market along with his sister, Carol, and their father, Ben. "We're like a piece of Little Italy back in the Fifties." Everything in the store offers authentic Italian cuisine, from their homemade ravioli to the… More >>
  • Best Colombian Restaurant

    Los Arrieros

    Colombian food is comfort food: sparingly seasoned meats, beans, rice, plantains, and of course, arepas. For Miami's Colombian community, Los Arrieros provides an equally comforting atmosphere: walls adorned with quaint little balconcitos (models of Spanish-tile balconies), a life-size balcón for a stage, and a couple of jocular trovadores improvising verses from handwritten audience requests. The restaurant, which moved from its… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Rio Cristal

    There they are. Piled atop your palomilla steak. They're hand-cut, golden, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. You down half of them before you even think of cutting into that beef. The waiter knows they're good. He offers you more papitas after you and the others at the table make the first batch disappear. Your answer: Sí, sí,… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Su-Shin Izakaya

    Not just a sushi joint (though the sushi chefs heartily greet all patrons who enter), this bustling lunch-and-dinner spot in downtown Coral Gables offers daily specials -- scribbled in kanji and English on blackboards that run the length of the east wall -- depending on what's fresh. A treasure on the regular menu is the spicy… More >>
  • Best Health Food Store

    Whole Foods Market

    There are some great health food stores in Miami, but on the whole, Whole Foods has more and often better stuff. Seems there's always something you didn't see on your last visit: the latest chlorophyll/kelp tabs; a new herb mixture to strengthen the lungs; bricks of dark chocolate from Prague or other distant cities; exotic organic plums, kumquats, and pomegranates;… More >>
  • Best Wine Selection In A Restaurant

    Indigo - CLOSED

    If sheer numbers alone could point out a great wine list, then Indigo easily takes top honors, with more than 700 vintages from which to quaff. But as with most things, when it comes to wine, quality is more important than quantity. Fortunately this restaurant, located in the lobby of the Inter-Continental, proves itself thrice over with wines that range… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    El Fogon

    Most of the handful of Mexican restaurants in town seem to cater to Mexican-American tastes. El Fogon's fare hails from further south of the border (including the Yucatán), and the difference is reflected in the quality and style of their humble burritos. The chicken is seasoned and seared, the picadillo (seasoned ground beef) is divine, but best of all is… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For Gluttons

    Tuscan Steak - CLOSED

    The intentions of Tuscan Steak should be obvious: That T-bone is meant to feed a family. Likewise that serving of three-mushroom risotto with truffle oil, or the herb-grilled rack of lamb with the green apple-basil chutney, or the oven-roasted duck with cranberry chutney. Prices indicate the restaurant's philosophy, as does the credo written on the menu: "At Tuscan Steak all… More >>
  • Best Milkshake


    You're in the office, it's midafternoon, and that sweet tooth starts clamoring for attention. A thick, creamy, fruity drink would quiet the ruckus, but you don't want that artificial stuff the fast-food joints peddle. It's too far to drive to the farms in Homestead to get the real thing. The alternative is this roadside stand just south of U.S. 1.… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For The Hearing Impaired

    Joe's Stone Crab

    Act I: The front desk. A middle-age gentleman in a plaid sport coat waits in a ten-person line. He finally reaches the host, who is taking down names. Host: How many? Patron: What? Host (impatiently): How many in your party? Patron: Oh. Four. Host: That'll be a two-hour wait. Patron (disbelieving): Huh? Host (shouting): Two hours! Patron (still not sure he heard correctly): Huh?? Host: Two hours! Two hours! Act… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream Parlor

    Whip 'N Dip Ice Cream Shoppe

    George Giampetro's dairy and nondairy creations are simply the best. Making ice cream is more than a business at this mom-and-pop parlor. It's a family tradition. One that Giampetro's daughter passed on to friend Yara Herrera. Since then she's been Whip 'N Dip's magical gelato maker, responsible for the 30-plus flavors in Mr. G's store. In twenty minutes Herrera can… More >>
  • Best Service

    Fishbone Grille

    Sure South Beach has all the trendy restaurants, but as any sunburned tourist can tell you, the service there is uniformly slow and sassy. Too many models and would-be-somebodies moonlighting as waiters. At Fishbone Grille the waitstaff actually appears to be enjoying the job. They are attentive without hovering, swift without making you feel rushed, and have an encyclopedic knowledge… More >>
  • Best Microbrewed Beer

    Titanic Brewery

    Since opening a little more than a year ago, the Titanic has hopped up the local beer scene. It hosts South Florida's home-brewing competition, the Coconut Cup, which features battles between the Miami Area Society of Homebrewers (MASH) and the Fort Lauderdale Area Brewers (FLAB). It's also received national acclaim at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado, where… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Westside Diner

    Executive chef-proprietor of Pacific Time Jonathan Eismann goes slumming with this new venture, a remake of Johnny V's Kitchen. And what a pleasant redo it is: The narrow storefront has been converted into a minidiner, complete with blue-and-white tiles, booths for two, and a counter with a Fifties soda fountain. The ideal place for a nosh after a movie or… More >>
  • Best Seafood Chowder

    Cafetería Adelita

    The sopa marinera here is the Latin/Caribbean version of that New England stalwart: seafood chowder. Instead of dairy milk, the fish broth is emboldened with coconut milk. Instead of quahogs and cod, the chowder is studded with shrimp, conch, and snapper. It's a wonderful merging of the Northern and Southern hemispheres, which, after all, is Miami at its best. A… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    Luna Star Café

    The chains are on the prowl, and they're everywhere. Although the good old-fashioned independent coffeehouses never had too strong a presence down here in Miami to begin with, they are on the verge of extinction today. Which is why now more than ever it's important to support your local java shop. Our choice: Luna Star, because it stands for everything… More >>
  • Best Flan

    Villa Habana Restaurant

    If writer David Mamet had been to Villa Habana, he never would have scripted the line in his film Wag the Dog, in which William H. Macy's character declares there is no difference between good flan and bad flan. Granted, making a cup of custard is kind of hard to screw up, so there probably isn't any flan out there… More >>
  • Best Cuban Restaurant

    Sergio's Sandwich Shop

    Yuca does it fancier, plenty of places on Calle Ocho do it with more elegance, but the best Cuban cooking is home cooking, and that's what Sergio's has been serving in a consistently impressive manner since 1975. It's a coffee shop at 6:00 a.m., when the first café cubanos come steaming from the machine; a luncheonette in the afternoon, as… More >>
  • Best Fresh Produce

    Rancho los Cocos

    It's been a long journey pushing westward in the brutal traffic. But here you are at the roadside oasis called Rancho los Cocos. This glorified country produce stand used to be really way out west but is now in scenic Westchester. Wooden tables piled with locally grown fruits and vegetables are lined up under a wide roof, which also shades… More >>
  • Best Culinary Diaspora

    The parrillada

    If we knew how popular Argentine steak houses were going to be this year, we would've bought stock in the beef industry. The American beef industry, that is, since most of the Argentine eateries are using the more consistent American Angus rather than the unreliable South American counterparts. But it is the method, as they say, and not the madness… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Los Tres Amigos

    Mexico and Miami have much in common. Both have plenty of corruption and new construction. Both are working hard to join the industrialized world. Unlike the land of the big piņata, however, the Magic City has a sorely underdeveloped taco sector. But authentic taco entrepreneurs from Puebla and other Mexican towns are popping up where you'd least expect them. This… More >>
  • Best Food Stop On The Drive To Key West

    Green Turtle Inn

    The drive to Key West can be grueling, especially when you're hungry and stuck in weekend traffic. Resist the urge to succumb to a quick fish-sandwich-and-fritter fix and instead hit the brakes in Islamorada. The Green Turtle Inn, a delightful old-fashioned eatery where great food and just the right dose of show biz meet, will ease your weary traveling bones.… More >>
  • Best Tostones

    Laguna Restaurant

    You'd think more restaurants in this food capital of the Caribbean would know how to fry a green plantain. Yet all too often, even otherwise outstanding Cuban (or Puerto Rican, or Dominican, et cetera) restaurants produce indifferent patacones. They're always too big, too thickly sliced, not ripe enough. And they're never hot; you find yourself staring at a flavorless, lukewarm… More >>
  • Best Sushi On The Run

    Tokyo Bowl - CLOSED

    You can feel it beginning on your way home from work: the craving, the wanting, the needing. It was a stressful day -- the boss yelled, the clients yelled, the colleagues yelled -- and more than anything, you need a pick-me-up. Call it a fix, say you have an addiction, do whatever it takes (except steal… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Grocery

    Laurenzo's Italian Market

    Laurenzo's is a throwback to the days before hordes of swarming yuppies nationalized the word gourmet by blurring its definition to include a deluded sense of sophistication that's based on a so-so go-go stock market, vast washes of German cars, and upscale grocery shelves crammed with pricey and semiprecious eatable oddities. Instead Laurenzo's is a no-nonsense mom-and-pop Italian market that… More >>
  • Best Inexpensive Italian Restaurant

    Cafe Ragazzi

    Judging by the nightly crowd of people milling about outside Ragazzi, sipping wine and chatting away while waiting for a table, it appears most of you don't need us to tell you how good this petite 52-seat trattoria really is. Seems you've heard about the homemade bread; delicious risottos and pastas; freshly prepared Italian seafood, chicken, and veal dishes accompanied… More >>
  • Best Homemade Honey

    The Earth 'n Us

    The curative properties of honey are legion; this sweet, dark elixir is not only heavenly to taste but may very well be the healthiest honey for miles around. Ray Chasser founded a farm in Little River 22 years ago and called it The Earth 'n Us. Today Chasser is still farming, right in the middle of the city. For twenty… More >>
  • Best Restaurant To Die In The Past Twelve Months

    Al Amir

    This self-labeled "Mediterranean" restaurant, more Lebanese than anything else, was chef-owner Ali Husseini's second attempt to crack the dining code in Miami. His first, an eatery of the same name on South Beach, gave way to this particularly welcoming oasis on Biscayne Boulevard. Unfortunately Al Amir II eventually also bowed out, exiting in an understated manner a few months ago:… More >>
  • Best Budget Breakfast

    Johnny Restaurant

    So what if the 99-cent special at this Caribbean-style eatery was slashed from the menu early this year? The same simple meal -- two eggs any style, toast, and a portion of butter-saturated grits larger than anyone should ever eat -- has become the $1.99 breakfast. It is still the best deal in town for anyone… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Moshi Moshi of South Beach

    "Moshi moshi!" bellows a voice as you cross the threshold of this oddly decorated Japanese restaurant. That's manager Annop Lasongyang, a.k.a. Nick, greeting you. Often he throws in a "meow, meow!" for good measure. Moshi moshi means hello in Japanese. "Meow, meow?" Well, that's the sound a cat makes. And if anyone knows about great fish, it's finicky cats. Formerly… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Jumbo's Restaurant

    This 24-hour eatery offers a full menu of sandwiches and seafood (fried and otherwise), and the chicken is without peer. The crunchy, peppery batter on the wings and drumsticks keeps the meat inside perfectly tender. As the menu says: "Puts the Colonel to shame.... Is cooked to order. Please allow eight minutes for wings, thirteen minutes for drumsticks." When your… More >>
  • Best Restaurant In Coral Gables

    Norman's - CLOSED

    "He must not be allowed to win this award again next year," is what we said last year, after Mr. Van Aken won this category for the third time in a row. But how could he not? Consultant stints may have spread Norman's name thinner of late, but his body and soul never left this Gables institution, the only place… More >>
  • Best Take-Out Chinese

    Yeung's Chinese Restaurant - CLOSED

    After a hard day at work, you may not feel like sitting in a restaurant. And you certainly don't want to cook. All you want to do is go home, kick off your shoes, and enjoy a little mu shu pork. Or maybe you're in the mood for a little Peking delight or an order of salt-and-pepper flounder, or a… More >>
  • Best German Restaurant

    Dab Haus

    Fast approaching its tenth year on Miami Beach, Dab Haus remains one of the finest German restaurants in South Florida. And let's remember, when you are talking German food, it's all about the schnitzel. The chefs over at the Dab Haus give great care and attention to each piece of schnitzel that passes through their kitchen. The chicken or veal… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    El Farolito Peruvian Restaurant

    This quaint Peruvian restaurant serves up ceviche for the soul, and it's soaked in just the right amount of lemon juice. Be prepared to reach altiplano heights (even though it's seafood) with their ceviche mixto, a combination of tender pink shrimp, fresh fish, succulent octopus, and savory squid that rests on a bed of romaine lettuce leaves. Or have the… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For Appetizers


    One could argue the only food the average diner in this eclectic pan-Asian place can afford is appetizers. But regulars (if there are such people) know executive chef Rob Boone has a wanton way with won tons, particularly when he stuffs them with squab. He also raises braised pork buns to heights as lofty as the ceiling and coats spareribs… More >>
  • Best Prepared Foods

    Epicure Market

    Being hip requires a lot of time and energy, so trendsetters on South Beach are always looking for ways to cut back on frivolous exercises such as food-shopping and miscellaneous cooking. That's why Epicure is so popular. It's chic. It's fabulous. And it's fast. You can even call up their gourmet phone line and hear the specials they are serving… More >>
  • Best Soul-Food Restaurant

    Arline's and Schoolie's - CLOSED

    Tender pork chops smothered in gravy with black-eyed peas and rice. Oxtail stew done so tender the meat falls from the bone. Plus steamed catfish, collard greens, okra, and tomatoes. The cooking in this spacious and clean restaurant is so homey you would swear your Aunt Jess was down from 'Bama hiding in the kitchen. If you don't have an… More >>
  • Best Jewish Deli South

    Lots of Lox

    The ancient parable goes as follows: Members of the tribe wandered lost in the wilderness of South Miami-Dade. All of a sudden a voice from on high spoke as if like thunder. "You must build a restaurant, serve the food of your people there, and make it extra tasty!" the voice commanded. Actually that's probably not how Lots of Lox… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Anokha - CLOSED

    Miami is a vicious city for vindaloo. A sorry excuse for saag. A bust for biryani. In fact only a handful of Indian eateries offer these traditional specialties in the Magic City, and fewer do them well. Enter Anokha, where a tender touch with tandoori takes Indian fare to the top of its game. This elegant little mom-and-pop place not… More >>
  • Best Torreja

    La Palma Restaurant

    It would be hard to beat La Palma's take on the torreja: It serves the homemade slices of Cuban-style French toast smothered in honey and maple syrup with a hint of anise. A simple dessert with versions of it going back so far the original is untraceable, La Palma even makes torrejas by the dozens for parties. It's light enough… More >>
  • Best Nicaraguan Restaurant

    Fritanga Monimbo Fontainebleau

    Good baho is hard to get these days, if you can find it at all. One reason is that it takes about eight hours to cook the complicated dish. What the heck is it? Essentially beef brisket, mysteriously soaked in a marinade of tomatoes, onions, and oranges, then wrapped in banana leaves, tossed into a big pot with yucca and… More >>
  • Best Bagels

    Bagel Bar East

    This isn't the kind of bar where you can order vodka, Scotch, or beer. But you've got your choices all the same -- sesame, poppy, onion.... The bagels here are just what the New Yawker yaks about: crusty exterior, chewy interior. Buy 'em by the bag or take a seat at one of the tables, or best yet,… More >>
  • Best Spanish Restaurant

    La Dorada Restaurant

    Fresh fish from Spain is mainly what you gain at this urbane Gables seafood spot. One is the dorada itself (sea bream), which, along with sea bass and Dover sole, comes crusted in sea salt and is cracked tableside. That's the most popular dish, and an authentic Spanish specialty, but most of the menu is made up of such rarities.… More >>
  • Best Miami-Born Soft Drink

    Bawls Guarana

    Bored with the Starbucks buzz? Can't do the Dew? Then check out the Bawls, if you've got any. This locally born soft drink combines the fizz of pop with the pep of the guarana berry, an Amazonian plant that exudes a natural substance similar to caffeine (but two and a half times stronger). The nonalcoholic beverage debuted in Miami in… More >>
  • Best Jamaican Restaurant

    Jerk Machine

    "We don't joke; we jerk," boast the folks at Jerk Machine, which serves jerk chicken, jerk pork, jerk fish, jerk stew peas, jerk shrimp, and jerk crab at seven locations in South Florida. The chain originated in Jamaica where in days gone by the maroons, escaped slaves who established independent communities in the hills, built up their courage by eating… More >>
  • Best Fish Sandwich

    Scotty's Landing

    Recipe for a perfect lunch: Head over to Scotty's Landing, preferably by boat. Sit at a humble plastic table shaded from the sun by a canopy of green-burlap umbrellas. Drink deeply an ice-cold beer (or, if you're working, an ice-cold tea). Order the dolphin sandwich, blackened, with a caesar salad side. Watch the boats chug past the outdoor patio. Check… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Dining

    Bayside Seafood Restaurant

    Nature clashes with urbanization underneath this tiki hut on Virginia Key. A duck could saunter up to the table begging for scraps. Dogs, along with their masters, can sit for a meal. Seagulls float over the green mangroves that line the tranquil lagoon's clear water. Clouds float in the blue sky above downtown's skyline. The fiery orange-purple glow of a… More >>
  • Best Café Con Leche

    Oasis Café of Key Biscayne

    As all the best Cuban cafeterías do, Oasis has plenty of counter. Most patrons simply go to the window and order. They usually ask for the café con leche. Creamy and not sickeningly sweet, Oasis puts out a concoction that restores balance to even the most addled brain. For 32 years Oasis has served café con leche out of a… More >>
  • Best Expensive Italian Restaurant


    It's their hand-rolled pasta specials, such as amaretto and pumpkin ravioli with white-truffle cream sauce, and pappardelle with buffalo-meat ragout. Or those rich risottos ingrained with ingredients ranging from broccoli rabe and foie gras to langoustines and porcinis. Could be the thick, juicy veal chops stuffed with fontina cheese and smothered in truffle demi-glace, or the homemade desserts like a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For Intimate Conversation

    B.E.D. - CLOSED

    If you weren't already nominally sure that the ol' mattress was the likeliest place to conduct heart-to-hearts, this uniquely decadent restaurant and nightclub just might convince you. In fact it's pretty darn difficult not to go up-front and personal with your dining partner here, given that your table is a modified version of a latter-day sheik's bed. All that's missing,… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Macau Bakery & Deli

    That bowl of curly fried noodles on the table at every conventional Chinese restaurant doesn't exist here. The soup at Macau is too good to desecrate. Not going to find duck sauce or that vile hot mustard, either. No, siree. Macau is not hoity-toity. Clean, nondescript, friendly, unpretentious. Granted lunch deals that consist of ordinary yet tasty items such as… More >>
  • Best Waterfront Dining

    Big Fish - CLOSED

    This has always been the perfect riverfront location. The view, the feel, are so fine, so Miami: You're practically sitting in the Miami River, but as you lean back and sip your wine, your gaze drifts up to the drawbridges creaking apart to let pass all manner of funky cargo ships. Bright neon lights on the Metrorail tracks point the… More >>
  • Best Restaurant For A Romantic Dinner

    The Strand

    The lighting is dim. The doorways are hung with flowing white linen. The banquettes are squishy-cushy. And the tiger skin on the wall makes you long to take it down and lay it before a fireplace. What this adds up to is sex -- we mean, romance -- of the South Beach kind: decadent, seductive, and… More >>
  • Best Chino-Cubano Restaurant

    Kong Ming Restaurant

    Don't be fooled by the menu, which reads "Autentica Comida China." At this Chino-Cubano joint, only the cook is 100 percent Chinese. Even the statuette of Buddha that sits on a counter is guarded by Our Lady of Charity on one side and San Lazaro on the other. Here the won ton soup is better known as sopa de mariposa,… More >>