Food & Drinks

  • BEST PASTELITO DE GUAVA

    Gallito Bakery

    The key to a great pastelito de guava is the texture. It must be soft, chewy, and flaky all at once. The guava filling must be generous, bear a dark-violet complexion, and have a thick consistency. The worst thing a baker can do to this delicacy is to overcook it. The result of that is a concrete cast with caked… More >>
  • SECOND-BEST BREAKFAST SPECIAL

    Smittys Restaurant

    Smitty's has been scrambling eggs since 1941. Sit on one of the 22 spinning stools at the horseshoe-shaped counter and watch the waitresses pour steaming cups of coffee as you find yourself eavesdropping on conversations all around you. The city is waking up, ready for another hot, brutish day in paradise. Revel in the humanity at Smitty's, among the cops,… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA

    Casola's

    Big, saucy, greasy, and cheesy, a pizza pie any other way wouldn't be baked at Casola's. The pizza place tucked between Little Havana and Coconut Grove has fattened neighborhood rugrats and late-night bar-hoppers looking for a sobering slice for 21 years. The pizza slices are huge, New York style, and come in pairs for $2.85. Most patrons don't leave full,… More >>
  • BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

    Tropical Chinese Restaurant

    A perennial favorite in the dim sum category, Tropical -- surprise -- also serves a great din-din. Traditional dishes include Hong Kong-style roast pork flavored with five-spice and then roasted; seafood-spinach soup; and always crisp, always succulent Peking duck. But innovative items are equally reliable, if unusual -- flounder pan-fried with peppercorns and jalapeņos and served with bananas marinated in… More >>
  • BEST SANDWICH SHOP

    La Sanwicherie

    Lyon-born Olivier Farrat and partners were South Beach pioneers when they set up this simple, open-air shop back in 1988. Among the first eateries to assuage the hunger pangs of late-night clubbers, La Sanwicherie now is open practically 'round the clock, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. (sometimes as late as 6:00 a.m.). The casual atmosphere -- an extended counter… More >>
  • BEST WATERFRONT DINING

    Scottys Landing

    Dining, technically speaking, refers to the evening repast. Scotty's is best enjoyed mid-to-late afternoon, when the lunch crush is over. Take refuge from the sun under the green-and-white canopy. Order up a bucket of ice-cold beers to accompany a dolphin sandwich or a burger (the menu is blissfully straightforward and unrefined), and soak up the view of the marina, bay,… More >>
  • BEST FRESH SEAFOOD

    Ye Olde Boston Fish Market

    By the time you read this, Captain Dan and Chef Reddy expect to have reopened their shop, formerly next to Café del Mar, up the road apiece in bigger digs. The friendly Chef Reddy, who previously won our hearts and tummies when he sent us home with some melt-in-your-mouth tuna and a recipe (which we prepared with coarse salt he… More >>
  • BEST OUTDOOR DINING

    Barton G the Restaurant

    It's been a long time since a real South Beach restaurant opened -- real meaning, of course, unreal, the sort of place that reminds one that back in SoBe's original pioneering days as a fun-in-the-sun resort, the destination beach was called Fairy-Land. Barton G is that sort of restaurant-as-theater experience, continuing the outdoor fun after the sun goes down, in… More >>
  • BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE

    Whole Foods Market

    Ideally the best source for quality natural foods and health-related products would be a local operation, not a national chain. Unfortunately most independents offer little more than a small selection of tired produce and prepared foods that look healthy but not like anything you'd actually want to eat. National giant Whole Foods carries a big selection of the best. Produce… More >>
  • BEST INEXPENSIVE ITALIAN RESTAURANT

    Mama Jennie's

    Making sure both your stomach and your wallet are full: That's what the folks at Mama Jennie's, home to delicious, reasonably priced Italian comfort food, have been doing for more than 30 years. Hearty soup or crispy salad with your choice of dressing (the zesty house vinaigrette is a favorite) and garlic rolls lightly doused in flavorful oil begin your… More >>
  • BEST FRIED CHICKEN

    Jumbo's - CLOSED

    This Liberty City diner has been frying up its tasty delights for 40-plus years and nary a thing looks like it has changed since its inception, from the neon lights and the yellowing signs highlighting menu items to the always reliable food. The smell of grease hangs heavily in the air, and will unfortunately stay with you long after you… More >>
  • BEST EXPENSIVE ITALIAN RESTAURANT

    Casa Tua

    We'll put it in the simplest terms: If one wants ingredients such as black truffles, white asparagus, cipollini onions, heirloom tomatoes, artisanal cheeses, Dover sole, and boneless quail, one must dig deep into the pockets. If one desires these comestibles to be prepared in the New World by chefs who have been trained in the Old World, one must cough… More >>
  • BEST 24-HOUR TACO

    Robertos Taco Shop

    Tacos for breakfast? Sure! Lunch? Yes! Dinner? Absolutely! Heck, tacos and all manner of authentic Mexican eats can be had any time of the day at Roberto's in the heart of Hialeah. This 4-year-old offshoot of the 33-year-old San Diego-based chain that counts more than 50 outlets nationwide (including Cutler Ridge, Kendall, and another in Hialeah) is open 24/7. For… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR KIDS

    Big Pink

    With a menu of a size that befits its name, Big Pink should be able to satisfy the whims of the most finicky of progeny. Its diner-inspired creations come in gargantuan portions, so you can a) throw junior some scraps off your own plate, b) spare yourself a night's cooking by taking home a doggie bag, or c) order one… More >>
  • BEST BARBECUE

    Shivers Bar-B-Q

    Hangout of Homestead regulars and racing fans alike, Shiver's has been operating for most of the last 50-odd years (they took some time out for natural disasters like Hurricane Andrew). It's a typical barbecue joint in that it's shack-shaped and filled with long wooden tables and benches. There are the obligatory old-timey doodads tacked to the walls -- lanterns, horseshoes,… More >>
  • BEST DINER

    Eleventh Street Diner

    It's always open (24-7); it has a solid bar (with a separate entrance); it's got a no-nonsense load of records that management plays relentlessly -- "I Fought the Law" by the Bobby Fuller Four; "Crazy Arms" by Jerry Lee Lewis; "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers -- wonderfully appropriate for these times. Then there's the real diner food -- pork… More >>
  • BEST CROISSANT

    La Brioche Dorée

    Wake up on a Saturday morning longing for a fresh croissant and you're outta luck here. Like most shops in this predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, Brioche Dorée isn't open on Saturday, and you can't pick up your morning pastry fix on the way home from work the night before because the bakery closes, invariably cleaned out of croissants, at 3:00… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT

    Rajas

    Décor is unassuming at this downtown lunch room -- it's basically a hole-in-the-wall, albeit a clean and cheerful one -- and most of the roughly dozen dishes served daily are steam-tabled, not made to order, which definitely puts them in the "fast food" rather than "fine food" category. Still, since most Indian food is relatively slow-cooked rather than quickly stir-fried… More >>
  • BEST CAESAR SALAD

    Cane Sucre

    Cane Á Sucre's version of the caesar isn't a big heaping mess of lettuce, cheese, garlic, dressing, and miscellaneous other items. It's a straightforward presentation of fresh romaine lettuce chopped into small squares, lightly topped with grated asiago cheese and tasty garlic croutons. A cup of homemade caesar dressing and a remarkably good, buttery piece of baguette arrive on the… More >>
  • BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

    Ouzos Greek Taverna & Bar

    Located directly across from the perennially popular Vacas Gordas, this newcomer to the North Beach restaurant scene is proof positive that man should not live by steak alone. A very friendly brother-and-sister team have created -- with the requisite blue-and-white color scheme and murals on the walls -- an eatery that is light and airy by day and comfortably cozy… More >>
  • SECOND-BEST MICROBREWED BEER

    Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant - CLOSED

    Some might think Gordon Biersch is a contradiction in terms: a national chain of microbrew pubs. After all, a good microbrewery by definition is local and individualistic. Yet each Gordon Biersch pub, be it the latest in Miami or the first in Palo Alto, concocts its own beer. That's worthy of note. G-B's brew is delightfully fresh-made from Hallertauer hops,… More >>
  • BEST CHAIN RESTAURANT

    Bahama Breeze

    Even in a city filled with authentic Caribbean cuisine, suburbanites flock to the reliable Bahama Breeze chain for fine fakin' Jamaican food. Sometimes the wait is more than an hour -- not necessarily a problem if you spend it drinking in the huge outdoor bar area. The draw is the reliable quality of the food, from the goat cheese or… More >>
  • BEST CHILI

    Picnics at Allen's

    Cumin and tomato are the starring flavors in the heaping bowls of chili served at Picnics at Allen's, but the atmosphere at this Fifties-style pharmacy and lunch counter steals the show. Owners Marie and Jerry Burg are personable without being obsequious (an attitude mirrored by the waitstaff), creating an atmosphere that seems more like a real neighborhood restaurant than a… More >>
  • BEST THAI RESTAURANT

    Siam Palace

    So a serious lack of funds, not to mention a rather scary war and that strange respiratory outbreak across the world, have prevented you from making it to Thailand this year. We're not crying for you. We have our own little piece of Thailand right here. We sit peacefully among the orchids listening to the tranquil gurgling of a waterfall.… More >>
  • BEST HAMBURGER

    Cheeseburger Baby

    Sure the place is a hole in the wall. But it's a cool hole in the wall, and in South Beach a seven-ounce burger at any kind of cool place is going to average at least a couple of bucks more than Baby's $5.50 ($6.50 for a cheeseburger) -- plus you don't know what quality of meat you're getting. At… More >>
  • BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT

    Matsuri

    You won't find SoBe-style "mango/jalapeņo/flourless chocolate piņa colada" sushi rolls here. And the restaurant's setting in a low-rent mall could not be less trendy. But when a Japanese restaurant is packed nightly with Asian diners and regulars -- and one of the regulars happens to be the chef at one of Manhattan's most critically acclaimed spots for kaiseki (elaborate ceremonial… More >>
  • BEST SANDWICH NAME

    Bay of Pig

    The SSC has carried out a number of successful lunchtime sandwich deployments since completing its Design District buildup in late 2002. The Bay of Pig, one of the most effective items in its arsenal, contains the following judiciously selected ordnance: roasted and seared pork loin with grilled onion and mojo marinade, all packed into a baguette. But given the disastrous… More >>
  • BEST CHEF TO RISE TO THE TOP

    Mike Sabin

    Nemo

    When South Beach superstar chef Michael Schwartz left the eatery he co-founded, Nemo, last year, local media meticulously tracked his every post-Nemo burp (literally -- a burp's length being about as long as Schwartz's much-ballyhooed tenure at Bal Harbour's Atlantic House lasted). No such attention has been accorded to new Nemo head honcho Mike Sabin. Why? Maybe because Sabin isn't… More >>
  • BEST CHOCOLATE

    Krön Chocolatier

    Aventura Mall

    To borrow a line from the old ad campaign for Arnold's rye bread, you don't have to be Jewish to eat kosher chocolate. Indeed whether you follow those dietary rules or not, the ultimate issue is taste, for which Krön is an ecumenical experience of the heavenly culinary variety. Its tantalizing array of candies, truffles, and dipped fruits are all… More >>
  • BEST CURBSIDE SERVICE

    Biscayne Bar-B-Q

    "You don't need teeth to eat our meat," boasts the barbecue joint's menu. Apparently you don't need legs to get take-out service, either. Just call ahead for some hickory-smoked pulled chicken sandwiches, collard greens, homemade cornbread, and succulent pork ribs, give another ring when you've pulled up to the front door, and the friendly folks inside will hurry outside with… More >>
  • BEST MICROBREWED BEER

    Titanic Brewery and Restaurant

    With about a dozen specialty beers on tap (plus seasonal selections) and another half-dozen or so microbrews in bottle, Titanic may not have the biggest selection, but there's no arguing that this brewery and restaurant has the most flavorful, carefully crafted beer in town. Brewmaster Jamie Ray whips up at least half of the daily draught offerings, including the evocatively… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED

    Metro Kitchen & Bar

    It could be that the noise level is deliberate, a reflection of the urban name, or accidental, a result of the former Astor Place's mod-Italian renovation. But while there may be quibbling about the motive, there's no question over the decibel level -- it's about as high as the two-story ceiling allows. That said -- or shouted -- Metro possesses… More >>
  • BEST BLACK BEAN SOUP

    Gables Juice Bar

    For $1.27, proprietors Fernando and Belkis Lopez offer up a deliciously spicy black bean soup that would make any Cuban mom envious. You can order it to go or savor the soup inside the Lopezes' humble restaurant, a popular lunchtime spot for the Gables working crowd, many of whom pop in to take advantage of specials such as turkey peccadillo… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN CORAL GABLES

    Normans - CLOSED

    It's not surprising that Norman's remains the Gables's best restaurant. Quite frankly Norman's could give the best restaurants in New York, San Francisco, or Paris a run for their money. What's surprising is that there are still Miamians who haven't been to Norman Van Aken's mega-award-winning, elegant yet friendly place. Sure, it's expensive. But so are many other Miami restaurants… More >>
  • BEST BAGELS

    Tasti D-Lite Caf

    A mensch, as defined in Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, is "someone of consequence," of solid character. This could also serve as the definition of a bagel -- a real bagel, that is, chewy enough to provide challenge, not those puffed-up pillows sold by supermarkets and most bagel chains, many of which don't even bother boiling their sissy specimens… More >>
  • BEST VEGGIE JAMAICAN LUNCH COUNTER

    Kings Hi-Way Natural Food & Juice Take-Out Restaurant

    Sit down at the counter and take a load off, brothers and sisters. Slow your heart rate with mellow reggae, fruit juice, and a salad. Emperor Haile Selassie stares down at you from the walls, regal and peaceful. Gentle philosophy is mixed into the smoothies. "It's the right way to live," claims the Rastafarian behind the counter. "I might die… More >>
  • BEST FAJITA

    Taqueria El Mexicano

    Little Havana is changing. It used to be difficult to take the red peppers and mix them with the green, blend the onions with the grilled chickens and luscious strips of beef. But no longer. In a post-Elian world, you can bring it all together under the cover of a warm corn tortilla. Remember, fajita comes from the Latin word… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH RESTAURANT

    La Broche

    Just utter the words "La Broche" and you may find yourself embroiled in controversy. Controversy is La Broche's -- and its cutting-edge Spanish chef Angel Palacios's -- middle name. In fact debate has raged within these very pages about said avant-garde Spanish cuisine and its ingredients. But hey, creativity often stirs controversy, and this offshoot of the famous Madrid mothership… More >>
  • BEST FLAN

    The Secret Sandwich Co.

    Covertly it lurks in the refrigerated case, concealed among the soft drinks and ice teas. The double agent of desserts, it is rich yet somehow light and not off-puttingly eggy. A quivering homemade creation that is simultaneously rico and suave. See, the real secret at the Secret Sandwich Co. is not the sandwiches but the desserts, especially the flan. And… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT TO DIE IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS

    Macau

    It always was easy to overlook this hole-in-the-wall eatery, located in a nondescript minimall on NE 167th Street, so possibly you've driven by a dozen times in the last few months without noticing it's gone. But the next time you're in the mood for authentic Chinese food, you will not be able to find any because May Wong's one-woman operation… More >>
  • BEST MEXICAN MARKET

    Frutera Los Girasoles

    Yuca, plantain, papaya, all the subtropical specialties you could want: Frutería Los Girasoles is a way for Miami residents to partake of Homestead's bounty of fresh produce without having to make the drive (or at least not the entire drive). Produce prices stand out, but shoppers can also choose from an array of citrus marinades, tamarind candy, chilies of all… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DINE ALONE

    Two Chefs

    Dining alone is both an art and a science. Therefore the solo diner obviously has a dual appreciation for both the imagination and the intellect. Where else to find the creativity as well as the observational opportunities necessary to keep such a person entertained than at the bar of Two Chefs? This ten-seater is cozy enough to get to know… More >>
  • BEST ASIAN GROCERY

    Tims Oriental Grocery

    Homestead may seem an unlikely location for an Asian grocery, but Sau Leung explains the simple reason why she and husband Tim, a Cantonese couple from Hong Kong, wound up peddling Sri Racha sauce in a town known for taco stands and pickup trucks. "We used to live in Kendall, but Homestead is much nicer. The people are nicer." Fair… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR GLUTTONS

    Porcao Churrascaria

    Emblazoned on the sign of this Brazilian rodizio-style restaurant is, appropriately, a pig. Indeed this is a restaurant experience not for the faint of heart or stomach (vegetarians should steer clear). Porcao's staff will bring to your table a seemingly endless supply of grilled beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and sausage until you give the signal to stop. The $34.99 (plus… More >>
  • BEST CHEESE

    Epicure Market

    Epicure may not be the best-in-the-county for every individual cheese type. For instance, though the homemade cow's-milk mozzarella balls are admirable, Laurenzo's have a more pronounced fresh-dairy milkiness. But the variety at Epicure is unbeatable, and includes not just popular faves like Brie but aficionado faves such as powerfully pungent Epoisse. Prices ain't cheap (many cheeses are $15 to $20… More >>
  • BEST DIM SUM

    Kon Chau

    Bigger and better known -- as well as, for sure, better looking -- Tropical Chinese just a few blocks away is a tough act to beat when it comes to dim sum, China's traditional teahouse lunch/brunch. But although Tropical's dumplings and other "small plates" are mostly just as tasty, casual Kon Chau rules when it comes to authenticity. Truly serious… More >>
  • BEST SMOOTHIE

    El Palacio de los Jugos

    One word: atmosphere. Rumble your way to the counter for a jugo. Feel the ice-cold, fresh-fruit flavor -- papaya, cantaloupe, piņa colada, orange-carrot, guanabana -- roll down your throat. But then take a look at your mixers -- the rice and beans, roasted half-chickens, and flans -- and head to the back to enjoy it all. Yeah, you'll likely consume… More >>
  • BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH

    Baleen - CLOSED

    This upscale seafood restaurant, now guided by Arturo Paz (former chef Robbin Haas is said to be readying his own place in the Gables), wows diners each week with its sumptuous spread. Be prepared for the killer price tag of $36 per person. If you can snag a table on the elegant outdoor terrace with its magnificent view, however, the… More >>
  • BEST CHICKEN WINGS

    Sports Grill

    One measure of the popularity of this place's wings is the fact that you must order them early on high holy days such as title fights, national championships, or the Super Bowl. Otherwise you could wait hours, so heavy is the demand. And no wonder. These are the meatiest wings in town. Unbreaded and grilled to nongreasy perfection, they're served… More >>
  • BEST SERVICE IN A RESTAURANT

    Tap Tap

    The space looks so funky, the crowd so cool, the music just right -- please don't bring the mango salad long before a lone bottle of beer, and have those be the only two "dishes" in front of your group for the next hour! Alas, that was the way it was. No amount of cajoling or directing could bring any… More >>
  • BEST RAW BAR

    The River Oyster Bar

    The River offers a taste of the ocean from the four corners of the Western oyster world. This bar/restaurant serves the cool freshly cracked ones from the coasts of Washington, Oregon, California, Prince Edward Island, New England, and the Florida Panhandle. A tasty flourish comes with the choice of jalapeņo relish, Asian mignonette, and the traditional horseradish with cocktail sauce.… More >>
  • BEST NICARAGUAN RESTAURANT

    El Novillo

    Step inside the Bird Road location and you'll find yourself in the re-created courtyard of a Nicaraguan hacienda, complete with burbling fountain and guitar music. That's the idea, at least, and if you don't find it convincing, let the excellent food and extremely attentive service at El Novillo ease your nerves until Bird Road's infuriating traffic seems far far away.… More >>
  • BEST GOURMET GROCERY

    Epicure Market

    Since both Zabar's and Fairway selfishly expanded their Manhattan stores rather than open branches down here in the sixth borough, Epicure wins this one again. Norman Bros. has more and better produce (designer lettuces like frisée and mâche; genuinely ripe tomatoes) at better prices; Gardner's has more interesting homemade dips and spreads; Arnie & Richie's has more succulent smoked fish;… More >>
  • BEST BEVERAGE TREND

    Wine bars

    Lynda Hull: "Sometimes after hours of wine I can almost see the night gliding in low off the harbor." Judith Berke: "The trees were wine and the sky was wine, and everything that wasn't the wine, was wine." Heather McHugh: "The wine glass fills with sun, a slow bright bomb. The mob in me sits still." So you see that… More >>
  • BEST MALL CAVIAR

    Caviar & More kiosks

    Black-truffle-stuffed tubes of foie gras, $58 bottles of aged balsamic vinegar, tiny round tins of salty black fish eggs -- these are pleasant things to consider, especially if you're sitting at a marble counter, nibbling a delicious smoked-salmon-and-cream-cheese sandwich and contemplating the department stores around you as they employ entirely new adjectives to describe pants. This is something you should… More >>
  • BEST CHAIN COFFEEHOUSE

    Einstein Bros. Bagels

    There is a secret to serving good coffee that goes beyond the beans, the roast, and the water. Here it is: temperature. And those comical, corporate Einstein Bros. have figured this out. So they start each pot with a blend of Central and South American beans, roasted to a light brown, and they brew the java with water that is… More >>
  • BEST TACO

    Casita Tejas Mexican Restaurant

    Tacos are simple concoctions, usually containing only three or four ingredients, so the little things -- a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, a squirt of lime juice -- can make a big difference. At Casita Tejas the difference is the meat. The chicken, ground beef, and pork tacos ($6.50 for any combination of three with rice and beans) all have well-marinated,… More >>
  • BEST STEAK HOUSE

    Capital Grille

    This is for sure a men-in-suits from an around-the-way Brickell firm kinda place. But the Capital Grille is also known for classic steak-house cuisine amid relaxed elegance, raising steaks to a level of excellence. In state-of-the-art meat lockers, short loins of beef are naturally dry-aged for fourteen days in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment. Steaks are hand-cut daily, well seasoned,… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH FRIES

    Miami Subs Grill - CLOSED

    Why are Miami Subs' fries so addictive? First of all, they're more visually appealing than the pale-yellow "freedom" fries dished up at other fast-food joints. Miami Subs cooks its fries until they're a golden, resonant brown. That means they're always crunchy and never underdone like those of so many competitors. But the real attraction, the reason you can't help coming… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST SPECIAL

    Chuck Wagon Restaurant

    Sit in a booth, or sidle up to the counter and enjoy a massive repast with any and all combinations of the breakfast staples that make you want to go right back to bed: ham, bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes, eggs, biscuits, gravy, grits. Chuck Wagon breakfasts provide the caloric intake you would need for ploughing your fields or rounding up… More >>
  • BEST SUSHI

    Su-Shin Izakaya

    Hang out in Tokyo after working hours and you're likely to see hordes of men in suits, knocking back shots of sake or bottles of beer and feasting on sushi and yakitori at loud tavern-style eateries known as izakayas. Hang out in Coral Gables at the almost-hidden Japanese restaurant Su-Shin Izakaya and you're likely to behold the same sight. Of… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR INTIMATE CONVERSATION

    Perricones Marketplace & Caf

    There's nothing more romantic than a picnic, right? A blanket spread in a secluded seaside nook or beneath a flowering tree. A column of red ants marching across your blanket. Sand flying into your plastic wine glass. And those damn flowers falling into your tuna fish salad. Maybe a picnic's not so romantic after all. You want the greenery, the… More >>
  • BEST DOUGHNUTS

    Sunshine Donuts

    When the entire glazed doughnut melts in your mouth like its velvety-crisp icing, you know you have a winner. Independently run Sunshine Donuts makes the kind of fluffy and sweet fried treats that people on diets dream of and drool over. Whether they be glazed, powdered, or Miami-style jelly doughnuts (filled with guava, dulce de leche, or mamey), you're getting… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR A POWER LUNCH

    Gordon Biersch - CLOSED

    Power lunch no longer implies Eighties-style business suits meeting over plates of ostrich carpaccio served in white-linen restaurants where the valets earn more than your secretary. If we've learned anything from the dot.com era, it's that sometimes the sweetest deals are scripted in duds that have seen less holey days and sealed not by a slash of the Cross fountain… More >>
  • BEST CEVICHE

    Delicias del Mar Peruano

    Delicias is a delightful little neighborhood eatery housed in an unremarkable building on Miami's main drag. The food is good and reasonably priced. The tables are covered in Peruvian blankets protected by glass tops. A tragic telenovela quietly plays itself out on a television mounted high on the wall. An old man sits at the counter, slowly finishing his fish… More >>
  • BEST CUBAN RESTAURANT

    Villa Havana

    "You go to Versailles for the people," reflects Bill, tipping the last of his garlic shrimp from fork to mouth. "You come to Villa Havana for the food." Basic, inexpensive Cuban food deftly delivered is what has kept the lines at this restaurant long for years. For lunch, a $4.95 plate of tender ropa vieja (con arroz y maduros, claro!)… More >>
  • BEST HEALTHY FAST FOOD

    Tasti D-Lite Caf

    Though this small café is named for the soft pseudo-ice cream it serves from a machine in the back (three flavors daily), the frozen dessert, which is not as gross as most cream-free "ice cream," is not the main attraction. What packs the place every weekday (closed weekends) are its tasty salads, wraps, and sandwiches made with extraordinarily fresh produce.… More >>
  • BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

    El Puerto de Vallarta

    Not many of us think about checking out a Mexican restaurant when we feel like tucking into a stuffed crab-back and sucking the heads of prawns. Perhaps, being stone crab claw- and Key West pink shrimp-centric, we haven't had the exposure necessary to inspire such appetites. Or maybe, being offered mostly central Mexican cuisine here in South Florida, we simply… More >>
  • BEST FARMERS MARKET

    South Florida Farmers Market

    Gardner's Markets at Pinecrest

    Judge a farmers' market not by the nature of its distractions but by the quality of its produce. So what if you can find stilt walkers juggling swords while balancing flaming pineapples on their heads and telling off-color jokes to bleary-eyed parents with toddlers in tow at other local markets. Elizabeth and Maurice Adams, proprietors of Gardner's Markets, have quite… More >>
  • BEST CHEF SURVIVAL

    Willis Loughhead

    Bizcaya Grill

    Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove

    We grew concerned when we got no response to a letter sent to Willis Loughhead at Bizcaya Grill. We were inquiring about his interest in being one of eight chefs to host a "Personal Best" page in Best of Miami. A follow-up call elicited this: He was out of town and wouldn't return before our deadline passed. Out of commission… More >>
  • BEST FROZEN YOGURT

    Creams N Yogurt

    "Frozen yogurt? Who eats frozen yogurt these days?" asked our incredulous editor. Well, if the satisfied crowds at the Beach's yogurt emporiums are any gauge, lots of people. Consequence-free indulgence is South Beach's credo, and a cup of frozen yogurt remains the choice for locals seeking to satisfy their sweet tooth while still keeping a neurotic eye on their waistline.… More >>
  • BEST CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT

    Original Caribbean Kitchen

    The best testament to Original Caribbean Kitchen's authenticity is the number of Caribbean transplants who eat there. Far from the rarefied air of the Beach, where ethnic food gains a capital "E" and checks double or triple, Original Caribbean Kitchen -- more lunch counter than sit-down restaurant -- serves the basics at generous prices. Heaping portions of curried goat, oxtail… More >>
  • BEST BAKERY

    Renaissance Baking Company

    What it lacks in location -- stuck as it is in the corner of a strip mall -- it more than makes up for in goodies, which explains why Renaissance has won five Best of Miami awards over the years. From scones to San Francisco sourdough. From empanadas to a chicken sandwich on focaccia with roasted red peppers. They make… More >>
  • BEST ARGENTINE RESTAURANT

    Novecento

    Know this going in -- Novecento is not another version of the same-old, same-old Argentine steak house. In fact it has more in common with the typical Parisian bistro, and we could praise it just for breaking out of the stereotypical parrillada box alone. Fortunately we can also laud it for offering Alton Road residents artistic salads such as the… More >>
  • BEST SMOKED FISH

    Jimbo's - CLOSED

    This place has been around at least 48 years -- manager Dan Nudge thinks maybe 50 -- way the hell back in the woods and gone without a proper address. It used to be a bait shop on Biscayne Bay just north of the MacArthur Causeway, but was bounced when the Miami Herald built its waterfront eyesore. It still is… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

    Imlee

    In terms of upscale "New Indian" cuisine, an innovative, lightened-up approach to traditional Indian food, Miami as yet has nothing that modern. But many dishes at Imlee come close; even the bargain buffet lunch is largely a custom-cooked affair rather than the usual collection of steam-tabled stuff that, at most Indian eateries, sits, stewing itself into increasingly soggy submission as… More >>
  • BEST CAF CON LECHE

    Casa Alberto

    This comfortable Cuban restaurant at Galloway and Sunset Drive bears the spirit of La Carreta without the teeming hordes and with a much more refined décor (no grease on the leather booths). Their café con leche is a staple for neighborhood aficionados of this milk-and-coffee combination. What makes it better than other places? Well, for one thing they use whole… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GRAB A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE

    New York New York - CLOSED

    The twin towers of the World Trade Center still stand under a starry sky -- on the giant mural decorating a wall at New York New York. The other walls, clad with posters of Broadway shows such as Dancin', Sugar Babies, and Les Miserables, facsimiles of New York Times front pages, photo stills from feature films, and a ticker flashing… More >>
  • BEST CUBAN SANDWICH

    Sarussi Cafeteria

    For the past 38 years, Sarussi has offered the biggest Cuban sandwich in town: fifteen inches long and a good four inches tall. What makes owner Humberto Betancourt such a culinary genius is not mere size, however. It is his top-secret hot sauce. Piquant but not spicy, the peppery condiment gives this full meal of a sandwich a unique flair.… More >>
  • BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

    Paquitos

    The festively decorated Paquito's, its rooms festooned with a combination of folksy and kitschy decorations, dishes up genuine Mexican cooking the likes of which you'd find in a good fonda south of the border. Traditional fare ranges from a sopa de tortilla, sopes (small round cornmeal discs topped with refried beans and shredded cheese, served as starters), the classic chocolately… More >>
  • BEST PREPARED FOODS

    Whole Foods Market

    Whether you're looking to satisfy your craving for vegan fare or for soups that extend beyond the chicken-noodle and clam-chowder variety, Whole Foods Market is the place to go. Besides interesting items such as Mediterranean beef stew and spinach orzo soup, it features an expansive array of prepared vegetable dishes, from tofu pad thai to raspberry tofu diablo to a… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT

    Caf Del Mar - CLOSED

    Maybe it's because in this neck of the woods (one block outside Miami Shores) you used to get mighty thirsty until this restaurant picked up a liquor license over the summer. Maybe it's because the bartender and the owner and the waiter all greet you as you arrive. Maybe it's because they hold live music nights. Maybe it's because the… More >>
  • BEST MIDDLE EASTERN MARKET

    Daily Bread Marketplace

    The Mazzawi family has been dishing up falafel and shish tawook (chicken gyros) to Miami residents since 1975. Grab a spinach pie and browse the market's aisles for every conceivable Middle Eastern delight, from fresh-baked pita to tahini to a wide selection of olive oils, spices, nuts, and even, um, lifestyle accessories like hookahs. Word to the wise: If you… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR A ROMANTIC DINNER

    Magnum - CLOSED

    We're not exactly sure why, but most people prefer to be romantic in the dark. If that's true for you, then Magnum, owned by Jeffrey's proprietors Jeffrey Landsman and Kurt Schmidt (Jeffrey's has been a perennial winner of this award), is shadowy enough for smooching, shady enough for liaisons of the deliciously illicit kind. Not only is the room dimly… More >>
  • BEST HOT DOG

    Dogma

    David Tunnell, who used to be management at MTV's Latin American operation, decided to leave corporate life in the early fall of 2002. By Thanksgiving he'd opened Dogma (the name inspiration came from pal Carlos Carreņo), and by Christmas the outdoor shop was packed. Instant Biscayne hipster hangout. That's because Tunnell, who's from Los Angeles, went to some trouble to… More >>
  • BEST JAMAICAN RESTAURANT

    Jamaica Inn

    Don't let mottos like "home of the $3.99 lunch special with free drink" fool you. Sure, the restaurant's truth-in-advertising bears up -- the midday meal really is that darn cheap -- but Jamaica Inn is about much more than value. It's about authenticity. In other words, the peas and rice? Moist. The stewed oxtail? Meaty. The jerk pork? Aromatic. The… More >>
  • BEST MILKSHAKE

    Robert Is Here

    Robert Is Here, the venerable and sprawling fruit and produce stand that everyone passes on the way to Everglades National Park, is home to the finest tropical fruit and ice cream concoction you'll ever find. Just take a number (there's usually a line for the shakes) and choose from the selection of mango, papaya, guava, strawberry, banana, and whatever else… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN COCONUT GROVE

    Bizcaya Grill

    Along with Michelle Bernstein, Willis Loughhead headed South Florida's "hottest rising young chef" list for years -- enough years that a new name for the list (say, "hottest aging young chefs") seemed imminent. Quick moves from a brief stint at Tantra through her own venue at South Beach's Strand to Azul at the Mandarin Oriental finally vaulted Bernstein from "rising"… More >>
  • BEST DELICATESSEN

    Wolfie Cohens Rascal House - CLOSED

    "I feel like I've stepped back into Brooklyn, circa 1961," observed a Jersey-based visitor upon entering the Mecca of Miami delis. Rascal House was established in 1954, so the visitor wasn't too far off. Weekends and around holidays it can be a madhouse, although an organized one, as the clientele (which skews toward the blue-rinse, polyester-clad of a certain age)… More >>
  • BEST HAITIAN RESTAURANT

    Nuvo Kafe

    The emphasis is on "nuvo" here, as Haiti-born chef/owner Ivan Dorvil puts his own spin on the cookery of his homeland with updated, more sophisticated versions that reflect his own training in Montreal and influences picked up at various stints during his career. That said, the traditional pumpkin soup haitienne is just that, hearty fare that spells comfort food for… More >>
  • BEST TAPAS

    Los Gallegos

    At some point several years ago, tapas acquired cachet, the kind of overpriced yuppie fodder that turns up on menus where it has no business. Los Gallegos, serving its namesake Spanish cuisine from a cozy Bird Road location for more than a decade, has seen that trend come and go, but it keeps supplying excellent, fairly priced food in an… More >>
  • BEST PUERTO RICAN RESTAURANT

    Old San Juan Restaurant

    If you don't order one of the mofongo dishes at Old San Juan Restaurant, order a five-dollar mofongo ball with your entrée. The pork-and-mashed plantain combination is cooked perfectly. Puerto Rican cuisine may not be the pathway to weight loss (lots of pork, lots of pork and chicken cracklings, lots of fried everything) but it is undoubtedly comfort food with… More >>
  • BEST HOMEMADE PASTA

    Cafe Ragazzi

    The only fresh variety of pasta regularly on the menu at this teeny restaurant is the pappardelle, which alone is worth a visit. Otherwise you'll have to take your chances when you go (low risk, high return). During a recent dinner there, these broad, melt-in-your mouth noodles were starring in two of the tempting daily specials. Should your dining companions… More >>
  • BEST WINE SELECTION IN A RESTAURANT

    Grazianos Parrilla Argentina

    It depends on who you ask, what's in stock, or how well you count. But the list at Graziano's, a fab Argentine steak house that is lined with wine racks, runs between 450 and 600 bottles. That's a lotta grape juice, sugar, and much of it is tasty South American stuff -- Argentine Malbec, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, and so on… More >>
  • BEST CAFÉ CUBANO

    Versailles Restaurant

    What's the point of Cuban coffee without Cuban conversation? One fuels the other, high-octane caffeine igniting chatter that is usually loud, hurried, and emotional. Versailles's walk-up window, a local landmark if ever there was one, is as close to the heart of the Cuban spirit as you can get without boarding a boat and heading south. It is the quintessential… More >>
  • BEST EARLY-BIRD SPECIAL

    The Fish House

    From 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. every weekday the Fish House showcases its excellent fresh-fish selection with an earlybird special for seafood lovers. Fresh fillets of all their fish -- from yellowtail to grouper to tilapia -- along with a side (try the excellent coleslaw) are just $7.99. The only catch is the parking lot. There's nowhere near enough room in… More >>
  • BEST FOIE GRAS

    One Ninety

    Chef/owner Alan Hughes took his velvety foie gras off the menu for a month or two, but customer demand for it was so high he had to reverse his decision. What makes his concoction so delicious is the simplicity of it. Hughes uses French goose livers, but says Californians make excellent ones as well. The key, he says, is to… More >>
  • BEST BRAZILIAN RESTAURANT

    Picanhas Grille - CLOSED

    This establishment again reaps kudos (for the third year in a row) for its winning combination of traditional cuisine (with a good selection of fish for the noncarnivores in your crowd), festive atmosphere, and dangerously delicious caipirinhas. Get down with your samba self during the live music and dance shows on Friday and Saturday nights (Picanha's hosts karaoke nights on… More >>
  • BEST DESSERTS

    Hedy Goldsmith

    Nemo/Shoji Sushi/Big Pink

    Even at excellent sushi bars, the best that diners can expect at meal's end is some red-bean or green-tea ice cream out of a carton. At Shoji Sushi, where Hedy Goldsmith reigns as pastry chef, the green tea flavors a to-die-for white chocolate cheesecake with blackberry coulis, or a crème brûlée accompanied by sake gelee, candied kumquats, and a lacy… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN SOUTH BEACH

    Pacific Time

    Happy "tin" anniversary! Yup, it's been ten years that PT has been in business, which means that a decade has gone by since we first awarded this outstanding Pacific Rim restaurant in our annual issue. Indeed, to our knowledge, not a single year has gone by without chef-owner Jonathan Eismann, who helped revolutionize Lincoln Road dining, being mentioned in some… More >>
  • BEST GELATO

    Bacio

    On weekends the lines go out the door at this diminutive gelateria. But in the case of this franchise of an Italian operation, it's absolutely worth the wait, even if you can't snag one of its precious few seats. The gleaming, high-tech shop is sparklingly clean without being sterile (even the bathrooms are outfitted with what look like designer fixtures).… More >>
  • BEST COFFEEHOUSE

    La Folie

    This charming crêperie replicates the design of a classic French café: the tile floors, the long wooden benches along the walls, lots of reading material lying about, and good, strong java. If the weather were cooler, one could easily picture a professorial type in corduroys perusing Le Monde over his afternoon espresso. Locals and tourists alike flock for the delicious… More >>
  • BEST FRITA

    Fritas Domino La Original

    There are literally dozens of frita joints scattered along Calle Ocho, some of which claim to be the reyes (kings) of fritas while others boast they're the magos (wizards) of the spicy Cuban hamburger (curried beef and fried onion topped with papitas, freshly fried potato shreds). But Fritas Domino has an identity all its own -- it's an original. Recently… More >>
  • BEST LATE-NIGHT DINING

    Jerrys Famous Deli - CLOSED

    Despite its being located in the former and famed Warsaw nightclub, you don't have to arrive in a limo to gain entrance to Jerry's. And while you waltz in, valets will somehow find a place to park your beat-up Honda Civic, even at 2:00 a.m. on weekend nights (when there are no such places) for five bucks, which entitles you… More >>
  • BEST BREAD

    Bizcaya Grill

    Restaurants rarely make their own bread (so much easier to source it from a good bakery), and those that do frequently limit their production to one or two specialties. Not so Bizcaya Grill. Maybe it's because, given its location in the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, it has the space and resources to do it. No doubt having an overnight baker helps… More >>
  • BEST NEW RESTAURANT

    Barton G the Restaurant

    Barton G, how we love ya. For your style, certainly: You took the Starfish building, gutted it, built out the interior, and created an undeniably stunning venue, complete with orchid garden. For your way with fresh flowers and exotic animals, obviously -- don't think we've ever seen the combination of just-plucked lilies in a wall of bud vases and live… More >>
  • BEST FISH SANDWICH

    Captain Jim's Seafood

    It's not the bread. It's not the toppings. It's not even the tartar sauce, though when it's homemade it can only help. The ineluctable element that makes a fish sandwich worthy of wonder is the fish itself: fresh, moist, and succulent, drawn straight from the water and filleted. When it comes to that core ingredient, there's no one we appreciate… More >>
  • Carmen Gonzalez

    Personal Best

    CARMEN GONZALEZ CARMEN THE RESTAURANT, 700 Biltmore Way (David William Hotel), Coral Gables, 305-913-1944 The recent opening of Carmen the Restaurant completes a circle for chef/owner Carmen Gonzalez. In 1988, after testing her culinary skills at New York's Quilted Giraffe, Gonzalez left Manhattan for Miami. She landed in Coral Gables and in January 1989 opened her own restaurant, Clowns. New Times,… More >>
  • BEST CONCH FRITTER

    Captain Jim's Seafood

    Most conch fritters should be called "conch-flavored fritters," so little actual shellfish is represented. In fact, calling them conch-flavored would even be stretching it since the main taste impressions most of these deep-fried balls leave are: 1) traditional leaden cornmeal batter, no doubt invaluable in Florida's pioneer days when fritters doubled as cannonballs to knock out the Spanish armada; 2)… More >>
  • BEST ICE CREAM PARLOR

    Walls Old-Fashioned Ice Cream

    Since opening in June 2002, Juliet and Jeffrey Wall's friendly little ice cream parlor just west of South Dixie Highway has been pretty steadily packed with people who appreciate the kind of ice cream they wished they'd had as kids: not air-inflated supermarket swill and not designer gelatos but classic creamy, comforting, country U.S.A.-style stuff with a slightly elastic quality… More >>
  • BEST FALAFEL

    Pita Plus of South Beach

    A falafel sandwich at either Pita Plus has yet to disappoint: crisp but never greasy, its temperature cooled with delicious hummus and tahini and topped with fresh salad -- and hot sauce if you want to kick it up a notch. Standard Middle Eastern fare like kebabs, kibbe, and gyro are also available at these kosher establishments, as is a… More >>
  • Personal Best

    Rob Boone

    ROB BOONE METRO KITCHEN & BAR, 956 Washington Avenue (Hotel Astor), Miami Beach, 305-672-7217 At an early age this Midwesterner had a hunch there was more to life than meat and potatoes. Those instincts drew him to culinary school in Madison, Wisconsin, which led him to the respected Steven Wade's Café in Milwaukee. Then a big break -- working under celebrated chef… More >>
Loading...