Food & Drinks

  • BEST HOT DOG OR HOT DOG STAND

    Dogma

    Dogma, a chic little eatery on a rapidly developing stretch of Biscayne Boulevard, is anything but pedantic and boring. The hot dogs are served up in an array of fanciful arrangements, from the health-conscious Athens (which overflows with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, and feta cheese) to the decadent Pomodoro (caked in bruschetta and feta cheese). The waitresses are friendly, the… More >>
  • BEST-KEPT SECRET

    Boaters' Grill

    With this, it's a secret no longer. But truth be told, Boaters' Grill has developed a devoted following over the past few years. It is one of two concessions inside Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, both operated by the David Gonzalez family. First was the casual, open-air, Lighthouse Café, so named for its proximity to that Key Biscayne landmark.… More >>
  • BEST CHICKEN WINGS

    Fu Manchu Chinese Restaurant

    Chicken wings, before the Atkins diet revolution, were thought to be evil. Munch on them, it was believed, and as sure as the grease on your chinny chin-chin, you'd morph into fat tub. But all that has changed now. Fat ain't all that bad and Fu Manchu's version of chicken wings, fried in peanut oil, are made sans the bready,… More >>
  • BEST VALUE ON OCEAN DRIVE

    Front Porch Café

    Despite the hordes of tourists clogging Ocean Drive -- and the tourists traps that have sprung up to serve them -- a few pockets of sanity still exist on that once fabled street. None is more treasured by brunch-seeking locals than the Front Porch Café. While your out-of-town visitors trudge off to the heart of the strip for their obligatory… More >>
  • BEST HAMBURGER

    Sheldon's Drugs and Sundries

    This posthumous award honors the 55-year-old Surfside institution that closed its doors May 6 after Toby and Ethyl Spector -- son and widow of store namesake Sheldon Spector, who died in 1998 -- realized they couldn't pay their bills. The Spectors had an agreement with their long-time landlord, who gave them a break on rent. But when 9501 Properties bought… More >>
  • BEST STEAK HOUSE

    Prime One Twelve

    Expecting a baby? Here's a bit of advice: Call Prime One Twelve now to make reservations for the kid's college-graduation dinner. Think that's an exaggeration? This new restaurant from Nemo/Big Pink owner Myles Chefetz has been packed from about five minutes after opening in December -- and not just because it's situated in South Beach's charmingly renovated first hotel, Brown's.… More >>
  • BEST FALAFEL

    Pasha's - CLOSED

    The chickpea is to Middle Eastern cuisine what plantains are to Caribbean food. Dietary staple and base ingredient for foundation foods such as hummus and falafel, this lowly, bland legume soaks up flavor like a sponge, and finds exquisite expression when mashed, spiced, fried, and mixed with vegetables and tahini in Pasha's falafel wrap. It's healthy and cheap ($3.50 for… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN CORAL GABLES

    Norman's - CLOSED

    Norman Van Aken's eponymous restaurant has topped this category for so many years you almost wish he'd screw up just once and give someone else a shot at the gold. This past year it actually seemed possible, what with Van Aken expanding to Orlando and California, as well as opening Mundo closer to home at the Village of Merrick Park.… More >>
  • BEST FISH SANDWICH

    Café Sambal

    Whenever you have a basically Asian-themed cuisine, such as that offered at the casual, all-day Café Sambal, some clown will refuse to go along with the program, instead wandering around the menu to find the tuna melt and fries. The version served here is worth the excursion, though, as Sambal digresses from the expected grouper with a thick chunk of… More >>
  • BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

    Catch of the Day

    Miami is part of the Sunshine State. Emphasis on warm sunshine. And thanks to geography, there's no shortage of fresh seafood. One plus one equals an eatery that offers everything oceanic and atmospheric any diner could wish for. Sit outside on the kitchy, ultra-informal patio from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. and cram your maw with fat, fresh oysters at two… More >>
  • BEST MICROBREWED BEER

    The Abbey

    Way too many would-be beer lovers have been turned off by microbreweries. If it's not the beers that taste like soap because of poor brewing, it's the atmosphere that seems ordered from the fern bar catalogue. The Abbey, which last won Best Microbrewed Beer in 1999, refreshingly avoids both stereotypes with perfectly crafted brews served in what used to be… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING

    Flute

    At this champagne lounge, the food specialty is caviar -- a problem because procuring Caspian caviar has been difficult for years, ever since the Soviet Union's dissolution resulted in phenomenally increased, unpoliced poaching and black-marketing. A lack of quality control has resulted in uneven goods from most suppliers, but Petrossian's caviar reliably tastes as it should, and that's what Flute… More >>
  • BEST CAFE CUBANO

    Charlotte Bakery

    There's nothing Cuban about Cuban coffee. The beans are grown in Brazil or Colombia, the coffee machine is made in Italy, and the person who serves it to you from a sidewalk cafeteria window is most likely going to be from Nicaragua, Argentina, or anywhere else but Cuba. The saying holds true for this year's winner, Chilean-owned and operated Charlotte… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR A PARTY

    FifteenOOne Barton G

    Enmeshed in legal disputes, bankruptcy, and buckets of bad blood, Billboardlive, the lavish space on Ocean Drive devoted to presenting live music and keeping folks drinking and dancing, seemed for some time to be as good as dead. That is until Barton G, Miami's high lama of happenings, came to the rescue in late 2003, transforming the ailing club into… More >>
  • BEST CHOCOLATE

    The Melting Pot

    There are a few of these fondue franchises across the country and a new one at 15700 Biscayne Blvd., but we here in the Magic City already have the biggest, most expensive one. A one-million-dollar, freestanding building houses us as we indulge in the guiltiest of pleasures -- chocolate. Imagine a pot filled with white chocolate, milk chocolate, and marshmallow… More >>
  • BEST COFFEEHOUSE

    Luna Star Café

    Maybe it's the lack of cold, dank weather, but Miami suffers from an unfortunate dearth of coffeehouses, at least the kind without corporate headquarters based in Seattle. And while there are plenty of cafecito windows and stop-and-gulps for locals to get their caffeine fix, places like Luna Star Café embody the true spirit of what a coffeehouse is supposed to… More >>
  • BEST ICE CREAM PARLOR

    Cold Stone Creamery

    Urban myth has it that on every corner up North there's a bar waiting to warm up its shivering patrons with alcoholic libations. Wouldn't it make similar sense for every block in Miami to have an ice cream shop waiting to shiver up its customers instead? Is opening a beer bottle so much easier than scooping out Rocky Road? The… More >>
  • BEST CREATIVE USE OF SAKE

    Rosebriar Café - CLOSED

    The Rosebriar Café is tucked into an old Miami house on a side street off Biscayne Boulevard. It's decorated like a Victorian tea parlor. Although the service is often slow, the food, by chef John Stump, is always worth the wait -- especially the pumpkin soup. It's a nice setting for both a relaxing lunch and for the minor social… More >>
  • BEST TACO

    Taquerias El Mexicano

    While some of the tacos (cow brain and pork intestine) on this menu would make good practice for potential Fear Factor contestants, Taquerias El Mexicano does offer a delectable array of tacos for the average eater, such as chicken chunks, carnitas, picadillo, and seasoned pork. For breakfast, we highly recommend the huevos rancheros taco. Served in crisp, golden brown corn… More >>
  • BEST NICARAGUAN RESTAURANT

    Guayacan

    What Guayacan (Best of Miami winner in 1996) lacks in atmosphere, it more than makes up for with delicious food at reasonable prices. Highly recommended is the superb churrasco steak (charbroiled tenderloin) with gallo pinto and red beans and rice. You'd expect this quality of beef at a fancier restaurant -- with fancier prices. Also notable is a collection of… More >>
  • BEST HEALTHY FAST FOOD

    Natural Chicken Grill & Chicken Kitchen

    Remember the old adage, fake it till you make it? Well, the folks over at Natural Chicken Grill really take it to heart. It's not enough that these restaurants bear an uncanny resemblance to Chicken Kitchen, but on their Website they blatantly and falsely claim to have won this award last year. For shame, Natural Chicken Grill, but hear hear… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO BEAT THE WAIT AT JOE'S STONE CRAB

    Joe's Take Away

    From the "duh" file: This 90-year-old institution qualifies as one of America's most famous restaurants, with primo food, a vast and varied menu, super service, and a pleasantly hectic ambiance. But only a tourist would endure the notorious wait for a seating. From the "beat the system" file: Visit this annex next door to the main restaurant and force yourself… More >>
  • BEST TAPAS

    Casa Panza

    Anyone who has spent some time in Spain will no doubt have a thing or two to say about the Spanish chispa (which can translate very idiomatically to wit, charm, or drunkenness). That warm-blooded verve mixed with an unmatched zest for life can at times so infect the very fiber of our being that its effects manifest in the… More >>
  • BEST WATERFRONT DINING

    Red Fish Grill

    Though this indoor/outdoor restaurant has been open for a decade, it's still something of an insider's secret, likely owing to its hidden location deep inside Matheson Hammock Park. The first pleasant surprise comes at the front gate, when you tell the guard you're going to the Red Fish Grill and are waved through without forking over the four-dollar admission fee… More >>
  • BEST CAVIAR

    Marky's

    Almost twenty years ago Mark Zaslavsky and Mark Gelman opened what has become one of the finest caviar businesses anywhere. Except it isn't one business. There's the exceptional retail section (known by insiders as "the Russian store," although it caters to many Eastern Europeans and anyone else with good taste and the money to afford delicate delectables). There's a wholesale… More >>
  • BEST LATE-NIGHT DINING

    Cafeteria

    It's 3:00 a.m. It's South Beach. You're certainly not ready to call it a night, but you're famished. Where to go? It must be Cafeteria, which is not a cafeteria at all but a casual resto/lounge with knockout cocktails and food based on American diner classics -- but seriously and creatively upgraded. Service can be snippy, but the supersize New… More >>
  • BEST GELATO

    Dolce Vita

    Julio Bertoni is a third-generation Italo-Argentine ice cream maker. So he knows what he's doing. From the fresh ingredients -- he buys his fruit from the gourmet Epicure market -- to what he calls his secret recipe, Bertoni and his workers maintain strict quality control as they squeeze out creamy, smooth tubs of chocolate roche (hints of hazelnut), dulce de… More >>
  • BEST BRAZILIAN RESTAURANT

    Varanda's Cafeteria

    Aziza Yuself's café has been open for five years, and while the place is small and the décor low-key, there is one telltale sign that points to the excellence of the cuisine: Brazilians hang out there. Wander into Varanda's in the middle of the day and you'll likely find some of North Beach's swelling Brazilian populace watching Brazilian TV and… More >>
  • BEST CEVICHE

    OLA

    Since the preservative practice of "cooking" seafood with a salt/herb/chili/citrus marinade most likely originated in Latin America, centuries ago, there are naturally many restaurants in Miami that serve good ceviches. But let's face it: Douglas Rodriguez wrote the book. That's The Great Ceviche Book, published just last year -- which is also when OLA (Of Latin America) opened, with ten… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR INTIMATE CONVERSATION

    Restaurant St. Michel

    Place St. Michel is an old (by Miami standards), European-style hotel built around the time Coral Gables was master-planned into existence as the City Beautiful. The environs inside the ivy-covered walls are both lush and elegant enough to suggest a miniature version of the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans -- and promise a similar New World French decadence. A romantic… More >>
  • BEST ASIAN GROCERY

    Asia Market

    In a neighborhood where Jamaican curries outnumber most other culinary options, Asia Market stocks a fine assortment of scotch bonnet-based hot sauces and sweet tamarind by the pound as a concession to the local populace. But the real treasure in this store is the extensive selection of all kinds of Asian goods and foods. Kimonos, incense, tea sets, and ornamental… More >>
  • BEST DINER

    Big Pink

    Big Pink doesn't look like a diner, but the menu contains all the comfort-food classics you'd find (or hope to find) in a world-class diner, even if Big Pink's versions are definitely more Reform than Orthodox. From a list of hefty ten-ounce burgers, the upgraded Big Mac (called the Pink Daddy Mack) is two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle,… More >>
  • BEST BLACK BEAN SOUP

    Puerto Sagua

    Puerto Sagua, an all-night Cuban diner, is a sort of refuge from the South Beach scene (and has been for 35 years, since long before there was a South Beach scene). Need a respite from all that sunshine and silicone? Cool off in Puerto Sagua and grab a cheap lunch. Need to fortify your stomach before a 4:00 a.m. drive… More >>
  • BEST EXPENSIVE ITALIAN RESTAURANT

    Romeo's Café

    His name is Romeo, and he'll be taking your reservation for this evening, and greeting you at the door, and introducing the cuisine, and preparing your prix-fixe six-course meal. So naturally the place would be called Romeo's Café, and the creatively prepared, exquisite northern Italian cuisine is a winner at this Coral Way eatery. The set menu is tweaked for… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH FRIES

    Les Halles

    Patriots might be disappointed to know the French didn't invent French fries, so the whole wartime freedom fries propaganda campaign was a waste, erroneously disparaging an innocent food. The word "french" in fries has more to do with the thin cut of the potato than with our insolent non-allies. Belgians, frequently mistaken for French folks, actually get the credit for… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH RESTAURANT (CLASICO)

    Casa Juancho

    Owned by the venerable Valls family (masterminds behind Versailles and La Carreta), Casa Juancho feels like the Epcot version of Spain, which is exactly what many locals and especially tourists like about it. The giant fortress plunked on Little Havana's main drag for nearly twenty years has never really seemed to fit. But that's just another of its lures, not… More >>
  • BEST BAKERY

    Icebox Cafe

    As the name suggests, the place serves not just dessert but the rest of the meal (and though the food is quite good, it's possible to just walk in off the street and get a table, even on weekends, due to its location half a block off Lincoln Road rather than in the middle of the mall's madness). Nevertheless pastries… More >>
  • BEST JAMAICAN RESTAURANT

    Irie Isle

    It's not that we forgot about Irie Isle after giving it this award way back in 1998. It's just that, for no good reason, we hadn't been back to the nondescript strip mall it calls home. But Irie Isle is still there. Still funky. Still delicious. Remember that it's primarily designed for take-out, though a few tables are always available.… More >>
  • BEST CROISSANT

    La Brioche Dorée

    When this tiny bakery/café changed ownership last year, croissant connoisseurs mourned. How could the flaky French breakfast treats possibly remain Miami's most melt-in-your-mouth buttery? By retaining the same recipe, it turns out, as well as the same baker whose light touch for pastry handling -- and dense imported butter -- has always been responsible for the pastries' authentic Gallic goodness.… More >>
  • BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH

    One Ninety

    More bohemian hangout than formal restaurant, One Ninety is the sort of place you hope won't be ruined by too much exposure. So please don't bring your L.A. or New York friends here for Sunday brunch. Let's keep it in the family. The place already has an authentically homespun feel to it: funky-fun décor, a gallery component featuring the work… More >>
  • BEST BREAD

    Atlanta Bread Company

    What could be more at the forefront of baking than the ingenuity displayed by those at Atlanta Bread Company? This restaurant is redefining the boundaries of bread. No more will dough aficionados be constrained to thinking that sliced bread is the greatest triumph since.... One of ABC's more noteworthy "concept breads" is something they call "A Loaf of Soup." It… More >>
  • BEST BUFFET

    Fontainebleau Hilton Resort

    It's common to associate "buffet" with "table." Wrong. Here, on any given Sunday, it's a roomful of tables overflowing with at least 200 items covering the spectrum, from raw seafood to the sweetest sweets. Juicy meats, salads, breads, stews, and soups line up side-by-side across the vast expanse, each one challenging the diner's whim to fill every last bit of… More >>
  • BEST SOUP KITCHEN

    Missionary of Charity

    The sisters serve several hundred meals a day, sponsor on-site visiting nurses twice a week, and will soon offer shelter for 25 women and 10 children. When Mother Teresa visited Miami in 1974, she established the Missionary of Charity in one of downtown's grimmest quarters. Early in the morning, the homeless begin congregating in front of the 727 building on… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH RESTAURANT (NUEVO)

    Mosaico

    Located in the upstairs area of the old Firehouse Four restaurant/bar, and offering indoor and outdoor dining (choose outdoors if possible), this classy and hip addition to the Brickell dining scene owes its acclaim to Barcelona chef Jordi Vallès. Before coming to America, Vallès worked under Spain's Ferran Adrià, the madly creative genius whose culinary inventions have made him a… More >>
  • BEST CAFE CON LECHE

    La Carreta

    Your mother. Duh. And there's this woman at the hidden snack counter inside Chuck's Laundry on Red Road who will customize the amount of sugar, steamy milk, and "espresso" to launch a Jungian dream of drowning in caffeine (if you ever get to sleep). But blindfold-tested, any proper coffee-with-milk Cuban style tastes about as wonderful as any other. With experience… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR GLUTTONS

    1200 Restaurant and courtyard

    Biltmore Hotel

    There used to be only two seatings for the Biltmore's famous Sunday brunch. Now seating in the outdoor fountain court is continuous, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This means your table is not always ready when you arrive. But that's a good thing! While you wait, you'll be ushered to a side bar and served up a taste of… More >>
  • BEST CORN ON THE COB

    Miami Springs River Festival

    Every April for the past two decades Miami Springs, our own version of Mayberry, has celebrated the river that runs through it with a street party that fills the famous circle in the northeast corner of town -- where most of the businesses are -- and extends out along the streets and into the large green space in the middle… More >>
  • BEST SERVICE IN A RESTAURANT

    Tuscan Steak - CLOSED

    There is one very good reason why Tuscan Steak recovered more quickly than most other Beach restaurants following the economically disastrous 2002 season. And the reason isn't the authenticity of its Florentine T-bone. (Good as it is, true traditional bistecca alla fiorentina would never be served sliced and reassembled.) Nor are the eatery's other cheese-sauced steaks typically Tuscan. No, there's… More >>
  • BEST GREEK MARKET

    Hellas Imports: Greek Food Specialties

    When Pheofanis "Frankie" Rigalos opened a pizza stand in Hollywood 30 years ago, he immediately ran into a problem. He simply couldn't find the high-quality ingredients he needed. His son, Bobby, picks up the story: "He started going to New York, but even there he couldn't get everything he needed at the markets. So he went to factories and warehouses.… More >>
  • BEST BARBECUE

    Pit Bar-B-Q

    Everyone pretends to visit Everglades National Park to commune with nature. But every local knows we really go for the food -- and not the alligator sushi, either. Not far from the park's main entrance down south, the temptations for detours come from Knaus Berry Farm's sticky buns and the strawberry or key-lime milkshakes from Robert Is Here. But on… More >>
  • BEST TURKEY BURGER

    The Secret Sandwich Co.

    Everyone knows the high quality of this eatery. It was recognized last year for Best Flan and Best Sandwich Name (Bay of Pig). But with arteries clogging from fat and cholesterol levels soaring and, oh no, mad cow disease, beef's been taking a beating. Fortunately the S.S. is way ahead of the game, offering a juicy, sweet turkey burger that'll… More >>
  • BEST OUTDOOR DINING

    Barton G the Restaurant

    Admittedly not everything on the menu is a knockout, but Barton G's expansive, lushly planted tropical-jungle dining patio always is. Just what you'd expect from a flamboyant former Broadway set designer. Definitely reserve a table outside (the indoor space is glitzy but nothing special) and eschew fancy dishes in favor of the creative comfort-food items: playful "popcorn" shrimp served with… More >>
  • BEST CHEESE

    The cheese course at Azul

    The low-carb revolution has left dessert in the dust. More Americans are doing what Europeans have done for so many years: savoring high-protein, high-fat cheese at the end of a meal instead of indulging in sugary sweets. At the Mandarin Oriental's marvelous restaurant Azul, fromage is presented with a French flourish: A trolley featuring one of the biggest of cheeses,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO FIND A SANDWICH AND A COP

    Frankie's Big City Grill

    There's something comforting about seeing a big man behind the grill. Frankie is big. So are his sandwiches, all 77 varieties from around the country. And addictive, especially the Philly cheese steak, with a side of hot peppers. Maybe that's why the inside of Frankie's always looks like an episode of Hill Street Blues. Cops in uniform chowing down medianoches… More >>
  • BEST CUBAN SANDWICH

    El Palacio De Los Jugos

    For more than two decades, lovers of the Cuban sandwich have made their way to the charming cafeteria on Flagler with the Spanish name that translates into the Palace of Juice. Covered in palm branches and bamboo, the cafeteria is famous for an infinite selection of freshly squeezed tropical fruit juices, but it also makes a hell of a Cuban… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN SOUTH BEACH

    Talula - CLOSED

    At Wish in South Beach, the bold Mediterr-Asian cuisine of Andrea Curto was awesome. At both the Heights in Coral Gables and later at the Gaucho Room in the Loews Hotel, Frank Randazzo's Southwest-influenced creations were equally dazzling. Put these two inventive chefs together and what do you get? Personally, marriage. Professionally, Talula, which immediately began attracting rave reviews locally… More >>
  • BEST CAESAR SALAD

    Soyka

    Talk about your power dressing. While the suits are likely to be seen mixing it up with the beatniks in this converted warehouse on the edge of an up-and-coming arts and design district, your eyes will be fixed upon your plate should you order one of several caesar salads from Soyka's stable menu. Though the linchpin of the caesar --… More >>
  • BEST HAITIAN RESTAURANT

    Tap Tap

    You'll definitely want a side of kalalou to go with your savory poul di. Unless you order the fresh pwason gwosel, in which case we'd recommend the mayi moulen. It may sound Greek to you, but the Kreyol specials at this long-time South Beach eatery seem to have gotten better of late. The sauces are a little more flavorful, the… More >>
  • BEST SEAFOOD LINGUINE

    Basilico Ristorante

    The fam just jet in from the Left Coast, with that dreadful stopover in Houston? Get them away from the fumes and across the street (with a few twists and turns) for a cozy (fifteen tables) gourmet dinner with five-star service courtesy of the Gonzalez family. The Argentine folks opened Basilico six years ago and have only increased the general… More >>
  • BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

    Paquito's

    It isn't just the amazing albondiguitas (spicy meatballs in vegetable stock) or the fantastic fajitas that have earned Paquito's this award three times already. The food is excellent and the service impeccable. What gives this place so much appeal is the authentic Mexican atmosphere. Walk inside and you're transported to a hacienda where Yucatan hospitality offers a wonderful night of… More >>
  • BEST FOOD IN A BAR

    Hooligan's Pub & Oyster Bar

    Face it, when you're drinking to get drunk -- and Hooligan's is a good place to do just that -- delicate crab, feta, and watercress tapas with a kiwi raspberry reduction vinaigrette are just not going to quell incipient waves of gut-rotting liquor nausea. Hooligan's offers substantial portions of carbs and fried food (often together in the same greasily nostalgic… More >>
  • BEST WINE SELECTION IN A RESTAURANT

    The Captain's Tavern

    Bill "the Captain" Bowers owns and operates this 33-year-old landmark (with the indispensable help of wife Audrey). He'll soon turn 75, but he refuses to retire. "I just can't get enough of the restaurant business," he says. "It's been a great ride and I love what I do." He also loves wine, and can't help sharing his enthusiasm. In that… More >>
  • BEST KEY LIME PIE

    Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory

    Brazilian natives Roberto and Tania Madeira opened a health food store in Key West in 1997. "We made the most boring, healthy food," Tania readily admits. That all changed when they won the city's Best Key Lime Pie contest in 1999 with a recipe handed down from Tania's 88-year-old grandmother. Suddenly they were loved. The Madeiras scrapped the tofu and… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN COCONUT GROVE

    Bizcaya Grill

    Upon opening in 2002, Bizcaya immediately became the top all-purpose restaurant destination in the Grove. For those looking for a dressed-to-impress place to take business colleagues or conservative visiting parents, the posh Ritz-Carlton setting was sure to please -- as was that portion of the menu devoted to straightforward grilled meats and fish (available with a selection of sauces). For… More >>
  • BEST CONCH FRITTER

    Flanigan's

    It is hard finding a seafood restaurant that cooks conch fritters actually loaded with conch. But for decades, South Florida's homegrown seafood restaurant chain has been serving up the most delectable conch fritters north of Key West. Unlike most places that serve up the fritters in tiny cornmeal balls, Flanigan's tradition is to deep-fry the shellfish inside in a flat,… More >>
  • BEST NATURAL FOOD/VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

    Tree of Zion

    With its low ceiling and calming interior, Tree of Zion harkens back to the storefront health restaurants of yore, with the added influence of Rastafarianism abundant but not overpowering. The menu at ToZ is low-tech, handwritten daily on a dry-erase board. The food, however, is strictly modern vegetarian and vegan fare. Included in a typical day's offerings are "raw" pizza… More >>
  • BEST GOURMET GROCERY

    Laurenzo's Italian Market

    Just as Gandhi said you can judge a civilization by how it treats its animals, so we can judge a grocery by the way it treats its pasta lovers. Laurenzo's lacks some items considered standard fare for gourmet markets. Its selection of cheeses, imported chocolates, and prepared foods is a little lean compared with ritzy gourmet groceries like Epicure on… More >>
  • BEST MIAMI BEACH RESTAURANT TO AVOID TOURISTS

    Joe Allen - CLOSED

    This casually stylish restaurant, whose namesake operates similar establishments in Paris, London, New York, and elsewhere, recently celebrated its sixth anniversary. And it's as popular as ever. No surprise given the smart design, friendly staff, welcoming atmosphere, and moderately priced menu of eclectic dishes prepared by the most consistent kitchen on the Beach. But the single ingredient that's vital to… More >>
  • BEST MEDIANOCHE SANDWICH

    Latin American Cafeteria

    Yes, the LAC is the indigenous Miami version of a Denny's or an IHOP, but they know their proletariat comfort foods. Ask anyone with an obsession for medianoches and they will tell you the LAC has the rules down to perfection: Make them greasy and filling, with a pleasing balance of saltiness and a dash of sweet and sour flavor.… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT IN A STRIP MALL

    Cafe Pastis

    Since August 1999, when French native Philippe Jacquet joined with Miami native Scott Price to open this cozy little café, the place has become a neighborhood favorite, with scores of fiercely loyal customers dining here regularly -- strip mall or no strip mall. It's easy to see why. Aside from the friendly ambiance and charming décor (quite an accomplishment for… More >>
  • BEST SUSHI

    Siam River

    He's young. He's energetic enough to hound Miami fishing boat captains every day for the most sparkling local catches. He's compulsive enough to haunt Miami's university libraries uncovering the undersea world's deepest secrets. To be honest, he's a complete bleeding madman on the subject of uncooked fish, which is why you can count on finding nothing but the freshest --… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

    Renaisa

    Indian restaurants of even the standard sort are hard to come by in these parts. Additionally, for whatever reason, they tend to be located in shopping malls. Renaisa is housed in a picturesque wooden structure on the Little River, which makes for an engaging atmosphere. Many of the menu items are specialties from Bangladesh, which makes for an engaging dining… More >>
  • BEST DESSERTS

    Barton G the Restaurant

    There's not a molten chocolate cake (the tired dessert that has been erupting on restaurant tables since the late 1990s) anywhere in sight here. Just an inventive variety of goodies including a giant cloud of cotton candy accompanied by truffle-filled popcorn balls; pints of handmade ice cream and bowls of hot fudge, nuts, and cherries to make your own sundae;… More >>
  • BEST BRAZILIAN INVASION

    Cypo Café

    The Brazilian diaspora is all over town now, but its most marvelous manifestations are often hiding in places off the beaten path. Like that ultrasmooth Rio de Janeiro-style wax job inside your new girlfriend's old jeans. Or singer Rose Max's euphoria-inducing sets in candlelit bars, beyond the glare of thumping nightclubs. Cypo Café is also tucked away, although its purpose… More >>
  • BEST PREPARED FOOD

    The Mercado at Mundo

    In addition to an expansive, stylish sit-down restaurant, Norman Van Aken's new Latin-influenced global brasserie Mundo has a sort of secret space: Tucked to one side is a limited but growing take-out market. Van Aken is, of course, the recipe mastermind. But the hands-on magician in the Mercado's kitchen is manager Marsha Orosco -- and her daily changing selection of… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DINE DURING A HURRICANE

    S&S Diner

    The chatty waitress with the raspberry rinse brags to whomever will listen that she made $385 working her shift during Hurricane Andrew. Yolanda may be full of stories but we know she doesn't lie. The classic diner that reaches back to the Thirties recently won historic designation, so you can count on the walls to withstand yet another wailing gale… More >>
  • BEST CROQUETAS

    Sergio's

    A couple of croquetas from Sergio's are a meal all by themselves. They're not the bite-size variety found at typical Spanish bakeries. But that's not what makes them the best. To begin with, let's acknowledge that a wiener-shaped conglomerate of ground, breaded, fried ham byproduct isn't the most complicated dish within the culinary arts, though simple things often yield the… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR A POWER LUNCH

    Chispa

    At a power lunch the idea is to subtly one-up the other guy, to be intimidating while simultaneously demonstrating what a cool character you are. Chispa, which means "spark" (a nicely dangerous suggestion), is the ideal setting for this traditional dance of the business set. So sweep your client into a big booth in the A-list main room, ignoring the… More >>
  • BEST HOMEMADE PASTA

    Nunzio's Italian Ristorante

    On a busy night, it wouldn't be unusual to see Papa Nunzio struggling with two shopping carts filled with fresh ingredients from the Publix across the way in the same shopping center. Mama Nunzio would most likely be in the kitchen yelling in Italian at her staff to cook faster, and their sons would be taking food orders and talking… More >>
  • BEST DINING INDULGENCE

    Sensory Odyssey Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

    Money to burn is one thing. Money to eat is another. And possessing a whopping bank balance is definitely a requirement if you want to treat anyone to a lavish meal like the Ritz-Carlton's Sensory Odyssey Dinner. When you and your guest arrive, a private butler leads the way through a lush garden down a rose-petal-strewn path to an oceanfront… More >>
  • BEST EDIBLE PLANTS

    Fruit and Spice Park

    The tastiest spot in the nation, let alone Miami, is a 35-acre public park in the heart of the Redland. Fruit and Spice Park has been tempting the palates of adventurous locals for 60 years with more than 500 varieties of exotic edible plants. Lychee, sapodilla, Malay apple, paradise nut, and carambola (star apple) are just a few of the… More >>
  • BEST CHAIN RESTAURANT

    Baja Fresh Mexican Grill

    So-called quick-casual restaurants are popping up all across America. The concept combines fast-food speed and service with higher-quality food, which is supposedly healthier and fresher. Baja Fresh, a Mexican-inspired operation (owned since 2002 by Wendy's), advertises that it has no freezers on its premises. It also has something most other chains don't: food that tastes good. As expected from the… More >>
  • BEST FRESH SEAFOOD

    Captain Jim's

    This place's actual full name is Captain Jim Hanson's Seafood Market and Restaurant. But no one would waste time wrapping their mouths around that moniker when they could be wrapping their mouths around Captain Jim's grouper sandwich. The size is impressive (two fillets) and so are the accompaniments of hush puppies and crisp slaw, but what makes the sandwich so… More >>
  • BEST ARGENTINE RESTAURANT

    Graziano's Parrilla Argentina

    Once you see the open-pit rotisserie in the middle of the dining room, che, you'll understand why Graziano's leaves even the most ravenous carnivore sedated after a full-course meal. Tender cuts of churrasco steaks, blood sausage, and other meats are grilled over the flames burning quebracho, a South American smoking wood. A word of caution: You might want to leave… More >>
  • BEST PORK CHOP

    Ortanique on the Mile

    Some diners are scared off by this Coral Gables success story's fancy-schmancy menu and upscale service and ambiance. The few others who avoid it are people who want more food than garnish on their plate. Both groups should go anyway for one simple reason: the pork chop. How simple is that? And it's way bigger than any garnish. Besides, this… More >>
  • BEST THAI RESTAURANT

    Thai House South Beach

    The Thai House, run by cousins Timmy Junbua and Ae Thanoosorn, is so authentic it maintains two menus, one in English and one in Thai. They are not the same. If you know your Thai, you can order dishes that might sear a Westerner's mouth but please the native tongue -- for example, kuay-tiaw-ruar, a medley of Thai noodles, broccoli,… More >>
  • BEST SALADS

    La Baguette French Bakery

    Loyal clientele have been lured to this little storefront on Biscayne for years. Authentic baguettes, quiches, and French pastries are baked daily in their ovens. But one of the great attractions here is a trio of classic salads served in a pain de campagne (a crusty country loaf). Giant servings of romaine lettuce and tasty dressings fill a carved-out bread… More >>
  • BEST INEXPENSIVE ITALIAN RESTAURANT

    Laurenzo's Italian Market

    The restaurant at Laurenzo's Italian Market isn't really much of a restaurant in the classic table-service kind of way, what with the cafeteria line running past steam trays and a décor that might be described as church-rec-room-homeless-shelter classique. But for cheap Italian eats, you won't find higher-quality baked ziti for your buck than here. More Bronx than Bologna, the red… More >>
  • BEST KOSHER BAKERY

    Abraham's Bakery

    When Miami Beach was known as God's Waiting Room, it was filled with the most heavenly treats. Hamantaschen, rugelach, and almond horns were enjoyed by area sweet tooths of all faiths. But with the slow migration of Miami-Dade's Jewish culture to points north, so went the traditional bakeries. Abraham's has outlasted many of its competitors, and for good reason. It's… More >>
  • BEST CUBAN RESTAURANT

    Versailles

    The best Cuban restaurant should feature the best Cuban food, right? But that's not so easy to determine in a town with as many Cuban eateries as Miami. A judge could spend a lifetime sampling a million dishes. Most would agree, though, that the fare at Versailles ranks near the top. Cuban specialties hit the spot every time, from the… More >>
  • BEST DELICATESSEN

    The Grateful Deli

    You won't find the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test at the Grateful Deli, but you will encounter subs, cold-cut meats, and other delicious treats of psychedelic proportions. The joint's smallest bread size is a ten-inch hoagie. This deli also offers rye-wheat tortilla wraps for its patrons who are counting their carbohydrates. The menu, taking its cue from classic rock songs, offers… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DINE ALONE

    Talula - CLOSED

    Solo diners often feel uncomfortably like actors in a one-person show, with all audience eyes on the next forkful heading to the mouth. At Talula, though, singles can avoid the table and the awkward, onstage feel by taking one of five stools at the informal, inconspicuous "food bar" in the back of the room. Here eating is entertainment, but you're… More >>
  • BEST BLAST FROM THE PAST

    Hialeah Dairy Queen

    You're sixteen. You slip on your best bell-bottom pants and hop in your '67 Malibu. You pick up your date, hit Burger King for dinner, and head to the drive-in theater for a double feature (one monster movie, the other a bikini fest sans plot). Then you roll into your neighborhood Dairy Queen (every neighborhood has one) for a nightcap.… More >>
  • BEST NEW RESTAURANT

    Carmen the Restaurant

    This winner is no surprise. Chef Carmen Gonzalez's Latin-influenced, post-New American eatery has landed on the hottest-new-restaurant list of so many national publications that any other pick would be scandalous. If the place were booked any more solidly (even on weeknights), diners would have to crowd onto the chef's lap -- difficult given that Gonzalez is a petite four feet… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA

    Spris

    Miami's pizza wars continue to heat up, as more and more establishments heat up the wood ovens necessary to produce the fragrantly flavorful charred crusts that characterize authentic Italian pizza. Still the Lincoln Road area continues to be the explosion's epicenter, and its sidewalk tables on the unmatchable people-watching pathway give Spris the edge over worthy contenders such as Piola… More >>
  • BEST SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT

    Jumbo's Restaurant

    The food at Jumbo's certainly qualifies as soul food but will read, and eat, as simply Southern to anyone who has spent time in Georgia or the Carolinas. The iced tea is sweet, and the greens -- collard, mustard, kale, or turnip -- are salty with bobbing bits of fatback. Other sides, such as black-eyed peas, bring good luck as… More >>
  • Personal Best

    Kevin Cory

    Talk about running with scissors. Bratty Kevin Cory runs around with a knife -- sometimes more than one, and not of the butter variety. The chef at Siam River sushi bar, Cory puts his sharp tongue and sharp blade to use talking, dishing, and serving the most innovative, undoubtedly freshest sushi in town. Siam River also has an excellent selection… More >>
  • BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT

    Nobu

    When you think in purist terms about top Japanese eateries, the impeccably classic cuisine at Matsuri (in the Redbird Mall) comes to mind; so does the home cooking at Hiro San in North Miami Beach. But aesthetics play a major role in the Japanese dining experience, and on that score nothing tops Nobu. Located in the glamorous Shore Club, everything… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR KIDS

    Aquatica

    Kids -- you can't live with 'em, you can't pawn 'em to finance a meal at Casa Tua. So take 'em to Aquatica. The Eden Roc's casual indoor-outdoor restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., which gives you plenty of flexibility. After the little ones have had roughly three bites of Aquatica's heroic hamburger or kid-friendly Cuban sandwich… More >>
  • BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

    Pao

    The valets in front, not to mention the white-tented poolside dining cabanas out back, clearly convey the message that Pao is not the sort of Chinese joint where you run in for a couple of egg rolls on the way home from work. In fact, despite early publicity touting the cuisine as "vintage Chinese," there are no egg rolls on… More >>
  • BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

    Ouzo's Mediterranean Bistro - CLOSED

    What would you rather have in your face: the bellies of other drunken diners as they circle your table clumsily attempting Grecian folk dances, or a mouthful of taramasalata so silky smooth you'll think you're in heaven rather than just North Beach? If you prefer the latter, Ouzo's is the place for you. The cozily exotic restaurant has enough taverna… More >>
  • Personal Best

    Norman Van Aken

    For more than a decade, Norman's in Coral Gables was the only venue where diners could sample master chef Norman Van Aken's creations prepared under his immediate supervision. (There are now namesake Norman's in Orlando and Los Angeles.) When a second local Van Aken outlet, Mundo, was unveiled in late January 2004, this was big and good news for Miami's… More >>
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