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Food & Drinks

  • Best Hamburger

    8 oz. Burger Bar - CLOSED

    Burgers are big — as in big across-the-board sales during stressed economic times. There are big profits for burger barons, and big-shot chefs putting 'em on their big-price restaurant menus. Govind Armstrong and the folks at Table 8 took things a step further by opening 8 oz. Burger Bar in South Beach. It isn't difficult to locate a great burger… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Arbetter Hot Dogs

    Family-owned for 37 years, the small, old-timey joint is now run by brothers David and Joe Arbetter, who insist that the chili used on their dogs be made fresh every day, that the buns be pillow-soft, and that the ambiance stay unpretentious. Simple snacks such as the "All Around" (mustard, onions, and relish) are the brothers' forte, and prices are… More >>
  • Best Chicken Wings

    Casola's

    Since 1982, Casola's has been serving up delectable, eternally melting (we swear, it's like the Niagara Falls of cheese) New York-style pizza so addictive you might wander back here in your sleep. Slices are so gargantuan that the lifting of one piece has been known to cause hernias. And a single pie can easily feed the entire nation of Zimbabwe… More >>
  • Best Barbecue Chicken

    Shantel Lounge

    You place your order in a bar/lounge that feels like a cross between Hustle and Flow's Memphis backwoods and a From Dusk Till Dawn outlaw biker hideout. But you're at the southern edge of Liberty City, on a crossroads with Little Haiti and Allapattah. You order a chicken sandwich, a tall Arizona fruit punch, and a sweet potato pie. You… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    James BBQ

    Tomato or mustard? Tangy or sweet? Every barbecue lover has his or her sauce preferences, but in all honesty, the sauce is just windowdressing. It's the meat that matters and it's James's meat that draws customers to parking lots across town. To cover James's ribs with any sauce, even your favorite, would be a tragedy akin to putting a burlap… More >>
  • Best Pork Sandwich

    Papo Llega y Pon

    On the northwest side of a nondescript corner in Allapattah, there is a sandwich shop with exactly zero signage. Set back 200 feet from the road and buffered from traffic by a small asphalt field, the place looks like a postapocalyptic bunker. It's easy to drive past, and even if you do see it, you wouldn't assume delicious lunch foods… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Bourbon Steak

    One could easily make a meal of the hearty bar menu at Bourbon Steak's swanky temple of upscale comfort food, but risking arterial blockage is worth it for just one thing: the platter of fried chicken and waffles that's offered only Wednesday nights, when the restaurant hosts a live blues band and bourbon drink specials. The heaping plate is piled… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Five Guys Burgers and Fries

    The low point in American French fry history came when members of Congress humiliated spuds by spuriously renaming them freedom fries (seems so long ago, no?). But the fry has also had its share of historical highs, one of which occurred when the first Five Guys opened 23 years ago in Arlington, Virginia. Sacks of Idaho potatoes are piled in… More >>
  • Best Conch Fritters

    Monty's Raw Bar & Seafood Restaurant

    Axiom No. 1: If it's delicious, it's ten times more delicious rolled in breading and deep-fried. Axiom No. 2: If it's seafood, it's ten times better when you're sitting on the waterfront. Conclusion: Conch fritters at Monty's are 100 times better than any other kind of conch anywhere else. Don't believe in science? Just add it up yourself. There aren't too many joints… More >>
  • Best Croquetas

    La Palma Restaurant

    In a far-off land called Little Havana, there is a humble abode called La Palma Restaurant. Inside, past twisted blue wrought-iron railing and through an enchanted forest of characters that range from Cuban princesses to chain-smoking serfs, is a window above a granite counter — a ventanilla, if you will — staffed by women who transform into witches if you… More >>
  • Best Empanadas

    Half Moon Empanadas - CLOSED

    Juan Zavala Jr. and his wife Pilar would sometimes sit around with friends in their native Argentina and ponder dinner-by-delivery choices. Inevitably it would come down to pizza or empanadas, and just as inevitably, they'd choose the latter. It occurred to Juan that maybe some of the 40 million Hispanics living in the United States might be thinking along the… More >>
  • Best Banana Empanadas

    Go Go Fresh Food Cafe

    Go Go's flaky pastry pockets are the stuff of local legend. Located in an unassuming strip mall on Alton Road, the cheery, mod café belies its humble location. Though the empanada spot boasts dozens of varieties of the Argentine treat, it's the reasonably priced banana-Nutella variety that takes the savory-sweet dichotomy to a new and satisfying level. Filled with slightly… More >>
  • Best Chinese Food

    Sang's

    Sure, Sang's might be located on a dodgy strip of NE 163rd Street, and yes, the waitstaff is more efficient and gruff than friendly and welcoming, but if you're looking for authentic Cantonese and regional Chinese eats, this is the place. The no-frills interior has the requisite red and gold accents, but focus on the plate where dim sum delicacies… More >>
  • Best Chinese Take-Out/South

    The Chinese Restaurant

    There's no "bamboo," "lotus," "moon," or "panda" necessary in the name of this beloved Kendall institution. And you won't find lizard kebabs, barbecue scorpions, or any kind of weird Beijing street food on the menu. The only thing this take-out restaurant, nestled in the Crossings shopping center, serves up is simple American Chinese carry-out classics that come hot and plentiful.… More >>
  • Best Chinese Take-Out/North

    China Palace

    In the Year of the Ox, we were shocked when a mystical dragon flew through the door of our lobby, singed our receptionist's hair, and dropped a box full of fortune cookies that amazingly described (in broken English, of course) our favorite Chinese carry-out joint, China Palace. In fact, the fortunes were so accurate we decided to share some of… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Red Koi Lounge

    Red Koi Lounge opened its Miracle Mile doors earlier this year to fierce competition from Gables staple Bangkok Bangkok. But its combination of friendly servers, fiery duck red curry, and budget-friendly lunch specials has helped the feisty newcomer attain a loyal following that packs the black-leather-and-bamboo dining room on weekends. Sure, there's sushi on the menu too, most of it… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Yoko's

    Unlike other temples to Japanese food on South Beach, Yoko's is a relatively humble pioneer that has consistently churned out high-quality staples such as nongreasy tempura, buttery raw fish, seared yakitori chicken skewers, and plump shrimp shumai. Come here for Japanese comfort food like fried pork katsu, barbecue eel, and heaping bowls of udon noodle soup. The tatami mat décor… More >>
  • Best Cuban-Thai Restaurant

    Izzy's Cubi Thai

    Izzy's fills that odd dining niche for those days when you can't decide whether you're feeling like ropa vieja or panang curry. Luckily, at Izzy's, you can have both, simultaneously if desired. Located in the once-classic Sherry Frontenac Hotel in North Beach, the sparsely decorated joint boasts a lengthy menu of Cuban and Thai classics that range from skirt steak… More >>
  • Best Brazilian Restaurant

    Fogo de Chao

    Let's hark back to the days when meat was served in portions the size of Hyundais. Better yet, let's just mosey on over to Fogo de Chão, which loosely translates to "stuff of the face." Or maybe not — our Portuguese isn't so hot — but we know a great cut of meat when we eat one. The way it… More >>
  • Best Feijoada

    Camila's Restaurant

    Brazilian food has become synonymous with meat, and lots of it. The brasileiros have the successful export of their churrascarias (think Texas de Brazil and Fogo de Chão) to thank for that. But there's a lot more to Brazilian cuisine than tender rump roast on a stick. And there's no better place to get the most authentic of Brazilian meals… More >>
  • Best Spanish Restaurant

    Sra. Martinez - CLOSED

    Señorita Juanita, translate the following to English, por favor: La Señora Martinez sirve pequeñas porciones de exquisitas comidas muy gustosas — a continuación de las famosas tapas de Andalucía. Sra. Martinez serves small plates of big-flavored foods styled after the famed tapas of Andalusia. Muy bien. Ahora, Herman, translate this to Spanish: Pork belly with sweet-and-sour glaze, sea urchin sandwich crisply pressed in French… More >>
  • Best Cuban Restaurant

    La Fama Cafeteria

    The best Cuban restaurant in Miami lives in Wynwood. That's where La Fama Cafeteria puts out its consistently delicious, always affordable, nothing-more-than-$7.95 menu of classic meals and daily specials. La Fama consists of a lunch counter, a take-out window, and a small room with a couple of tables. But don't let the spartan environment fool you — the food exceeds… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Ariston Restaurant - CLOSED

    Thanasis Barlos has been the proprietor of the highest Michelin-rated restaurant in Greece, as well as of Elia, a posh Mediterranean eatery in the Bal Harbour Shops. But when he and partner Michelle Shimon opened Ariston in February 2008, the goal was more informal. They wanted to serve simple, well-executed Greek cuisine in a festive neighborhood-restaurant environment. Mr. Barlos's mother,… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Pascal's on Ponce

    It was nearly a decade ago when Pascal Oudin opened his eponymous 55-seat restaurant. This is noteworthy because it began the trend of Miami's top chefs leaving big-money establishments to start modest places of their own. The restaurant is also noteworthy because Oudin, from Bourbon Lancy, France, is an unquestionably gifted chef. Using classic French technique gleaned from years of… More >>
  • Best Argentine Restaurant

    Rincon Argentino

    Walk into Rincon Argentino with any doubts about the restaurant's philosophy and they'll quickly melt away. The reason: the gigantic fire pit in the middle of the dining room that's usually covered with dripping racks of sausage, beef, and sometimes a whole pig. Argentine cuisine is all about the carne, baby. An Argentine barbecue special brings a sizzling iron grill… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Yiya's Gourmet Cuban Bakery

    Whenever some young, enterprising chef chooses to tamper with food basics, he or she runs the risk of popular revolt. And often the result is total failure. But now and then, a place such as Yiya's Gourmet Cuban Bakery arrives, executing the essentials with high ambition balanced by common sense, style, and unparalleled craft. Since opening in early January 2009,… More >>
  • Best Croissant

    Buenos Aires Bakery Cafe

    A Miamian's life is spent trying to avoid gridlock. But when a line regularly backs up to a bakery's door, it's generally best to ditch the highway-learned evasive tactics, join the massive crowd, and take a number. At Buenos Aires Bakery Café in North Beach, where a beginner's Spanish will be tested, you'll be rewarded by a display case full… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Scarpetta

    Scarpetta is Italian slang for "little shoe," or the heel of bread used to scoop up sauce from a heaping plate of Italian goodness. It's fitting, then, that a meal at this glossy Fontainebleau outpost of New York chef Scott Conant's polished Italian fare begins with one of the most enticing breadbaskets in the city. House-made stromboli filled with smoked… More >>
  • Best Sandwich Shop

    Pesen's Breads & Panini - CLOSED

    There are showier sandwich shops, for sure, as well as ones that offer more choices. Want jalapeños with that tuna sandwich? Sorry, Pesen's doesn't do peppers. But the tuna is made daily from white albacore and pressed into a ciabatta bread panini with ripe red tomatoes — a limo to Subway's subway. All the sandwiches at this clean and bright… More >>
  • Best Hidden Sandwich Shop

    L'Express Sandwicherie

    Workers in the nondescript building at the end of San Remo are lucky indeed — in terms of lunchtime options, that is. Within a stone's throw from this beige, Gables-bland complex that houses a Coldwell Banker branch, an oral surgeon's office, and various other official-looking businesses, there's Publix, Whole Foods, and Sunset Place. And downstairs, tucked away at the back… More >>
  • Best Food Court

    Hurricane Food Court

    Let's be real. There are two, maybe three mall food courts in the county where you would actually consider eating if you didn't have to. The rest are dirty places filled with generic burger joints that use clip art of smiling patties as logos. We wish they'd take a cue from University of Miami's Hurricane Food Court. It's one of only… More >>
  • Best Early-Bird Special

    Cafe Prima Pasta

    This Sopranos-esque red sauce joint is the kind of place where locals and celebs such as Matt Damon elbow for space in the old-school wooden bar, so it's no surprise that the eager-to-please management would go one better than a prix fixe menu with limited choices. Make your way to the North Beach institution between 5 and 6 p.m. and… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Special

    A La Folie

    Picture it: a steaming fresh beurre-sucre crêpe, dripping sweet, sugary butter all over your plate, served under a shaded tree in front of a warm orange-hued storefront on Española Way. Pedestrians stroll past as myriad savory scents waft by. How's $3.50 sound for that slice of delicieux Parisian life? At A La Folie, it's waiting for you every morning. Another… More >>
  • Best Soul Food Restaurant

    People's Bar-B-Que

    The first thing that greets patrons walking into People's Bar-B-Que is Shepard Fairey's iconic red, white, and blue Obama "Hope" poster on the kitchen door. Then there's the smoky oak aroma, the home-style ambiance, and hospitable waitstaff. Then there's the food, heaping portions of it. Just off of I-95, this Overtown mainstay has been serving barbecue ribs and chicken, oxtail,… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Shing Wang Vegetarian, Icee, and Tea House

    Vegetarians put on a happy face when courageously diving, over and over again, into soy patties and seitan casseroles, but don't be fooled: The animal-product-eschewing set has functioning taste buds. Meatless menus, however, are often limited to the same old options. To the rescue comes Shing Wang Vegetarian, Icee, and Tea House, perhaps Miami's first entirely vegetarian Chinese restaurant. All… More >>
  • Best Health Food Store/Restaurant

    Prana Health Food & Restaurant

    Once you enter the realm of high-fat, preservative-filled foods, it's not easy to turn back. Your bod will eventually begin to crave crap, and you'll find yourself shoving the greasiest grub down your gullet every chance you get. The same goes for healthful food — if you have it, the desire will come. And if you buy it in a… More >>
  • Best Natural Foods Restaurant

    Om Garden - CLOSED

    Raw foodists, vegans, and juice addicts already treasure this tiny, hip place convenient to Brickell. Will they make room for the rest of us? Om Garden takes vegetarian cuisine a step further and dives headfirst into the realm of the raw or barely cooked. Whether it's the dairy-free pizzas, meatless burgers, wraps, or soups, nothing here is heated over 118… More >>
  • Best Caesar Salad

    Loftin's at Casa Casuarina - CLOSED

    There's something poetically appropriate about ordering a caesar salad, one of the most ubiquitous of Ocean Drive's culinary offerings, in a spot that put the frenzied strip on the map. Earlier this year, Casa Casuarina — AKA the Versace Mansion — opened its restaurant to the public with a menu of exquisite Mediterranean fare. Chef Dale Rey's version of the… More >>
  • Best Smoothie

    Lemoni Cafe

    In this subtropical oven we call Miami, a cool snack can be as short-lived as a snowball in, well, the Sahara. Not to worry, though. Smoothies from Lemoni Café — a cozy Argentine- and Moroccan-owned sidewalk sandwich shop on NE Second Avenue just north of the Design District — won't sit around for long. They're too tasty. Try the 20-ounce… More >>
  • Best Raw Bar

    River Oyster Bar

    The River Oyster Bar sells nearly twice as many oysters as anyplace else in town (some 200 to 300 dozen per week). It offers nearly twice as many varieties (usually eight to 12 types split along West and East coasts). The oysters shucked at this unpretentious restaurant just south of downtown are nearly twice as good as anyone else's too,… More >>
  • Best Fresh Seafood

    Boater's Grill

    Hear that? It's not the screech of a crazed scooter driver cutting off a Lamborghini, but a singing cricket. And that scavenging creature isn't a tanorexic SoBe shopper pawing through a Prada bin; it's a hungry raccoon. Welcome to that thing called nature, 15 minutes from downtown Miami. If you think your day is beginning to improve now, wait until… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Intimate Conversation

    Buena Vista Bistro

    — I brought you here because it's a romantic little bistro where we can talk with one another over escargots, some slices of baguette, a bottle of red wine... plus I thought you would especially enjoy it because you're French. — I'm from Antigua. Didn't you read my profile? — Sorry, thought that was in France. Point is, the escargots are tenderly… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Jimmy's Eastside Diner

    A diner doesn't have to serve sausage gravy poured over a hot, open-faced biscuit with scrambled eggs and a side of buttered rye toast. It doesn't have to provide bottomless cups of coffee, warmed up with a smile by waitresses who remember your name and always seem to know exactly when you're ready to order, need more ketchup, or would… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Laurenzo's Market

    Warning: If your idea of a perfect farmers' market includes patchouli-scented homemade candles and organic hypoallergenic honey, Laurenzo's is probably not the place for you. Laurenzo's is not hip, it's not outdoors, and it has all the new-age, hipsy-dipsy ambiance of Big Lots. But if you're looking for the freshest fruits and vegetables at straight-from-the-farm prices — which is what… More >>
  • Best Expensive Italian Restaurant

    Caffe Abbracci

    Sung to the tune of "What a Wonderful World": I see grilled langoustines, veal Milanese, Twenty-five years in the Gables, no empty tables, And I slip a bill to the host, "Can you get us in please?" I see fried Scarmoza cheese, mozzarella Caprese, Owner Nino Pernetti, knows great spaghetti, And I think to myself, I could use more Parmesan cheese. The room is seeped in richness, the service… More >>
  • Best Inexpensive Italian Restaurant

    Joey's

    The little man felt very bad, One meatball was all he had. And in his dreams, he hears that call: "You gets no bread with one meatball." Owing to this damn recession, it's appropriate to drag out Depression-era ditties like the one popularized by Josh White in 1944. And it has also reached the point when one meatball for $15 just doesn't cut it… More >>
  • Best One-Stop Italian Shop

    Racks Italian Market & Bistro

    Racks Italian Market & Bistro has taken the stage at North Dade's Intracoastal Mall and is rocking with an incredibly ambitious agenda of providing Italian food in almost every conceivable format. Open seven days for all three meal periods (until 2 a.m. every night but Sunday), the 4,000-square-foot location includes a 204-seat restaurant serving coal oven pizzas, salads, cheeses, pastas,… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Pizza Fusion - CLOSED

    It's tough to take artery-clogging fare like pizza and turn it into an eco-friendly, health-conscious option, but North Miami's outpost of Pizza Fusion does so with a casual confidence that belies its high-concept pies. Luckily, those pies are damn tasty, whether it's the whole-wheat organic crust with soy cheese and hormone-free chicken or the gluten-free crust with feta and organic… More >>
  • Best Cheese

    University Restaurant & Patio - CLOSED

    Michael Vasilas approaches a group of four patrons sitting at a table on the outdoor wood deck of his University Restaurant & Patio. The handsome Greek-American holds a heavy metal plate in one hand and a small torch in the other. He squeezes a lemon wedge over the white kasseri cheese square on the plate. Then he sprinkles a little… More >>
  • Best Tapas

    Canela Cafe

    This quirky, wallet-friendly spot in a Biscayne strip mall touts itself as the home of Latin soul food, and indeed there's plenty of soul in the epic menu of small-plate delights. Order a pitcher of sangria and start off with fried garbanzo beans with chorizo, a Spanish omelet, and crisp patatas bravas. The vegetarian-friendly options include a respectable paella and… More >>
  • Best Place for Organic Tapas

    Barbu - CLOSED

    Locavores rejoiced when news that Marc and Blue Solomon opened an organic tapas bar around the corner from Sardinia. And for good reason — the quirkily named Barbu is the latest incarnation from the husband-and-wife team behind the beloved but shuttered organic A in the Design District. Pull up a stool at this new spot on the corner of West… More >>
  • Best Arepas

    Caballo Viejo

    First, close your eyes. Now say it aloud: "arepa." Next, take the images of the nacho-yellow cheese-oozing grease pancakes you bought at the street festival last week and banish them from your brain. Then head over to Caballo Viejo for your arepa re-education. It's a tiny storefront eatery in a nondescript West Miami-Dade strip mall. Look for the faded sign… More >>
  • Best Mofongo

    Jimmy'z Kitchen

    Another sunny Saturday morning — why are they always so bright in Miami Beach? — and your head is pounding from Friday night's indiscretions. Your stomach's demands are explicit and unyielding: something heavy, flavorful, absorbent, delicious, and quick. What's it going to be? More IHOP? Perhaps you'll allow us to whisper gently in your ear: "mofongo." What is this miracle… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Celebrating a Birthday

    George's in the Grove

    Upon entering this boisterous bistro, you might surmise that a celebration is occurring. After all, the room reverberates with the din of clamorous patrons shouting and laughing with glee, and chef/owner Georges Eric Farge runs about waving and whistling and whatnot. Perhaps it's somebody's birthday? Oh yeah. After grabbing seats amid the mayhem, your group will be brought complimentary flutes… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for a Power Lunch

    Miami's Chophouse

    — Hello, everyone, and welcome to Miami's Chophouse. We're perched in the newly installed press box high above the classic dining room, waiting for the business crowd to file in for the lunchtime action. I'll tell ya, Jer, it's always a thrill to come to this downtown restaurant, which was formerly named Manny's Steaks. — Sure is, John, and what I… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Casa Toscana - CLOSED

    This cozy Upper East Side Italian restaurant stocks an enviable selection of mid-price Italian and New World wines, all chosen with care by chef/owner Sandra Stefani. Browse the handsomely displayed wine wall with labels and prices clearly delineated, or consult the chef herself, who will kindly pair the appropriate quaff with her soulful Italian cooking. Depending on what you order,… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Dining

    Loftin's at Casa Casuarina - CLOSED

    First you have to walk past the history: those front steps. But by the time you are seated at one of the elegantly draped tables on the über-romantic courtyard terrace, replete with cobblestones and gurgling grotto pool, memories dissipate into the breezy, beautiful present. Even the most aphrodisiac of settings will wilt in the light of mediocre food, but not… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Area 31

    Pigs and chickens belong on farms; fish should come from bodies of water. Yet as our favorite seafoods are being grilled and pan-seared to extinction, more and more species are raised in huge, sinister, Matrix-like farms. Not the fish at Area 31. The restaurant takes its name and many of its products from Fishing Area 31, a United Nations-sanctioned, ecologically… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Bond Street Lounge - CLOSED

    In 1965, Intel cofounder Gordon Moore stated that the number of transistors that could be placed on an electronic circuit board would double approximately every 18 months, a formulation now known as Moore's Law. It explains why every new laptop is exponentially faster than the one that came out last year — but not why they seem to break so… More >>
  • Best Carpashimi

    AltaMar Restaurant

    Carpashimi, as some of you might believe, is a chronic and painful condition of the wrist caused by excessive and prolonged use of chopsticks. Wait, that can't be right (damn you, Wikipedia!). Carpashimi, as some of you might have figured out, is a coupling of carpaccio and sashimi, and can be found at AltaMar Restaurant on the west end of… More >>
  • Best Chefs

    Cindy Hutson and Doug Rodriguez

    Past honorees of this lifetime achievement-type award are Norman Van Aken, Mark Militello, Allen Susser, Pascal Oudin, Philippe Ruiz, Michelle Bernstein, and Michael Schwartz. This year's inductees fit right into this privileged pantheon of pioneering chefs, both having forged personal, South Florida-centric cuisines way back when. Doug Rodriguez's stint began in 1991 at Efrain Vega's original Yuca Restaurant in Coral… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Eating Unrecognizable Foods

    Enso

    What might you not recognize? A martini glass that appears to be filled with water but is not; a giant pan-fried candy wrapper; bright red sheets on a bed of green and white foams. These are, respectively, clarified gazpacho — how'd they do that? — which tastes just like gazpacho; tuna "wrapped" in shiso leaf and soy paper and twisted… More >>
  • Best Places for Cheap Downtown Lunches

    Matahari Cafe and Thai Churros

    Miami's downtown dining environment has leaped forward in just the past few years — during the daytime, that is. And while it isn't difficult to find a fine lunch for less than a ten-spot, it would be quite a challenge to cop better plates of food for that sum than the ones encountered at these two recently installed hole-in-the-wall restaurants.… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Comeback

    Chef Allen's - CLOSED

    Not that Allen Susser's namesake restaurant ever fell very far, but like any establishment that earns institutional status, it adopted the common complacency of success. But after last year's interior refurbishment, the room feels more relevant, and so does the revamped cuisine. Now tabbed a "modern seafood bistro," the place puts emphasis on local, sustainable fish and produce plated in… More >>
  • Best Last Meal on Earth

    Andu Restaurant and Lounge - CLOSED

    According to ol' Bill Shakespeare: "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day" and then you die. But before you leave this mortal coil, make sure to eat at Andú Restaurant and Lounge. It brings the fine flavors, spices, meats, and cheeses of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Spain, and Italy to the ground floor… More >>
  • Best Last Antipasto on Earth

    Antipasti at Fratelli Lyon - CLOSED

    The space is cool, clear, and clean, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows — like Heaven's waiting room furnished by Driade (whose showroom is adjacent to Lyon). If the gods are truly benevolent, there will be a purgatorial buffet amply supplied with antipasti and wines from — where else? — Italy. But assuming this is not the case, Fratelli Lyon represents your… More >>
  • Best Steak House

    Gotham Steak

    You don't need a celebrated, groundbreaking chef like Alfred Portale to produce a great steak; any seasoned grill cook is capable of such a feat. But it helps that the person behind one of New York City's most iconic restaurants has experience in selecting cuts of quality meats, such as a 20-ounce Brandt Farms rib eye ($52), eight-ounce American Wagyu… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Yet to Come

    DB Bistro Moderne

    Culinary legend Daniel Boulud plans to bring a second branch of his DB Bistro Moderne from Times Square to downtown Miami's Met 2 Tower later this year. Think casual Parisian cafe with a market-driven menu. Think, more specifically, of a plat du jour of pork belly, lentils, and shavings of black truffle; of an amazingly aromatic bouillabaisse; and of the… More >>
  • Best Non-Vegetarian Restaurant for Vegetarians

    Canyon Ranch Grill

    In meat-friendly Miami-Dade, only a few places can assemble a plate of savory scrambled tofu or add clever toppings to a tempeh burger. But for vegetarian fare that highlights distinctive, farm-fresh, nutritionally balanced ingredients melded into real, delicious meals, you need to find an establishment that understands not only gardening and Zen, but also cooking — a place like Canyon… More >>
  • Best Place to Dine Alone

    The Grill at the Setai

    Screw the world. I mean, what a mess. Every single rotten human being on the planet is irredeemably greedy and corrupt — except me and you, that is. Which is why we dine alone. Who wants to break bread with these bastards anyway? And more to the point, fewer and fewer of them want to dine with us. That's all… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Kids

    Pacific Time - CLOSED

    Jonathan Eismann's two biggest fans — daughters Landon, age 3, and Morgan, age 8 — were inspiration for the kids' tasting menu now offered at Pacific Time (Morgan created the menu's art design). Forget mac and cheese or PB&J sandwiches. We're talking tuna tartare with Idaho chips, braised short rib with white beans, butter-grilled salmon, and grilled lamb chop. Those… More >>
  • Best Use of a Hearth Oven

    Sardinia

    It seems as though every restaurant and its sister café has a wood-burning oven. Most places use them to produce blistery thin-crust pizzas, but Sardinia's chefs employ their ovens the way folks in, um, Sardinia do. This translates to whole chickens, quail, rabbits, suckling pigs, fish, octopi, steaks — the theory evidently being anything that once walked or swam will… More >>
  • Best Under-the-Radar Restaurant

    Fifi's Place

    Nothing thrills dedicated foodies more than being able to "discover" a nifty restaurant they can boastfully tell friends about. Fifi's Place fits the bill. Owners Nelson and Mayneth "Fifi" Sanchez run a small, humble neighborhood spot, but the fish they cook up is some of the freshest in town. How fresh? Yunieski Gonzalez, a former Cuban free-diving champ, heads out… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    Francesco

    Ceviche is not a complicated dish to prepare. At its simplest, it is a combination of fresh fish in lime juice and salt; cilantro and onions are almost always added. That's the basic rendition served at Francesco, whose seafood of choice is corvina ($16), shrimp ($17), or a combo of those two with scallops, octopus, and calamari ($16). But you… More >>
  • Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Towners

    DiLido Beach Club

    Ten reasons you should take out-of-towners to DiLido Beach for lunch: 1. It's less expensive than taking them to dinner at the Ritz. 2. Tourists are easily impressed by stars, so you can mention that chef Jeff McInnis is the good-looking guy who got eliminated from TV's Top Chef before the sangria sorbet in his ceviche even melted. 3. You can have the… More >>
  • Best Restaurant in Coconut Grove

    Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latam Grill

    No bottled water is sold here. Instead, in-house filtered water is poured free of charge. Environmentally sound, sure, but more important is how it reflects the consumer-friendly approach taken by managing partner Eduardo "Lalo" Durazo regarding all aspects of his restaurant. Ceviches, for instance, are served in spoons that conveniently fit right into the mouth — no optional plates or… More >>
  • Best Restaurant in the MiMo District

    Red Light - CLOSED

    Telegram from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council: We need Americans to spend more money. (stop) I propose restaurateurs encouraged to drop prices will stimulate food/bev sector. (stop) Red Light in Miami for national model; chef/owner Kris Wessel's food simple seasonal straightforward and — symbolically beautiful part — New American. (stop) Diner-like ambiance inside… More >>
  • Best Restaurant in the Design District

    Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

    Everything that needs to be said about Michael's has no doubt already been said. There's the pioneering Design District location. Then comes star chef Michael Schwartz's brilliant and honest American cuisine. Next is star pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith's dazzlingly delectable desserts. How about the smart selection of wines marked up with the customer in mind — and friendly food prices… More >>
  • Best Restaurant in Coral Gables

    Palme d'Or

    Philippe Ruiz is Miami's quietest superstar chef; you won't see him ranting on TV like those fake Food Network personalities. Palme d'Or is our least heralded great restaurant; it doesn't garner the media attention of Michael's, Michy's, and the rest of the newer wave establishments. Yet chef Ruiz, already accorded the prestigious Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole (Guy Fieri… More >>
  • Best Restaurant in South Beach

    Meat Market

    Sometimes, South Beach is portrayed as one giant pick-up joint, which would make the new Lincoln Road steak house a Meat Market within a meat market. But as lively as this bar is (and "lively" is perhaps an understatement), people mostly meet here for the meat — like, for instance, an 18-ounce center cut of wood-grilled New York steak ($47)… More >>
  • Best Restaurant in South Miami-Dade

    Poblano Cocina Mexicana - CLOSED

    It can take a good restaurant years to mature into a great one. Poblano had the food down pat upon opening in 2006. Since then, it has gone from pat to phat, service has settled into systemic rhythms, and the residents of the area habitually visit for homespun Mexican food with inventive twists. To wit: A velvety Gruyère soup shot… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Paquito's Mexican Restaurant

    You could live in North Miami for years and never notice it: From the outside, the building — tucked in the corner of a nondescript shopping center — looks more like an orthodontist's office than the setting for a lively Mexican eatery. But wait till you get inside. On any given Friday, patrons of the loud, colorful, delightfully gaudy joint… More >>
  • Best Fajita

    Roberto's Taco Shop

    In La Ciudad Que Progresa, you can get weary of eating vaca frita, lechón asado, and other ubiquitous Cuban delicacies. You'd be hard-pressed to believe that you could find something other than good Cuban cuisine in the city that Raul Martinez built. But from the Palmetto Expressway, head east on 49th Street, Hialeah's main thoroughfare, and make a right into… More >>
  • Best Healthful Fast Food

    Pepper's Burrito Grill

    We don't claim burritos, tacos, and the like can be categorized as healthful food; that's why we call the category Healthful Fast Food. And, yes, compared to cheap, deep-fried birds and the stuff you get at those robber baron burger chains, a soft flour tortilla wrapped around strips of just-off-the-grill chicken breast is downright salubrious — plus really tasty with… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Mi Rinconcito Mexicano

    — Well, son, once upon a time there were all sorts of places where one could eat. Then came the great crash of '08, followed by the great restaurant crash of '09. After that, only McDonald's and a slew of Mexican joints were left standing. — You mean there were once other types of restaurants? — Every darn type you could imagine,… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Area 31, Gotham Steak, Joey's, Sra. Martinez, and Meat Market

    A five-way tie, testament to Miami's rapidly expanding universe of stellar dining options.… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Dining

    Plat Bleu - CLOSED

    There are flowing silk gowns, dangling earrings, subtly applied makeup on chiseled cheekbones... and that's just the men who traipse through the Delano Hotel's lobby late at night. Plat Bleu affords a front-row seat to the parade and also offers a damn good meal of French brasserie fare created by consulting chef Claude Troisgros and executive chef Maria Manso. Although… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for a Themed Dinner

    North One 10 - CLOSED

    Bad: Polka and potluck Tuesdays. Good: Beer and barbecue Fridays at North One 10. Bad: St. Patrick's Day dinner featuring all the green corned beef you can eat. Good: Passover Seder with kasha-stuffed turkey and three-potato kugel (purple, white, and sweet). Bad: Star Trek dinner with "Captain Kirk corn dogs." Good: Godfather dinner with "swims with the fishes swordfish." Bad: Karaoke night with… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Cocktails

    Asia de Cuba - CLOSED

    The first impression is that of whiteness. During the daytime, it's a near-blinding whiteness, sunlight ricocheting off white marble floors. Don't worry: The clientele here is the type that wears sunglasses. Once you glean more of the décor, it may dawn on you that this dramatically inventive room can best be described as Liberace in Wonderland. The restaurant's signature, 24-seat… More >>
  • Best Restaurant When Someone Else Pays

    Gaia Ristorante - CLOSED

    So a bailed-out corporate CEO has invited you to dinner. First question: Do you have him pay for the meal before you leave home? Followed by: Where to go? We would take the son-of-a-gun to Gaia Ristorante, and on behalf of swindled taxpayers everywhere, we'd first order Hudson Valley foie gras with lobster, porcini mushrooms, and aged balsamic ($28). From… More >>
  • Best Expensive Chain Restaurant

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Oceanaire is a national, 16-branch haven for seafood lovers that has been anchored locally in Mary Brickell Village since January 2007. It seems as though every fish in the sea is offered here: corvina, sardines, sea trout, fluke, arctic char, Hawaiian ono, halibut cheeks, Dover sole... and oysters with names like Tatamagouche (from Nova Scotia), shucked at the city's lengthiest… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Gluttons

    Red the Steakhouse

    Let's start with a frutti di mare platter of oysters, clams, shrimp, mussels, and calamari and then segue into a house salad of greens, candied walnuts, goat cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette. Pasta course? Of course — a plate of meatballs and bucatini with "red lead" sauce that's so enormous it would have made the late Dom DeLuise demur. Next, a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Trend

    The cocktail comeback

    The pre-dinner cocktail once had cachet in the restaurant world, but then came hard times. Diners began looking at it, meal-wise, as something of a gauche cousin to wine. But the cocktail is back in a big way as folks rediscover its role as stimulating foreplay to a sensual dining experience. These days, you're liable to find behind your favorite… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Service

    The Grill on the Alley

    With its mahogany floors, dark leather banquettes, horseshoe bar, and brass green-shade lamps, the Grill on the Alley seems as though it's been here cooking chops and stirring martinis since the days of film noir. Executive chef Arnold Dion's menu of traditional American grill items likewise satisfies a yen for yesteryear. When it comes to cuisine and design, one can… More >>
  • Best Kosher Restaurant

    Elie's Cafe

    Elie's opened on the ground level of downtown's Galeria Internacional mall in 2006 and a year later moved to roomier quarters one flight up. It remains a relatively undiscovered gem, although if you ask around, you'll find that plenty of folks know about the place's unparalleled falafel — bronzed spheres with greaseless, crisp exteriors and herb- and spice-flecked interiors. Deep-fried… More >>
  • Best Kosher Butcher

    New Deal Kosher Market

    George Wilensky started the New Deal Market in 1957. These days, his son Heshey runs it, which makes it — to our knowledge — the only butcher shop in South Florida that has operated under the same ownership and in the same location for more than 50 years. The formula hasn't changed much through the decades: fresh, custom-cut kosher meats… More >>
  • Best Kosher Date Place

    Rare Steakhouse

    It's about time Miami had a seriously classy joint for kosher denizens to take their significant others for a night of respectable service and even more respectable steaks. Rare Steakhouse, down the street from the Forge but undeniably ensconced in the power hub of Miami Beach's Orthodox Jewish life, is just such a place. A polished wooden bar, handsome gray… More >>
  • Best Deli

    New York New York

    It takes some searching to locate New York New York. It's not nearly as obvious as the Big Apple itself. But once found, this delicatessen hides nothing. From the massive mural of a pre-9/11 NYC skyline to the Statue of Liberty mini-replica standing guard over the salad bar, the whole setup pays homage to classic Manhattan. It's open seven days… More >>
  • Best Falafel

    Pita Plus of Aventura

    Pita Plus is not a hut or concession stand or shoebox-size take-out joint. With its spacious quarters and 60 seats, it is more like a falafel arena. It needs to be this large because so many folks flock here for the signature Middle Eastern sandwich. Four cleanly fried falafel bombs go poof into the warmed pita pocket, followed rapid-fire by… More >>
  • Best Bagels

    Bagels and Co.

    Like the Constitution, the Incredible Hulk, and a baseball pitcher working a no-hitter, there are some things in this world that you just shouldn't mess around with. Old-school bagel making obviously should have a place on that list, yet the world is bafflingly full of frozen, bagged, pre-made holes of dough stomping all over the good name of this traditional… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Décor

    Por Fin - CLOSED

    The Spanish cuisine that chef Marc Vidal plates at Por Fin is so attention-grabbing one can be forgiven for not properly appreciating the dark woods, framed mirrors, arched windows, and wrought-iron accents that conjure the coziness of a comely Catalonian country inn. The firm grains of Calasparra rice that buttress clams, mussels, calamari, and shrimp can make anyone forget having… More >>
  • Best Restaurants sans Category

    Michy's and OLA

    Each year, upon publication of this issue, we hear from readers who want to know how we could have recognized so many restaurants yet neglected to honor such-and-such well-regarded establishment. Usually it comes down to a matter of a certain eatery, even if one of the best, simply not fitting squarely into any specific category — or else, over time,… More >>
  • Best Hotel Restaurant

    Azul

    Clay Conley took over as top toque at Azul in 2005. The prior chef, Michelle Bernstein, had propelled the property to the top of the hotel restaurant heap; Conley, a protégé of Boston celebrity chef Todd English, has kept it there. His clean, precise preparations of Mediterranean cuisine (along with some American and Asian touches) boast multiple flavors and often… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Solo

    The strawberry marshmallow tart looks like a ruby-studded hat for a pampered parakeet. The chocolate macaroon could be an ottoman for Trump's pet caterpillar. And the champagne truffles: eyes for an ostentatious snowman. Imagination runs amok when confronted with glistening display cases arrayed with éclairs, meringues, pralines, petits fours, and all sorts of dashing desserts that Willy Wonka woulda made… More >>
  • Best Flan

    Havana Harry's

    Flan — or "Spanish cheesecake," as you might hear some people call it at cocktail parties — tends to inspire mediocrity in chefs. "Damn it!" we've been known to scream as we're being dragged from local restaurants by police. "We didn't order a wet and tasteless sponge for dessert!" But at Havana Harry's, the Coral Gables Versailles competitor where overwhelmed… More >>
  • Best Exotic Frozen Desserts

    Via Veneto

    Buried in a tiny strip mall that lies hidden in the shadow of the Kendale Lakes Plaza is a treasure called Via Veneto. You won't find gold or precious stones here, but flavors that once required a trek to the South American hinterlands. Via Veneto offers traditional Italian flavors of homemade gelato such as vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and stracciatella, but its… More >>
  • Best Ice-Cream Parlor

    Wall's Old Fashioned Ice Cream

    I scream! You scream? Ice cream has gone through quite a bit over the years. It's been freeze-dried for astronauts into tiny icy dots that stick to your tongue. And it's been muddled with cumbersome toppings while being reduced to mush on a chilly mass-produced stone. Here at New Times, we say nay to dessert torture and yea to Wall's… More >>
  • Best Gelato

    Paciugo - CLOSED

    It's 2 p.m. Thursday, and the ruggedly handsome and perpetually silent guy stands before the spread of 31 flavors of gelato. He's in awe. Tasting each variation with his eyes, he knows the choice he's about to make is very important. Does he want a cup full of the heady rum essence that wafts from the buttery zuppa inglese? Or… More >>
  • Best Key Lime Pie

    Joe's Stone Crab

    "Go to the Keys if you want good key lime pie" is the most common answer for those who crave this sweet-and-tart dessert. But in our own back yard, Joe's Stone Crab's rendition will take you to the Keys in a single bite. A slice will set you back $6.95 plus tax, or pay $27 for a whole large pie.… More >>
  • Best Cafe con Leche

    La Nueva Alameda Cafeteria - CLOSED

    How do you translate "This coffee is far better than any rocket fuel NASA ever invented" to español? Betcha one of the friendly female baristas at La Nueva Alameda Cafeteria could teach you. For less than a franchise drip coffee — only $1 — she'll customize a not-too-frothy, just-sweet-enough eight-ounce café con leche with your personal sugar-espresso-milk ratio preference. Watch… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    Ankarr

    In a city swamped with antiseptically lit cafeterias and overcrowded cafecito counters, it's a luxury to find both the ambiance and space where you can lounge comfortably while feeding your caffeine habit. For that reason, the discovery of a quaint European-style café such as Ankarr should be considered nothing less than a major coup for the serious java drinker. With… More >>
  • Best Restaurants to Bite the Dust

    Mark's South Beach and Sheba Ethiopian

    More than two dozen local restaurants didn't live to see 2009 — a high body count, for sure. Two of the losses that sting most are those of Mark's South Beach and Sheba Ethiopian. Larry LaValley was a longtime executive chef at the former, but it was the brilliant culinary combinations of namesake chef Mark Militello that garnered the acclaim… More >>
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