Best Restaurant, Design District/Midtown - 2012
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
130 NE 40th St.
Miami, FL 33137
It is said that you should strike while the iron is hot, and no Miami chef has sizzled with success like Michael Schwartz. Miami's farm-to-table pioneer and James Beard Award winner has expanded his brand in recent years by way of a cookbook, a pizzeria (Harry's), an MGF&D in the Cayman Islands, and a project in progress with the Raleigh Hotel. Yet through it all, his original Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District hasn't missed a beat. The indoor and outdoor ambiance remains cool in an unpretentious way, service is professional, and the fresh, well-sourced, seasonally sensitive cuisine continues to impress with honest-to-goodness flavors. Pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith is tops in town, which is why she was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef this year. Her desserts too are peerless and uniquely innovative — who else pairs a milk chocolate candy bar with buttered popcorn gelato? She also has a cookbook out this year, and we're pretty certain no other spot in this neighborhood — let alone the state of Florida — can boast two Beard-credentialed chefs with their own cookbooks. There's a great global wine list, the craft beers are many ($4 and up), and even the RoosRoast Organic Free Speech Coffee, Steven Smith Teamaker's Tea, and homemade sodas are superior. What else could possibly be great about Michael's? The prices, which are quite moderate for the city's most acclaimed dining establishment: Small plates are mostly under $10, medium plates are under $20, and excepting a Harris Ranch New York strip steak, large plates range from $18 to $26. And there's one more wonder: Sunday brunch from 11 to 2:30.