Less than a decade ago, Miami had arguably the worst dining scene of any famous city in America. If you wanted a great meal back then, you were better off heading to Ohio. (Seriously, Cincinnati had much better chefs.) But our restaurant fortunes soon began to rise. New Times' year-end wrapup in 2008 concluded Miami had reached "the big league of American food cities."
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No sooner had the proclamation left our lips when a lull set in. Recessions will do that. But starting around mid-2009, we rebounded, with topnotch new joints opening monthly: from Red Light Little River to Sakaya Kitchen to Gigi, not to mention Shake Shack and a procession of food trucks. Miami had clearly moved up. It's difficult to say exactly which municipalities we passed on the way (Atlanta? Houston? Denver?), but by the end of 2010, there we were -- perched toward the top of the nation's second-tier food cities.
This past year saw more improvement and brought news of even brighter things to come. In the future, we'll look back at 2011 as the year Miami went from being one of the nation's better second-tier food cities to grabbing hold of the bottom rung of the first class.