Miami's Ten Best Restaurants to Open in 2016 (So Far)

Miami's Ten Best Restaurants to Open in 2016 (So Far) (4)
Photo by Laine Doss

The Miami dining scene keeps getting better and better. As the palates of our community mature, so does the restaurant industry. Today, "farm-to-table," "organic," and "clean" are no longer buzzwords — they're standards — and chefs can no longer ride on the coattails of a famous name or stunning decor to ensure success in this city.

In the first half of 2016, we've seen a host of stellar restaurants open. From fast-casual cafés that serve simple and fresh family cuisine at wallet-friendly prices, to cutting-edge eateries that cater to carnivores or vegans, here are the ten best restaurants to open during the first half of 2016. We're looking forward to the next half of the year with a hearty appetite.

Check out our slideshow for more delicious pictures. 

Zuuk bowl
Zuuk bowl
Photo by Laine Doss

10. Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen 
James Beard Award nominee Sam Gorenstein and partner Roger Duarte already proved that fresh, high-quality food can be affordable when they opened My Ceviche. Now the duo has teamed up with chef Daniel Ganem to do the same thing for Mediterranean food at Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen (1250 S. Miami Ave.): offer fresh, delicious meals at affordable prices. Choose a bowl ($8.85), salad ($8.85), or roll ($8.25); then add rice, bulgur wheat, or various greens as a base before the fun begins. Add house-made hummus or mint tzatziki, hormone-free chicken, baked falafel, and slow-roasted beef (additional $1.95) to make the meal hearty before topping it with any number of vegetables. The result is a colorful, healthful dish at a price so affordable you can eat there every day.

Colorful fare at Zest
Colorful fare at Zest
Courtesy of Zest

9. Zest
Cindy Hutson's flair for Caribbean cuisine shines at her new downtown Miami restaurant, Zest (200 S. Biscayne Blvd.). There, the chef has designed a menu full of flavor. A fish dip is punched up with Scotch bonnet peppers ($12), a ceviche is flavored with ginger and cooled with coconut milk ($19), and octopus is braised with curry ($26). The result is a bounty of brightness in a convivial atmosphere. Best part: The chef also offers her cuisine in grab-and-go form at the adjacent Zest MRKT. 

Sushi Garage's colorful sushi.
Sushi Garage's colorful sushi.

8. Sushi Garage
Juvia's Jonás and Alexandra Millán tapped Sunny Oh as partner and executive chef for this neighborhood sushi restaurant inside a former garage. The restaurant serves Japanese and sushi favorites such as California rolls and chicken teriyaki. The key, however, is in the ingredients and execution: both excellent.

Pork belly bacon steamed buns
Pork belly bacon steamed buns
Courtesy of the Sarsaparilla Club

7. The Sarsaparilla Club
Top Chef's Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis have made a triumphant return to Miami Beach with the opening of the Sarsaparilla Club at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand. The restaurant combines the culinary couple's loves of Asian and Southern flavors in an American dim sum format. Several carts contain savory offerings such as heirloom tomatoes with homemade ricotta and tomato sorbet ($9) and drunken deviled eggs ($6). It's the chicken, however, that's a must-try. McInnis puts a new spin on his famous bird by brining it in green curry and lemongrass before finishing it with kaffir lime ($23). Leave room for the restaurant's namesake: an old-fashioned sarsaparilla soda and ice-cream float ($4). 

The Anderson has cocktails and cool vibes.EXPAND
The Anderson has cocktails and cool vibes.
Courtesy of the Anderson

6. The Anderson
When Bar Lab partners Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi opened the Broken Shaker, they turned the tide on the Miami cocktail scene forever by offering well-crafted drinks made with fruits and herbs grown in the bar's own garden. Now Orta and Zvi have expanded to mainland Miami with the Anderson, a grownup playground that pays tribute to the 1980s. With a cocktail menu that riffs on staples like the apple martini and Sex on the Beach and a bar menu by Vagabond's Alex Chang, the Anderson is cool yet approachable. Don't be too enthralled with the bar's drinks and jukebox filled with Michael Jackson and David Bowie to step outdoors, or you'll miss the laid-back chill of the Anderson's Caribbean hut that serves frozen libations that change daily.

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