Ten Miami Restaurants We're Looking Forward to in 2014
Jose Mendin is ready to tackle French fare with L'Echon Brasserie.
A fresh, new year is upon us. Time to make resolutions and plans. It's also a good time to anticipate new restaurants about to open in Miami. And there are a bunch of them. From food trucks continuing to go brick-and-mortar like Latin Burger & Taco, to celebrity chefs staking their claim under our sunny skies (Fabio Viviani, Tom Collichio, and Morimoto are all slated to open restaurants here), there's much to look forward to in the food scene.
Here are the restaurants -- both big and small -- that we're most looking forward to in 2014.
See also: Top 15 Restaurants Reviewed in 2013
Laugh all you want, but we're looking forward to eating mass quantities of Swedish meatballs, lingonberry preserves, and smoked salmon before marching our sated selves over to the kitchen wares department and stocking up on cheap housewares with funny names like a ladle named "sploofa" and a colander called "bork."
9. John's Tacos
John O'Connell, the man behind the taco, started his business sharing space with Josh's Deli in Surfside, making tacos at night after Joshua Marcus closed shop for the day. Now, O'Connell is moving into his own space in Wynwood, an area filled with people searching for a quality nosh after a night of gallery hopping or bar crawling.
When Lokal opened in Coconut Grove, owner Matt Kuscher had a simple game plan: serve craft beer, clean burgers, and local produce. In a town known for being fickle with its restaurants, Lokal became a neighborhood favorite. Now, Kuscher is expanding on his beer selection and firming up his food menu at Kush, a new endeavor opening in Wynwood. With Kush, Wynwood gets a new place to eat good on the cheap and cements its newfound identity as the beer-meets-art capital of Miami.
7. Ralph Pagano's Mexican Restaurant
Quick-talking celebrity chef Ralph Pagano is coming to the Dream South Beach Hotel with a Mexican concept, based on his favorite Baja cuisine. The chef tells us to expect reasonably-priced food, perfect for après-beach like tacos and huevos ranchero -- all under $20. Pagano also promises tequila infusions with flavors like coffee and honey-rosemary. If Pagano's in the kitchen, it's a safe bet the food will be delicious and the atmosphere lively.
6. NaiYaRa Asian Street Fare
Chef Bee of Oishi Thai and formerly of Khong River House is opening NaiYaRa in South Beach sometime in the fall, sharing the Thai street food he loves so much. The 200-seat restaurant will transform into a lounge at night, complete with DJ and offerings of Asian small plates.
Photo by Stian Roenning
Michal Reidt is planning his very own Miami restaurant. Although he's not ready to share many details, the working title is Pilgrim and the food will, naturally, focus on the chef's commitment to working with local and sustainable ingredients. We're basically sold -- we just need to know where and when to show up hungry.
Roberto Cavalli, lover of all things leopard-spotted, is bringing a bit of Milan to South Beach with the opening of Cavalli Restaurant & Lounge. Renderings show lots of gilt and animal prints, along with many, many colored lights -- perfect for attracting Real Housewives, Kardashians, and Miami Heat players. We're in it for the celebrity sightings... and the leopard-printed napkins that are bound to show up on our plates. Meow!
3. Steve Martorano's Restaurant
Call up optimistic, but when Steve Martorano said that he was seriously looking at a restaurant in Miami Beach, we said a little prayer. Frankly, we're not sure why the South Philadelphia-bred restaurateur hasn't yet opened a spot here. After all, his Fort Lauderdale flagship constantly attracts celebrities who make the drive for his famous meatball salad and eggplant stack. Opening a SoBe cafe would just make it easier on everyone, mileage-wise. Although there's no definitive word, we're keeping our fingers crossed that 2014 is the year of Martorano's Miami.
Wynwood Brewing Company opened the floodgates for brewers to plan on calling Miami home. Now, Jonathan Wakefield is planning a 5,400-square-foot facility, where he will brew his signature Florida Weisses and sours brewed with local fruit. The brewery will house a taproom and beer garden, though no word on whether food will be served.
The Pubbelly boys are taking on the classic French brasserie with L'Echon. So far, they've put their magic touch on pork, sushi, tapas, and Italian -- all to much success, so we're salivating just thinking of what they can do with French cuisine.
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