The Ten Best Brickell Restaurants

With each dawn, it seems as though something new is poking into the sky over Brickell — an SLS here, a Related Group condo there. Despite the vast sums of money that have poured into the neighborhood over the past two decades, its dining options have rarely kept pace with its architectural sophistication. 

Today that's changing. Stalwarts such as Edge Steak & Bar, the River Seafood & Oyster Bar, Momi Ramen, and Naoe continue to hold up the neighborhood, while newcomers like Bachour Bakery + Bistro's Henry Hané, Cantina La Veinte's Santiago Gomez, and Michael Schwartz offer interesting options.

All of that being said, Brickell still has a shortage of less expensive options. Places like Stanzione 87 and Toasted Bagelry & Deli are good choices, which could be aided by Brickell City Centre's forthcoming Italian food hall if done right. Here are the ten best places to dine in Brickell:

Kevin Cory at work at Naoe.EXPAND
Kevin Cory at work at Naoe.

1. Naoe
One evening at Naoe, chef Kevin Cory proudly held up a jewel-like orange-red sack of salmon roe. "Only available for two weeks every year when the salmon are spawning," he said. Other than that, Cory didn't boast about the fish that's flown in daily from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market. He speaks softly and wears a paper cap that seems a nod to sushi's past as a Japanese street food. Naoe's subtlety and precision are what make it stand out not only in Brickell but also in all of Miami. It doesn't have to tell you it's the city's best restaurant. It knows it.

Aaron Brooks is Brickell's master of meat.EXPAND
Aaron Brooks is Brickell's master of meat.
Courtesy of Four Seasons

2. Edge Steak & Bar
Edge is just too reasonably priced for a Brickell restaurant inside a Four Seasons Hotel. The place could mark up each steak — from the butcher's-cut filet to the Delmonico — 20 percent and would still be packed nightly. Chef Aaron Brooks' creations aren't limited by Creekstone Farms steaks, seared in an 1,800-degree infrared oven. Edge also excels at fish and vegetable preparations, makes one of Brickell's best burgers, and has regularly offered one of the most worthwhile Miami Spice menus.

La Mar's cebiche sampler.
La Mar's cebiche sampler.

3. La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Peruvian culinary icon Gastón Acurio's Brickell Key outpost enjoys much of its success thanks to the precise, ever-evolving work of executive chef Diego Oka. While also running a three-meal-a-day spot, Oka seems to find the time to constantly fine-tune La Mar's menu, adding a chifa dish here, subtracting a ceviche there, and evolving Peru's humble yet beloved causas into something otherworldly. Recently, the Japanese-Peruvian cook took some time off to travel to Modena for a stage at Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana. The experience made it back to Miami in the form of what Oka calls a tiradito bachiche, made with 24-month-old Parmigiano-Reggiano, leche de tigre, colatura, basil oil, and garlic chips. La Mar is one place you don't want to overlook.

Scallops from the River.
Scallops from the River.
Photo by Felipe Cuevas

4. The River Seafood & Oyster Bar
Like erstwhile neighbor Tobacco Road, the River seems to have little time left since a Colombian investor purchased the property in 2012. Nevertheless, the smart Brickell office workers shield their faces and march through the dusty construction to reach David Bracha's daily oyster offerings and whole fish entrées. The secret here is the bar menu, with small bites such as clams casino, steamed Chinese duck buns, and oyster po'boy sliders for less than ten bucks each.

Momi's pork belly ramen.EXPAND
Momi's pork belly ramen.

5. Momi Ramen
Miami's ramen obsession seemed to sputter almost as soon as it had snapped to life. Though Momi didn't lead to a rash of new ramen joints in the city, its high-priced bowls filled with rich, glossy, almost sticky tonkotsu (broth) remain the best. Just remember: Sometimes Momi is cash only, and sometimes it will take your credit card. Sometimes there's only char siu pork and pork belly, and sometimes there's oxtail and pork innards. You never know what you'll find.

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