There's plenty of good microbrewed beer around Miami; at the newly opened Titanic Brewery near the University of Miami; the tourist hot-spot of South Beach, the Clevelander; even at the chain restaurant Hops, in the Falls. If you don't like to go to bars, just pick up a six-pack of our very own Hurricane Reef or Firehouse Four at any number of locations throughout South Florida. But the Abbey combines the best of both worlds, offering a fluctuating menu of tasty microbrews in a casual pub setting. Try the Indian Pale Ale, Swartz Larger, Abbey Brown, or any one of their seasonal selections, and home just might seem as close as the nearest tap.

Best Restaurant To Die In The Past Twelve Months

Karli's

Under other circumstances, this place might have been awarded "Best German Restaurant." But despite splendid schnitzel and sumptuous strudel, chef-owner Karl Zoisl closed the doors after a brief six-month run. Primarily a caterer, Zoisl found the restaurant too time-consuming. 'Course, clients can still find him at his company called, appropriately enough, Karl's Catering (305-829-5607). Whatever. Doesn't stop us from wanting to shout out our disappointment: Karli! You coulda been a contender!

Creative cuisine is a Nemo hallmark, but if you're like a lot of adoring customers, you may forget that the desserts here are as much masterpieces as everything else on the menu. Forgo that last mouthful of sea bass if you have to, but try not to miss dessert. Especially exquisite: the tangerine-cardamom crème brûlée (with pistachio baklava on the side). The key lime cheesecake flan topped with blueberry-blood orange salsa is another pairing made in paradise. And then there are the chocolate concoctions, each one an inspiration: chocolate-peanut butter-banana torte; guava ice cream atop Caribbean chocolate-macadamia truffle cake; and the star of the dessert menu, Symphony of Chocolate, a half-dozen different desserts grouped on a plate like chocolate jungle gyms and seesaws on a playground. The symphony notes vary sometimes, but they'll generally include a brûlée, cake, tart, and a few variations on a cheesecake theme. All original, all beautiful to see and savor. Bonus: Nemo's Sunday brunch buffet features various cakes and tarts you don't get on the regular menu, plus pastries and breads so divine you'll be singing Nemo's praises.

Cheesecake Factory

Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying

Hamiltons

The Forge
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You might think that restaurateur George Hamilton would overcook his meats the way he does his face. But that would be an urban legend. Not only does Hamiltons provide a terrifically tender rack of lamb and succulent duck, he "auto-bronzes" his face with a self-tanner that he developed and sells at the restaurant. And if you look solely at the entrée prices, which top out at about $30, the coddling experience at this handsome supper club might not seem that pricey. Another myth. Here's the truth: It's the padding that counts here -- appetizers no less than $12, desserts a tenspot. Add on a martini and a cigar from Hamilton's own line and you're looking at a meal that costs, if you like to come by a tan the natural, skin-cancerous way, as much as a one-way ticket to the islands.
What is this, LAX? The Top of the Port, the restaurant in the towering Miami International Airport Hotel, is a genteel Continental eatery. But its lobby, located on the departure level, is now a bustling sushi bar. For those of us sick of Cuban coffee and sandwich shops, the California rolls and tender tuna sashimi are a welcome relief from the humid, heavy heat. How the fare flies is a different story altogether -- raw fish, rice, and seaweed may not be the thing to settle a turbulent stomach on a rocky flight. But it sure calms the savage beasts we all turn into when we realize we're grounded yet again.
This is cantina-style Nicaraguan eating. That means sangría, for one thing, and an emphasis on food, not décor, for another. Nicaragua is cattle country and food there is often synonymous with beef. Argentines will lay claim to originating the churrasco steak and its featured chimichurri sauce, but the Nicas have a subtle way of making it their own. La Hormiga de Oro's churrasco is butter-knife tender. Try it with the jalapeño sauce. You can also have your chicken churrasco-ed. Even the fried beans have a Nicaraguan nuance: a big spoonful of gravylike sour cream concocted on the premises. Nicaraguans have put their brand on tamales, too: the nacatamal, which has a juicier dough than your average Mexican variety. The red- and white-check tablecloth may be cheap, but you'll appreciate it when you get the inexpensive bill.
Outback Steakhouse
Executive chef Frank Randazzo doesn't want you to call this place, located in the St. Moritz building of the Loews Hotel, a steak house. And we can see why. His starters, like the delectable seared foie gras with chili syrup and blue-corn arepas, and his entrées, like the seared turbot with brown-butter escabeche and quinoa, have a seductive South American accent that's hard to resist. But he doth protest a little too much. The Argentine meat here is simply a cut above the rest. The churrasco, a whole skirt steak, shimmers from its meeting with the parrilla (grill); the ojo di bife, or rib eye, arrives sizzling like Chinese food. The waiters then slice the steaks for you tableside and serve them on carving boards, a delicate bit of theatrical service so rare on South Beach we go back again and again to see the show. Randazzo dazzles; he won't steer you wrong with his grilled rack of lamb with a three-chili demi-glace. No matter how you slice it, you get the real meat of the matter.
Round about midday at this venerable institution off the 79th Street Causeway, a member of the kitchen staff walks out to the dock that flanks the back of the restaurant. You can watch him through the tall windows that give off a stunning view of the water and passing boats. The man carries a bucket or two. Below the dock enormous tarpon, some five feet long, circle, and wait for dinner. They churn the water as the man dumps the buckets of leftovers into their realm. Inside, surrounded by dark wood and the memorabilia of more than 50 years of existence, patrons feast on fresh seafood. Awed spectators dig into everything from clam chowder to grouper with equal relish. A feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

It's Tuesday afternoon and you're craving chicken feet again. You had the little morsels just two days ago, but that didn't do the trick. At the same meal you scarfed turnip cakes, steamed shrimp dumplings, sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf, baked roast pork buns, spare ribs with black bean sauce, rice noodles har mon, and for dessert, steamed buns filled with lotus seed paste. Still it wasn't enough. The succulent feet remain on your brain. If you had your way, you would eat dim sum at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week. Lucky for you, at Kon Chau you can. Open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, the restaurant offers about 50 dim sum items at any time of the day, unlike other restaurants that leave you hankering for the stuff until the weekend comes. Nothing fancy here: No steam cart being rolled around by a snooty driver who refuses to reveal what exactly is on your little plate. Kon Chau offers all dim sum prepared to order. Exceptional edibles and efficient, courteous service are just two good reasons to dine here. The third: incredibly cheap prices. Two people can eat until they burst for less than 20 bucks. Now that's a lot of chicken feet.

Best Restaurant For The Hearing-Impaired

NOA

It's probably no surprise that this dynamic but industrial-looking place is noisy: Most of the mod décor is metallic. Talk about reverb. Not only that, China Grill Management owns this Asian noodle shop, and this particular restaurant group seems to excel in creating high-end eateries that are sweet to the taste but hard on the eardrum. Sitting outside at the café tables probably won't help much, given that Lincoln Road is overwhelmed with crying babies and whining tourists these days. Still you might as well get used to it if you want to slurp up some yummy duck-topped egg noodles or vibrant curry-infused rice noodles (all reasonably priced). There's no use complaining: No one will be able to hear you.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®