The "dining" part might be a bit of a misnomer, given that this restaurant is more of a good place to snack on caviar and sip champagne. But you can't argue with the seductive nature of the fare: caviar, lobster, crab, smoked salmon, Kobe beef carpaccio. Ply your sweetie with some of these luxury foodstuffs and no doubt you'll get quite a return on the investment. And make no mistake -- investment it is. Black truffle soup can run you $45, and a platter of beluga, osetra, and sevruga can cost you $195. Plus, since all of these gourmet items are served with little more than toast points, expect your appetite to be stimulated rather than sated. But that, after all, is the point of aphrodisiac dining: to leave you wanting, craving, desiring more.
This 24-hour eatery offers a full menu of sandwiches and seafood (fried and otherwise), and the chicken is without peer. The crunchy, peppery batter on the wings and drumsticks keeps the meat inside perfectly tender. As the menu says: "Puts the Colonel to shame.... Is cooked to order. Please allow eight minutes for wings, thirteen minutes for drumsticks." When your plate of steaming poultry arrives with a side of batter-dipped fries, you'll know it was worth the wait. On a menu full of combos named in honor of local high schools, the best lunch value is the "Booker T. Washington Lucky 2 Special": two wings, two drums, "two wonderful onion rings," and two vegetables -- choices include fries, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, collards, and macaroni and cheese. (Any place that considers macaroni and cheese a vegetable is okay with us.) Wash it all down with a "flop" (half lemonade, half iced tea), and taste why Jumbo's has been a fixture in the Northwest since 1955.
Norman's
"He must not be allowed to win this award again next year," is what we said last year, after Mr. Van Aken won this category for the third time in a row. But how could he not? Consultant stints may have spread Norman's name thinner of late, but his body and soul never left this Gables institution, the only place to sample the real deal. Norman has a knack for seamlessly blending seemingly outrageous New World ingredients into his dishes -- whether that be truffle ice, sherry foam, pomegranate-ancho drizzle, or wasabi-coconut sabayon -- while remaining true in spirit to Escoffier's classic Old World cooking. Same can be said for the overall dining experience here: contemporary, classic, and refreshing in every way possible. Here's a new pledge. Next year we might be changing the wording to "Best Restaurant in Coral Gables Besides Norman's," which, in itself, will be recognition of just how excellent this place really is.
Fast approaching its tenth year on Miami Beach, Dab Haus remains one of the finest German restaurants in South Florida. And let's remember, when you are talking German food, it's all about the schnitzel. The chefs over at the Dab Haus give great care and attention to each piece of schnitzel that passes through their kitchen. The chicken or veal is always moist and tender, and the crisp seasoned coating gives it the perfect combination of taste and texture. Add a large helping of mashed potatoes and wash it all down with one of Dab Haus's remarkable beers (our favorite: the Bitburger-Pils Light) and you have the making of not only a hearty meal, but a great evening.
Yeung's Chinese Restaurant
After a hard day at work, you may not feel like sitting in a restaurant. And you certainly don't want to cook. All you want to do is go home, kick off your shoes, and enjoy a little mu shu pork. Or maybe you're in the mood for a little Peking delight or an order of salt-and-pepper flounder, or a simple serving of chicken chow mein. No matter what you're looking for, Yeung's is ready to please. Their slogan tells it all: "We know how Chinese food should be." Call ahead and your order will be waiting when you arrive. Their cooks are fast, they are talented, and they rarely disappoint.
Fernanda Torcida
Fernanda Torcida
Fernanda Torcida
This quaint Peruvian restaurant serves up ceviche for the soul, and it's soaked in just the right amount of lemon juice. Be prepared to reach altiplano heights (even though it's seafood) with their ceviche mixto, a combination of tender pink shrimp, fresh fish, succulent octopus, and savory squid that rests on a bed of romaine lettuce leaves. Or have the marinated morsels individually. Either way all versions arrive on the table topped with a thick red onion ring, sprinkles of cancha (big chunks of dried, toasted corn), and with choclo (corn on the cob) to one side and sweet potato on the other.
One could argue the only food the average diner in this eclectic pan-Asian place can afford is appetizers. But regulars (if there are such people) know executive chef Rob Boone has a wanton way with won tons, particularly when he stuffs them with squab. He also raises braised pork buns to heights as lofty as the ceiling and coats spareribs with a simple yet effective mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and palm sugar. Rock shrimp tempura served over tiny Asian lettuces is a delicate lesson in miniatures; you also can open a meal here by indulging in quail and bok choy yakitori, or a tiger shrimp hand roll with Asian chilies. Because yakitori, hand rolls, sushi, and sashimi are all sold by the item, the bill can add up fast, but if you're just looking to graze like the models that frequent this high-profile eatery, you're in the right place.
Epicure Gourmet Market & Cafe
Alejandra Cicilia
Being hip requires a lot of time and energy, so trendsetters on South Beach are always looking for ways to cut back on frivolous exercises such as food-shopping and miscellaneous cooking. That's why Epicure is so popular. It's chic. It's fabulous. And it's fast. You can even call up their gourmet phone line and hear the specials they are serving that very day. Fresh-baked salmon, prime chuck, roasted leg of lamb, prime beef brisket, and an assortment of salads (the Waldorf is divine), are just a few of the offerings seen during one recent visit to the store. They also have a complete line of pastas and a frozen-food section that will leave you just a few microwaveable seconds from bliss.

Arline's and Schoolie's
Tender pork chops smothered in gravy with black-eyed peas and rice. Oxtail stew done so tender the meat falls from the bone. Plus steamed catfish, collard greens, okra, and tomatoes. The cooking in this spacious and clean restaurant is so homey you would swear your Aunt Jess was down from 'Bama hiding in the kitchen. If you don't have an Aunt Jess, someone who knows her way around the garden and the stove, then Arline and Schoolie are fine proxies. A reminder: Just like at home, this is no place for late-night dining. It's open Tuesday to Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Miami is a vicious city for vindaloo. A sorry excuse for saag. A bust for biryani. In fact only a handful of Indian eateries offer these traditional specialties in the Magic City, and fewer do them well. Enter Anokha, where a tender touch with tandoori takes Indian fare to the top of its game. This elegant little mom-and-pop place not only plows over the competition, it raises the bar on ethnic fine dining in general. Main courses are served in minichafing dishes to keep them warm. The complimentary chutney, served with rice chips rather than pappadam, is replenished throughout the meal. And the staff here doesn't condescend. Spiciness is adjusted to the customer's palate, and believe us, Anokha will take you at your word. So if you want your curry hot, you better order a sweet lassi or a Kingfisher to wash it down. Terrific Indian fare is plentiful, but sympathy for the stodgy American palate definitely is at a premium.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®