Indian restaurants of even the standard sort are hard to come by in these parts. Additionally, for whatever reason, they tend to be located in shopping malls. Renaisa is housed in a picturesque wooden structure on the Little River, which makes for an engaging atmosphere. Many of the menu items are specialties from Bangladesh, which makes for an engaging dining experience. Grab a private booth or table on the outdoor, riverside deck, open one of the cold beers you've brought with you (Renaisa has no liquor license but allows you to bring your own). As you peruse the menu, enjoy complimentary crisp-fried lentil pappadums with three relishes -- bittersweet tamarind, tangy red onion, and sinus-clearing cilantro. All the usual curries are available, but so are some wonderfully different alternatives such as the starter mass bora, half-a-dozen slightly mouth-tingling fried patties of spiced ground fish, sprinkled with cilantro plus onion and green pepper chunks. The traditional chicken roast features juicy chicken pieces in a sinfully rich cream/yogurt gravy. For dessert try scrumptious rosmalai -- sweetened, fried cheese balls in heavy cream sauce. And if you're curious about some specialty that's not on the menu -- like jhal muri, a wildly popular street snack in Bangladesh and the adjoining Indian state of Bengal (but near impossible to find in the U.S.) -- just call ahead and the friendly proprietors will accommodate.

Indian restaurants of even the standard sort are hard to come by in these parts. Additionally, for whatever reason, they tend to be located in shopping malls. Renaisa is housed in a picturesque wooden structure on the Little River, which makes for an engaging atmosphere. Many of the menu items are specialties from Bangladesh, which makes for an engaging dining experience. Grab a private booth or table on the outdoor, riverside deck, open one of the cold beers you've brought with you (Renaisa has no liquor license but allows you to bring your own). As you peruse the menu, enjoy complimentary crisp-fried lentil pappadums with three relishes -- bittersweet tamarind, tangy red onion, and sinus-clearing cilantro. All the usual curries are available, but so are some wonderfully different alternatives such as the starter mass bora, half-a-dozen slightly mouth-tingling fried patties of spiced ground fish, sprinkled with cilantro plus onion and green pepper chunks. The traditional chicken roast features juicy chicken pieces in a sinfully rich cream/yogurt gravy. For dessert try scrumptious rosmalai -- sweetened, fried cheese balls in heavy cream sauce. And if you're curious about some specialty that's not on the menu -- like jhal muri, a wildly popular street snack in Bangladesh and the adjoining Indian state of Bengal (but near impossible to find in the U.S.) -- just call ahead and the friendly proprietors will accommodate.

He's young. He's energetic enough to hound Miami fishing boat captains every day for the most sparkling local catches. He's compulsive enough to haunt Miami's university libraries uncovering the undersea world's deepest secrets. To be honest, he's a complete bleeding madman on the subject of uncooked fish, which is why you can count on finding nothing but the freshest -- never frozen -- seafood at Kevin Cory's sushi bar at Siam River. The Thai dishes are fine if your dining party includes fishphobes too timid to eat it raw, but serious sushiphiles will see finned specimens behind Kevin's counter that are virtually still flapping. This includes yellowtail, grouper, and all the usual suspects, but also unusual indigenous sea creatures: gray triggerfish, mutton snapper, cottonmouth jack, much more. Almost equally pristine imported seafood, overnighted from the Tokyo fish market, round out the menu. While you will find more subtly crafted, elegantly served dishes at fancier or more established sushi/ceviche spots like Nobu and Matsuri, you'll find fresher fish nowhere in town.

Siam River
He's young. He's energetic enough to hound Miami fishing boat captains every day for the most sparkling local catches. He's compulsive enough to haunt Miami's university libraries uncovering the undersea world's deepest secrets. To be honest, he's a complete bleeding madman on the subject of uncooked fish, which is why you can count on finding nothing but the freshest -- never frozen -- seafood at Kevin Cory's sushi bar at Siam River. The Thai dishes are fine if your dining party includes fishphobes too timid to eat it raw, but serious sushiphiles will see finned specimens behind Kevin's counter that are virtually still flapping. This includes yellowtail, grouper, and all the usual suspects, but also unusual indigenous sea creatures: gray triggerfish, mutton snapper, cottonmouth jack, much more. Almost equally pristine imported seafood, overnighted from the Tokyo fish market, round out the menu. While you will find more subtly crafted, elegantly served dishes at fancier or more established sushi/ceviche spots like Nobu and Matsuri, you'll find fresher fish nowhere in town.

The Brazilian diaspora is all over town now, but its most marvelous manifestations are often hiding in places off the beaten path. Like that ultrasmooth Rio de Janeiro-style wax job inside your new girlfriend's old jeans. Or singer Rose Max's euphoria-inducing sets in candlelit bars, beyond the glare of thumping nightclubs. Cypo Café is also tucked away, although its purpose is to bring you pleasure in broad daylight. The owners, from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil's heartland, moved into the heart of a Shell gas station at 71st Street and Abbott Avenue in North Beach about two years ago, where they set up culinary shop. The cramped café has only a few tables, which is why customers tend to call in and carry out the variety of platos tipicos on the Cypo menu. A daily special rotation includes muqueca de peixe (fish in a coconut, tomato, and pepper sauce); bobo de camarao (shrimp in a coconut, tomato, and creamed yuca sauce), frango com quiabo (chicken with okra, served with cornmeal purée), feijoada (black beans with pork, served with rice collard greens and fresh orange), and meat and mushroom stroganoff. Plates are a very reasonable $7 to $10 each.

Cypo Cafe
The Brazilian diaspora is all over town now, but its most marvelous manifestations are often hiding in places off the beaten path. Like that ultrasmooth Rio de Janeiro-style wax job inside your new girlfriend's old jeans. Or singer Rose Max's euphoria-inducing sets in candlelit bars, beyond the glare of thumping nightclubs. Cypo Café is also tucked away, although its purpose is to bring you pleasure in broad daylight. The owners, from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil's heartland, moved into the heart of a Shell gas station at 71st Street and Abbott Avenue in North Beach about two years ago, where they set up culinary shop. The cramped café has only a few tables, which is why customers tend to call in and carry out the variety of platos tipicos on the Cypo menu. A daily special rotation includes muqueca de peixe (fish in a coconut, tomato, and pepper sauce); bobo de camarao (shrimp in a coconut, tomato, and creamed yuca sauce), frango com quiabo (chicken with okra, served with cornmeal purée), feijoada (black beans with pork, served with rice collard greens and fresh orange), and meat and mushroom stroganoff. Plates are a very reasonable $7 to $10 each.

There's not a molten chocolate cake (the tired dessert that has been erupting on restaurant tables since the late 1990s) anywhere in sight here. Just an inventive variety of goodies including a giant cloud of cotton candy accompanied by truffle-filled popcorn balls; pints of handmade ice cream and bowls of hot fudge, nuts, and cherries to make your own sundae; an Eiffel Tower-tall chocolate layer cake; and the one retro-style sweet that is rarely seen on any menu but begs for a comeback: baked Alaska. At Barton G, though, the toasted meringue and ice cream concoction is called the Freedom Chimp, a nod to the restaurateur's beloved late pet Sabrina and to the sparkling chocolate simian that cheerfully announces the dessert's arrival at your table.

Barton G. the Restaurant
Max Shapovalov
There's not a molten chocolate cake (the tired dessert that has been erupting on restaurant tables since the late 1990s) anywhere in sight here. Just an inventive variety of goodies including a giant cloud of cotton candy accompanied by truffle-filled popcorn balls; pints of handmade ice cream and bowls of hot fudge, nuts, and cherries to make your own sundae; an Eiffel Tower-tall chocolate layer cake; and the one retro-style sweet that is rarely seen on any menu but begs for a comeback: baked Alaska. At Barton G, though, the toasted meringue and ice cream concoction is called the Freedom Chimp, a nod to the restaurateur's beloved late pet Sabrina and to the sparkling chocolate simian that cheerfully announces the dessert's arrival at your table.

BEST PLACE TO DINE DURING A HURRICANE

S&S Diner

The chatty waitress with the raspberry rinse brags to whomever will listen that she made $385 working her shift during Hurricane Andrew. Yolanda may be full of stories but we know she doesn't lie. The classic diner that reaches back to the Thirties recently won historic designation, so you can count on the walls to withstand yet another wailing gale from the tropics. Every day they withstand the blustery tales told over breakfasts that originate with the classic diner's very own storm -- the feisty and lovable Hurricane Yoli.

BEST PLACE TO DINE DURING A HURRICANE

S&S Diner

S&S Diner
The chatty waitress with the raspberry rinse brags to whomever will listen that she made $385 working her shift during Hurricane Andrew. Yolanda may be full of stories but we know she doesn't lie. The classic diner that reaches back to the Thirties recently won historic designation, so you can count on the walls to withstand yet another wailing gale from the tropics. Every day they withstand the blustery tales told over breakfasts that originate with the classic diner's very own storm -- the feisty and lovable Hurricane Yoli.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®