Admittedly not everything on the menu is a knockout, but Barton G's expansive, lushly planted tropical-jungle dining patio always is. Just what you'd expect from a flamboyant former Broadway set designer. Definitely reserve a table outside (the indoor space is glitzy but nothing special) and eschew fancy dishes in favor of the creative comfort-food items: playful "popcorn" shrimp served with Asian sprouts and honey vinaigrette atop real popcorn in a cardboard container; macaroni and cheese that's light on the cheese, heavy on the wild mushrooms and truffle essence -- an updated American classic. And don't miss the Big Top Cotton Candy and Over-the-Top Popcorn Surprise dessert (the surprise being that crackerjack balls flanking the traditional fluff-on-a-stick have elegant chocolate truffle centers). You can eat perfect crème brûlée at countless indoor restaurants, but cotton candy under coconut palms? That's the essence of Miami Beach.

Barton G. the Restaurant
Max Shapovalov
Admittedly not everything on the menu is a knockout, but Barton G's expansive, lushly planted tropical-jungle dining patio always is. Just what you'd expect from a flamboyant former Broadway set designer. Definitely reserve a table outside (the indoor space is glitzy but nothing special) and eschew fancy dishes in favor of the creative comfort-food items: playful "popcorn" shrimp served with Asian sprouts and honey vinaigrette atop real popcorn in a cardboard container; macaroni and cheese that's light on the cheese, heavy on the wild mushrooms and truffle essence -- an updated American classic. And don't miss the Big Top Cotton Candy and Over-the-Top Popcorn Surprise dessert (the surprise being that crackerjack balls flanking the traditional fluff-on-a-stick have elegant chocolate truffle centers). You can eat perfect crème brûlée at countless indoor restaurants, but cotton candy under coconut palms? That's the essence of Miami Beach.

Everyone knows the high quality of this eatery. It was recognized last year for Best Flan and Best Sandwich Name (Bay of Pig). But with arteries clogging from fat and cholesterol levels soaring and, oh no, mad cow disease, beef's been taking a beating. Fortunately the S.S. is way ahead of the game, offering a juicy, sweet turkey burger that'll make withdrawal from cow meat much easier. There are other healthy alternatives, of course, but few so delicious. And after a turkey burger you might still be able to find room for some of that killer flan.

Everyone knows the high quality of this eatery. It was recognized last year for Best Flan and Best Sandwich Name (Bay of Pig). But with arteries clogging from fat and cholesterol levels soaring and, oh no, mad cow disease, beef's been taking a beating. Fortunately the S.S. is way ahead of the game, offering a juicy, sweet turkey burger that'll make withdrawal from cow meat much easier. There are other healthy alternatives, of course, but few so delicious. And after a turkey burger you might still be able to find room for some of that killer flan.

The low-carb revolution has left dessert in the dust. More Americans are doing what Europeans have done for so many years: savoring high-protein, high-fat cheese at the end of a meal instead of indulging in sugary sweets. At the Mandarin Oriental's marvelous restaurant Azul, fromage is presented with a French flourish: A trolley featuring one of the biggest of cheeses, a giant wheel of Cantal made in Auvergne, France, is wheeled to diners' tables. But this hard, cow's milk cheese doesn't stand alone. Grapes, nuts, and one concession to carbs, crackers, are served with a wedge of the nutty wonder. A sommelier-suggested glass of dessert wine adds to the experience. Discerning diners on a dairy bender need only ask and a scrumptious selection of gooey delights -- made from sheep's, goat's, and cow's milk -- will be brought to their table tout de suite.

The low-carb revolution has left dessert in the dust. More Americans are doing what Europeans have done for so many years: savoring high-protein, high-fat cheese at the end of a meal instead of indulging in sugary sweets. At the Mandarin Oriental's marvelous restaurant Azul, fromage is presented with a French flourish: A trolley featuring one of the biggest of cheeses, a giant wheel of Cantal made in Auvergne, France, is wheeled to diners' tables. But this hard, cow's milk cheese doesn't stand alone. Grapes, nuts, and one concession to carbs, crackers, are served with a wedge of the nutty wonder. A sommelier-suggested glass of dessert wine adds to the experience. Discerning diners on a dairy bender need only ask and a scrumptious selection of gooey delights -- made from sheep's, goat's, and cow's milk -- will be brought to their table tout de suite.

There's something comforting about seeing a big man behind the grill. Frankie is big. So are his sandwiches, all 77 varieties from around the country. And addictive, especially the Philly cheese steak, with a side of hot peppers. Maybe that's why the inside of Frankie's always looks like an episode of Hill Street Blues. Cops in uniform chowing down medianoches or muffulettas. Plainclothes guys scarfing pastrami, betrayed only by the guns they lay on the table while they eat. "It looks like a vice squad exploded in here," one customer was heard to remark recently.

There's something comforting about seeing a big man behind the grill. Frankie is big. So are his sandwiches, all 77 varieties from around the country. And addictive, especially the Philly cheese steak, with a side of hot peppers. Maybe that's why the inside of Frankie's always looks like an episode of Hill Street Blues. Cops in uniform chowing down medianoches or muffulettas. Plainclothes guys scarfing pastrami, betrayed only by the guns they lay on the table while they eat. "It looks like a vice squad exploded in here," one customer was heard to remark recently.

For more than two decades, lovers of the Cuban sandwich have made their way to the charming cafeteria on Flagler with the Spanish name that translates into the Palace of Juice. Covered in palm branches and bamboo, the cafeteria is famous for an infinite selection of freshly squeezed tropical fruit juices, but it also makes a hell of a Cuban sandwich. The dish isn't very complicated, so the trick is simply getting the best quality meats and cheeses in between a toasted Cuban loaf. And El Palacio does it like nobody else. Huge, juicy portions of pork and aromatic Swiss cheese make every bite absolutely satisfying. And if the scenery or food isn't interesting enough, this place is, like so many Cuban eateries, also connected to politics. Miami For Dean -- Howard, that is -- used the cafeteria as a mobilization center. See, Democrats are carnivores too.

El Palacio de los Jugos
Photo by Zachary Fagenson
For more than two decades, lovers of the Cuban sandwich have made their way to the charming cafeteria on Flagler with the Spanish name that translates into the Palace of Juice. Covered in palm branches and bamboo, the cafeteria is famous for an infinite selection of freshly squeezed tropical fruit juices, but it also makes a hell of a Cuban sandwich. The dish isn't very complicated, so the trick is simply getting the best quality meats and cheeses in between a toasted Cuban loaf. And El Palacio does it like nobody else. Huge, juicy portions of pork and aromatic Swiss cheese make every bite absolutely satisfying. And if the scenery or food isn't interesting enough, this place is, like so many Cuban eateries, also connected to politics. Miami For Dean -- Howard, that is -- used the cafeteria as a mobilization center. See, Democrats are carnivores too.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®