BEST BISTRO Brasserie Les Halles 2415 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

Coral Gables

305-461-1099

www.leshalles.net Brasserie Les Halles isn't that much better than other bistros, just a whole lot more ambitious -- and we don't mean ambitious in a "let's try escargots, peaches, and truffles together" way. Rather owner Philippe Lajaunie is dedicated to reproducing what Chef Anthony Bourdain creates at the flagship Les Halles in New York: working-class renditions of almost any dish you might encounter at a full-service bistro in Paris. Yeah, you can have your onion soup, escargots, country pâté, roast chicken, and steak frites (the last of these made with hangar steak and fresh potatoes for a thrifty $15.50). But you can also delve into smoked herring imported from Normandy, warm leeks with cornichons and shallot vinaigrette, or shredded pork rillettes -- and that's just for starters. Main courses, almost all under twenty dollars, include a number of grilled steaks (either Angus or prime, and organic feed only), cassoulet, rabbit in mustard sauce, crisp duck confit, and blood sausages with caramelized apples (we forgot to mention: the kitchen crew here really knows how to cook). Tempting, homemade desserts have names like girls from the Moulin Rouge: Mousse, Brùlée, Suzette, and Tatin. Les Halles also offers a cheese plate, which is harder to find in Miami restaurants than American cheese in Paris, and stocks an exceptional number of French regional wines priced a bit below most local lists. Last but perhaps most, dining in this long room with its dark wood and tin roof is closer to an authentic Parisian bistro experience than anything else in South Florida.

Jackson Soul Food
Photo by Aran Graham
BEST SOUL-FOOD RESTAURANT Jackson Soul Food 950 NW Third Avenue

Miami

305-377-6710 Morning time is critical in a city that never quite sleeps but tosses fretfully in a haze of muggy weather, traffic hell, and inexplicable municipal politics. To triumph over yet another cycle, one needs the right fuel, something that will stick through the better part of the day. Demas Jackson and his daughter Shirlene have what you need. The Jacksons run a simply wonderful place to go for breakfast. It's not fancy, just a collection of tables, booths, a long gray counter, and a gaggle of the usual suspects from the neighborhood. Lots of people have discovered the rib-sticking virtues of Jackson Soul Food, from longshoremen, cops, nurses, and teachers to downtown suit-wearing types. They come for the biscuits, the smothered chicken wings, catfish, mullet, liver with onions, the kingfish sandwich. The egg sandwich is great with a dash of Tabasco.

BEST SOUL-FOOD RESTAURANT Jackson Soul Food 950 NW Third Avenue

Miami

305-377-6710 Morning time is critical in a city that never quite sleeps but tosses fretfully in a haze of muggy weather, traffic hell, and inexplicable municipal politics. To triumph over yet another cycle, one needs the right fuel, something that will stick through the better part of the day. Demas Jackson and his daughter Shirlene have what you need. The Jacksons run a simply wonderful place to go for breakfast. It's not fancy, just a collection of tables, booths, a long gray counter, and a gaggle of the usual suspects from the neighborhood. Lots of people have discovered the rib-sticking virtues of Jackson Soul Food, from longshoremen, cops, nurses, and teachers to downtown suit-wearing types. They come for the biscuits, the smothered chicken wings, catfish, mullet, liver with onions, the kingfish sandwich. The egg sandwich is great with a dash of Tabasco.

BEST LATE-NIGHT DINING International House of Pancakes 6928 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-866-8961 Not only is it open late at night, it's open all night. The price is right and the carbs are not disguised. The servers -- regulars include the gentle Yoselin, Michael of the perfect posture and lilting voice, and Dodi, who once worked as a bartender in a rough part of town -- will fuss over you if you like, but if you want to simply nurse your coffee and sit at the counter until well past dawn, that's okay too. Beyond the breakfast platters, which are reliably starchy and comforting (though omelets may be ordered with veggies and egg whites only), IHOP offers a fascinating syrup bar containing several jars of sweet stickiness, including strawberry, boysenberry, regular maple, and butter pecan. "Girls like the butter pecan," Michael informs. Other than that, the orange juice is fresh and cold and the coffee is hot and served in abundant refillable carafes. But this particular IHOP has even more charms. What other chain restaurant has a great flowing mix tape broadcasting everything from "The Walls Came Down" by the Call to the English Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" to funky tunes by the Dazz "Disco Jazz" Band? Where else can you see, at 4:00 a.m., a table full of very, very old ladies send back a plate of bacon because "it's not crisp enough" and not have the waiter completely blow up? Is there any place in Florida where you'd feel as comfortable daubing your eyes with a (cloth) napkin and ice water after the really, really, absolutely the last straw breakup? No, there's no place as totally on when it comes to pure public/private atmosphere.

Readers´ Choice: Denny´s

BEST LATE-NIGHT DINING International House of Pancakes 6928 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-866-8961 Not only is it open late at night, it's open all night. The price is right and the carbs are not disguised. The servers -- regulars include the gentle Yoselin, Michael of the perfect posture and lilting voice, and Dodi, who once worked as a bartender in a rough part of town -- will fuss over you if you like, but if you want to simply nurse your coffee and sit at the counter until well past dawn, that's okay too. Beyond the breakfast platters, which are reliably starchy and comforting (though omelets may be ordered with veggies and egg whites only), IHOP offers a fascinating syrup bar containing several jars of sweet stickiness, including strawberry, boysenberry, regular maple, and butter pecan. "Girls like the butter pecan," Michael informs. Other than that, the orange juice is fresh and cold and the coffee is hot and served in abundant refillable carafes. But this particular IHOP has even more charms. What other chain restaurant has a great flowing mix tape broadcasting everything from "The Walls Came Down" by the Call to the English Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" to funky tunes by the Dazz "Disco Jazz" Band? Where else can you see, at 4:00 a.m., a table full of very, very old ladies send back a plate of bacon because "it's not crisp enough" and not have the waiter completely blow up? Is there any place in Florida where you'd feel as comfortable daubing your eyes with a (cloth) napkin and ice water after the really, really, absolutely the last straw breakup? No, there's no place as totally on when it comes to pure public/private atmosphere.

Readers´ Choice: Denny´s

BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING

Nobu

Pan-seared scallops
Pan-seared scallops
BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING Nobu The Shore Club

1901 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-695-3232

www.noburestaurants.com If you want to let this someone else know you're in the know when it comes to hip hotels, great restaurants, and Japanese delicacies, you can do so in one fell swoop by taking them -- or should we say letting them take you -- to dinner at Nobu, in the Shore Club, where chef Thomas Buckley translates master chef Nobu Matsuhisa's brilliant sushi and Asian recipes into breathtakingly delectable cuisine. Start with buttery toro tartare capriciously capped with caviar ($28). It's small, so you might want to complement it with another petite appetizer, the sea urchin tiradito ($20). Next you'll want to sashay into sushi and sashimi. Let's say the exotic scallop and smelt egg roll ($10) and a couple of pristine bites of live scallop ($20) and whitefish ($16). Nothing like a little salad course before the entrée, and we'd recommend the one featuring lobster and shiitake tossed in spicy lemon dressing ($33). The signature black cod with miso exemplifies Nobu's deft touch with cooked fish ($21) and is light enough that you'll have room for a gingerbread island in warm lemon-grass consommé with basil yuzu essence and honey lavender ice cream ($12). It might be considered rude to order a hundred-dollar bottle of premium sake when you can get a delicious brand for half that price ($50). The total: a dining experience you'll remember for years to come, maybe even until the next time this someone else will be able to afford to take you out again.

BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING

Nobu

BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING Nobu The Shore Club

1901 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-695-3232

www.noburestaurants.com If you want to let this someone else know you're in the know when it comes to hip hotels, great restaurants, and Japanese delicacies, you can do so in one fell swoop by taking them -- or should we say letting them take you -- to dinner at Nobu, in the Shore Club, where chef Thomas Buckley translates master chef Nobu Matsuhisa's brilliant sushi and Asian recipes into breathtakingly delectable cuisine. Start with buttery toro tartare capriciously capped with caviar ($28). It's small, so you might want to complement it with another petite appetizer, the sea urchin tiradito ($20). Next you'll want to sashay into sushi and sashimi. Let's say the exotic scallop and smelt egg roll ($10) and a couple of pristine bites of live scallop ($20) and whitefish ($16). Nothing like a little salad course before the entrée, and we'd recommend the one featuring lobster and shiitake tossed in spicy lemon dressing ($33). The signature black cod with miso exemplifies Nobu's deft touch with cooked fish ($21) and is light enough that you'll have room for a gingerbread island in warm lemon-grass consommé with basil yuzu essence and honey lavender ice cream ($12). It might be considered rude to order a hundred-dollar bottle of premium sake when you can get a delicious brand for half that price ($50). The total: a dining experience you'll remember for years to come, maybe even until the next time this someone else will be able to afford to take you out again.

In+and+out+of+the+pan%2C+the+fish+are+just+like+you+find+%27um+in+the+isles+of+Greece
Steve++Satterwhite
In+and+out+of+the+pan%2C+the+fish+are+just+like+you+find+%27um+in+the+isles+of+Greece
BEST GREEK RESTAURANT Mylos 1111 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

Coral Gables

305-461-0403 Some Greek restaurants excel at throwing napkins in the air and smashing a lot of plates. You wouldn't want to do that at Mylos. They need those plates like a painter needs blank canvases. On what else would they serve their inimitable Greek salad? Or the whole fresh snapper that crackles with flame-grilled flavor, the leg of lamb redolent of mint, the homemade dolmades, the heavenly saline taramasalata. Would the moist, multilayered moussaka taste the same if eaten from the hands? No, this charming restaurant in the quaint Chateaubleau Hotel doesn't need gimmicks. They would rather you concentrate on the fresh, traditional Greek foods, exceedingly friendly and attentive service, and, well, um, belly dancing on Fridays.

BEST GREEK RESTAURANT Mylos 1111 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

Coral Gables

305-461-0403 Some Greek restaurants excel at throwing napkins in the air and smashing a lot of plates. You wouldn't want to do that at Mylos. They need those plates like a painter needs blank canvases. On what else would they serve their inimitable Greek salad? Or the whole fresh snapper that crackles with flame-grilled flavor, the leg of lamb redolent of mint, the homemade dolmades, the heavenly saline taramasalata. Would the moist, multilayered moussaka taste the same if eaten from the hands? No, this charming restaurant in the quaint Chateaubleau Hotel doesn't need gimmicks. They would rather you concentrate on the fresh, traditional Greek foods, exceedingly friendly and attentive service, and, well, um, belly dancing on Fridays.

BEST DINER Hannah's Gourmet Diner 13951 Biscayne Boulevard

North Miami Beach

305-947-2255 Judging from the exterior -- a stainless-steel, retro-American diner -- one might expect to walk inside and find the usual menu of meatloaf, milkshakes, burgers, and fries. Granted the neon letters spelling out "gourmet" before "diner" should hint that something a little different is going on inside. But French country cooking? That's pretty surprising. What's even more shocking is just how tasty and affordably priced the cuisine really is (dinner entrée prices start at $9.95 and most are under $20). You can't get anything you want at Hannah's diner, but you can be privy to tender escargots in garlic sauce, gently sautéed calf's liver, lamb shank saturated in red wine, a rare slab of grilled tuna, juicy New York strip, and, for those who insist that a diner in America must offer American food, an excellent cheeseburger and fries. Chalkboard specials are well worthwhile, and the custardy fruit tart is so renowned that patrons call in advance to reserve slices. You don't necessarily have to go that far, but you should order it along with your meal, because it will sell out before the last patron leaves. Best bet for beverage would be one of the medium-priced French wines that dominate the list, but if you're hankering for a Coke, you can get that too. After all, Hannah's is a diner, just one that happens to serve solid versions of rustic French food.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®