BEST COFFEEHOUSE Segafredo Espresso 1040 Lincoln Road

Miami Beach

305-673-0047

www.segafredo.it Segafredo's charm lies in it being a European-style café, which is similar to what the pre-Starbucks American coffee shop used to be: It's not about the bean; it's about the scene. Partners Graziano Sbroggio (Tiramesu, Spris) and Mark Soyka (News Café, Van Dyke, Soyka) know plenty about scene. Nearly all the seating is outdoors on the west end of Lincoln Road, by the gorgeous mosaic fountain created by artist Carlos Alves. Grab a seat or sink into a comfy couch, order an eponymous espresso and a precious little pastry (or go the martini/panini route, which is something you can't do at most coffeehouses), and you'll swear you're in some classy overseas city -- with tropical weather to boot. Weekday afternoons and evenings are the best times to chill. Wear a beret, perhaps a silk scarf, utter phrases such as "ne plus ultra" or "Take it from me, catwalks aren't all they're cracked up to be," and you'll fit right in. Or come as you are and be entertained by listening to other people say things like that.

Readers´ Choice: Starbucks

BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT Yakko-San 17040 W. Dixie Highway

North Miami Beach

305-947-0064 It's generally considered a prime sign of authentic excellence when an ethnic restaurant's clientele includes many people from the nation in question. That's true of Yakko-San, but even more impressive is what you'll find late at night: a lot of chefs. With no fanfare and no public-relations machine, this off-the-glam-track spot has become the late-night hangout where chefs from other Asian restaurants go to dine after their own places close. The draw is fare not to be found at the average Japanese restaurant -- virtually no sushi or yakitori this-and-that, but Japanese home cooking. Portions are sized like tapas, so diners can try a large variety of dishes. Some are admittedly strange (like "spicy konnyaku potato alimentary") but most, despite their unfamiliarity, are very accessible: kinpira gobu (burdock root bathed in intensely rich reduced sweet/salty soy sauce), maguro nuta (raw tuna strips and scallions painted with addictive honey-miso mustard sauce), or savory sautéed beef with garlic stems. The feast is on till 3:30 a.m. daily.

Readers´ Choice: Nobu

BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT Yakko-San 17040 W. Dixie Highway

North Miami Beach

305-947-0064 It's generally considered a prime sign of authentic excellence when an ethnic restaurant's clientele includes many people from the nation in question. That's true of Yakko-San, but even more impressive is what you'll find late at night: a lot of chefs. With no fanfare and no public-relations machine, this off-the-glam-track spot has become the late-night hangout where chefs from other Asian restaurants go to dine after their own places close. The draw is fare not to be found at the average Japanese restaurant -- virtually no sushi or yakitori this-and-that, but Japanese home cooking. Portions are sized like tapas, so diners can try a large variety of dishes. Some are admittedly strange (like "spicy konnyaku potato alimentary") but most, despite their unfamiliarity, are very accessible: kinpira gobu (burdock root bathed in intensely rich reduced sweet/salty soy sauce), maguro nuta (raw tuna strips and scallions painted with addictive honey-miso mustard sauce), or savory sautéed beef with garlic stems. The feast is on till 3:30 a.m. daily.

Readers´ Choice: Nobu

Taco Shop Mexican Grill
BEST TACO Roberto's Taco Shop Various locations in Miami-Dade County

www.robertos.us The year 1962 was very bad for tacos. That's when Glen Bell opened the first Taco Bell in Downey, California. A good year for tacos was 1964. That's when Roberto and Dolores Robledo and family introduced their original Mexican Taco Shop in San Diego. Their mission statement then was the same it is now for the far-flung Roberto's Taco Shop chain: "Fresh, authentic, quality ingredients; simple food at modest prices; and satisfying portions." Roberto's tacos encapsulate these qualities within their hard little U-shaped shells and soft tortilla wraps. The grilled chicken and beef tacos will satisfy any hunger, but grilled and marinated fish, juicy carne asada, and plump pork carnitas, in our preferred soft tortillas, will have you shaking your head at just how delicious a fast-food taco can be. Prices are more than modest: $1.95 to $2.25 for a generously sized shell, or three smaller tacos for $1.99 (a dollar more with guacamole or sour cream). A wide array of hot sauces too. Ay, Chihuahua!

BEST TACO Roberto's Taco Shop Various locations in Miami-Dade County

www.robertos.us The year 1962 was very bad for tacos. That's when Glen Bell opened the first Taco Bell in Downey, California. A good year for tacos was 1964. That's when Roberto and Dolores Robledo and family introduced their original Mexican Taco Shop in San Diego. Their mission statement then was the same it is now for the far-flung Roberto's Taco Shop chain: "Fresh, authentic, quality ingredients; simple food at modest prices; and satisfying portions." Roberto's tacos encapsulate these qualities within their hard little U-shaped shells and soft tortilla wraps. The grilled chicken and beef tacos will satisfy any hunger, but grilled and marinated fish, juicy carne asada, and plump pork carnitas, in our preferred soft tortillas, will have you shaking your head at just how delicious a fast-food taco can be. Prices are more than modest: $1.95 to $2.25 for a generously sized shell, or three smaller tacos for $1.99 (a dollar more with guacamole or sour cream). A wide array of hot sauces too. Ay, Chihuahua!

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Jonathan++Postal
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BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT Lung Gong Restaurant 11920 SW Eighth Street

West Miami-Dade

305-553-4644 If we dusted off our abacus and computed the percentage of South Florida's Chinese restaurants that are situated in strip malls, it would probably turn out to be a high figure. If we then pushed the beads around to determine those that served the sort of authentic cuisine rarely found outside of Beijing and big-city Chinatowns, the numbers would plummet to a scant few. One of these few would be Lung Gong. Those lacking a sense of gastronomic adventure can satisfy themselves here with inexpensive Cantonese standards such as egg rolls, chow mein, chop suey, sweet-and-sour dishes, and a pu pu platter. Those of us who profess to possess a more sophisticated palate can ponder tender strips of chicken breast tossed in peanut dressing with "green bean starch sheet" (flat noodles made from the vegetable) and sesame-seeded matchsticks of cucumber. Or thin, chewy wheat-dough noodles with black mushrooms and dried lily flower. Or beef flank stewed with malanga in coconut-laced brown sauce. Important: Do not bypass shockingly delectable fried duck perfumed with bay leaves. Really sophisticated diners can try "spicy pig intestine with pork blood and tofu in fire pot." Lung Gong's owners are from Beijing, the chef is from Szechuan, and the sometimes mellow, often fiery, always awesomely authentic foods are from all points in between.

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT Lung Gong Restaurant 11920 SW Eighth Street

West Miami-Dade

305-553-4644 If we dusted off our abacus and computed the percentage of South Florida's Chinese restaurants that are situated in strip malls, it would probably turn out to be a high figure. If we then pushed the beads around to determine those that served the sort of authentic cuisine rarely found outside of Beijing and big-city Chinatowns, the numbers would plummet to a scant few. One of these few would be Lung Gong. Those lacking a sense of gastronomic adventure can satisfy themselves here with inexpensive Cantonese standards such as egg rolls, chow mein, chop suey, sweet-and-sour dishes, and a pu pu platter. Those of us who profess to possess a more sophisticated palate can ponder tender strips of chicken breast tossed in peanut dressing with "green bean starch sheet" (flat noodles made from the vegetable) and sesame-seeded matchsticks of cucumber. Or thin, chewy wheat-dough noodles with black mushrooms and dried lily flower. Or beef flank stewed with malanga in coconut-laced brown sauce. Important: Do not bypass shockingly delectable fried duck perfumed with bay leaves. Really sophisticated diners can try "spicy pig intestine with pork blood and tofu in fire pot." Lung Gong's owners are from Beijing, the chef is from Szechuan, and the sometimes mellow, often fiery, always awesomely authentic foods are from all points in between.

Pasha's
Leah Gabriel
BEST HEALTHY FAST FOOD Pasha's Various locations in Miami-Dade County

www.pashas.com Fast food has always been about unhealthy choices. Still is for the most part, but nowadays McSalad chains such as Fresh Salads and Baja Fresh Mexican are yielding fresh profits from gullible dieters. Please pardon our skepticism over the notion of iceberg lettuce, white rice, and Snapple being salubrious. We don't kid ourselves into thinking Pasha's Mediterranean menu of fried falafels, meaty kebabs, or white flour-based, boat-shaped individual pizzas called pide will lead us to the road to wellville either, but they taste better than anything you'll get at the larger corporate franchises, and if you're selective, you can indeed dine on healthy hummus, zucchini pancakes, lentil soup, and bulghur salad, all under ten dollars. More to the point, unlike the fare at other fast-food emporiums, you can eat this stuff regularly and not end up looking like Shrek.

Readers´ Choice: Giardino´s Gourmet Salads

BEST HEALTHY FAST FOOD Pasha's Various locations in Miami-Dade County

www.pashas.com Fast food has always been about unhealthy choices. Still is for the most part, but nowadays McSalad chains such as Fresh Salads and Baja Fresh Mexican are yielding fresh profits from gullible dieters. Please pardon our skepticism over the notion of iceberg lettuce, white rice, and Snapple being salubrious. We don't kid ourselves into thinking Pasha's Mediterranean menu of fried falafels, meaty kebabs, or white flour-based, boat-shaped individual pizzas called pide will lead us to the road to wellville either, but they taste better than anything you'll get at the larger corporate franchises, and if you're selective, you can indeed dine on healthy hummus, zucchini pancakes, lentil soup, and bulghur salad, all under ten dollars. More to the point, unlike the fare at other fast-food emporiums, you can eat this stuff regularly and not end up looking like Shrek.

Readers´ Choice: Giardino´s Gourmet Salads

Delicias de España
BEST BAKERY Delicias de España 4016 Red Road

South Miami

305-669-4485 The espresso machine starts steaming up at 7:00 a.m., as sleepy-eyed patrons straggle in for any number of luscious Spanish breakfast pastries. Some head to the bakery counter and take their meal on the run; others settle in at one of 65 seats in the café and slowly savor a dish of eggs scrambled with Serrano ham. As the morning moves on, many more people will partake of the gorgeous desserts that positively glitter in their glass display cases; or take cakes and boxed pastries home; or carry out loaves of ciabatta, baguette, or chewy Galician bread; or perhaps purchase some of the fresh fish flown in from Spain (they cook these fish up too, about as well as anyone but for a lower price). The seats will keep turning over as diners luxuriate over dreamy crema catalanas and flans, charlottes and mousses, and individual fruit-and-custard pastries that would make a French tart blush with envy (generally about $2.50 each). You may have to take a number and wait awhile on the weekends, because the space becomes electrified with the anticipatory energy of overflow crowds. For seven years (which is how long Ernesto Llerandi and Isabel Miranda have owned the shop,) the secret has been spreading until it's hardly news anymore: Delicias is one hell of a great bakery, fish market, restaurant, and café. And that's just the half of it: The other half, accessible from indoors, is an extensively stocked Spanish-import shop with chorizos, cheeses, and more than 200 wines, sherries, and ports. Now, honestly, doesn't all of this make the bakery that you frequent seem sort of inadequate?

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®