BEST JAMAICAN RESTAURANT Sango Jamaican and Chinese Restaurant 9485 SW 160th Street

Perrine

305-252-0279 Seems to us it would be entirely appropriate if Rosie Hollingshead decided to hang a sign in her petite Caribbean (forget the Chinese) take-out shop that reads: "It's the jerk, stupid." We wouldn't quibble with those who lean on the yellow Formica counter and request the Arawak-inspired pepper pot stew, or heartwarming pumpkin and beef soup, oxtails with lima beans, fried fish escovitch, or Jamaica's national dish of ackee and codfish; they are all delicious. Nor would we take issue with anyone who'd choose the curried goat, which comes aswirl in a delectably piquant stew. Prices are wonderfully low (under ten dollars), and portions are, as Rastafarians might put it, "I-normous." But Sango's jerked pork is the best north of Boston Bay -- thick chunks of slowly cooked meat punched up with the pungent and potent cure of scallions, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, ginger root, spicy Jamaican pimento, and intensely fiery Scotch bonnet pepper. A caveat: The dish is on Sango's weekly rotation of daily specials, so you have to arrive on a Wednesday to get your jerk; otherwise you might feel like one. But you can console yourself with any of the aforementioned delights, as well as a thick wedge of bread pudding and the purportedly aphrodisiacal Irish moss beverage.

Sango Jamaican and Chinese Restaurant

BEST JAMAICAN RESTAURANT Sango Jamaican and Chinese Restaurant 9485 SW 160th Street

Perrine

305-252-0279 Seems to us it would be entirely appropriate if Rosie Hollingshead decided to hang a sign in her petite Caribbean (forget the Chinese) take-out shop that reads: "It's the jerk, stupid." We wouldn't quibble with those who lean on the yellow Formica counter and request the Arawak-inspired pepper pot stew, or heartwarming pumpkin and beef soup, oxtails with lima beans, fried fish escovitch, or Jamaica's national dish of ackee and codfish; they are all delicious. Nor would we take issue with anyone who'd choose the curried goat, which comes aswirl in a delectably piquant stew. Prices are wonderfully low (under ten dollars), and portions are, as Rastafarians might put it, "I-normous." But Sango's jerked pork is the best north of Boston Bay -- thick chunks of slowly cooked meat punched up with the pungent and potent cure of scallions, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, ginger root, spicy Jamaican pimento, and intensely fiery Scotch bonnet pepper. A caveat: The dish is on Sango's weekly rotation of daily specials, so you have to arrive on a Wednesday to get your jerk; otherwise you might feel like one. But you can console yourself with any of the aforementioned delights, as well as a thick wedge of bread pudding and the purportedly aphrodisiacal Irish moss beverage.

BEST SANDWICH SHOP Frankie's Big City Grill

8601 Biscayne Boulevard

Miami

305-762-5333 A sandwich is a sandwich is a sandwich -- two pieces of bread or a roll cut in half, with stuff in between. Two exceptions: The bread you choose happens to bear an image of the Virgin Mary, in which case it sells for oodles of money and tours the country accompanied by a Miami Herald columnist; the sandwich comes from Frankie's Big City Grill, which means it's fresh, fat, and delicious. The "Big City" theme is culled from 14 of the 60 sandwiches (plus 17 breakfast sandwiches) being modeled after signature snacks of American metropolises. Fact is, the Virgin Mary bread probably couldn't find a stopover that isn't represented on Frankie's menu. New Orleans? Muffuletta. Boston? Italian sausage. Our town is appropriately represented with properly pressed medianoches. There's also pastrami from the Big Apple, crabcakes from Maryland, strip steak from Kansas City -- you get the idea. Frankie and wife Priscilla are from Philly, and you can find them on the premises proudly putting forth an exemplary version of their brotherly city's cheese-steak sandwich -- slices of sizzling rib eye and white American cheese, a cup of hot peppers on the side. Ask for "cheese with," which brings sautéed onions on top.

BEST SANDWICH SHOP Frankie's Big City Grill

8601 Biscayne Boulevard

Miami

305-762-5333 A sandwich is a sandwich is a sandwich -- two pieces of bread or a roll cut in half, with stuff in between. Two exceptions: The bread you choose happens to bear an image of the Virgin Mary, in which case it sells for oodles of money and tours the country accompanied by a Miami Herald columnist; the sandwich comes from Frankie's Big City Grill, which means it's fresh, fat, and delicious. The "Big City" theme is culled from 14 of the 60 sandwiches (plus 17 breakfast sandwiches) being modeled after signature snacks of American metropolises. Fact is, the Virgin Mary bread probably couldn't find a stopover that isn't represented on Frankie's menu. New Orleans? Muffuletta. Boston? Italian sausage. Our town is appropriately represented with properly pressed medianoches. There's also pastrami from the Big Apple, crabcakes from Maryland, strip steak from Kansas City -- you get the idea. Frankie and wife Priscilla are from Philly, and you can find them on the premises proudly putting forth an exemplary version of their brotherly city's cheese-steak sandwich -- slices of sizzling rib eye and white American cheese, a cup of hot peppers on the side. Ask for "cheese with," which brings sautéed onions on top.

BEST RESTAURANT FOR DINING DURING A HURRICANE

BEST RESTAURANT FOR DINING DURING A HURRICANE Palme d'Or Biltmore Hotel

1200 Anastasia Avenue

Coral Gables

305-913-3201

www.biltmorehotel.com The first thing you might ask yourself in the event of being stuck somewhere with a savage, life-threatening hurricane raging outside is this: How are the rations? At Palme d'Or they're about as good as you're ever going to hope to get. Imagine your post-storm diary: Day one: Supped on pumpkin soup with smoked duck breast, Maine lobster, crme frache cappuccino, and Hudson Valley foie gras with fruit chutney and toasted brioche. Crisp plum tart with pink peppercorn ice cream for dessert. They put us up in quite a pleasant room! Day two: Storm continues unabated. After apologies from kitchen for having run out of sevruga caviar spoons with potato mousseline, we made do with beef tenderloin tartare with basil oil and main course of "braised seven-hour beef" -- we all had a good laugh at the table when I told the waiter: "Why not make it fourteen; we've got plenty of time!" Day three: Chef Philipe Ruiz regretfully announced that the only menu items left for dinner would be ahi tuna tartare, seared lamb rack with vegetable ragout, and a light dessert of tomato confit and fennel salad with basil-lime sorbet -- only so much dry ice in the house, he said. Water has seeped through the glass doors overlooking the famous Biltmore pool and onto the polished Brazilian cherry-wood floors. Gee, they just refurbished the place too. Crystal chandeliers and ceiling frescoes don't appear to be in any danger. Will the rains never cease? Day four: Food rations are gone. To the wine cellar! To the wine cellar! Day five: Hurricane is over. Tremendous tragedy, they say. But it was the best damn vacation of my life!

BEST RESTAURANT FOR DINING DURING A HURRICANE

BEST RESTAURANT FOR DINING DURING A HURRICANE Palme d'Or Biltmore Hotel

1200 Anastasia Avenue

Coral Gables

305-913-3201

www.biltmorehotel.com The first thing you might ask yourself in the event of being stuck somewhere with a savage, life-threatening hurricane raging outside is this: How are the rations? At Palme d'Or they're about as good as you're ever going to hope to get. Imagine your post-storm diary: Day one: Supped on pumpkin soup with smoked duck breast, Maine lobster, crme frache cappuccino, and Hudson Valley foie gras with fruit chutney and toasted brioche. Crisp plum tart with pink peppercorn ice cream for dessert. They put us up in quite a pleasant room! Day two: Storm continues unabated. After apologies from kitchen for having run out of sevruga caviar spoons with potato mousseline, we made do with beef tenderloin tartare with basil oil and main course of "braised seven-hour beef" -- we all had a good laugh at the table when I told the waiter: "Why not make it fourteen; we've got plenty of time!" Day three: Chef Philipe Ruiz regretfully announced that the only menu items left for dinner would be ahi tuna tartare, seared lamb rack with vegetable ragout, and a light dessert of tomato confit and fennel salad with basil-lime sorbet -- only so much dry ice in the house, he said. Water has seeped through the glass doors overlooking the famous Biltmore pool and onto the polished Brazilian cherry-wood floors. Gee, they just refurbished the place too. Crystal chandeliers and ceiling frescoes don't appear to be in any danger. Will the rains never cease? Day four: Food rations are gone. To the wine cellar! To the wine cellar! Day five: Hurricane is over. Tremendous tragedy, they say. But it was the best damn vacation of my life!

Two Chefs
BEST RESTAURANT IN SOUTH MIAMI Two Chefs 8287 S. Dixie Highway

South Miami

305-663-2100 Recognizing Two Chefs as the finest dining option in South Miami is like giving the New England Patriots an award for being the best football team in New England. Both are good enough to win outside such limited arenas. For eight years now this engaging contemporary American bistro has been consistently rewarding diners with fresh and innovative fare far from fashionable South Beach in both distance and style -- no pretension, just high-quality ingredients, solid cooking technique, intense flavors, and a deep passion for great food. Chef Jan Jorgenson and his veteran culinary staff, whom you can catch glimpses of through a partially open kitchen, conjure up an impressively eclectic range of menu options: flatbreads from a flaming brick oven in the back of the room with wispy, crisp crusts and creative toppings; inventive appetizers such as cured salmon with bacon and baby artichokes; an amazing risotto with smoked duck and homemade mozzarella; rustic comfort dishes like barbecued meatloaf or escargot potpie; a highbrow beef carpaccio with dwarf peaches and truffle; and soufflés in many flavors. The wine list is as quirky and exceptional as the cuisine, the waitstaff well versed in the selections, and the bar loaded with hard-to-find spirits. Two Chefs isn't hard to find, but for many it's too far off the beaten path. For appreciative residents of South Miami, it's a championship restaurant in their own back yard.

BEST RESTAURANT IN SOUTH MIAMI Two Chefs 8287 S. Dixie Highway

South Miami

305-663-2100 Recognizing Two Chefs as the finest dining option in South Miami is like giving the New England Patriots an award for being the best football team in New England. Both are good enough to win outside such limited arenas. For eight years now this engaging contemporary American bistro has been consistently rewarding diners with fresh and innovative fare far from fashionable South Beach in both distance and style -- no pretension, just high-quality ingredients, solid cooking technique, intense flavors, and a deep passion for great food. Chef Jan Jorgenson and his veteran culinary staff, whom you can catch glimpses of through a partially open kitchen, conjure up an impressively eclectic range of menu options: flatbreads from a flaming brick oven in the back of the room with wispy, crisp crusts and creative toppings; inventive appetizers such as cured salmon with bacon and baby artichokes; an amazing risotto with smoked duck and homemade mozzarella; rustic comfort dishes like barbecued meatloaf or escargot potpie; a highbrow beef carpaccio with dwarf peaches and truffle; and soufflés in many flavors. The wine list is as quirky and exceptional as the cuisine, the waitstaff well versed in the selections, and the bar loaded with hard-to-find spirits. Two Chefs isn't hard to find, but for many it's too far off the beaten path. For appreciative residents of South Miami, it's a championship restaurant in their own back yard.

Ortanique on the Mile
Photo courtesy of Ortanique on the Mile
BEST RESTAURANT NAME Ortanique on the Mile 278 Miracle Mile

Coral Gables

305-446-7710

www.cindyhutsoncuisine.com Once we eliminated all one-word monikers owing to lack of distinctiveness (Acqua, Ago, Atrio, Azul, Balans, Baleen, Chispa, Ola, Spris, Talula, Tiramisu, Touch, Wish), we were pretty much down to Schnitzel Haus, Tap Tap, Pacific Time, and a few others. One great other: Ortanique on the Mile. The ortanique is a hybrid tropical fruit (lemon and orange), which fits this contemporary Caribbean restaurant like a garden glove. On the Mile is a romantic phrasing of location. Together the words roll off the tongue like the title of a poem -- unique, imaginative, and functional. Plus Ortanique is a great restaurant, and we wouldn't give this particular award to anything less.

BEST RESTAURANT NAME Ortanique on the Mile 278 Miracle Mile

Coral Gables

305-446-7710

www.cindyhutsoncuisine.com Once we eliminated all one-word monikers owing to lack of distinctiveness (Acqua, Ago, Atrio, Azul, Balans, Baleen, Chispa, Ola, Spris, Talula, Tiramisu, Touch, Wish), we were pretty much down to Schnitzel Haus, Tap Tap, Pacific Time, and a few others. One great other: Ortanique on the Mile. The ortanique is a hybrid tropical fruit (lemon and orange), which fits this contemporary Caribbean restaurant like a garden glove. On the Mile is a romantic phrasing of location. Together the words roll off the tongue like the title of a poem -- unique, imaginative, and functional. Plus Ortanique is a great restaurant, and we wouldn't give this particular award to anything less.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®