BEST PIZZA Andiamo 5600 Biscayne Boulevard

Miami

305-762-5751 A couple on their first date, late-night at Andiamo:

It's so nice sitting outside, watching cars roll down Biscayne. I think the fumes add a certain Manhattan authenticity to the taste.

I love that they make the pies to order in that big brick oven. I mean they're the hottest, most crisply crusted pizzas in town, and they've got those neat little black blisters on the bottom.

Absolutely, and there's like 25 toppings -- something for everyone, really. Which should we order?

How about the Brooklyn Special, with pepperoni, peppers, and onions? Or the Genovese, with rosemary roasted potatoes, pancetta, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola?

I'm a vegetarian. How about the Athena, with spinach, onions, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese?

I hate feta. Tuscan Tuna with capers, olives, arugula, and lemon mayo?

I have a thing about mayo on pizza.

We can create our own from this list of ingredients down here -- smoked gouda, pineapple, and anchovies? Just kidding.

You know, I'm sort of a simple person. I'd be happy with the basic Andiamo pie, just light, well-seasoned tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.

You know, if we order two small pies, we can pay a dollar extra apiece and have them turned into calzones.

No, really, a medium pie and salad will be fine.

The antipasto salad looks tempting.

I told you already, I'm a vegetarian.

Oh, right. Greek salad, then?

Greek it is.

Okay, we've got it. Now which beers should we order? Newcastle Brown Ale? Boddingtons Pub Ale? Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout?

I'm starting to get a headache.

BEST CAFé CON LECHE Islas Canarias Restaurant 285 NW 27th Avenue

Miami

305-649-0440

and

13695 SW 26th Street

West Miami-Dade

305-559-6666

www.islascanariasrestaurant.com You will be served a cup of hot hot hot steamed milk (pale yellow in color because it's made with homemade evaporated milk) along with a miniature metal canister's worth of sweet Bustelo espresso that packs the punch of caffeine on steroids. Pour the coffee into the cup, which will bring the milk right up to the rim. Careful, don't spill any -- as we say, it's hot, and you wouldn't want to put a damper on an otherwise perfect moment: the richest, fullest, tastiest café con leche you'll ever have.

You will be served a cup of hot hot hot steamed milk (pale yellow in color because it's made with homemade evaporated milk) along with a miniature metal canister's worth of sweet Bustelo espresso that packs the punch of caffeine on steroids. Pour the coffee into the cup, which will bring the milk right up to the rim. Careful, don't spill any -- as we say, it's hot, and you wouldn't want to put a damper on an otherwise perfect moment: the richest, fullest, tastiest café con leche you'll ever have.

BEST RESTAURANT TO ESCAPE OUT-OF-TOWNERS

BEST RESTAURANT TO ESCAPE OUT-OF-TOWNERS Joe Allen 1787 Purdy Avenue

Miami Beach

305-531-7007

www.joeallenrestaurant.com (Note to guests visiting our fair city: The following is of no interest to you. Really boring stuff. Please just skip on ahead to the next item, because reading this will surely be a waste of your precious vacation time.) It's not that Joe Allen is totally devoid of tourists -- Mr. Allen's original restaurant has long been a desirous dining destination for Broadway theatergoers in the Big Apple, so it's only natural that a few of those familiar with his skills as a restaurateur would seek him out down here. The small number of visitors who do manage to find Purdy Avenue blend in seamlessly with the eclectic mix of locals. Feeling as though you belong is easy at Joe Allen, which is one reason so many natives gather nightly at the bar for a neighborly reverie of chatter and drink. Another draw is the unfussy American menu of burgers, pizzas, pastas, steaks, meatloaf, sautéed calf's liver, mashed potatoes, peach cobbler, and other foods that are as comforting as the no-nonsense Deco décor. Maybe the biggest attraction for neighborhood residents is the things Joe Allen doesn't have: DJs, karaoke nights, giant TV screens, and pretension. Plus, as we say, out-of-towners are outnumbered and unnoticeable. Which is a good thing, because they aren't to be trusted -- just the sort of folks who would read this item even though we politely asked them not to.

BEST RESTAURANT TO ESCAPE OUT-OF-TOWNERS

BEST RESTAURANT TO ESCAPE OUT-OF-TOWNERS Joe Allen 1787 Purdy Avenue

Miami Beach

305-531-7007

www.joeallenrestaurant.com (Note to guests visiting our fair city: The following is of no interest to you. Really boring stuff. Please just skip on ahead to the next item, because reading this will surely be a waste of your precious vacation time.) It's not that Joe Allen is totally devoid of tourists -- Mr. Allen's original restaurant has long been a desirous dining destination for Broadway theatergoers in the Big Apple, so it's only natural that a few of those familiar with his skills as a restaurateur would seek him out down here. The small number of visitors who do manage to find Purdy Avenue blend in seamlessly with the eclectic mix of locals. Feeling as though you belong is easy at Joe Allen, which is one reason so many natives gather nightly at the bar for a neighborly reverie of chatter and drink. Another draw is the unfussy American menu of burgers, pizzas, pastas, steaks, meatloaf, sautéed calf's liver, mashed potatoes, peach cobbler, and other foods that are as comforting as the no-nonsense Deco décor. Maybe the biggest attraction for neighborhood residents is the things Joe Allen doesn't have: DJs, karaoke nights, giant TV screens, and pretension. Plus, as we say, out-of-towners are outnumbered and unnoticeable. Which is a good thing, because they aren't to be trusted -- just the sort of folks who would read this item even though we politely asked them not to.

BEST FLAN Lila's Westchester Restaurant 8518 Coral Way

West Miami-Dade

305-553-6061 There is a science to perfect flan: Look for holes in the texture. If flan is cooked at too high a heat, the mixture bubbles, leaving behind little holes with hardened edges. Flan with holes is not good flan. Lila's Restaurant in Westchester serves up a flan that is not only hole-free but also good enough to be sold in Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Sedano's grocery stores across Florida. The grocery-available Cuban custard, however, had its origins at Lila's Restaurant, where owner Reinaldo Navarro, Sr. served up his secret recipe. His son Reinaldo Navarro, Jr. and Navarro, Jr.'s wife Sara, were working at the restaurant at the time and eventually borrowed the recipe to open up their own dessert destination, Lila's Desserts, located in Kendall. Between Lila's Desserts, Lila's Restaurant, and the sweets section at your local supermarket, picking up the Navarros' famed caramel treat is as easy as, um, flan.

BEST FLAN Lila's Westchester Restaurant 8518 Coral Way

West Miami-Dade

305-553-6061 There is a science to perfect flan: Look for holes in the texture. If flan is cooked at too high a heat, the mixture bubbles, leaving behind little holes with hardened edges. Flan with holes is not good flan. Lila's Restaurant in Westchester serves up a flan that is not only hole-free but also good enough to be sold in Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Sedano's grocery stores across Florida. The grocery-available Cuban custard, however, had its origins at Lila's Restaurant, where owner Reinaldo Navarro, Sr. served up his secret recipe. His son Reinaldo Navarro, Jr. and Navarro, Jr.'s wife Sara, were working at the restaurant at the time and eventually borrowed the recipe to open up their own dessert destination, Lila's Desserts, located in Kendall. Between Lila's Desserts, Lila's Restaurant, and the sweets section at your local supermarket, picking up the Navarros' famed caramel treat is as easy as, um, flan.

La Gastronomia
BEST INEXPENSIVE ITALIAN RESTAURANT La Gastronomia 127 Giralda Avenue

Coral Gables

305-448-8599 Inexpensive shouldn't imply indifference, and inexpensive Italian needn't restrict itself to fried calamari and manicotti. At the charming, homespun, cheerily hued La Gastronomia, husband/wife team Roberto and Elizabeth Fayad offer diners friendly service and exemplary renditions of typical budget Italian fare such as mussels sautéed in white wine, salad Caprse, classic lasagna, and thin-crust, brick oven-pizzas. The pie topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil is on par with the finest in town. But this gastronomic couple tries harder than most to bring something special to the table, by which we refer to fresh spigola cooked in papillote, and orata stuffed with garlic, parsley, and lemon and baked alongside potatoes, tomatoes, black olives, and a healthy dose of fruity olive oil. You may be asking: What the heck is spigola and orata? Two delectably fresh Mediterranean fish (the latter known in Spain as dorada) flown in every Thursday from the Spanish coast. They alone are worth the price of the entire meal. The fish is $20, but you can eat more frugally by ordering dreamy homemade gnocchi Sorrentino for $9.95 and a surprisingly hefty New York strip with arugula salad and Parmesan shavings that's a steal at $17.95. Plenty of wallet-friendly wines from the tip of the boot to go along with the hearty fare, and fresh mango tarte for dessert. At La Gastronomia, inexpensive means incredibly rewarding.

BEST INEXPENSIVE ITALIAN RESTAURANT La Gastronomia 127 Giralda Avenue

Coral Gables

305-448-8599 Inexpensive shouldn't imply indifference, and inexpensive Italian needn't restrict itself to fried calamari and manicotti. At the charming, homespun, cheerily hued La Gastronomia, husband/wife team Roberto and Elizabeth Fayad offer diners friendly service and exemplary renditions of typical budget Italian fare such as mussels sautéed in white wine, salad Caprse, classic lasagna, and thin-crust, brick oven-pizzas. The pie topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil is on par with the finest in town. But this gastronomic couple tries harder than most to bring something special to the table, by which we refer to fresh spigola cooked in papillote, and orata stuffed with garlic, parsley, and lemon and baked alongside potatoes, tomatoes, black olives, and a healthy dose of fruity olive oil. You may be asking: What the heck is spigola and orata? Two delectably fresh Mediterranean fish (the latter known in Spain as dorada) flown in every Thursday from the Spanish coast. They alone are worth the price of the entire meal. The fish is $20, but you can eat more frugally by ordering dreamy homemade gnocchi Sorrentino for $9.95 and a surprisingly hefty New York strip with arugula salad and Parmesan shavings that's a steal at $17.95. Plenty of wallet-friendly wines from the tip of the boot to go along with the hearty fare, and fresh mango tarte for dessert. At La Gastronomia, inexpensive means incredibly rewarding.

Titanic Brewery & Restaurant
BEST MICROBREWED BEER Titanic Restaurant & Brewery 5813 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

Coral Gables

305-667-2537 When he decided to dip his toe into the rapidly growing microbrewery pool, Kevin Rusk wasn't entirely sold on the concept. He took his time, did a ton of research, and was considering the ideal theme for such an establishment. At the time, his partner Keith Wyness was affiliated with the cruise ship industry. He promised to deliver busloads of thirsty tourists as long as they came up with a catchy tie-in with the cruise industry. Rusk decided to call the place Titanic. When he's asked, "How could you possibly decide to name a business after a disaster of that magnitude?" Rusk replies, with a twinkle in his eye, "I like it. I thought it had a good edge to it." He waxes eloquent about the history of the ship itself, of the labor that went into its creation. Then he explains, "This was intended as a celebration of this incredible feat, as opposed to its demise." Fans of this exceptional neighborhood bar certainly won't let this ship go under, not with such a wonderful selection of unique brews available for swigging. Titanic's brewmaster, Stephen Copeland, attended the Seibel Institute, one of only two brewery schools in America. Copeland and Rusk chose the recipes from classic, established beers of the world and experimented with the formulas to create six unique beers that remain fixtures at the bar. The Triple Screw Light Ale is their most popular by far, a German-style pale, golden elixir with a dry, tart finish and a 4+ percent alcohol content. Their strongest brew is the White Star India Pale Ale, a remix of classic English ale with a 7+ percent kick. Titanic's beers range from the palest of ales, to honey browns, to full-bodied stouts. Besides the six stars of the permanent lineup, Titanic offers seasonal varieties that leave regulars wanting more when those ales suddenly disappear. There are no current plans to increase the standard lineup, but there's plenty more to quench your thirst at this place. Titanic also brews up a delicious apple cider, offers a range of commercial draft and bottled beers, and a full liquor bar besides. Despite the bar's proximity to the University of Miami, Rusk is careful to distinguish his place from the typical college hangout. Titanic doesn't serve pitchers, the bartenders scrutinize ID cards carefully, and the ambiance is mature and tastefully decorated with the awards they have won along the way, including previous Best of Miami nods. In 1999 they won a Brewie Award and were named Best Start-Up at the National Brew Pub Conference. In 2000 they became the only brewery in the state to win a World Beer Cup award. Titanic regulars might also want to give Rusk and company an award for most considerate brewery. Titanic goes beyond the call, making regulars feel at home with the Mug Club, which, for a mere $85, entitles members to a high-quality Titanic Mug Club shirt or hat, a complimentary dinner every Wednesday, and their own engraved mug at the bar, to be filled with twenty ounces of cold, refreshing beer that can't be enjoyed elsewhere.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®