Best Farmers' Market 2008 | Upper Eastside Green Market | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

In the subtropics, most of the places called farmers' markets sell tchotchkes to tourists. But this new neighborhood-generated venture peddles the real thing: fresh produce and good, edible regional products. Although vendors vary somewhat, roughly 20 show up each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The selection has been impressive enough to lure shoppers such as chefs Michael Schwartz and Michelle Bernstein. We recently bought just-picked tomatoes for $1.99 per pound, bulb onions for a buck a bunch, humongous HoneyBell tangerines for 50 cents apiece, unusual white-and-lavender Sicilian eggplants for $1.69 a pound, and much more. There have also been many varieties of unprocessed regional honey and local seafood (stone crab claws and shrimp for $8 per pound and grouper fillets for $10). Additionally, many booths sell prepared foods, perfect for picnicking in Legion Park, which is behind the market. There's mouthwatering mozzarella and burrata; fresh-baked breads; more than half a dozen types of flavored hummus; empanadas; fresh-squeezed juices; and weekly changing entrées (including Indonesian chicken salad and shrimp ceviche) from Dewey and Dale LoSasso of North 110. Though the market will close for the summer, plans are to bring it back in November, and year-round operation is under discussion.

Brazilian historians including Luis da Camara Cascudo trace feijoada's origins to stews from southern European countries such as France, Spain, Italy, and, of course, Portugal. Unofficial theories credit African slaves on Brazilian colonial farms for creating the national dish; after all, the meaty broth is prepared with the cheapest ingredients. Feijoada is a smorgasbord of black turtle beans, chorizo, salted pork, and beef, with trimmings such as pig ears, tails, and feet. Then there's the beef loin and cow tongue. It's cooked inside a thick clay pot over a slow fire. It's an exquisite delicacy that requires a lot of patience to perfect, so you won't find it at some Brazilian eateries. At this little bit of Brazil, the stuff is available only on weekends and served on a steaming bed of white rice alongside coarse cassava flour and chopped refried collard greens. While you are there, check out the market's wide array of Brazilian food products, especially unique snacks such as empada, coxinha, risole, and kibeh. The place is easy to find: Simply head along U.S. 1 until you reach the traffic light at SW 93rd Street, just south of Dadeland Mall. Mercado Brasil is on the northwest corner. Pull into one of the parking spaces in front of the store. Or take Metrorail to the Dadeland South station and walk two blocks north if you are feeling green. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, and 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays.

This restaurant is owned by superstar rap artist Rick Ross, and he don't play. He hired a team of graduates of Miami's Johnson & Wales School of Culinary Arts to create some of the best fried food platters in town. The hot chicken wings are to die for, but you gotta try the Lil Wayne fish and chips ($7.49). Named for the "best rapper alive," according to the menu, the dish comes with two big deep-fried tilapia fillets, curly fries, and a drink. You can get it spicy or with a variety of sauces. If you are in the mood for shrimp, try the Fat Joe Fish and Shrimp Platter ($9.52), which is pretty damn good as well. Then lean back and enjoy the ambiance. Photos of Rick Ross decorate the walls as his music plays on the sound system.

It is a fillet of snapper. Not just any snapper, but a shiny, pristine snapper. The first step is to snatch it from local waters and give it a brief respite on a bed of crushed ice in a display case at Bahamas Fish Market. Next, the fish is transferred from ice to kitchen, lightly floured, crisply fried, and plunked onto a soft bun with lettuce and tomato. Then a little cup of tartar sauce is placed on the side. The price is $3.23. So simple, yet flawless. For an extra 70 cents, you can get French fries too. Of course you can always take advantage of the wide array of seafoods available in the market section and fry your own fish sandwich at home, but then you would be missing the funky nautical ambiance. Or maybe you're not in the mood for Miami's finest fish sandwich. Try the bountiful whole fried fish dinner — bread comes on the side. If you are really not in the mood for Miami's finest fish sandwich, there is a big menu of seafood dishes with a Cuban slant, including escabeche, fried pickled kingfish, and even a reputable tostones rellenos. But, again, the real message here is: Bahamas Fish Market. Fresh fish sandwich. $3.23.

You won't need a fork; your hand in claw formation will do just fine. And it's a good idea to bring a partner to this Biscayne corridor hotspot, because who else will tell you that you have a trail of amazingly spicy and perfect salsa verde sprinting down your chin? Table manners aside, the only way to enjoy Ver Daddy's Baja fish taco is to lift the overstuffed flour tortilla to your mouth, bite, chew, and repeat. Let the shop's trademark Mexican cream hit each of your taste buds. Bite, chew, and repeat as wonderfully spiced coleslaw drops to the table. Bite, chew, and repeat until all of the beer-battered and deep-fried chunks of tilapia are gone. Recline in your chair as you reminisce about how the crisp exterior of the fish crackled on your tongue and how moist and flaky the inside was. Then repeat your trip to the counter and get another order. Pull $5.75 from your pocket, bite, chew, and repeat.

George Martinez

Think of flan as the more feminine version of crème brûlée. Whereas crème brûlée is dense and custardy, flan is light and eggy. Whereas crème brûlée sports a thick, brittle crust of caramelized sugar, flan sits in a shimmering, golden pool of liquid caramel. And when you think of flan, think of Miami's only tapas bar in a gas station, where you can fill your tank with unleaded and your stomach with all manner of Spanish wines and delicacies. But in the end, what will keep you coming back is the soursop flan, which for all of $5 will seduce you with the texture of edible silk and the flavor of a dozen tropical fruits.

No flour, butter, or chocolate chips here. The main ingredients are walnuts, egg whites, and rich, deep red cocoa powder. The result is a bargain for $3.50: a giant, dark brown confection that's one inch thick and four inches in diameter. They are chunky, with a crisp exterior and a moist, gooey center. Flawless.

Dadeland Mall

You can walk around this food court, eating free samples of international culinary treats, until you are just about full. Once you have finished making the rounds and have purchased some food, have a seat near Enrique's Café, where beer is served all day. This food court is not just about taking a free piece of chicken and sipping an icy-cold beverage; it is also about making new friends. The tables here are nearly all connected and you will be forced to sit next to strangers while you eat. So you've got great food, great conversation, and, last but not least, great service. The head janitor, Kevin Warhaft (check out his MySpace page,, has been working here for 17 years. His hat says it clearly: "The Man, the Myth, the Legend." We recently spoke with Kevin, and he told us about life at the food court. "I clean tables, I clean the bathroom, I take the trays from the tables," he said. "I also get to meet a lot of cool people here. A lot of hot girls come into the food court. I've seen fights break out here, and I've met some celebrities." Like who? "Rudy Sarzo [former bass player of Quiet Riot, currently with Ronnie James Dio] has been here more than once. I saw O.J. Simpson at the Johnny Rockets about eight years ago." So what's Kevin's favorite place to eat here? "Cozzoli's Pizza for sure. They have good pizza, and they've been here longer than I have. Chick-fil-A is very good; so is Chicken Kitchen. You have Johnny Rockets, and the new Tony Roma's is pretty good." Baby-back ribs and beer at a food court? What more could you ask for?

Many folks visit this Calle Ocho landmark for its fresh produce and flowers, or for the frothy mango, guanabana, and mamey batidos that are the open-air market's specialty. But the place also serves lunch daily — heaping out huge portions at a pocket-friendly $4 a pop. The only catch is that the menu is limited to one item. Don't worry — when the fricasse de pollo con ensalada y pan runs out, the blenders still offer a world of fruity nourishment that's always fresh.

Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa

Fries come fat, skinny, lightly colored, darkly colored, curlicued, shoestringed, Texas-cut, crinkle-cut, spiced, spicy, and salted to vastly varying degrees. So in the past, our pick for finest might have been influenced by a personal bias toward one style or another. But when Bourbon Steak arrived in 2007 at Turnberry Isle with acclaimed West Coast chef Michael Mina's signature duck-fat fries, the competition was left waddling behind, ankle-deep in soybean oil. Using duck fat as a frying medium is an age-old French tradition that lends a richer, fuller flavor to the potatoes. But Mina keeps things modern by serving the thin, crisp, twice-fried spuds three ways: truffled, perked with smoked paprika, and flush with fresh herbs. Each comes with matching accompanying dip (at $8 per order, these pommes frites demand more than Heinz). Of course French fries alone do not constitute a proper meal, so consider ordering one of the tastiest steaks in town on the side.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®