DeVito South Beach
Leah Gabriel

If you want to see how the other half lives, or at least eats, what place could be better than a restaurant owned by a genuine celebrity in the most celebrity-obsessed burg in the nation? Michael Caine, Andy Garcia, Pat Riley, and Eva Longoria are just a few of the A-listers who've slipped into Danny DeVito's over-the-top, Murano-glass-chandelier-and-white-leather-banquette-pimped space, located (where else?) on Ocean Drive. You might want to nurse a beer at the bar, though, unless your credit card can carry the weight of $27 shrimp appetizers and a "Global Wagyu Trio" that checks in at a celestial $295.

Pescecane

A big nugget of Parmigiano-Reggiano, spicy slices of fried zucchini, bruschetta, Italian bread, focaccia crisps. Flutes of Prosecco. The menu (voluminous, plus about 30 verbally recited specials). A bowl of pasta e fagioli and a trio of breaded, garlicky shrimp, each the size of a lobster. Endive salad — a palate-cleanser of sorts. A magnum of Barolo. Pillows of porcini ravioli in a champagne-black truffle cream sauce. Whole salt-crusted branzino deboned tableside and accented with olive oil and lemon. With potatoes, succulently roasted in garlic and sage, on the side. No. Make that veal saltimbocca with fettuccine Alfredo alongside. Hell, make it a double-cut veal chop, seared on the grill. With the roast potatoes. An order of wild salmon, too, to get something of a surf-and-turf going. Tiramisu for dessert. And a trifle of flourless chocolate cake. With sabayon sauce. Cappuccino, of course. A glass of complimentary homemade vin santo dessert wine. The check (pastas $16 to $34, entrées $20 to $45). An after-dinner mint? Why not?

Best Restaurant for Intimate Conversation

North One 10

North One 10

Monday: "You don't love me anymore!" he says to his wife with a fury, between bites of North One 10's signature pan-seared crabcake with whole-grain mustard aioli and apple-calabaza salad ($16).

"I haven't loved you for a long time," she replies matter-of-factly, before commenting on the earthy notes of her 2006 Erath Pinot Noir ($46), savvily selected by general manager Dale LoSasso (chef Dewey's wife) from the eclectic wine list. "I will always love Pinot Noir, though," she says, her voice suddenly cheery.

Thursday: "I adore the cozy ambiance here," she observes, noting the gently curved walls with stained-glass treatments, tin ceiling, and soft amber glow. "And the waitstaff does everything it needs to without intruding on, say, sensitive conversations. As for this cornmeal-crusted wahoo with spinach wasabi salad and brown caper butter ($19) — I guess it's just something I'll never grow tired of."

"I don't give a damn about the décor," he replies with a snarl, but then tastes the pomegranate barbecue double-cut pork chop with roasted purple potatoes, root vegetable slaw, and Indonesian almonds (only $19!) — what LoSasso calls "comfort food with an edge" — and totally forgets what they were talking about.

She leans over and takes a forkful from his plate while flashing that alluringly sly smile of hers.

Maybe she still loves me after all, he thinks, his heart suddenly swelled with hope.

Saturday: "So you like the place, huh?" is about all he can think to say while immersed in his dessert of red-wine-roasted pears with ginger sabayon cream sauce ($7). "My ex-wife liked it too. We were divorced yesterday."

"Of course I like the place. Everyone does. The food, service, and wines are second-to-none. And I adore the décor. Now stop being so mopey and pass the sugar," his escort replies.

Best Restaurant in a Shopping Mall

Pilar

Pilar

Scott Fredel opened this stylish contemporary American bistro in Aventura's sprawling Promenade Shops to show that white-tablecloth dining didn't have to come at white-knuckle prices. Four years later, he's made his point and then some. Sophisticated dishes such as slow-roasted salmon with truffled red potato salad and coarse-grained mustard sauce come in at a fistful of dollars less than at the tony South Beach eateries where Fredel used to cook, with all but a handful costing $20 or less. And the benefits of eating in a mall restaurant that doesn't look or act anything like a mall restaurant? Priceless.

Copas y Tapas

Most wine bars could just as easily be called whine bars, as in: "How come there's nothing decent to eat here to go along with all the great wine?" Well, your sniveling pleas have been answered at this cozy, comfy Coral Gables wine shop/tapas bar. To go along with more than 100 bottles of (all Spanish) wine are wickedly flavorful small plates of gambas al ajillo ($9.95), zippy little piquillo peppers stuffed with a silken purée of bacalao and potato ($6.95), and one of the best Spanish tortillas in town ($4.95). So eat, drink, enjoy. And stop your whining.

Ideas Restaurant

We could start by making a joke at the expense of Coconut Grove's grim dining scene — such as how choosing the best restaurant in this area is like selecting the best Jewish football star. But that would be needlessly snarky. Besides, since Ideas Restaurant opened here in late 2006, the Grove has itself a star establishment to build upon. The chef, Alvaro Beade, hails from the Castilla y León region of Spain, and his cooking style is clean, vibrantly flavored, and highly innovative. Seafoods such as cuttlefish, lubina, and dorada (the last crusted in sea salt) are shipped from his country's Mediterranean coast, which makes Ideas ideal for a sumptuous fish dinner. Yet there is so much more to try, for no other Spanish restaurant in town serves dishes such as consommé of Serrano ham, carpaccio of king prawn, veal cheeks braised in red wine, and confit of suckling baby pig (entrées are in the $28 to $48 price range).The selection of wines is as distinctive as the cuisine, from the Verdejo whites of Rueda to the robust reds of Ribera del Duero. With a restaurant this fine in Coconut Grove, can an NFL quarterback named Moishe Schwartz be far behind?

Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante

Ever since Norman Van Aken copped our award for Best Restaurant in Coral Gables for 10 years straight, there has been an aversion to repeating winners in the same category. It's so lazy. So boring. So predictable. But when an establishment is as singularly rewarding as Sardinia, there really isn't much choice in the matter. Few restaurants re-create the ambiance and cuisine of another country as authentically, and none has chosen a more gastronomically interesting nation. Peerless antipasti platters are assembled from each diner's choice of imported meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables, and other tasty tidbits such as Castelvetrano olives tossed with wild fennel flowers. The Sardinian wines are unique, the Italian wines extensive. Whole octopus, rib eye steaks, and suckling pigs get smokily roasted in a roaring wood-fired oven, branzino crusted in sea salt, lamb and rabbit braised into stew (entrées run $26 to $38). Pastas, almost all under $20, include distinctive cuts such as paccheri and malloreddus, and hearty garnishings such as wild boar sausage and rabbit ragout. Ambiance and service, too, are a notch above the rest, and the hours are easy to remember: noon to midnight seven days a week. Could Norman's record be in jeopardy?

Best Restaurant in South Miami-Dade

Cafe Pastis

Café Pastis

Houdini would have been hard-pressed to match the magical act of Marseille-born, Paris-trained chef Philippe Jaccquet, who somehow produces a full menu worth of authentic Southern French bistro cuisine from a kitchen smaller than Richard Simmons' wardrobe closet. The cramped dining room is barely larger, but brightened with Gallic knickknacks and posters hanging from vibrantly colored walls. A favorite is the mussels and frites, and also steak frites — heck, we really like the frites, crisply culled from fresh potatoes and served in paper-lined tins. Other lunch and dinner specialties hit the spot in flavorful no-frills fashion, from escargots to bouillabaisse to steak in peppercorn sauce; from duck pâté with fig tapenade to lamb shank roasted in orange and thyme (appetizers average $10 to $15, main courses $11 to $21). It doesn't take sleight of hand to conjure an honest country meal here — except on Sundays, when Pastis is closed.

Best Restaurant to Keep Warm on a Chilly Night

Con Tutto

During those uncommon evenings when there's a winter bite in the air, dining outdoors at Con Tutto can still feel like summer. The secret is to nab one of the outdoor tables closest to the grill, which is ensconced in a blazing brick furnace. As traditional parrillada components sizzle on the parrilla (flank and skirt steaks, sweetbreads, sausages, kidneys, and so forth), flames intermittently erupt and billows of smoke enshroud the diners. Crusty flautas; charred, thick-crust pizzas; and mile-high chivitos are also praiseworthy at this Uruguayan hole-in-the-wall on Calle Ocho. Of course on most Miami nights, it is advisable to seek those seats in Con Tutto's intimate alleyway courtyard that are farthest from the grill — although it depends on your preferred dining climate. People disagree about the merits of hot and cold weather all the time, but Con Tutto's prices are indubitably decent — the parrillada for one is $14.99, for two only $22.99. Everything else costs less. That's hot. And it's cool.

Best Restaurant When Someone Else Pays

Il Gabbiano

Il Gabbiano
Courtesy of Il Gabbiano

The chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano that gets plunked upon your plate is complimentary. So are toasts piled with bright bruschetta, a plate of garlic-fried zucchini slices, and sourdough bread with olive oil. At the end of the meal, glasses of limoncello are poured — free of charge. Everything else at Il Gabbiano is priced sky-high, which also describes the quality of hearty New York-style Italian fare. Take, for instance, the pastas, homemade by an Italian pasta chef who worked with the owners during their decades-long success running Il Mulino in New York City — the porcini ravioli bathed in champagne sauce costs $38, but, as the getting-old cliché goes, the taste is priceless. Same standards apply to grilled calamari ($19), osso buco Milanese ($42), grilled branzino ($48), and a textbook tiramisu ($12). There are 200 wines and outdoor seating with a gorgeous vista of Biscayne Bay. Yes, it is all so very expensive, but only if you pay. The trick is to maneuver things so that someone else does (although try to avoid doing so on a Sunday — when Gabbiano is closed).

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®