Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill
Devin Peppler
Living in a coastal town such as Miami, where shores line a large portion of the topography, you expect good seafood to be readily available. But there's good, and then there's great. For the latter, look no further than Casablanca. When a place boasts its own market, fishermen in its employ, and more than 20 years in the biz, you can bet it serves the freshest seafood. And Casablanca's chefs know just what to do with the bounty delivered daily to their dock. Finding that fine balance between flair and finesse, they offer delicious preparations that respect the seafood as the star of the show. Try the crab-stuffed shrimp in garlic sauce ($23.95), which highlights the crustaceans' natural sweetness, or the famous zarzuela de mariscos ($28.95), with generous portions of shrimp, mussels, scallops, and lobster in a delicate tomato broth with a cognac flambé. Let's not forget the unbeatable weekday specials, such as all-you-can-eat free shrimp on Mondays and oysters on Wednesdays — which means you can munch for the sole price of libations. Then there are buy-one-get-one-free deals on the catch of the day Tuesdays, lobster Thursdays, and stone crab Fridays. Plus the market always has a variety of fresh fare, from snapper to grouper to claws of all sizes. And the prices: some of the most competitive in town.
— I'm not sure I like the name Pubbelly. What's that supposed to mean? — Ya see, it's like a pub: a bar serving loads of craft beers, boutique wines, and sakes. A bit dark, a hangout for locals. — And the belly? — Mostly of the pig, and all for the human. — Huh? — Pork belly. In a McBelly sandwich with kimchi ($6). On a plate bathed in butterscotch ($15). In dumplings with onion marmalade ($9). In a bowl of lemongrass broth with ramen noodles and poached egg ($16). With pineapple in fried rice ($17). Plus they serve imported hams and plenty of nonpork small-plate menu items as well. All plated for the lucky locals who arrive early enough to nab one of the seats in the cozy, brick-walled dining room. — I think Brewbelly has a nicer ring. Or maybe Beerbelly! — Look, we can spend hours coming up with clever names for this groovy gastropub. What say we do so over some cold beers at whatever you want to call it? — Pig & Brew, here we come!

Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown

Sustain Restaurant + Bar

"Our menus change with the seasons. It is our mission to provide customers with the purest and finest local ingredients and to support farmers who take great pride and passion in their work." Yeah, yeah, right. Heard that one before — like every single time a restaurant opens these days. But the owners of Sustain, which began operating this past year alongside Mercadito and Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill on a suddenly hot stretch of midtown, are actually keeping their word. Most emblematic of Sustain's honest approach to American cooking is the signature "50 mile salad," composed of seasonal products such as Borek Farms beets roasted in a wood-burning oven, Teena's Pride heirloom tomatoes, pickled onions, spicy brassica greens from Paradise Farms, and fromage blanc from Hani's Farm ($9 small/$16 large). The named farms are in or near Homestead, and every ingredient in the medley is plucked from within a 50-mile range. The rest of the menu likewise pays homage to sustainable foods, which would amount to squat if the stuff didn't taste outrageously good. But here it does.
M&M Package Discount Liquors
At the intersection of LeJeune Road and SE Eighth Street a week before the March 15 recall election, Robert Gewanter's storefront sign captured the electorate's mood concerning a certain county commissioner facing imminent ouster: "Sweep Natacha Seijas out of office with the same broom she flew in on." For the past 18 years, Gewanter has been Miami-Dade's de facto town crier, issuing biting decrees about county politics and current events via laminated bold, black block letters. It began as a marketing gimmick to grab the attention of passing motorists. "The liquor business is very competitive," Gewanter explains. "It would be hard to put competitive prices up there, but people see a funny comment and remember the store." No one has been safe from Gewanter's sarcastic signage. Some of his regular foils have included former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez and President George W. Bush. Following Dubya's controversial victory in 2000, Gewanter declared, "He trusts people, what mumbo jumbo. If morons flew, the GOP logo would be Dumbo."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®