Best Bakery 2012 | La Suiza Bakery | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
George Martinez

"Una croquetica, por favor. And while you're at it, mami, get me four of those cream-cheese-stuffed pastelitos de queso, some meaty chicharrones, five of those killer beef empanadas, a freshly squeezed orange juice, and three café con leches. No, it's all right, I'll wait. I know you're busy. I'll just stand here next to abuelo and contemplate why your bakery is usually standing room only while the Starbucks in the same shopping center is practically empty. Hell, no matter how long the wait, people come in all day long to order Cuban delicacies. Maybe, just maybe, the delectable recipes and undeniable authenticity put one over on corporate America and the gentrification that seems to be taking over every other bakery in the 305. Or maybe I'll just stand here and rejoice in the fact that I can take my grandparents and tía out to breakfast on this resplendent Sunday morning and spend only 15 bucks.

The finest seafood in Miami does not arrive on a porcelain plate in some glimmering South Beach dining room. It's served fresh and spicy under Las Delicias Peruanas' flickering fluorescent lights. This place might look a bit like a Third-World dive bar, nearly hidden in a Soviet-style gray building in Wynwood. But the food is first-class. Of course, as in any good seafood joint, you can't go wrong with the ceviche. Las Delicias serves it half a dozen ways — fish, shrimp, octopus, mixed shellfish, and various combinations — all of them doused in tart, spicy sauce. The price for a large plate is $11.99 to $13.99. For an extra $6, you can get the ceviche mixto tricolor — a giant, decorative, and tasty mélange of sea creatures served with three spicy salsas. Las Delicias is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For ordering purposes, it helps to speak Spanish. We recommend Friday and Saturday nights, when you can slug Coronitas and sing karaoke as you recover from overindulging in ceviche.

Foxhole Bar

The folks at Foxhole call it an "upscale locals' joint." Strange to see the words upscale and joint together in a sentence, but that is exactly what Foxhole is, a slightly classed-up version of the coolest lowbrow bar that happens to be located in South Beach. This bi-level fun house has it all — throwback '80s videogames, including Galaga and Miss Pac-Man (we dig that chick; she's fast), as well as classic bar staples like pool and darts. There's a high-techno gadget jukebox, comfy banquettes, and a big bar you can approach from all sides (cocktail traffic control is key). Bottle service can be arranged upon request, but there's a strict no-attitude policy. If you show up to drink, you are welcomed; it doesn't matter if you are a toad or a Euro-supermodel. We love that Foxhole is open seven days a week and that the drink lineup suits everyone, offering both creative cocktails and about 30 beers. You'll have to seek out the unmarked entrance, though; it's in an alley between Alton Road and West Avenue. Look for the lamp and consider it an adventurous lesson in game hunting.

Marlin's Stadium website

The chunks of fresh, succulent Maine lobster are as meaty as Giancarlo Stanton's biceps. Scallions are sprinkled on top gingerly, the way Emilio Bonifacio takes his lead at first base. A squeeze of lime sparks things in the manner of José Reyes. Add a Carlos Zambrano-like punch — um, pinch —of seasoning, and nestle it all in a split-toasted bun baked at a local Cusano's Bakery. The $17 price does seem high for ballpark chow, but when peanuts and Cracker Jack add up to $9, and a cheeseburger is $8.50 — well, that's your lobster roll dough right there. Thing is, you can't go wrong with Metro Grill's burger, either — a savory blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck. It's a new ballpark, a new season, and most important to foodies, a new vendor — Levy Restaurants. The 45 concession stands have a modern kitchen behind each and feature an extensive roster of quality snacks, from Cuban sandwiches to ceviche to that sumptuous lobster roll — all prepared to order. As Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen says, "I love that lobster roll as much as I love Castr — oh, sorry, I was thinking in Spanish again."

The last time this much mystery surrounded a plate of French fries, Nancy Drew was trying to solve the Case of the Freshman Fifteen. This year, for about the price of a paperback ($10), local sleuths can try their hand at figuring out how the fries at the Federal are so darn good. Lean on the server, and he might admit they are hand-cut and soaked in a preparation before being lightly fried. Sweet-talk the bartender and she might spill that the fries are left to sit for a while before being refried for the customer. But isn't it a little suspicious that chef Cesar Zapata knew to prepare them before they were even ordered? And what about the proprietary blend of herbs and spices, nuanced enough to make Lowry's seem like lye? How to account for the fried Lake Meadow egg laid across the top, just runny enough to glaze the spuds when a knife plunges into the heart of the yolk? Or the chilled ketchup that calms the edges of the seasoning while also making for a strange temperature speedball? Sure, Zapata will fess up that the ketchup is a twist on a generations-old family recipe, but isn't it a little suspicious that his great-grandfather knew the recipe and is now dead? The menu says "Townpark Fries," but maybe it should read "murder."

Sal Corelli prides himself on being the best small-time scam artist around. He crashes weddings, bails after eating at hotel breakfast buffets, and so forth. But Sal recently pulled off what he refers to as his "biggest heist yet." It occurred at Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar, located at the southernmost tip of South Beach. Lolita is a Mexican restaurant with "burlesque-inspired dining." Its red-velvet-embossed walls, gothic candelabras, and studded black leather couches bespeak a place that wants its guests to have fun. So as soon as Sal sat down, he was brought a complimentary bowl of grapefruit-mint granitas.

"Would you like a shot of tequila on top of that?" asked the waiter. "Make it a double," replied Sal. And that's what the server did. Soon, a basket of fresh corn chips, still warm from the fryer, was left on the table along with three zesty dips and a homemade mango-habanero hot sauce. He polished off everything quickly and was promptly brought refills — without even having to ask. After finishing the second basket, Sal confided to the waiter that he wasn't feeling so well. "Maybe a soft drink would help," Sal said. "I'll try a Coke." Normally he would have stuck with tap water, but while scoping out Lolita, he had noticed that a giant wad of cotton candy was presented with every bill. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave prematurely," he lamented after downing the Coke. "I'll take the check." Sure, he got away with lots to eat for little money, but most of Lolita's non-entrée items range from just $9 to $16 — and they're much tastier than you might expect from a restaurant that's ultimately about having a good time.

Have you ever had pico de gallo? No, not the tomato, cilantro, and garlic concoction typical in most Mexican kitchens. We mean the fruit version — mango, jícama, cucumber, pineapple, watermelon, and any other fruit seasoned with loads of chili powder and fresh lime juice. Are your salivary glands getting worked up? They should be. This is the type of thing you can find nowhere else in South Florida except at the Redland Farmers' Market. It includes a myriad of open-air booths that sell fruits, vegetables, prepared foods, boots, hats, and belts. It's like walking into Mexico — only better, because you don't need your passport. You don't need to speak Spanish either. The vendors either know English or are more than willing to gesture a price or negotiation. After perusing the aisles of ripe fruits and veggies, sit down for a few tacos from the food truck that calls the market home. Handmade tortillas and corn hot off the grill await you. Órale, pues.

Salsa Fiesta likes to bill itself as healthful and eco-friendly, but honestly, when tacos are on your mind, concerns about the next doctor's visit or the plight of our natural resources aren't really important. It's time to chow down. Luckily, the tacos at Salsa Fiesta deliver. The Venezuelan import offers four types of shells that range from whole wheat to crisp corn. From there, you can choose five types of flesh, including fish and carnitas, or the veggie option. Most taco joints would stop at this juncture, but Salsa Fiesta offers ultimate taco customization with four mixes. Try the Macho Taco, which comes with black beans, or the Guerrero Taco, which features mango salad topped with creamy cilantro. The homemade salsa bar offers many finishing touches. The fact that Salsa Fiesta uses fresh and nutritious ingredients and green practices will make you feel a bit better after gorging yourself.

For a tasty burrito that's the size of an NFL football and is made with only the freshest ingredients, this Doral hot spot can't be beat. These Mexi-behemoths are all priced at under $8, and the choices are seemingly endless. You got your three kinds of beef — shredded, ground, and grilled. Then you got your pork and chicken. Now add your choice of cheese, beans, lettuce, peppers, sour cream, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, salsa, perfectly ripened avocado slices, and of course, the best guacamole outside of Homestead. There are some other ingredients available, but we got hungry before we could finish reading the menu and ordered a burrito. Our bad.

The other stuff this produce stand sells is also awesome. Its milkshakes look pretty otherworldly. But we don't trek to the Redland that often. And when we do, our brain fixates on only one thing: the ridiculous glory of the strawberry sundaes of Burr's Berry Farm. Priced at $5.35, they are roughly the size of your head, but to share one is sacrilege. Smooth vanilla ice cream comes covered in freshly picked strawberries in a concentrated syrup. How to describe the flavor and potency of this syrup? If Mike Tyson were a strawberry, this is what his punches would feel like. You'll get several brain freezes. There will be a moment when you envision the disapproving frown of your cardiologist. But in the end, you will scrape your plastic bowl clean. And then you'll think about this sundae for weeks, until the next time you swerve into the dirt parking lot of Burr's Berry Farm. (Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily from December to early May.)

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®