Burger & Beer Joint

There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and new hamburger joints opening in Miami. And just as the manner of death and amount of taxation differ from person to person, so too do the burger emporiums. Burger & Beer Joint, part of the original wave of boutique burger bars that burst upon South Beach back in 2009, is distinguished by its superior hamburger (a second B&B has since opened in Mary Brickell Village). It's a ten-ounce, certified Angus beef prime patty that is assertively grilled and garnished according to your preference in rock song. Thunder Road? That brings smoked Duroc pork-belly bacon, American cheese, bourbon barbecue sauce, and, like all burgers, a side of skinny fries ($14). Hotel California? The burger gets dressed with guacamole, ranchero salsa, grilled red onion, cilantro sour cream, sharp cheddar, and a sunny-side up fried egg on a brioche bun ($14). Mustang Sally cuts the portion to eight ounces but ups the beef quality to Wagyu, with red onion marmalade, prosciutto, and Brie ($16). There's an ahi tuna burger, a portobello mushroom burger, a turkey burger, a chicken burger, and a Wagyu burger with foie gras, black-truffle demi-glace, and duck-fat fries ($32). Octane chicken wings, beer-battered onion rings, and mac 'n' cheese are among the snacks. But remember, this is a beer joint too: The selection, 99 strong, is one of the most extensive on the Beach. Booze-boosted shakes and rock 'n' roll tunes fuel the fun at this local favorite. Finally, we appreciate that B&B has a big heart: Ten percent of all 2012 sales from the kids' menu is donated to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Los Perros Aqui

After grabbing groceries, beer, and Lotto tickets at Presidente Supermarket; bleaching a batch of undies at Coin Laundry; re-upping your cell phone at Metro PCS; shaking some booty and slurping a mojito at Kaffe Krystal; and losing half of last week's paycheck at Luxor Gaming Center, you're gonna be superhungry, bro. Just stagger over to Los Perros Aqui and scarf a Super Perro Aqui. We're talking about hot goops of Swiss cheese, crisp chunks of bacon, a messy scoop of coleslaw, an entire bag of crushed chips, shredded bits of pineapple, spicy mayo salsa, and four hard-boiled quail eggs — all stacked atop a juicy, eight-inch hot dog. Sure, this whacked-out wiener is just a riff on the classic perro caliente colombiano, a boiled-dog dish native to Medellín, Bogotá, and Cali that won't be wholly unfamiliar to the average partying meat eater from Miami. Still, the Super Perro Aqui is a simple, straight-up masterpiece. Plus it costs only $4.85.

Kings County Pizza & Heroes

Boutique pizza has been overwhelmed by fancy burgers this past year, but the owners of Kings County Pizza in Aventura couldn't care less. Their Brooklyn/Neapolitan pies don't rely on coal-fired ovens or whole-wheat dough or truffled pineapple toppings. Instead, pizza lovers flock here for the crisp crusts, sweet tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese. A slice costs $2.25, a medium pie is $9.95, and a large is $12.95. The half-dozen varieties of the basic bring toppings such as fresh mozzarella and crushed tomatoes; salami, caramelized onion, and eggplant; and a "meatlovers" pie garnished with ham, sausage, pepperoni, and meatball. Kings County also boasts the classic square Sicilian pie ($15.95) with thick, airy dough. You can get subs, salads, and a limited range of Italian entrées ($7.95 to $10.95) here as well, but pizza is the king at Kings.

Mad Man Jack's Bar-B-Que

It's pretty hard to come by good barbecue in Miami. Hop on northbound I-95 and you'll have to drive for two hours or so until you find something halfway decent. But why would you do that? Mad Man Jack's Bar-B-Que is right around the corner, and the 'cue is awesome. Owner Mike Herran simply wants to give you "good food, well served." The space looks like an ordinary barbecue joint — red-and-white checkered table covers, dark wooden counters, barstools — but it serves its Alabama-style meat (focused on pork, often prepared with hickory and hardwood) con un giro inesperado. For example, order the smoked fall-off-the-bone ribs (half-rack, $14) with a side of warm, homemade cornbread ($2) and — just to make it 305 — a can of Materva. Yeah, you read right. Not into ribs? The monstrous barbecued pulled-pork sandwich ($7) will knock your sandy Havaianas off. And it goes very well with Jupiña or Ironbeer. Does that sound authentic to you? Of course not. It's not Southern-barbecue authentic, but it's Miami-barbecue authentic. And with that, we couldn't be more pleased.

Prime 112
Photo by Gary James / Courtesy of Carma PR

Fried chicken is one of those classic American comfort foods. The lingering scent of hot oil on a crunchy, well-seasoned exterior with bubbles of crisp skin and flour can be a culinary challenge. Some chefs brine the meat, others soak it, and still others forego any type of conditioning. Cooking temperatures differ across state lines. In fact, the methodology of making perfect fried poultry is highly debatable. Even trickier is this question: Do the fixings alter your chicken perception? Is bird served atop a steamy waffle better than a plate styled simply with grits and gravy? The truth is that all kinds of chicken dinners are welcome at our table, but when it comes to a seriously great meshing of chicken and accouterments, we'll steal a seat at Prime One Twelve's bar and order the fried "chicken n' waffles" with maple syrup ($30). This birdie is bathed in buttermilk and pounded out almost like a traditional Milanese, only thicker and juicier. The malt waffles are made from scratch, and warm maple syrup is the purest route to savory-sweet, which this dish does well. Plus, there is just the right ratio of waffle to bird, so you get a bite of each from beginning to end. Sure, it's not exactly the budget version of fried chicken, but we love it when a commoner gets elevated to royalty.

Shuckers Waterfront Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of Shuckers Bar & Grill

Since 1789, the chicken wing has been part of the U.S. Constitution. (Read the fine print, people. It's all the way down at the bottom before you get to the part that says Americans are obliged to dress in cheesy outfits for patriotic holiday observations.) Flashy, sequined American-flag bras aside, we know when we come across a good wing. Shuckers Bar & Grill's grilled chicken wings ($9.95 a dozen) are a prime example of the meaty ala. It's crunchy on the outside, hot and tender on the inside. There's a symphony of seasonings playing on the crisp skin, but it's difficult to put your finger on exactly what they are. The flavor is part tangy, part spicy, part char-grilly, and a whole lot of awesome. The folks in the Shuckers kitchen are staying mum about the recipe. It's a secret, and it's delicious. Best combination ever.

Sanpocho Restaurant
Zachary Fagenson

You can get everything from traditional straw hats and baskets to Sparkies candies (Colombia's answer to Skittles) and two-liter bottles of Postobón soda at San Pocho, a one-stop shop and family restaurant serving Little Havana's Colombian community. The restaurant has developed a following beyond the neighborhood, thanks to flavorful renditions of Colombian comfort-food staples such as sancocho (meat-and-vegetable soup) and tasty arepas. Come early for the shredded chicken- and beef-filled varieties ($3 each) — they sell out every morning. But the basic arepa con queso ($2) — a curd of gooey white cheese melted over a single grilled corn pancake to create a perfect hybrid of crispiness — is the most addictive.

Salumeria 104

The Dimwitted Nitpickers Association (DNA) recently convened for its annual meeting at Salumeria 104, the new midtown Miami shop that specializes in cured meats and other prepared foods.

"First thing I don't like about this place is they spell salami wrong," said Ed "Crabby" Appleton, one of the group's veterans. "Whoever heard of a u in salami?""You know what bugs me?" groused Sharon "Shush!" Schwartz. "They've got speck, bresaola, guanciale, cacciatoriano, mortadella, and two types of prosciutto — but not a hint of olive loaf in sight!""And they slice the antipasti too thin and dainty. I prefer my ham cut like steaks," whined Jack "Huh?" Carlson. But then a new member spoke up. "This place may not have olive loaf, but it has bright-red Italma slicing machines that cut the imported charcuterie paper-thin. That's the way it's supposed to be, Jack. And all those salumi — by the way, Ed, all salami is salumi, but not all salumi is salami — are prettily placed upon wooden cheese boards for just $6 per choice (although the prosciutto di Parma and San Daniele are $10 and $12, which ain't bad for those precious pork products). Plus bottles of wine start at $20 and get poured in tumblers. Oh yeah, the bread is baked fresh daily by Spuntino Bakery. So there you have it: the salumeria trifecta of great cured meats, delicious breads, and affordable wines. And chef/partner Angelo Masarin makes a spinach noodle lasagna and other authentic regional dishes that are worth a trip here even if you don't like salumi. The room is casual, service is friendly — you have to love this place! As a matter of fact, I can't wait to try the other 103!" "Hey, Bud," said Ed. "You're with the wrong group. The Dimwitted Realists are meeting at that table up front."
Edge Steak & Bar
Photo courtesy of Edge Steak & Bar

You normally wouldn't think of food trucks when you think of Edge Steak & Bar at the tony Four Seasons. Think again, because that's the theme of the weekly Sunday brunch at Edge. In this imaginary food truck universe, there are no plastic forks. Your simple street fare is lovingly created by executive chef Aaron Brooks, and there are unlimited bloody marys, mimosas, and mojitos to round out your meal. Food stations are set up as different food trucks, serving Cuban roast suckling pig, Mexican tacos, Peruvian seafood, and desserts. Food trucks not your thing? A traditional carving station offers tomahawk steaks, and upscale brunch fare such as crab claws and snapper wrapped in banana leaves are available. Brunch is served Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. At $75 per adult, this meal doesn't come cheap, but it's really the only way Muffy and Chip can have a food truck experience with white-glove service.

Camila’s Restaurant
Zachary Fagenson

Want to gorge yourself but not with the same old Chinese buffet? Check out Camila's Restaurante Brasileiro in the heart of downtown Miami. Don't expect anything fancy, but it has the feel of a working-man's joint. What you should expect is a delicious, authentic Brazilian meal, buffet style of course, for $12.95 — with free coffee (other drinks cost extra). Parking is a bit of a hassle, but filling yourself to the brim with a Brazilian buffet is well worth it. Feijoada (black beans with pork), vaca atolada, passionfruit pudding, fried chicken and pork, and much more is sold here. Camila's is one of the better values in town and a refreshing change of pace.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®