Devon Seafood & Steak

Kendall may be a lovely place to raise a family, but when it comes to dining, it can be a suburban wasteland. If you live there, you probably find yourself dining at big chain restaurants that "treat you like family" and whose waitstaff wears "flair" and suspenders. But, as if dropped from the sky by a benevolent race of space gourmands, Devon Seafood & Steak suddenly appeared at, of all places, the Palms at the Town & Country. Executive chef Scott Barrow serves a 16-ounce USDA Prime Kansas City strip ($45) worthy of any fine establishment in Chicago, New York, or... Miami! The seafood section sounds like a travel guide: barramundi from New Zealand, mahi-mahi from Costa Rica, rainbow trout from Idaho — all flown in daily. Devon uses the best purveyors for its proteins and produce — going so far as to thank them right on the menu. You might even recognize the names of some fine-dining establishments in the Design District or Brickell: Creekstone Farms, Jackman Ranch Farm, Lynn Bros. Seafood. Go ahead. Take the money you saved in gas and order dessert. After all, you're only a few minutes from home.

Best Restaurant on the Upper Eastside

Ni.Do. Caffè

Ni.Do. Caffe

Ni.Do. Caffè's bentwood chairs and wooden tables are very charming. So are the restaurant's artichoke soufflé ($14), delectable pumpkin soup, and ample meat lasagna ($16) — thick layers of pasta smothered in Bolognese sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Sure, at this Italian joint, there is wine, tiramisu, and fun. But stay focused, because these things are even more delightful with a side of Ni.Do.'s house-made cheeses: ricotta, mozzarella fior di latte, and burrata. The last ($10.50), made with cow's milk, is a wonderful knotted pouch of mozzarella with an oozing center full of fresh curds and cream. Add salty prosciutto, some marinated cherry tomatoes, and mixed olives. Italo-overload? No, no. A platter laden with fresh cheeses, vegetables, and charcuterie is as charming as dinner can get.

2B Asian Bistro
Adrianne D'Angelo

Everything about 2B Asian Bistro is bold. But first and foremost is its founder, Bond Trisransri, whose Mohawk is as tall as a top hat. There was his decision to open not one but two sushi restaurants in Little Havana (Trisransri also launched Mr. Yum at Calle Ocho and 20th Avenue). And then, of course, there is the food: colorful, intricate, and spicy offerings such as wahoo carpaccio ($13.95), sexy dynamite rolls ($16.95), and fried duck in cinnamon plum sauce ($24.95). That might be de rigueur downtown, but in a neighborhood where the average meal is a cafecito and pastelito, 2B Asian is downright different. That's a good thing. Although the bistro might be a bit expensive, most meals are worth it. The sushi is fresh and succulent, from the simple salmon yuzu roll to the luxurious lobster tempura roll. The renegade restaurant also offers steaming curries, chef's specials like the flaming fish — a slice of halibut engulfed in rum-fueled flames — and Thai doughnuts for dessert. Be bold. Indulge. You can always walk next door for a cheap cigar and a cortadito afterward.

For some of us, the other six days of the week pass in a gray streak as we await Sunday. It is then that our otherwise colorless week is turned tomato red as we sit down to that most wonderful of libations — the bloody mary. After all, how many other cocktails can boast they are as fulfilling as a meal? A bloody can disappoint by being unoriginal, but the version at 660 at the Angler's Resort is fresh and vibrant. It begins with a house-made mix consisting of fresh tomato juice, a squeeze of lime, a touch of Tabasco, and a wisp of Worcestershire. From there, Finlandia vodka is added, black pepper is sprinkled, and the rim is kissed with a blend of spices. The first sip is soul-satisfying as the subtle spice provides an endorphin rush before the vodka works its mellowing magic. One bloody is $9, but why would you stop there when three are such a bahgain, dahling, at $14? Though available every day, the 660 bloody mary is best reserved for Sunday, if only to give us a reason to live through the workweek.

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It's Friday evening on South Beach and you've just finished a stressful workweek. Everyone walking along Lincoln Road seems to be on vacation except you. As you watch tanned (or sunburned) bodies in bejeweled flip-flops stroll the pedestrian mall, you have a sudden urge to duck into a café and sit with a cool drink. The festive citrus colors of SushiSamba catch your eye, and you choose a prime spot under an oversize orange umbrella. You don't even need to peruse the menu. You want a mojito supremo ($14). Though many mojitos are mixed with whatever rum comes in a plastic gallon container, this beauty comes with Zafra, a rare 21-year-old Panamanian elixir filled with tropical fruit and spice notes. The rum is mixed with fresh mint leaves and lime juice before being topped with Zonin prosecco. As samba music plays in the background, you take a long sip, allowing the cold liquid to hit between your eyes in an exquisite brain freeze that blocks out the interior noises of your boss screaming, the bills mounting, and the world. Then you melt into the melody and enjoy your own South Beach vacation — if only for an hour.

Haven
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Fendi purses, Gucci heels, and Ferraris. That's how we roll in the 305, where excess is everything and more is, well, more. You can say a lot about our piece of the world, but you simply cannot say we are subtle. So when you're out on the town, will a simple $18 martini do? Not for a playah like you. You need the DiVine martini at Haven gastro-lounge. As you walk into the room, the bar is packed, but the crowd parts like the Red Sea for you, oh, master (or mistress) of the universe. You take the last available seat at the bar and ask mixologist extraordinaire Isaac Grillo for something special. What you receive is the DiVine martini, an ice-cold luxury libation that starts with a liberal pour of Stoli Elit (you know, the vodka that consistently achieves platinum status from the Beverage Testing Institute) and adds a touch of Filthy olive brine before being stirred gently but firmly. Prior to being presented to you, caviar-stuffed olives are added as a garnish. This is a cocktail worthy of your status in life. At $40, it's a far cry from happy hour in the suburbs — but then again, so are you.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill

Of course we flock to Lime Fresh Mexican Grill for those fresh tacos and that queso dip, but a meal here just doesn't feel right without one of those bright-green frozen margaritas. They taste like candy and go down even quicker. It's nearly impossible not to consider ordering another. Oh, what the heck. But let's be careful — too many could get us drumk. Ha, did we write "drumk"? We totally meant "drumk." Whoops, wrote it again. No, we're fine. Hey. Hey, reader. Did we ever tell you how awesome you are? No, we really, really mean it. You're always there for us. Reading us. Are you still seeing that guy? 'Cuz we always thought maybe, you know, maybe we could have had something. Oh, you're still together with him? That's cool. Don't worry. Don't even worrby abot it. Do you wanna dance right now? Ohmygawd, we love this songggg! Don'tyouloveit? It's soooooofjsdfjdkslfjsdkf. [Editor's note: These margaritas are delicious, but please drink responsibly.]

Tongue & Cheek

At most restaurants, the chef is in the back working on ambitious or classic flavor profiles for his food, leaving the bar manager to use the same recipes and possibly make a signature drink or two. Rarely does the chef leave his domain to venture out behind the bar and create a "chef-driven" cocktail program. But that's exactly what Tongue & Cheek's chef/partner Jamie DeRosa has done. Instead of hiring a beverage director, DeRosa created a collection of whimsical and classic cocktails for his restaurant. From the Bourbon for Apples, made with Buffalo Trace, green apples, and fresh thyme (with little red ice "apples" floating in the drink, $14), to the Walking Dead, a potent mixture of Death's Door gin and fresh muddled strawberries ($14), each cocktail was created to be appealing to the palate and eye. If you're looking for some razzle-dazzle (and an instant buzz), try the blackberry molecular margarita. For $22, you get a show, complete with smoky liquid nitrogen and strange glassware, that you can drink. Containing four ounces of Milagro Silver tequila, this is one potent potable that could do double duty as a dessert sorbet/nightcap or just an über-refreshing drink after the beach. Bonus: Get to the bar between 5 and 7 p.m. any day, and cocktails (except the molecular) are only $8. Good drinks, good deal.

Lagniappe
Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr

Lagniappe, the Big Easy-style beer-and-wine bar in midtown, has more than 100 vintages for sale. There are small-name vintners, such as Garage Wine Co.'s Chilean Cabernet Franc ($47), and more affordable selections, such as the Wishing Tree's Australian Shiraz ($25). Lagniappe does not charge a corkage fee. It does, however, include a $2 music surcharge on the bill — but that's only because this hip venue features live entertainment every night. So choose a bottle from the racks, pay at the counter, grab a few glasses, and saunter over to Lagniappe's tea-light-studded terrace. Listen to the fellow playing the cello while you swirl and sip. Lagniappe has a great wine selection. It's also a lovely spot to enjoy it all.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
Photo courtesy of Genuine Hospitality Group

The story behind Michael's Genuine Home Brew (22-ounce bottle, $12) does not begin with Cicerones sniffing pours and pinpointing the optimal colors for a brew. It starts, rather, with local ingredients, crop rotations, and farmers. In his first homebrew, James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Michael Schwartz uses Seminole Chief (Sem-Chi) brown rice — a crop that Florida Crystals uses to replenish soil after cane fields are harvested. The locally grown rice is shipped to Gadsden, Alabama. There, craft brewery Back Forty Beer Co. produces a light-bodied American ale with hints of floral hops and sweet citrus. It's among the first time Sunshine State ingredients have been used for the grain bill of a beer. That explains why it pairs so wonderfully with Schwartz's farm-fresh fare. Find Michael's Genuine Home Brew at all of Schwartz's restaurants — Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Harry's Pizzeria, the Cypress Room, and Restaurant Michael Schwartz — plus World of Beer, Total Wine, Shake Shack, the Room, Pubbelly, the Broken Shaker, Wood Tavern, and a ton of other places.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®