Lou's Beer Garden
George Martinez

You might be over the word "chillax," but you can still get behind the sentiment. Try sitting poolside in a non-sceney way with a cold brew while devouring delectable mini crabcakes with bitching sauce ($17). That's what Lou's Beer Garden has to offer. It's a hidden gem in North Beach that's like the kid brother of the Broken Shaker. You will feel like you're in a friend's backyard — if that friend had an awesome beer collection that took up the whole center column of a menu. Lou's has served everything from banana bread beer to big Belgian to local Florida ales. Sure, they make pretty good mixed drinks, but you come here for the craft beer libations, ambiance, and crabcakes.

Wynwood Brewing Company
Photo by Monica McGivern

It was only a few years ago that Miami's beer scene was dismal. But then something wonderful happened. Passionate homebrewers emerged and formed a community. These dedicated men and women brewed keg upon keg, turning garages and spare bedrooms into tiny breweries. They spent thousands of dollars only to give the fruits of their labor away. These beers began gaining a following and winning accolades, which led to some making the leap. Wynwood's family brewery was one of the first to open. It makes about a half-dozen standards, with seasonal and small-batch beers always on tap in the tasting room, which also serves as a showcase for local emerging artists. And the beer? From the refreshing La Rubia to the rich Pop's Porter, they're satisfying, fresh, and unique.

Huahua's Taqueria

Some say midnight is the bewitching hour. We say it's the time when dinner's satisfaction has worn away, leaving you with a gnawing hunger. The midnight snack was invented to cure this curious malady, leaving you with a dilemma: Do you go to a diner and stuff yourself with eggs that taste of grill grease, order from a fast-food drive-thru, or choose a better option — tacos at Huahua's Taqueria? This SoBe taco stand is the brainchild of chef/partner Todd Erickson, the man behind gastro-nirvana Haven. It tempts with nearly a dozen types of tacos, both traditional (carnitas) and whimsical (fried chicken). Pescetarians, vegetarians, and carnivores can sit side-by-side chomping contentedly as a new day quickly approaches. At less than four bucks apiece, they're even cheaper than that Grand Slam you were eyeing out of desperation. Huahua's is open only until 11 p.m. on weekdays, but the 4 a.m. closing time on weekends is just right for late-night bites.

There's no doubt fried food is the tastiest food on Planet Earth. Nothing beats consuming all that greasy goodness when it's 3 a.m. on a Sunday and you're drunk. Though pepitos, or Venezuelan subs, are an obvious choice at Pepitolandia, there's much more on the menu to choose from. The footlong bistro pepito ($9.99) comes stuffed with beef, chicken, or a combination of the two, mozzarella, bacon, shoestring potatoes, sweet corn, and onion sauce. And it's all served on a toasted bun. That will definitely sober you up. The American parrilla ($7.99 for a small, $15.99 for a large) brings a selection of meat, mushrooms, grilled onions, and melted cheese tossed over a bed of french fries — or fried or boiled yuca. There's plenty of grub for the DDs too. If you get hungry from watching your drunk buddy devour his pepito, down the full hamburger ($8.99), crowned with shoestring potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, egg, ham, melted cheese, and avocado and drizzled with onion sauce. Or try the Hawaiian hot dog ($4.50), topped with pineapple sauce, shoestring potatoes, and mozzarella. Burp.

There's not much we know about Tom Colicchio's still-unnamed restaurant that will open sometime in fall 2014 at the 1 Hotel & Homes in South Beach, so why all the hype? Well, in a world of celebrity chefs who serve donkey sauce and frozen food, Colicchio remains a chef first and foremost. He just happens to be the head judge on an Emmy Award-winning cooking show. Colicchio got his first kitchen gig at the age of 17 and, since then, has opened some of the finest restaurants in the United States, including Gramercy Tavern, Craft, and Colicchio & Sons. He's a multiple James Beard Award winner who also has a conscience; he supports various charities, such as City Harvest and Alex's Lemonade Foundation. His Miami restaurant will use locally sourced produce and seafood (he has friends in the right places), but most of all, it will be a major contribution to Miami's growing legitimate food scene. Plus, let's hope it will attract more sightings of Padma Lakshmi in a bikini.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®