Best Mojito 2014 | Havana Harry's | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo courtesy of Havana Harry's

Dearest mojito:

Why do you tempt me with your delicate notes of sweetness?

The way your mint leaves dance around the white rum —

That twirl is enough to drive sound minds mad.

Your body sparkles,

Your contact cools,

Your taste excites.

Refresh me, but don't emborrachar me.

The bloody mary's origins are continually debated. Its alleged progenitors include Queen Mary I of England, comedian George Jessel, and French bartender Fernand Petiot. Most drinkers, however, don't give a hoot how it began; they just need that good old-fashioned hangover cure — and fast. Though Miami's focus on nightlife has made finding a good version of this daytime drink a challenge, the Morgans Restaurant's bloody saki offers a refreshing twist on the classic. It includes fresh tomato purée and juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, hot sauce, celery salt, ground black pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Instead of the traditional vodka, Morgans opts for Gekkeikan sake. Before you bemoan the loss of liquor, the lightness of the sake makes this bloody an even better postpartying option. While neutrally flavored vodka typically lets the tomato foundation take over, the sake adds a touch of bittersweet saltiness that complements the drink well. Generously portioned and garnished with olives, lemon, and celery, the $10 bloody saki is a satisfying steal.

Photo by Bill Wisser

What sets this wine bar apart from others? It puts wine at the center of everything. At Uvaggio, a classy little hole in the wall on Miracle Mile's long strip, the menu celebrates and elevates the grownups' juice. The menu is shaped by the wine selection. Instead of recommending a drink to go along with your meal, waiters recommend a small dish to pair with your wine. The cocktails aren't even safe from this dictum: no vodka or rum here. Instead, the chef and sommelier base their cocktails on sparkling wines and the like. Speaking of the chef and sommelier, Uvaggio employs a topnotch team, including former Top Chef contestant Bret Pelaggi, world-class sommelier Heath Porter, and wine collector and businessman Craig DeWald — so you know you're in the right place for drinks and exquisitely prepared dishes.

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.

Photo by Amadeus McCaskill

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.

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®