Best Puerto Rican-Chinese Restaurant 2014 | Ming Yuan | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Best Puerto Rican-Chinese Restaurant

Ming Yuan

Puerto Rican-style Chinese food is one of the finest marriages the world has ever known. And Ming Yuan is the perfect example. True, it's 100 percent authentic Chinese cooking, by Chinese cooks with a Chinese boss. But it's located in Miami's Little San Juan and boasts a diverse staff and a devoted local clientele. The place has a family atmosphere, awesome delivery, and easy pickup, so it's a clear winner in every regard. The food is excellent, flavorful, and adapted to the environment, but still retains its roots. All of your Yuan dynasty favorites are on the menu, and so are the Americanized and Miamified standbys. The portions are generous, the spicy options pack a major punch, the fried rice is perfectly seasoned, and the chicken, whether fried or curried, is always on point. The barbecued spare ribs are finger-lickin' good, the egg rolls are golden and crisp with just the right snap, and the soups are all must-tries. If there's one word to describe this neighborhood gem, it's "¡Dale!" Now go!

Via Verdi partners: Mixologist Cristiano Vezzoli (left), chef Fabrizio Carro, and chef Nicola Carro

Biscayne Boulevard and Naples, Italy, have a lot in common. OK, there are no cobblestone streets in the Magic City's MiMo neighborhood, but with a little imagination, you can see more similarities than differences. There are ruins of some formerly beautiful buildings, for example, and you're sure to spot more than one scooter whizzing by. Plus, if you're on the corner of NE 69th Street and Biscayne on a weekend afternoon, you'll probably hear some Italian chatter in the air. That's the sound of Via Verdi's extended family eating and laughing on the terrace, enjoying the restaurant's version of brunch. Twins Nicola and Fabrizio Carro, along with partner Cristiano Vezzoli, have opened a charming space filled with rustic woods and modern touches. You can sit on the terrace or in the dining room (perhaps you'll opt for the intimate two-top inside the wine closet). The Aperol spritz ($9 at brunch) — sweet, bubbly, and bitter — is a perfect drink (and a helluva metaphor for life itself). Have some assaggi (small plates) to start. Try the polenta fries (which rest in a truffle Parmesan cream), some ricotta, a polpettine (one large and tender veal meatball), and some olives. Choose any five for $23. Then it's on to a steaming plate of gnocchi topped with Gorgonzola sauce ($15) before ending the meal with authentic Italian cheesecake. Here, as in Italy, the plates keep coming, so you'll get cookies with your check — a dolce ending to your meal.

Best Expensive Italian Restaurant


Lorenzo, located at the epicenter of Collins Avenue madness, looks like something you'd see on Rome's Via Veneto. Chic chrome accents the inviting brown leather seating. An espresso and gelato bar anchors the dining room. The man behind the recipes is all old-school Chicago. Tony Mantuano has been turning out legendary meals at Spiaggia for probably longer than you've been alive, and he's brought his red sauce and gnocchi to South Beach. Meatballs ($14) taste like Grandma's, and a simple bowl of steaming spaghetti alla nadia is made with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano ($16). But if you want your socks blown off, don't miss the grilled octopus ($14), the most tender and flavorful you'll ever have. Save room for cannoli, made to order and filled with candied oranges inside the cream. A little Roman holiday, via Chi-Town, in SoBe. Molto dolce.

Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Towners

Pueblito Viejo

Photo by Ricardo Rubio/Imagen Beyond

Specializing in Colombian dishes, Pueblito Viejo presents an authentic restaurant experience that's aesthetically pleasing and delightfully overwhelming. It submerges guests in Colombian culture with its extensive wall decor, culinary presentations, and live music. From the moment you walk through the doorway, you're surrounded by an eccentric interior design that pays homage to cultures native to Medellín. The entire space is an I-spy game of tropical foliage, indigenous animals, and creepy figurines of prominent Colombian musicians such as Shakira, Juanes, and Carlos Vives. If the vibe doesn't impress your out-of-town guests, the food definitely will. Popular items include arepa appetizers ($2.50 to $5.25), the "Pueblito Viejo en tabla" churrasco platter ($27), and refajo, a specialty drink made with beer and Colombian cola ($12.50 per pitcher). Try the whole fried red snapper (market price), which arrives propped vertically on a stick and served with lettuce, tomatoes, and fried green plantains. Stay late enough and you'll witness a band circling the tables while singing an improvised, satiric tune that will make you laugh while casually insulting you — if you can understand what they're saying.

A dining room reminiscent of a nightclub that's brimming with Miami Beach's glitziest denizens? That's certainly glamorous. Statuesque hostesses in barely-there attire escorting you to your table so you can throw back craft cocktails from the swanky bar and enjoy a Russian royal osetra caviar service costing hundreds of dollars? Glamorous as well. How about feasting upon a heaping seafood platter delivered to you by the BleauFish, the Fontaine­bleau's 43-foot commercial fishing boat? Yes, yes, definitely glamorous. Or what do you make of the fact that Michael Mina 74 is the latest venture from the eponymous James Beard Award-winning chef? Without question, the man behind 20 restaurants, including Bourbon Steak at Turnberry Isle in Aventura, is glamorous. But most glamorous of all is that along with chef de cuisine Thomas Griese, Michael Mina's hot spot proffers dishes that taste as amazing as they look. Bonus glamour: A late-night menu features items such as truffle omelet soufflé with truffle doughnuts.

When Jose Mendin and his partners opened Pubbelly in 2010, it was love at first sight for Miami. After all, who wouldn't fall head over heels for a chef who specializes in all things porcine? Unlike say, your first boyfriend, Mendin didn't become lazy with your adoration. Like a suitor who sends flowers and remembers your birthday, Mendin constantly works to keep the fire burning, creating memorable bites at Pubbelly Sushi and cooking perfect slabs of beef at PB Steak. Then there are his collaborations at the Pubbelly Group's other restaurants. His efforts paid off with a James Beard nod in 2014 and various other accolades, including a People's Best New Chef nomination from Food & Wine. Now Mendin is getting all continental with the highly anticipated opening of L'echon Brasserie, where he will offer his interpretation of classic French bistro fare. Jose Mendin is the gift that keeps on giving.

Best Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Teena's Pride

Contrary to what Publix might have led you to believe, vegetables don't grow out of the ground plastic-wrapped with a three-week shelf life. Industrialized food has so warped our produce sensibilities that you simply must opt into a farm share. A CSA will improve your waistline, your wallet, and all your unseen insides. Payment plans are varied and flexible, but for $46 every two weeks, Teena's Pride provides a quarter-share weekly box of Homestead-grown delights such as plump heirloom tomatoes, staunch bunches of leafy kale, summer squash and zucchini in bright yellows and emerald greens, fragrant Thai basil, and rainbow-hued carrots. The bounty changes every week. It's like Christmas morning for your kitchen. Shares also come in bigger sizes if you're eating for more than one. The program begins in November and ends in May, so you'll have to wait a few months to get on board — but it's worth it. Once you go locavore, you never go back.

Don't be surprised if Mi Vida Cafe has run out of what you'd like to order. It's simply a consequence of the vegan restaurant's ethos of using only fresh and organic ingredients (local when possible) and striving to limit waste. Mi Vida also doesn't believe in microwaves, frying, or preservatives; a huge chunk of the menu consists of raw and gluten-free items. Take, for instance, the tango-mango wrap ($14). The exterior is made from dehydrated mango, banana, sun-dried tomato, and flax seed, while inside there's avocado, tomato, cucumber, and sprouts splattered in a spinach cream sauce. It's light yet undeniably filling and tastes best when paired with a homemade smoothie ($6 to $8). There's seating outside along Biscayne Boulevard, but inside is a colorful oasis of calm. Come for lunch or dinner, but remember to silence your cell phone — there's a sign that reads, "You are here, so be here." Well said.

Kim and Louis Duncanson have been farming pure, organic wheatgrass in Miami for about 30 years. They started in an empty yard in Coconut Grove. Then they developed a supersterile hydroponic indoor system in Doral using desalinated seawater and mineral-rich nutrient feeds. Now they produce and distribute a variety of vital, raw, organic greens through every Whole Foods Market in Florida. They also distribute mung beans, sunflower greens, and sprouts through many retailers in Miami. But about a year ago, they opened their first juice bar, Green Garden Organics, where you can buy all of the above-mentioned products, along with traditionally delicious fruit smoothies, raw vegan pies, hummus spreads, and a variety of treats picked fresh from Mother Earth's supermarket — AKA the ground — and made fresh daily. With their dedication to healthy living, longtime experience with all that's good about the Earth, and commitment to clean, delicious excellence, the Duncansons' new juice bar is an amazing addition to the plethora of health-conscious establishments opening in the 305.

You're a cleansing pro. You've tried it all, from the Master Cleanse to the Candida Cleanse. But most have left you feeling hangry (hungry + angry) and less-than-refreshed. Luckily, Ten Fruit's Cleanse Professional is a less than painful way to give your bod a break. This is not a fast — just a chance to break your bad habits via an all-liquid meal plan. For $47.50 a day (a steal compared to most cleanses), you get six hearty juices in a supercute to-go carton. And truth be told, you might be too full to make it to the finale. From the early-morning Super Green to the evening Green Day, you'll drink your fill of wheatgrass, parsley, ginger, beet, lemon, cucumber, and kale. Add an impossibly delicious midday almond milk for good measure, and it's a palatable lineup for those seeking internal enlightenment. No stomach pains, no deprivation, no lightheadedness. For three days and $142.50, you'll feel like a million bucks. Your innards especially.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®