Best Thai Restaurant 2014 | Asian Thai Kitchen | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

At the Kwik Stop in Coconut Grove, you can get almost anything: Bob Marley relaxation drinks, scratch-off lottery tickets, condoms, and the best freaking pad thai you've ever had. Tucked inside this average-looking convenience store stands a small counter where authentic Thai cuisine is made to order. Try the crisp som tam (papaya salad) with a savory ginger dressing ($6), or opt for the tiger tear salad, made with spicy grilled beef ($7) and fresh veggies. Curries can either leave a slight tingle on your lips or a fire in your gullet — it's up to you. If Thai food isn't your thing, the ladies who own this tiny gem of a restaurant also make one mean ceviche mixto ($12). Bonus: While you wait for your food to be made, you can spend your time shopping for a bottle of midpriced wine or a six-pack to cool the flames that your tongue and tummy are about to experience.

If your idea of Mexican food doesn't dip into the Yucatán Peninsula, you are seriously missing out. In case your Maya language skills are rusty, "cheen huaye" translates to "only here." And only at Cheen Huaye can you try superlative cochinita pibil ($16.95) and poc-choc ($18.95). The pibil features marinated suckling piglet that has been wrapped and cooked in plantain leaves until tender and flavorful. If you want to try this same meat wrapped in a tortilla and served at a bargain price, head to Cheen Huaye for lunch, when you can get the burrito Maya ($8.95), packed with pork alongside Mexican rice, refried beans, and pickled onions.

Just one whiff of Fritanga Monimbo will have your mouth watering and your brain racing. A quick look at the selection of food steaming on plates in its Plexiglas prison will have your heart aching. Free that carne asada and hide it in your belly. Liberate the beans in the gallo pinto and introduce them (and their rice compadres) to your appetite. You see that little golden-brown square of queso frito? It's so chewy it might sound like its screaming "help me." But as you close your teeth around it, you'll realize it's singing "eat me."

Remember when life was simple? When 401K was your score in Street Fighter? When the word "recession" meant nothing and "recess" meant everything? At Marie Patties in Palmetto Bay, life remains suspended in the blissful simplicity of your youth. There is no "menu" here. The only choice is whether to get your beef patty mild or spicy, the latter identified by a red spot painted atop the patty's golden-yellow crust like a bindi atop the sixth chakra. Indeed, inside each piping-hot pocket lies more concealed wisdom than in all the newfangled Jamaican fusion restaurants in all of Florida. Enlightenment for $2.25? Simply devine.

Chicken soup may feed the soul and a cold, but it's for amateurs. The roast duck noodle soup ($10.95) at Green Papaya sings to your soul. The bowl is lined with cabbage, and the tender hunks of roast duck hide beneath thin yellow noodles and the most delectable bits of fried shallot. The pho is dressed up and blinged out in toppings, but for a stronger broth base, try the Hue Castle noodle soup ($11.95), spicy stuff with both beef and pork floating around. On a busy day during lunch hour, a stranger might sit at your table. We're telling you this because you likely won't notice with your head buried in the enormous bowl of slurpable soup. Moving on to solids, how's the namesake green papaya salad? Oh, it's good.


Katsuya by Starck, like the SLS Hotel it calls home, is one part design fantasy, one part Cirque du Soleil, and one part dining. At any given time, geishas could be dancing atop tables or LeBron James could be holding court at the table next to yours. At a restaurant helmed by a lesser sushi chef, the food could get lost in the party. But the man behind all of this color and glamor is Katsuya Uechi, a master chef who gained notoriety in 1997 when he opened his first restaurant in Studio City, California. The decor is cool and bold, and the music is loud. But once your food arrives, all the eye candy and noise fades into the background. Scallops, yellowtail, and halibut may be part of your chef's selection of sashimi ($35), but no matter the fish, it always tastes as if it was singing with Ariel the Mermaid just moments earlier. And the signature crispy rice with spicy tuna ($14) is an incomparable accompaniment to the sake collection. After dinner, don't forget to have a nightcap (or two) at the sexy Dragon Lounge. It's the closest thing to a Hollywood-movie opium den that Miami has to offer.

You're at AmericanAirlines Arena, where the Heat just scored another glorious win or the big concert just wrapped up. You're exhausted and hungry. You need some serious noms to take home. You're in luck, because 3 Chefs is a hop, skip, and a leap north on Biscayne Boulevard. The extensive menu offers all your classic Chinese and Vietnamese favorites, from barbecue spare ribs ($9.75 for six) to crab Rangoon ($7.45 for ten) to lunch and dinner specials such as chicken chow mein ($6.45, $9.95) and General Tso's chicken ($7.95, $10.95), plus loads of variations on pho and bun dishes. There are tons of specialty items, from 3 Chefs steak ($18.95) to Peking duck ($36.95). Try the appetizing pu pu platter ($12.45) for a little of everything, and definitely, no meal is complete without some boba tea.

Miami is a nearly perfect city, but there are two flaws. One, of course, is the imminent threat of hurricanes. The other is the serious lack of good Chinese food. While we'll still have to board up our windows if NOAA tells us a big one is coming, our tragic lack of quality egg rolls has been solved with the opening of Blackbrick. Richard Hales, the chef/owner of the much-loved Sakaya Kitchen, opened this place and the angels wept tears of joy. Why? For the house-made dandan noodles ($12), the wonton soup brewed with rabbit stock that completely satisfies the soul ($9), and the General Tso's gator ($17). WTF, you say? General Tso's gator? Hales doesn't claim to be ultra-authentic; he just makes the food damn good. Which is fine when that means offering a drool-worthy bourbon trifle for dessert — topped, of course, with a fortune cookie. Because some things are classic.

Greek restaurants get a bad rap. They're often depicted as depressing, neon-lit diners or kitschy eateries with belly dancing and plate breaking. But spend the summer on one of the Greek islands and you'll likely take your evening meal in a small tavern gently lit by candles. If you want that kind of experience, you could either hop a flight to Athens and then take a ferry to Santorini, or you could simply drive to Kouzina. This midtown spot re-creates an evening in the Greek isles — beautiful people drink wine and laugh as they feast on saganaki ($9) and steamed mussels in white wine ($12). Many items are imported from Greece — olive oil, spices, yogurt (not the John Stamos kind either). A handy sign offers a few simple Greek words and phrases, one of them being kali orexi, which means "enjoy your meal." At Kouzina (which, by the way, means "kitchen"), you will enjoy — without a single plate having to lie broken on the floor to prove it.

Carina Ost

Mi Colombia truly is everything. Have a hangover on a Sunday afternoon? Sit at the counter and order the sancocho de gallina — traditional Colombian hen soup. It is a known hangover cure that comes with a large hunk of poultry, yuca, potato, a chunk of corn on the cob, a plantain, and a topping of cilantro and green onion. You also get a plate of rice and avocado slices to hold you over. Hungry and broke? Get the pollo frito ($5.50); the outside has the crunch, the inside has moist flesh, and it's topped with the most delicious tomato and onion sauce. It's served with that same buttery rice and either beans or plantains. The meal is so large it extends over the brim of the large oval plate and can easily be stretched into two meals.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®