Best Food Truck Turned Restaurant 2015 | Jefe's Original Soul Shack | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

The movie Chef, starring and directed by Jon Favreau, was inspired by the real-life Miami food truck Jefe's Original Fish Taco & Burgers. For years, this truck served the best fish tacos ($2.35) in Miami. They were Ensenada-style, meaning the fish was fried with crisp beer batter and topped with pico de gallo, crema, and cabbage on soft flour tortillas with a squeeze of lime. Now, at the Soul Shack in North Miami, you can get these tacos whenever the craving hits — no need to chase the truck or stalk its Twitter feed. What's better? You get an expanded menu with sandwiches, salads, beers, and wines. You also can dine in or take out. It's a restaurant you want to root for — for real!

Photo courtesy of the Mighty

"Excuse me. Do you have Brussels sprouts?" No. "How about some truffle mac 'n' cheese?" Sorry. "Maybe charred shishito peppers?" Not here. The Mighty is a real gastropub — the kind of dark, welcoming place you want to relax in and pore over a good beer list. When you get hungry, turn your attention to the house-made sausages featuring duck ($13), free-range rabbit ($15), and lamb ($12). You'd also be remiss if you didn't take advantage of the rotating list of house charcuterie. While other places phone it in, the Mighty cures beef filets and pork loins. It salts Russian pastrami, duck pâté, and cantimpalo. You never know what you might find, but the guarantee is it'll be hard not to order it all.

It's 3 a.m. Do you know what your next delicious meal will be? Your wasted buddies are pushing for something fried and filthy from whatever wretched fast-food joint your Uber driver passes next. But you know better. You're going to Moshi Moshi. Open until 5 a.m., the sushi and Japanese joint serves award-winning rolls alongside ramen bowls and rice dishes guaranteed to stop that sloshy feeling in your belly. Your fried-food-fiending friends won't be disappointed either, with a menu featuring a variety of dishes like chicken kara age ($8), tempura everything, and the Rock N Roll ($14), a fried sushi roll packed with crab and topped with avocado and roe. (Yes, of course you want extra eel sauce with that.) Not quite ready to sober up? Moshi Moshi serves beer and hot sake if you're slumming it and more than 20 other sake varieties if you want to spend a little extra on the good stuff. And with locations in South Beach and on Biscayne Boulevard, there's a good chance you'll pass it on your way home anyway. (But if you're likely to drunkenly embarrass yourself, do it at the relatively uncrowded MiMo spot. No one will notice besides the waitstaff, and those women know how to keep a secret.)

Readers' choice: Gigi

Photo by Carla Torres

You woke up hugging the toilet and grasping your liver. Only one thing can bring you back to life, and it's not a greasy burger with fries. No, you need something nutritious, organic, and peanut-buttery (hey, it's protein). Enter Under the Mango Tree, a holistic gem straight out of The Jungle Book in the heart of South Beach. It serves 100 percent raw, fresh, and organic juices, smoothies, and açaí bowls. The last will be your saving grace, specifically the Marley bowl: raw açaí blended with banana, almond milk, spinach, and peanut butter. The magical elixir is topped with sliced banana, berries, and shaved coconut. It's no hair of the dog, but the last thing you need after swigging a bottle of vodka is a bloody alcoholic anything. And priced at $9.50 for a small or $12.75 for an XL, it beats any other morning-after antidote out there.

Anyone who has attempted a three-day juice cleanse and failed miserably after just eight hours has surely never tried My Raw Juice. The online-only (for now) local company delivers raw and organic juice cleanses you'll actually look forward to. For $69 per day (or $198 for three days), you get six Mason jars filled to the brim with four pounds of liquefied fruits and veggies and no water — just pure, unpasteurized liquid goodness. For the first time ever, you might find yourself hankering for juice rather than food. You won't miss the act of masticating at all. Heck, you'll feel as though you're eating a bag of carrots or a handful of beets when you drink this stuff. But not all cravings will be forgotten: The nightcap nut milk — made with raw cashews, agave, alkaline H2O, sea salt, cinnamon, and love (the most important ingredient) — will leave you wanting more where that came from.


Sun Juice is the kind of place Carol Brady would've taken her bunch for an after-school smoothie. Parking is free, there's no website, and it's endearingly cash only. The iconic storefront has been painted the same cotton-candy pink with the same baby-blue awnings for at least 20 years. Inside, the walls are bright orange, highlighted with neon-green accents. It's an unofficial neighborhood landmark. The bell from the nearby elementary school determines the shop's peak hours, as excited kids rush in every afternoon. Like other smoothie bars, Sun Juice is stocked with citrusy fruits. It offers supplements like wheatgrass shots and açaí boosts that are blended before your eyes. The milk-based smoothies draw the biggest fans. The Nutella Nouveau is a glorious conglomeration of the hazelnut spread, nonfat milk, nonfat frozen yogurt, and nondairy sorbet. Smoothie? Maybe. Tasty? For sure.

Leah Gabriel

Miamians are in a liquid state of mind. Everyone is either juicing or talking about it. Juice shops and cafés are popping up all around town. But Juice & Java, with locations in Aventura and South Beach, is a pioneer of sorts. Since 2002, this place has been trying to spread the notions that our bodies should be treated like temples and that we are what we eat. The seemingly endless list of additive-free juices ($4.95 to $8.95) includes killer combinations such as watermelon/cantaloupe/pineapple and basil/strawberry/mango. For an extra buck, you can add health boosters such as ginseng, fresh ginger root, and whey protein. Also check out the solid-food choices, especially the pita melts ($7.50 to $8.50). The baked, not fried, falafel makes a great addition to any salad. Vegetarians and carnivores will be equally happy eating here, while juicers will think they've died and gone to juice heaven.

Don't let the modest storefront fool you. This year-old Argentine wine shop and bar is quaint but packs a lot of character and plenty of space. Hanging out on the patio and sipping reds or whites for $8 to $22 a glass, you'll begin to feel like Bunbury is your own best-kept secret. The rustic hideaway offers a delicious and extensive menu of domestic and imported wines available by the bottle for prices ranging from $26 to $129. (Argentine wines make up their own robust section.) The knowledgeable staff is happy to guide you with recommendations. Besides the vino, try the empanadas ($4) or share the cheese platter ($24). Or grab a main course of duck confit ($24) or veggie lasagna ($14). With smaller tables and lots of romantic atmosphere, Bunbury is the perfect place for a quiet, get-to-know-you date inside or on the back patio. Or bring a big group to sit at the table in the front of the store. Enjoy happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. There's even a large, free parking lot out back, so you never have to worry about where to park. One caveat, though: Drink responsibly.

Photo courtesy of J. Wakefield Brewing

Miami's beer scene is lighting up, with breweries making suds that really reflect the Magic City's diverse cultures. But of all the fantastic new concoctions, J. Wakefield's are the most innovative. Key limes, hibiscus flowers, and exotic teas are some of brewer/owner Jonathan Wakefield's flavor muses. The result is beers that are sophisticated and playful. His signature sours are exactly what you want to sip on a hot Florida afternoon. The brewer, who raised more than $112,000 in a CrowdBrewed campaign to help fund his Wynwood brewery, might be a new kid on the block, but he's no flash in the pan. By learning from established breweries such as Cigar City and collaborating with craft beer greats like Terrapin, Wakefield proves he has gravitas. Just a few months after the opening of his brewery, Wakefield is planning an expansion so he can bottle his beers. The only thing better than having a few pints inside the Star Wars-themed taproom is enjoying them at home. We'll hoist a glass to that.

Ah, rum. It conjures images of exotic, tropical locales, balmy breezes, romance, and maybe a hint of danger. That description can fit Jamaica, Barbados, and, yes, Miami. That's why when Matt Malone decided to open Miami's first legal distillery, rum was the only option. The distiller puts extra care into his product, going so far as to name his infusion tanks for famous Latin singers, including Gloria and Celia. Salsa music is played for the rums 24 hours a day. It seems all of that extra love is paying off. Miami Club Rum has won several awards and was named the world's best white rum at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Now, actor William Levy has partnered with Malone for a new campaign. The slogan? "My City, My Rum." The same should be said for all of us.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®