Natalia Molina

Just because you can't go to Mykonos doesn't mean you can't go to Mykonos, in Miami that is. We're referring to the decades-old restaurant on Coral Way that serves authentic Greek fare at affordable prices. The gyros — available on a platter ($11.95) or individually ($7.95) — are the most popular items, and for good reason. Mykonos Greek Restaurant knows how to make the lamb perfectly tender and proffers some of the finest tzatziki in town. If you think tzatziki makes everything better, you're right. Other favorites include the aromatic chicken and lemon soup ($4.95) and the vegetarian moussaka ($9.95). Cap it all off with some Greek wine and baklava ($3.50). You'll forget you haven't actually left the 305.

Zachary Fagenson

As soon as you eye your bento box, there's a problem. Where to start? This is the only option proffered by chef Kevin Cory, so you'd better be smart. A dozen little compartments carefully hold uni, tofu — is that battera? You're dizzy, right? Take a moment to breathe. Hold on, take it slow. Think while you savor lobster and avocado. Take a sip of corn miso, then seaweed with shiso. It's all followed up by nutty rice with bamboo. Next, move to kingfish, steamed and quite light. Follow with pork jowl, a meaty little bite. Now you think you're done, and you're sad. But then sweetened rice dumplings appear with whatever fruit happens to be in season. Douse them with matcha, an earthy green tea, then pause to realize you now know what lunch should be.

Photo by Zachary Fagenson

Try to sound it out slowly: Phuket Thongsodchaveondee ("poo-ket tong-so-cha-ven-dee"). Got it? Good. Now you know who's saving Miami from peanut-buttery pad thais and so-called curries containing little more than jarred paste and canned coconut milk. Thongsodchaveondee's tiny Biscayne Boulevard spot is covered with ads for superhero movies ripped out of Thai magazines. The offerings scribbled on a chalkboard menu demand a double take. There's branzino in orange curry ($25); fresh, flat noodles with grilled pork shoulder in a thick, savory miso broth ($10); and fried rice studded with chunks of fermented pork sausage ($9). The cook, who formerly worked at Bal Harbour's famed Makoto, learned much of his art from his father, who once owned a hotel in Phuket Province, known for its azure waters. Perhaps Miami's similarly stunning beaches are what drew Thongsodchaveondee to the Magic City. Whatever happened, we're glad he brought the flavors of home with him.


West Miami-Dade's Lung Gong Restaurant has long been adored for its blue menu, which proffers palate-searing Sichuan-style cuisine. While the squeamish can dine on all the General Tso's chicken they like, enthusiasts can select from plates of shredded pig ear in black bean sauce ($12.95) and claypot pork braised with chestnuts ($13.95). The place recently got a new owner, but don't fret. Manager Jim Liu, husband of owner Yingxi Wang, says longtime favorites such as whole snapper cooked in a numbing combination of dried peppers and Sichuan peppercorns ($16.98) will stick around.

Readers' choice: Tropical Chinese

Speedily spirit your Shanghai soup dumplings ($7.99) away from Dumpling King. The aim is to get them home once they've cooled just a bit. When you're safely away from judging eyes, you can pierce the little pouches, releasing their glossy broth for your sipping enjoyment. You're at home, so feel free to slurp as loudly as you like. Nor must you contain the pain of an inevitable burn. Then move on to little fried purses filled with pork and pak choi ($6.99) or a bowl of scalding-hot mapo tofu ($6.99). If you're smart, you remembered to bring home sweet taro bubble tea ($4) to cool things down.

It seems Miami's Sinophiles forget about South Garden despite the fact it offers both Americanized Chinese and more traditional fare. So take something to go. Once you're home, no one can judge you for scarfing down ten sticky honey chicken wings ($6.95). No one will see when you follow that with salty sliced fish in rice porridge called congee ($5.75) or a spider-like Dungeness crab that's been wok-fried with ginger and scallions. You won't have to hide when you gobble up South Garden's black mushrooms and bok choy ($10.95). Heck, now that you think about it, be proud! You're eating some seriously awesome Chinese chow.

Our bodies are our temples. That fact is easy to forget while downing tequila shots and eating croquetas. But Temple Kitchen can offer your cuerpo some TLC to keep going. The food here tastes good and is good for you. Try the cozy Curry Favor hot pot ($11), brimming with red chilies, fresh mushrooms, eggplant, edamame, coconut milk, and green curry. Or sip the seriously strong Just Ginger Elemental Elixir ($3) — a fantastically spicy pure ginger shot. There are also smoothies, juices, infused waters, soups, and more. Creative types can make their own salads or bowls, so the blue sky is the limit as far as plant-strong sustenance. Temple Kitchen's motto is "Joy to the Food," so you know you're in good hands.

Best Middleterranean Restaurant


In case you're unsure, "Middleterranean" is a relatively new term used to describe the dining trend of combining foods from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and North Africa. Think Mediterranean staples such as vegetables, olive oil, and fish but with the addition of exotic spices and flavors. In Miami, Danny Elmaleh's fun and affordable Cleo flawlessly executes this type of cuisine. The mezzes (small plates) are intended for sharing, but when the merguez ($7) comes out, you may want to steal the spicy beef and lamb sausage from your friends. His labneh ($8), a yogurt-based dip with feta, tastes like velvet. It's perfect with a warm piece of za'atar-seasoned laffa bread. Chef Elmaleh is half-Japanese and half-Moroccan, and the Israeli-born toque's enthusiasm for his heritage shows in his dishes. The Moroccan-inspired decor with touches of Hollywood glamor is the ideal backdrop for another crowd favorite: chicken cooked in a ceramic pot known as a tagine ($16). Kudos for taking a chance on Miami, Cleo.

If you order the pho ($10.95) at Miss Saigon, they deliver it properly, with the toppings on the side, the beef medium-rare, and the broth piping-hot. If you want to play beat-the-clock, ask for the beef raw on the side so you can race to heat the meat before that anise-and-cinnamon-flavored broth gets too cool. You cook the beef shabu-shabu style with chopsticks, turning the meat from red to brown with each twirl. It transforms into that magical synergy stuff known as pho. You continue to create your bowl of heaven by adding bits from the topping plate: jalapeño slices for heat, lemon wedges to squeeze for acidity, basil to tear for something herbal, and bean sprouts for crunch. Need to turn up the heat? There's sriracha for that. Another dish that can't be missed is the Miss Saigon rice noodles ($12.95). It's mixed tableside — a delicious combo of cool rice noodles with cut-up spring rolls, lettuce, carrots, shrimp, and chicken. If you get it to go, you can play chef for the evening by adding the contents of the multiple containers. Not only is the food at Miss Saigon delectable, but you also get to accessorize it to your palate's preferences.

Aran S Graham

At Miami Juice in Sunny Isles Beach, you can get whatever you want — that is, provided it's on this side of healthful. Eating well is the name of the game at this casual eatery and minimarket. The menu is extra-large, featuring myriad anything-but-bland compositions. A popular item is the baked butternut squash. It comes stuffed with your choice of tuna or chicken salad ($14.95) or veggies and melted cheese ($12.95). The chicken here is organic, and for $2 extra, you can even get a kosher bird. Try the organic red kidney beans with Rosemary grilled chicken ($15.95). Crisp falafel is the perfect add-on to MJ's special salad loaded with veggies and feta cheese ($12.95). Freshly made fruit and vegetable juices are always excellent, and the servers are pros at working a crowded room. Since 1992, Miami Juice has been proving that healthful food can taste great and even be comforting. To that, we raise our kale juice.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®