Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina
Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa

There are classic steak houses, there are modern steak houses, and then there's Bourbon Steak, which demands a category all its own. You know Michael Mina. He's the Michelin-starred toque who, besides running a restaurant empire, has uncovered the secret to the perfect steak: butter-poaching it and then slow-cooking it in a wood-fired grill to eliminate the bull's-eye effect. What does that mean? Every cut of beef is pristinely and evenly cooked from top to bottom but remains juicy. If you like fries with your steak (who doesn't?), you'll be pleased to know that suppertime begins with a well-seasoned trio (rosemary-herb, onion, and smoked paprika) of duck-fat potato slivers. It's on the house. Consider it Mina's way of welcoming you to his not-so-humble abode at Turnberry Isle Resort & Spa. Sure, the trek up to Aventura for a piece of meat might seem overly ambitious, but this is a meat lover's paradise. Even so, nonsteak offerings are copious. Check out the decadent Maine lobster potpie with brandied truffle or miso-glazed sea bass. It melts on the tongue. And even though you won't find the all-beef dry-aged burger doused with secret sauce on the dining room menu, order it anyway, along with the pillow-like beignets, which come with Macallan 18-year butterscotch dipping sauce. We told you this deserved a category all its own.

Readers' choice: Smith & Wollensky

Meat Market

Don't be deceived by the name — Meat Market isn't just a place for rare cuts of beef. The sexiest steak house in town also proffers the freshest local catch in all the land. Executive chef Sean Brasel prefers to eat and cook fish (although he might be reluctant to admit it). And it's the uncooked seafood that best evidences his prowess. Try the made-to-order daily ceviche, which tosses the morning's bait in a mélange of tropical and exotic ingredients ranging from ají amarillo to pineapple yuzu. Equally tantalizing is the tuna tartare with avocado smash and mango mole ($19) and the cedar-scented jalapeño hamachi drizzled with yuzu and white truffle ($19). If you happen to arrive on a good night (and during season), you might just score 17-ounce stone crabs. For a sure thing, a plethora of rotating East and West Coast oysters are shucked on the spot and served with Brasel's atomic horseradish. Slurp with caution. Still want red meat after all that? Opt for the Wagyu carpaccio or the Kobe tartare. Some like it hot. In Miami, we like it raw.

La Carreta

Buffets may be humankind's greatest culinary contribution. And nothing beats beginning your day with back-to-back servings of crisp bacon, scrambled eggs, buttery grits, and roasted potatoes. Oh, there's some Cuban food too. Though typical American breakfast items are certainly available at La Carreta's weekend breakfast buffet, the Hialeah outpost of Miami's largest chain of Cuban restaurants provides a Cuban spin on el desayuno, including croquetas, pastelitos, picadillo, and tostada con mantequilla. In addition to platos calientes, there are also fruits, cereals, and all sorts of baked goods. The buffet runs from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and includes café con leche. For only $9.45, you get a satisfying, banquete-style breakfast good enough for abuela.

Readers' choice: Toro Toro

Cold cuts are nice, but sausages are nicer. Since the early '70s, Cheryl Mainzer and her husband Ron have been tucking braunschweiger ($5.45) and bratwurst ($5.95) into steamed buns. If you happen to order one, trust us, the meat is in there; just look beneath the mound of warm sauerkraut. There's also a seemingly endless array of cured meats, salty smoked fish pastes, fresh-baked pretzels, and tangy liverwurst that you can get if you ask nicely. More important than all of that, however, is that Mainzer's is a home away from home for Miami's German community. Deutschlanders stroll in and out all day enthralled to find currywurst alongside those little chocolates they remember so well from childhood.

Jimmy's Eastside Diner
Photo by Aran S. Graham

The seedy Biscayne Boulevard of yore is a whole different place these days. There's the Vagabond, Starbucks, Michelle Bernstein's Cena, and too many new, cool stores to count. But there are some Miami favorites that were here a long time ago and will never go away. Jimmy's Eastside Diner, a boulevard tradition for decades, serves diner favorites like tuna melts, BLTs, and meatloaf at bygone prices. Clubgoers, strip club denizens, and Saturday breakfast club members alike will be happy to know Jimmy's opens at 6:30 a.m. and serves breakfast until closing at 4 p.m.

Readers' choice: Big Pink

The Café at Books & Books
Courtesy of the Café at Books & Books

Miami grows many other things besides skyscrapers. There's a whole world of fresh-farmed produce and meat out there, and plenty of skilled artisans are ready to put their inventive touch on every edible indulgence. Some of these fine folks have begun hanging out around the Arsht Center's beautiful steps every Monday afternoon. They offer their crops, wares, and finished dishes, but the real excitement is at the long table just behind the market, where adventuresome diners taste the best of Miami's homegrown fare for just $25 a head or $35 for unlimited wine with the meal. This isn't a bad deal at all. Each week, there's a different menu and selection, but everything is fresh and local. Let the good people at the Café at Books & Books know if you have special dietary restrictions, and they'll be happy to oblige. Even if you don't want to spend the extra money on wine, there's a complimentary cocktail pairing with at least one course. Get to know the farmers better when they come by to discuss their business. You'll be shocked to hear some of the stories and see what farmers are doing in our area. And you'll be stuffed with food so delicious you'll want to share this secret with all of your closest friends.

While many farmers' markets hibernate in the summer months, Pinecrest's weekly bazaar braves the brutal heat to keep Miamians stocked with locally sourced foodstuffs. Contrary to popular belief, plenty of South Florida produce hits its peak in the hottest months. It ranges from summer squash to mangoes to dragon fruit. Instead of spending Sunday in supermarket hell and overpaying for California-grown Monsanto stock, grab a reusable bag and unleash your inner locavore. Buy seasonal fruit and nutrient-rich leafy greens. Browse spiky bromeliads and pick up a jar of local honey to soothe those pesky allergies. Rip bite-size hunks from your freshly baked Zak the Baker sourdough, and thank the Miami gods you're not bumping carts with rude shoppers in an overly air-conditioned aisle. The affair runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday, year-round. But during the summer, arrive early to avoid heatstroke.

Made in Italy Gourmet
Holly Wachowicz

With more than a dozen cured meats and nearly two dozen cheese varieties, Made in Italy Gourmet is antipasti nirvana. It's easy to get distracted by it all, and no one would blame you for falling face-first into your glass of white wine. Yet try to remain on task. You're here for the good stuff, for the supplies that will power you through the rest of the week. After you've had your fill of salumi, ask for the crate of items that represent different regions of Italy. The $99 box of goodies might be from Abruzzo, Apulia, or Emilia-Romagna. Whichever you choose, it's sure to improve your home-cooking game.

Japanese Market Sushi Deli

Once you enter Japanese Market, you'll understand why this family-run bazaar has been in business for three decades (despite its lack of a website and advertising). Sure, you might not be able to read any of the Asian labels, but that's part of the fun. Simply ask the Broken Shaker's Gui Jaroschy and local cocktail muse Cricket Nelson, who frequent this hidden gem for exotic ingredients to mix up libations. For you, there are oodles of noodles, dried shiitake mushrooms, fermented soybeans, and freezers stocked with fresh catch flown in from Japan's fish markets. Want uni? You got it. Eel? Done. Hamachi kama? Yep. Kurobuta sausage? It's here. Prices fluctuate, but you'll find things as cheap as two bucks to upward of about 20 and 30 for the delicacies and bottles of sake. You didn't think you were going to get out of this without sake, did you? Arrive early enough (before 5:45 p.m.) and you can score the highest-grade sushi in town at the counter. The market is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6.

You're late to a dinner party and don't want to show up empty-handed. Or maybe you'd like to pack a romantic picnic. Perhaps you want to wow your co-workers with the pasta salad you "made" for the potluck. For all of these food situations, there's a one-stop solution: Flavorish Market. It puts the "super" in "supermarket." This foodie mecca has a gourmet to-go section (empanadas for $3.25 and sandwiches for $8), a collection of cookbooks, wine and cheese with a designated expert, and specially curated groceries from local and international purveyors. You can pick up Zak the Baker sandwiches and loaves, homemade ravioli from Mimi's in Hollywood, and locally made ice pops alongside imported cheeses, wines, and other gourmet items. Want to get social? There's a series of events like winetastings and cookbook signings. If you want to enjoy Flavorish between visits, join its wine and organic produce clubs.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®