Best Restaurant in Hialeah 2016 | La Fresa Francesa Petit Café | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo by

There is a French restaurant in Hialeah. Believe it. But just because Sandy Sanchez and Benoit Rablat's La Fresa Francesa Petit Café serves crepes and steak-frites doesn't mean it can't pay homage to the neighborhood. In fact, it does just that with the appropriately named Un Cubano in Paris ($9.75). A pork shoulder is soaked in milk, rubbed with garlic and paprika, and plunged into white wine for four hours. Once the meat is appropriately softened, it's shredded into silken threads and piled along with pickled red onion and creamy Dijon mustard onto a fluffy roll from Los Angeles' La Brea Bakery. Is it pan con lechón? Not really. Nor is it an archetypal French sandwich à la croque-monsieur. It's a beautiful example of the magic that can happen only in "La Ciudad Que Progresa."

South Miami's Station 5 has made a name by serving junk food. Regulars clamor for the short-rib tacos ($12) that are braised in red wine and malta for six hours before being cooked sous vide for another 12. They're topped with a rich gravy and then — wait for it — a smattering of Cheetos. Goofy, yes, but clever. The cheesy snack food adds a fantastic crunch and a tart taste. And Station 5 has sold tens of thousands of this dish. But finger food isn't all this quaint haunt does well. Crisp malanga chips can be loaded with tender smoked shrimp flecked with cilantro and jalapeño ($14). Meanwhile, a slow-cooked pork shoulder ($21) straddles Cuban and Southern sensibilities with black beans steeped with salty ham served alongside rice and wilted kale. All of this excitement draws a crowd. And, unfortunately, that means a wait. Again, the unexpected is a good thing. Now you have some time to slurp down a tumbler full of Boodles gin fortified with smoked honey and ginger ($13). It's perfect for cooling down.

Readers' choice: Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar

Corsair, tucked away in Aventura's Turnberry Isle Resort & Golf Club, is Scott Conant's Italian, Mediterranean, and American blend of garden-to-table dining. Menus vary based on the season, but a mix of light and airy with hearty and savory remains constant through heat waves and cold fronts. Dishes range from simple — like white bean soup with rosemary oil; roasted beets with whipped goat cheese; and gnocchi with pomodoro — to more intricate and inventive, like mac 'n' cheese with bacon, short rib, and wild mushroom; braised lamb shank with arugula-mint pesto; and broccoli rabe and sausage with red chili flakes. Be sure to order a side of Tuscan fries, which fuse crisp and fluffy into each golden-brown bite. Though dinner might fall on the pricier side, with dishes averaging about $20, the flavor, along with an atmosphere that's quaint and quiet compared to Conant's Scarpetta in SoBe, is worth the splurge.

Courtesy of Sports Grill

When it comes to chicken wings, be like Galileo. Sure, the Italian thinker was castigated by the Catholic Church for claiming the Earth orbited the sun. But he was right, and he changed science and mathematics forever. Kindly remind your friends from Buffalo of this convenient fact the next time they claim anything other than their fried hometown wings are tops. Sports Grill's special grilled wings ($10.99 for ten) are the new truth. These are dipped in a slightly sweet, peppery sauce and then grilled. Yes, grilled. The wings take on the crispness of a fryer, only these are freckled with char, which imparts a touch of smoke. Finally, they take a quick rinse in some piquant, umami-laced Worcestershire sauce to add a layer of complexity. Buffalo be damned.

Courtesy of Miami Squeeze

Fried food that's healthy for you? Yep, that's falafel! OK, it may not be the healthiest (because fried), but considering a scale that includes deep-fried Oreos, you have hit gold. At Miami Squeeze, an open-air eatery right off the railroad tracks on West Dixie Highway, Leron Shaaltiel and his crew have mastered the recipe to get crisp shells and soft, grainy interiors. What's inside? A mix of chickpeas, cilantro, garlic, parsley, and spices. Slather on some homemade sauce — oh, and there are many, from tahini and garlic dill mayo to curry and tzatziki — and they're ready to go! Eat these Middle Eastern treats in a salad ($8.95), pita sandwich ($7.95), or wrap ($8.95) or by themselves ($5.95); then wash them down with juice. After all, this place is called Miami Squeeze. So pair healthy eats with healthy drinks and choose from an array of wheatgrass concoctions and fresh-squeezed juices that go for $5.95 for a 16-ounce cup and $24.95 for a half-gallon. Here's to eating and squeezing your way to health! Miami Squeeze is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Francisco Anton's arepas are hidden treasures scattered throughout the menu inside Calle Ocho's Cardón y El Tirano. A troupe of them lines up in his arepitas ($11), waiting to be topped with the supple, salty white cheese called queso guayanes, followed by clams, mussels, tiger shrimp, and a dollop of avocado cream. They were also the foundation of his mariscada ($45); though no longer on the menu, the standout featured nearly a half-dozen of the neat yellow corn rounds sitting under succulent langoustines, heads-on shrimp, and fried squid — along with sofrito and guasacaca for dipping. There's no secret here. Like all others arepas, they're made of cornmeal, salt, and warm water. But unlike so many that are heated and scored on a griddle, these are plunked into Anton's vat of hot oil. Like magic, the insides fluff up like cumulonimbus clouds as their shell hardens to a crisp yellow crust. The only trick is making them stay out of your mouth.

This neighborhood taqueria has quickly become a Wynwood staple since its December 2014 opening, attracting hoards of hungry, Mexican-craving eaters to its quaint, artistically driven spot. Coyo Taco prides itself on being the freshest Mexican street food around, making it affordable, fast, hearty, and, most important, delicious. Guacamole is smashed to order, ingredients are locally sourced, and tortillas are made from scratch. Though the menu is taco-driven, the eatery lets diners convert taco orders into burritos, salad bowls, and burrito bowls. Menu items range from $3 to $12 and include unique ingredient pairings such as chicken and roasted pineapple, crispy duck and serrano salsa, and quinoa, queso falafel, and cucumber pico. Make your Coyo experience boozy by visiting the backroom; it hides a small bar that offers more than 50 tequila varieties.

Dylan Rives
Beefy Korean burrito

When you imagine a burrito, don't limit yourself to a traditional tortilla-beans-meat-cheese concoction. At downtown's Burrito San, the classic Mexican dish is fused with a sushi concept to create the burrito-roll, a fist-size bite that you never knew you needed until now. Ten rolls, priced between $9 and $12, blend grilled meats, fresh vegetables, and a bevy of spices and sauces to create the ultimate burrito mashup. Guest favorites include the Buddha's Belly ($9.50), which combines roasted portobello mushrooms, crunchy eggplant, avocado, shredded carrots, organic greens, and garlic miso sauce. There's also the Mt. Fuji ($12), which uses raw tuna, avocado, crunchy wontons, masago caviar, and mango sauce. Or try the Filipino Breakfast ($10.50), which mixes braised pork, scrambled eggs, roasted garlic cloves, pickled onion, organic greens, and banana ketchup.

Readers' choice: Coyo Taco

"Hey, Ketchup, it's me, French Fries. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. It's been a crazy week of cutting, blanching, soaking, and frying. Yeah, I'm crisp, but is it worth all that effort? The guys at Neme Gastro Bar seem to think so, but I don't know. Anyway, I miss you. I miss us. I hope I see you soon."

"French Fries, French Fries? FRENCH FRIES? Oh, man, you need to hear what happened. There I was, chilling in the refrigerator, just being tangy, kind of sweet, mostly red. It was just another day. Then I smelled it — the unforgettable aroma of beef fat. And you know what happened? The bastards whipped it right into me. At first I was like, 'Whoa, this can't be kosher,' but then something changed. I was smoky. I was meaty. I was salty. I became the kind of ketchup I always wanted to be. I know things have been rough lately, but give Burger a call and let's all get together ($18). They're not going to believe what they taste."

Photo courtesy of Blue Collar

Not to be dogmatic, but there are only a few ways to make a cheeseburger. The bun must be soft. The meat must be fatty and freshly ground; that way, the patty can be grilled medium-rare, giving it the color and juiciness of a peak-season strawberry. American cheese is the preferred choice. Cheddar doesn't melt right. For you aristocrats, blue cheese or pepper jack will do, but seriously? Danny Serfer's dry-aged cheeseburger at Blue Collar ($17) is his homage to the comforting excess of Americana, and it blows the roof off every category. The Portuguese muffin, sort of like an English muffin for the uninitiated, is bulky and tender enough to sop up the juices that pour out of a patty fashioned from prime New York strip. The kitchen is even magnanimous enough to let you have cheddar if you like. But don't, please. Get your burger with American so you can sink your teeth into perfection.

Readers' choice: LoKal Burgers & Beer

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®