The Local Craft Food & Drink
courtesy of Local Craft

Monday through Friday, you do the whole egg-whites thing. But today is Sunday, and your brunch needs the three s's: soulful, sinful, and Southern. The Local's brunch covers all the bases, from grits to lamb-belly pastrami to a bitter green salad. Every brunch item is upped with decadence (and usually a touch of bourbon for good measure). Take, for example, the French toast made with thick Sally Lunn bread, served with bourbon maple syrup ($13), or a Benedict where the Canadian bacon is replaced by pulled pork and then drizzled with hot sauce and hollandaise ($14). The Local will even up your chicken-and-waffles game with fried chicken and cheddar-rosemary pancakes served with (what else?) bourbon maple syrup ($17). Want more? Top anything with homemade Cheez Whiz or an egg, just because it's Sunday. And forgo the usual lame mimosa and go straight for one of the Local's crafted cocktails. Because real ballers drink whiskey with brunch.

Readers' choice: The Biltmore

Wagons West Restaurant
Zachary Fagenson

Break your morning açai-bowl-and-cold-brew routine. Wagons West specializes in the country breakfast, the kind that has powered the workin' man and woman through hours of backbreaking labor for decades, if not centuries. And you've got to be eager to get it. This Pinecrest spot begins filling up shortly after opening around sunrise, and asserting your place in line is the only way to get a table. Once you're seated, the job is far from over. Will it be twin pork chops with a pair of eggs and crisp hash browns ($15.25) or perhaps the catfish and eggs ($14.25) on the so-called lighter side? "What'll it be, hon?" a bespectacled waitress in a bright-pink shirt calls to you while passing your booth. Make up your mind, and quick, because everyone here has somewhere to be.

Readers' choice: GreenStreet Cafe

Best Bagels
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease

Warm and doughy, with a slightly crisp exterior and a thick smear of cream cheese, these New York-style bagels are close to perfect. Roasters 'n Toasters boasts four locations across Miami-Dade: Pinecrest, Aventura, Miami Beach, and the Falls. This deli has been whipping up fresh, flavorful rings of dough that are not at all chewy since the '80s. Taste aside, they also happen to be ridiculously cheap, about $1.55 each, but prices double with the addition of a chunky coating of cream cheese. Make it a meal by ordering a nova platter ($14.50), where slices of smoked salmon, onion, and capers are layered on a bagel, giving it a little more oomph.

Readers' choice: Bagel Emporium

Jarly
courtesy of Jarly

A small brown box is left on your front doorstep. Inside the package awaits an assortment of chocolate chip cookies, double-chunk brownies, colorful macarons, and maybe even a chocolate-covered cannoli. No, you're not dreaming. It's from Jarly, a Miami-based startup that each month delivers a box of baked goods to your home. Through Jarly, customers can choose one of two subscription plans: a box delivered once a month ($20) or twice a month ($40), plus a $5 delivery fee. Each box is filled with five to seven items from a different featured baker each month. Every treat is prepared fresh that day — and Jarly suggests they be eaten within three to four days. Previous boxes have included dark-chocolate cookies, red velvet cupcakes, pistachio crisp muffins, honey cakes, triple-chocolate brownies, and sweet and soft blueberry scones.

Readers' choice: Zak the Baker

As bars and restaurants sprout up across Miami Beach, one of the area's oldest and most beloved diners still holds its place. Since 1992, the quaint, Airstream-style aluminum façade, which dates to the '40s, has endured hurricanes, floods, and a profusion of Pitbull album releases. Its shiny red booths remain intact, and its menu is current. Come for a Monte Cristo ($10.25), where grilled ham, Swiss, and turkey are sandwiched between slices of French toast, or a Crabby Patty ($11.50), which places fried crab cakes and homemade tartar sauce on a roll. For more typical diner fare, opt for country fried steak and eggs ($11.99); the farmer's scramble ($9.99), served with vegetables and cheddar cheese; or the "3 pair" ($11.25), which includes two eggs, two pieces of bacon or sausage, and two pancakes or French toast.

Readers' choice: Big Pink

Jungle Plaza
Courtesy of Robin Hill for Miami Design District

Who would have thought Miami's most luxurious shopping destination is also home to a happening weekly farmers' market? Well, it is, and you should go. It takes place every Wednesday from 4 to 9 p.m. The formerly rundown, crime-ridden neighborhood, which is now home to designer boutiques such as Tom Ford and Dior, hosts the Market #atMDD, a collection of more than 40 booths packed with sweet and savory goods such as fresh produce, artisanal breads, nuts, jams, teas, oils, and vinegars. Participating businesses include Creperia to Go, Mauricio's Fudge, Korean Kitchen, Sanctuary Teas, Two Guys Soaps, and Sandwicherie, giving shoppers on all budgets an opportunity to spend some cash. Snag samosas and curries from Nisha's Flavors of India or floral bouquets from local vendors. In the middle of the market, a rotating roster of performers, such as the French Horn Collective and DJ Nippy, adds life to the otherwise quiet luxury shopping area. And let's be real: We've all felt out of place walking through the Design District. Thanks to the Market #atMDD, the area now welcomes all South Floridians.

Lettuce & Tomato
CandaceWest.com

Sandwiched in a nondescript strip mall on West Dixie Highway, Lettuce & Tomato gives North Miami Beach the chef-driven gastropub it has long awaited. The small restaurant, owned by Argentine-born Roy Starobinsky, fuses Latin American flavors with Asian, American, and French influences. The menu jumps from huevos rotos ("broken eggs") — a large bowl of hand-cut garlic French fries, sofrito, serrano ham, three fried eggs, and a pinch of sprouts — to Asian-inspired steam buns stuffed with short rib or pork belly and drizzled with a homemade ají aioli. Salads, burgers, and fish are available too. Most of the plates hover around $15. The restaurant is known to draw large crowds at dinnertime, so plan accordingly.

Palme d'Or
Photo courtesy of the Biltmore

Palme d'Or is, without a doubt, the grande dame of Miami's dining scene. The shining jewel of the Biltmore's crown, it sparkles in shades of gold. This restaurant, which offers a $115, six-course dinner or a $155 chef's tasting menu, is the place for 50th-anniversary celebrations and other important affairs. But because of Gregory Pugin, it is much more. The Michelin-starred, James Beard Award-nominated chef has opened restaurants around the world, from Paris to Tokyo. All of that global experience, including time at Joël Robuchon's L'Atelier in New York and Le Cirque at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, has given Pugin a style of his own. It's reflected in dishes that combine traditional techniques and local ingredients to transform the classics into modern and exciting interpretations. Compared to a round-trip ticket to Paris, the price to dine here is quite reasonable. Indeed, Palme d'Or is a good reason to break out the dressy outfit and celebrate for no reason at all. How very French.

Readers' choice: Eating House

Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown

Estefan Kitchen

Estefan Kitchen
Photo by CandaceWest.com

Forget the queen of England. Miami has its own royalty: Gloria and Emilio Estefan. This golden couple is the very soul of Miami. If you need proof, hop a plane or boat to the farthest reaches of the planet and mention Miami to some random stranger. They'll start singing "Conga." At Estefan Kitchen, chef Odell Torres plates refined versions of recipes passed down through generations of Estefans, such as vaca frita ($22), paella ($70), and even lechón flatbread drizzled with truffle oil ($15). Of course, the Estefans are best known for their music, so expect a nightly showcase of music and performances in a colorful setting. The cabaret setting is fun without veering into Disney-tourist-trap territory. Frequent sightings of the Magic City's royal couple add to the excitement.

Readers' choice: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Best Restaurant in South Beach

Olla

Olla
Photo by CandaceWest.com

When Scott Linquist moved to Miami to take over Coyo Taco's kitchen, he was already an accomplished chef who literally wrote the book on Mexican cuisine. Sure, his tacos are fantastic, but Coyo didn't allow the chef to show his full potential. When Linquist opened Olla at the far west end of Lincoln Road, he let his culinary talents soar. The restaurant, named after the traditional earthenware used to both store food and cook it, is filled with soulful items. Menudo, a heady tripe stew ($12), cures everything from hunger to hangovers, and a duck breast with mole ($24) is served with tortillas for a hands-on experience. If your idea of Mexican food is guac and queso with chips, don't worry: Olla has you covered so you can gently ease your way into the more exotic. After a few margaritas made with your choice of 50 kinds of tequila, you'll find yourself blissfully digging into a jar of chapulines ($8).

Readers' choice: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®