Dôa

Ceviche bowls abound in Miami's restaurants. But finding the tastiest and least fishy mixture of raw fish and seasoning is a challenge. We'll make it easy for you: Go to Doa. The Lat-Asian restaurant on Collins Avenue in South Beach specializes in Peruvian fare paired with traditional Japanese, Chinese, and pan-Asian plates. The name is pronounced dow-ah, and the place is run by restaurateur Arjun Waney, who's known for concepts such as Zuma and Coya. The traditional ceviche ($16) blends dashi — a Japanese broth — with the citrus-based marinade leche de tigre, creating a fresh flavor to cleanse your palate. A generous serving of crunchy choclo — Peruvian corn — is served alongside, giving the dish a slight smoky taste. While you're there, try the ceviche maki roll ($14), which takes the flavor of the bowl and transforms it into that of a sushi roll with leche de tigre cream drizzled on top.

Readers' choice: My Ceviche

Tatel Miami
Courtesy of Tatel Miami

You haven't experienced gastronomic perfection until you've tasted Tatel's truffled potato omelet: a simple mixture of eggs, thin-sliced potato, and fresh-shaved black truffle. The dish, concocted by Tatel Madrid executive chef Nacho Chicharro, is drool-worthy. And now you don't have to travel to Spain, the restaurant's birthplace, to try it. Tatel Miami recently opened at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, where owners Enrique Iglesias and two of the most important athletes in Spain's history — tennis legend Rafael Nadal and two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol — have partnered to bring the famous tapas restaurant stateside. Here, expect to find plenty of high-end, imported European products used to create the dozens of mouthwatering dishes that have made the Madrid restaurant world-famous. To carry on the tradition stateside, Tatel Miami hired former Nobu Miami executive chef Nicolas Mazier to head the kitchen. He trained for months alongside Chicharro at the Madrid location in order to deliver the secrets of Spanish cuisine to Miamians. That means dozens of hot and cold tapas, from freshly sliced gourmet Ibérico ham ($65) and Gallego-style grilled octopus ($20) to dozens of homemade Spanish desserts, including flan de queso ($11): Brie flan served with caramel and whipped cream. Be sure to try Mazier's own dishes, unique to the Miami restaurant, such as miso-marinated black cod ($38) and lightly sautéed red prawn with Spanish extravirgin olive oil and fresh garlic ($32). And, of course, you'll want to check out that world-famous potato and truffle omelet, also known as tortilla trufada ($24).

El Palacio de los Jugos
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

Though its name translates to "the Juice Palace," El Palacio de Los Jugos offers more than just freshly squeezed fruit drinks. The restaurant, with locations across South Florida, is known for a sandwich counter that makes the most authentic Cuban sandwich in town. Made with real Cuban bread — the kind whose dough is topped with a moist leaf from a palmetto frond before it's baked — and pressed with a plancha, each sandwich is packed with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, and mustard. It's cheap too, ringing in at just under $10 for a Cuban and a juice. The restaurant serves a variety of other low-priced Cuban eats, including lechón asado, pescado de aguja with yellow rice, and pollo asado with a fried sweet potato. Depending upon when your craving for a Cuban strikes, prepare for El Palacio to be jam-packed. It's worth the wait, though.

Nashville hot chicken is the centerpiece of the menu at Bird & Bone.
Photo by CandaceWest.com
Nashville hot chicken is the centerpiece of the menu at Bird & Bone.

This is fried chicken food porn at its finest. After all, you are sinking your teeth into a golden breast or thigh, crisp on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside. What could make it even more sensual? A tingle on the lips. Richard Hales' obsession with Nashville hot chicken led him to bring the craze to Miami Beach at his Bird & Bone inside the Confidante hotel. But unlike the original iteration that turns up the fire, Hales knows it's best to tease. His chicken is brined for a day and then fried to order before being coated with a special blend of spices and peppers. Finally, he drizzles honey on the bird. The result is pure pleasure: a sweet top note gives way to a sultry warmth as your teeth penetrate the flaky crust to get to the tender flesh. Go ahead — let out a low moan. The finest porn stars always do.

Readers' choice: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Shuckers Waterfront Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of Shuckers Bar & Grill

Shuckers' deck tragically collapsed in 2013, sending more than two dozen people to the hospital. Then, in 2016, the restaurant and adjacent hotel were sold to a Montreal-based holding company. Yet unlike so many other iconic hangouts that have been purchased and died, Shuckers can't be stopped. Perhaps it has something to do with the wings. Order a dozen of them ($15) for your wing-fanatic friends and they'll agree there's no need for frying or vinegary hot sauce. Shuckers gets the job done with a secret seasoning that includes the perfect amount of salt and heat. A dance on a hot grill chars the outside, providing a crisp exterior encasing luscious meat. Of course, these wings are made even better by the sun, the salty air, and the sound of waves gently lapping against the seawall of a place that time seemingly can't beat.

A good bowl of pho isn't hard to find, but a great one is. Pho, in general, is a gift from the heavens. It's difficult to mess up rice noodles swimming in a deliciously complex broth with your favorite cut of meat playing hide-and-seek beneath bean sprouts and leaves. What sets a bowl of pho apart from the rest, though? Authenticity. Saigon Cuisine serves a piping hot bowl of pho that is as close to a plastic stool on the side of a Ho Chi Minh back street as one can get without a plane ticket. Saigon Cuisine's pho comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms (cup for $4.75, extralarge bowl for $11.30). You can order chicken, beef, seafood, or veggie varieties. The common denominator in each variation is the deep-flavored broth. The husband-and-wife team of Dung and Mai Lan are from Vietnam and have spent the past two decades perfecting their recipes in America. If the pho isn't enough to make you feel like you've taken a day trip to Southeast Asia, the decorative traditional Vietnamese atmosphere, complete with a full band on a stage, will. When it comes to pho, the closest you'll get to the real thing is right on 441. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; the restaurant is closed Monday.

Prime 112
Photo by Gary James / Courtesy of Carma PR

It's hard to mess up mac 'n' cheese. Indeed, some of the biggest food snobs will admit (after some coaxing) that even Kraft makes a pretty decent version. But decent and excellent are worlds apart, and Prime One Twelve's versions of the all-American classic are nothing short of perfection. The modern steakhouse serves both a five-cheese truffle mac ($13) and a lobster mac 'n' cheese ($25) for those looking to indulge. The macaroni is always cooked just right, the cheese is of the highest quality, and that final layer of crunchy breadcrumbs is simply irresistible. And you know what goes great with mac 'n' cheese? Steak, of course. Order a 12-ounce USDA Prime dry-aged filet mignon ($55), and prepare to be satisfied. Finally, whether you dine for lunch or dinner, don't leave without at least one bite of the signature fried Oreos with French vanilla ice cream ($15). Since opening in 2004, Prime One Twelve has repeatedly made the list of highest-grossing restaurants in the nation. The caliber of the steakhouse's food and service is topnotch, and it's fair to say this locally owned restaurant deserves every penny.

Carpaccio
Cori Mizrahi

Whether it's Christmas break or the dead of summer, Carpaccio's restaurant is packed every day from 11:30 a.m. till 11:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. Saturdays). This long-standing anchor tenant of the upscale Bal Harbour Shops is beloved by locals and tourists alike for its affordable and unpretentious Italian fare and flawless service. From the moment you're seated (try to snag a spot on the lovely terrace), the staff brings a rack to hang your jacket, shopping bags, and handbag. What other eatery in Miami does this? The waiters here are trained to deal with even the finickiest of customers, to the point that if you wish to have your Margherita pizza ($13.95) with the tomato sauce and cheese on the side, they'll find a way to make it happen. They aim to please without being over-the-top about it, and food is always brought out in a timely matter. Try the grilled calamari ($11.95), followed by the signature pasta, "pennette Harry's Bar" ($16.95), named for the restaurant in Venice, Italy. Penne pasta is tossed with garlic, fresh spinach, tomato sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts. And although it's not listed on the menu, some of the best people-watching in town always accompanies a meal at Carpaccio.

Forte dei Marmi
Ilona Oppenheim

Miami is known for its opulent restaurants — the more extravagant, the better. But sometimes less is more, and South Beach's Forte dei Marmi is proof. The rustic Italian restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino and his son Rafaelle was designed by Chad Oppenheim and Milan-based Henry Timi. Their goal was to bring the essence of the beach inside, creating a tranquil oasis. Clean, simple lines and a focus on natural materials define Forte dei Marmi's aesthetic, which allows the sophisticated organic cuisine to shine through. The space is awash in shades of beige so that the Enzo Enea garden and landscapes can truly pop. Once you peel your eyes off the stunning decor, indulge in the homemade tagliolini with Alaskan king crab ($28) and the perfectly cooked glazed veal chop with duck-fat potatoes ($49). The restaurant is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 6 to 11:30 p.m., and Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m.; it's closed Monday.

Market 17
courtesy of Market 17

Every food spot boasts its cuisine is the freshest, most locally sourced. It's as if cows saunter up to their drive-thrus, asking to be burger-ized. And it is baloney. But there's at least one restaurant South Floridians can rely upon for actual farm-to-table dishes: Market 17. Opened in 2010 at Portside Center in Fort Lauderdale, it offers an enticing array of culinary experiences, including a blind tasting menu with Dining in the Dark and more than 600 bottled wines curated by in-house sommeliers. Youthful and talented chef Lauren DeShields chooses from a wide range of organically grown produce, humanely raised meats, and wild-caught fish to create food that is unforgettable. Try the awe-inspiring house-made charcuterie. If you want to meet that pig on your plate, visit the restaurant's website to check out the local farms that Market 17 patronizes.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®