Panther Coffee groupies, take note: There's a Broward kid on the block worth your sip. Switchbox Roasters, the cool, vintage-style coffeehouse in the revived Oakland Park's Culinary Arts District, is serious about serving responsibly sourced coffees from around the world. Aside from the standard espresso ($2.75 for a double shot), cappuccino ($3.85), and latte ($3.85 for six-ounce, $4.85 for a 12-ounce, and $4.85 for iced), there are hip baristas who look as if they organize protest marches in their spare time. They prepare a plethora of hot and cold brews. Try the cortado ($3.50) to experience java in its purest expression: sweet, chocolatey, and buttery, with Instagram-worthy designs made in the foam. They roast their own beans here, so if you have trouble finding the place, follow the intoxicatingly rich aroma. Purchase a 12-ounce retail bag ($15 to $18) to take home, or join the subscription-based service to have the socially responsible elixir mailed straight to your home. There are plenty of pastries and toasts offered to pair with your caffeine, including Zak the Baker croissants, cinnamon rolls, and breads ($3). Take Switchbox's classes for cupping (professional coffee evaluation process) and brewing basics to amp up your know-how.

Hank & Harry's
Courtesy of Hank & Harry's

Years ago, Miami Beach reigned as South Florida's deli capital. Places such as Wolfie Cohen's, Pumperniks, and Junior's served corned beef on rye and bowls of warm matzo ball soup to thousands of customers. But as Miami's Jewish population moved north, most establishments shuttered. The opening and speedy popularity of Hank & Harry's, a modern New York-style deli, marks a resurgence in Miami's long deli history (along with proof of hunger for a quality pastrami sandwich). Created by Miami-based restaurant group Sliderz MG, Hank & Harry's whips up breakfast, lunch, and dinner at three locations: Lincoln Road, Aventura Mall, and South Miami. Menu items include traditional Jewish deli plates such as corned beef and pastrami sandwiches ($12.95), knishes, house-made bagels and cream cheeses ($1.50 to $3), and black-and-white sugar cookies ($1.50). There are also Italian-influenced plates such as hot meatball subs ($5.95 for half and $9.95 for a whole).

When Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth opened Root & Bone, its fried chicken had but one flaw: You had to go to New York City to get some. Thankfully, Miami's cutest culinary couple brought their chicken to Miami Beach. Why all of this hoopla for fried chicken? Well, it starts with free-range birds brined in a sweet tea bath before being dusted with tart lemon powder and fried to a golden shade. The lemon tea gives the chicken an incredible fragrance and flavor — sweet and smoky with just a touch of citrus to tingle the tongue. A satisfying crunch leads to impossibly moist and tender meat beneath. The chicken, served with Tabasco-spiked honey, is available in a half bird for $19 and a whole for $36. As you chew in ecstasy, one thought will run through your head: Everything, truly, is better with a bird on it. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

House of Wings
Courtesy of House of Wings

When it comes to chicken wings, options and customization separate the good from the mediocre. And both are offered at Mussaddiq "the King of Poultry" Muhammad's House of Wings. The chicken-wing master chose historic Overtown as home base for his counter-service eatery specializing in — as his nickname suggests — the most prized part of poultry. Since opening in 2003, the place has become a neighborhood institution. It offers more than 50 sauces that can be used on a choice of grilled, dry-rubbed, or deep-fried wings. Selections include everything from barbecue, sweet, or savory to spicy and homestyle. Popular choices include "Barack Obama" (a sweet blend whose ingredients are top secret) and "Ghetto" (a sweet-smoky mixture of four barbecue sauces). However, the jerk wings — flavored with a combination of fiery jerk seasonings and classic, vinegary Buffalo sauce — never disappoint. The selections don't stop there. You can order five wings with a combo meal that includes fries, onion rings, rice, or a side salad for $6.96 or up to 200 wings with four to eight sauces (call for pricing). And, yes, blue cheese and celery are included.

World Famous House of Mac
Courtesy of World Famous House of Mac

Mac 'n' cheese is one of those rare foods we love as kids and don't outgrow. Sure, there are four-star macs, and (heaven forbid) healthy and vegan versions made with nutritional yeast instead of cheddar, but you really want a big, heaping dish of gooey, sloppy, heart-stopping cheesy goodness. House of Mac brings out your inner child with its over-the-top mac and cheese. You want truffle in your mac ($10)? Check. How about a Philly cheesesteak mac ($15)? Yep. But if you've had a crappy day and need the food equivalent of a big hug from Grandma, go with the chicken parm mac 'n' cheese ($14). Hunks of fried and breaded chicken are mixed in and then graced with what seems like more cheese than can fit into the tin. Sure, it's big and you meant to share, but one bite leads to another and another and — whoops! — It's gone. Don't worry. It happens. Just order another. House of Mac isn't here to judge. It's here to comfort. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Sweet Dogs
Courtesy of Sweet Dogs

Just call Sweet Dogs' owner, Victor Ruiz, Mr. Worldwide, hot-dog-style. The self-made chef and 305 native loves not only hot dogs but also his city and Florida sports teams. He brings both together for the perfect Miami-American fast food. And each of his dogs is an edible work of art. All-beef franks are prepared and served with a number of creative, locally themed toppings. Priced from $6.50 to $8.99, Magic City-inspired selections have names such as the Panther, the Dolphins, and the Miami Heat. The most colorful just might be the Marlins, a dog topped with a fried egg, sweet plantains, chopped onions, banana peppers, guava barbecue sauce, and potato sticks. If all of that sounds a little too much for one dog, try the Miami Vice. It's topped with beef chili, chopped onions, pickles, coleslaw, cheddar cheese, and crumbled corn chips. Feeling even more basic? The homemade mac 'n' cheese dog includes the classic comfort food smothered in Parmesan cheese sauce and crunchy garlic croutons. Definitely game over.

La Leggenda Pizzeria
Christine Michelle Photography

To say that Giovanni Gagliardi is obsessed with pizza is like saying Wynton Marsalis dabbles in the trumpet. The entire life of this stout, half-bearded pizzaiolo from Naples revolves around perfect pies. He was born into a family famous for a roving truck that dished out first-rate versions of the stuff. He's won multiple world championships, and an armory of awards litters his small South Beach spot. The world's famed Neapolitan flour companies, which produce the only flour acceptable for making true Neapolitan pies according to European Union standards, fly him around the globe to stretch, dress, and bake on their behalf. Still don't believe it? Go ahead and visit for yourself and watch Gagliardi closely. Every now and then you'll see him snip a pie's crust with a pair of scissors to ensure it's puffing up and crisping just right.

Jr's Gourmet Burgers
Courtesy of Jr's Gourmet Burgers

There are secret weapons in the quest for umami, the so-called fifth flavor, which is a combination of savoriness and deep satisfaction. The wrongly maligned MSG is one of them. There's also tomato paste, anchovies, and the Japanese seaweed and fish broth called dashi. Chief among the ingredients, however, is mushrooms. Vegetarians for years have relied on fungi for meaty satisfaction. Jr's, the humble Miami Springs restaurant that in 2015 finally got some long-overdue recognition when it won the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash, deploys a panoply of everything from button mushrooms to shiitake, porcini, and oysters on its wild mushroom burger ($8.85/$9.99) to create an umami bomb tucked in a bun. Take in each bite with a pull of Swiss cheese and a few strands of sautéed onions, and you have all the makings of midday ecstasy.

Pastelmania
Photo by Carla Torres

How this long-standing Little Havana bakery turns out so many of these stubby little fingers of oceanic delight is a mystery. Arrive early on a weekday, and countless dozens of croquetas de bacalao emerge in a constant stream from the back of the compact space. What makes Pastelmania's salt cod croquetas ($1) so addictive is their creamy, unctuous core made of whipped codfish that boasts an almost cloud-like texture. Once it's encased in breading and fried until delightfully crisp, you might find yourself turning your car around on the way to work to fetch a dozen — no, two dozen — more.

Best Pastelito
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

Gilbert's began in 1962 after the family bakery in Camagüey was seized by the Castro government. Family members fled to Miami to rebuild, starting with a place on Douglas Road at SW 16th Street. Today the ship is steered by Gilberto Arriaza Jr., who oversees a vast production operation that keeps the streets flooded with croquetas and guava-packed pastries. Yet it's true strength, and Arriaza's passion, is keeping alive the culinary traditions of Cuba that have faded as the country has sunk into economic hardship and the exile community has built a new life. Case in point is the menesier de pollo ($1.25). A flaky pie-dough-style crust is folded around shredded chicken prepared like ropa vieja. Once out of the oven, it's cooled, and a quick slick of sugar syrup gives it a chrome-like shine. Its depth and complexity, combined with an addictive sweet-savory flavor combination, make it a pastry like no other.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®