Best of Miami® 2019
Illustration by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio

Welcome to your guide to Miami’s best of almost everything. This year, we’ll fly through the air with the greatest of ease as we guide you through our picks for the city’s top waterfront restaurant (Malibu Farm in Miami Beach), the best brewery (Beat Culture in West Miami-Dade), and the exclusive, secret lounge you should know about (Ama at Kaido in the Design District).

Miami is crazier than Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ever considered possible. Consider, for instance, the best documentary, Screwball, which included a child star playing Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. The Magic City even has its own bearded lady: the best drag performer, Queef Latina.

Indeed, turn the pages of this brilliant work of journalism and you’ll discover the finest in more than 250 categories, according to New Times staffers and a select group of contributors.

For more picks, step inside the big top to see how the public voted. This year, more than 5,000 ballots were cast online for Miami’s best. Readers said goodbye to the Electric Pickle by choosing it as the city’s best dance club and welcomed Dwyane Wade into retirement by voting him the best Heat player.

After you read through the winners, head to the Best of Miami party Thursday, June 20, 2019, from 8 to 11 p.m. in Jungle Plaza in the Miami Design District. Enjoy unlimited food sampling from Miami's top restaurants, sip specialty cocktails from the area's finest bars, and watch live art, all while vibing to the sounds of Virtuoso-Inc. Tickets are available via eventbrite.com.

#BestofMiami

Illustrations by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio.

Certainly, there are people out there who enjoy haggling over the price of a car. But most of us prefer to take the test drive, inhale the new-car smell, and skip over fighting to reduce our monthly payment. For those looking for a set of wheels without an intense negotiation process, Brickell Mazda is a top spot to buy or lease a new or used Mazda. Its salespeople are upfront about costs and obligations from the get-go, and Brickell Mazda adds the extra touches that put customers at ease, such as providing free maintenance for the first two years. As a bonus, the service center's waiting room has a coffee shop and a free old-school videogame arcade. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Readers' choice: Prestige Imports

Best Band
Gabriel Gavidia

On a cloud in the depths of the 305 live the lo-fi garage pop goddesses better known as Las Nubes (formerly Smvt). Ale Campos' solo project evolved into a trio and now features Emile Milgrim and Nina Carolina delivering raw and grungy dream fuzz with '90s sensibilities. "Songs meant to be listened to on headphones while lying prostrate on the floor" is how the emerging band instructs fans to listen to its The First Three EP's + Emotional Debris on Las Nubes' Bandcamp page. The group's catchy Spanish single "QSW," from its upcoming first full-length album, SMVT — out this year on Sweat Records Records — recently landed the bandmates on NPR's alt.Latino, BrooklynVegan, and Remezcla. File under "cloud core."

Readers' choice: Locos por Juana

Eternity Coffee Roasters
Eternity Coffee Roasters

Eternity Coffee Roasters has caffeinated the masses in downtown Miami since 2011. Its carefully sourced, seed-to-cup beans come from countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Colombia and are brewed to perfection via a V-60 brewer right before your eyes (starting at $3.25). The popular brew El Boton (made with a sun-dried natural bean from Antioquia, Colombia, $5.50) will leave you questioning the corporate sludge you're used to drinking. And Eternity isn't afraid to experiment. A recent concoction mixed espresso, orange bitters, and tonic water to create a spritzer-like experience ($5). The coffeehouse can also add CBD oil to your favorite beverages ($3 for a 25mg shot). At Eternity, coffee options are as high-quality as they are surprising. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Young at Art Museum
Karl Evans

Tucked alongside I-595 in Davie is the best-kept secret of parents across South Florida. Young at Art bills itself as a hands-on art museum for children, and its expansive 55,000-square-foot facility houses works by some of South Florida's biggest names in art: Edouard Duval-Carrié, Jillian Mayer, Pablo Cano, and others. A recent mural exhibit tapped the talents of famed creatives including Kenny Scharf, Tati Suarez, and AholSniffsGlue (though here he goes by his more child-friendly given name, David Anasagasti). But "hands-on" doesn't do this place justice. This is a collection of climb-on, draw-on, dance-on exploration exhibits that shows kids and parents alike just how much the term "art" can encompass. It's adjacent to a Broward County Library branch, so you can pick up some artsy picture books on your way out. And even if you don't really care about exposing your child to the best culture in South Florida, Young at Art still functions as the coolest indoor playground, where kids can climb through a tsunami of ocean waves, bang on drums as loud as they please, and slide feet-first into a teacup that looks straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

O Cinema Miami Beach
Courtesy of O Cinema
Europa Car Wash & Cafe
Europa Car Wash & Cafe

The worst part about getting your car washed is the wait. At most places, the price of a squeaky-clean vehicle isn't just $20 or so — it's also a half-hour stranded in a dated lobby with only your cell phone, some old magazines, and a selection of car fresheners to pass the time. But that's not the case at Europa Car Wash & Café. As the name implies, this is not your average car wash. It's more like a café where it just so happens you can get your ride hand-washed while you sip coffee and nom on a ham-and-cheese croissant. Car washes range from $25 for a basic job to more than $100 for the works. Settle in at the café and you won't mind the wait at all — you might even enjoy it. The car wash is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and the café's hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Sabal Coffee
St. Roch Market

Deciding what to eat at the Design District's St. Roch Market — with options ranging from Peruvian Nikkei to handmade pasta — can be overwhelming. But you'll fare better if you step over to the market's quiet coffee counter situated below a chromatic collection of books and let Sabal Coffee's owner Chase Rodriguez guide your way. Whether he's pulling a perfect double shot ($3.50) or whipping up a new creation, such as the espresso egg cream ($6), the results should be enough to get those decision-making brain juices flowing before your lunch break ends. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Readers' choice: Panther Coffee

Best Local Album
Jayme Gershen

Haute Tension used to rock Miami crowds as Mo'Booty, but its new name offers better descriptors of the trio's sound. The band — one of the most active in Miami's rock scene — offers equal parts surf-rock, psychedelic, and tropical rhythms on its self-titled, full-length debut. The album cover pays homage to the band's home base, with two gators seemingly kissing or eating each other's faces in the sunlight — it's all very "Florida Man." The album begins with the band's 50-second, self-titled theme song, which opens with a riotous drum fill that could be confused for a spray of bullets. From there, the band slows things down for the jazzy, trumpet-laden "Dano" and the psychedelic-blues haze of "Daily" and then perks back up to toy with tropicalia on "What Would You Say." In the end, Haute Tension accomplishes an often attempted but seldom achieved feat: bottling the kinetic energy of its live shows and putting it on wax for posterity.

Best Of Miami®