Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove

Guests at Isabelle's Grill Room & Garden in Coconut Grove's Ritz-Carlton frequent the hotel restaurant to sip elegant cocktails with fancy names. The restaurant's eight-ounce filet mignon ($42) and oysters ($18 for a half-dozen) are also divine, but not everyone wants to keep it fancy all the time. Sometimes you're just in the mood for some comforting mac and cheese. When the craving strikes, leave your calorie-counting at the door and dig into Isabelle's Mac & Cheese ($10). This dish is made with a heavy cream-based béchamel, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and its lesser-known relative, Crucolo cheese, which also hails from northern Italy. The pasta used is cavatappi, twisted macaroni that gets its name from the Italian translation for "corkscrew." Each serving is made in an individual casserole dish that comes bubbling-hot straight out of the oven and onto your table. The restaurant's trellised garden patio allows for an alfresco meal if the mood strikes, or choose to stay inside for intimate dinner conversations. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Sunday brunch.

Miami diners are dropping like flies. First, there was the closure of North Miami Beach's Ham & Eggery, followed by all S&S Diner locations. A decent meal from a good old greasy spoon is becoming rarer and rarer. But don't worry: Longtime Gables diner Burger Bob's is still going strong no matter how ritzy the City Beautiful becomes. This hidden treasure, run by owner Bob Maguire, has been serving authentic American diner fare for decades. Entering Burger Bob's, which overlooks the Granada Golf Course, transports you back to the '50s and '60s. Revel in the bustling lunchtime crowd, the red vinyl-upholstered chairs and barstools, and the stream of grease dribbling down your chin and hands as you devour that classic cheeseburger ($5). Hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Readers' choice: Big Pink

Laine Doss

Nestled inside an old art deco building on Hollywood's Harrison Street and filled with vintage sewing machines and cameras, this little bistro looks like it's been around for decades, but it's actually only a few months old. Order a cocktail while your body begins to sway to the boogie-woogie music playing in the background. A French 75, the classic New Orleans cocktail made with gin, lemon, and champagne, is a good choice. The not-quite-tapas menu includes items meant to be shared and has plenty of choices for vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores. Vegan deviled eggs use hearts of palm for a zingy, almost Mediterranean version of the Southern treat ($6.50). The carrot tart, served with hazelnuts, is buttery and flaky enough to be a dessert ($8). Larger dishes include a grilled flat-iron steak with corn ($16) and shepherd's pie ($11), which also comes in a vegan version ($9). Hotsy-Totsy is so adorable and retro it makes you feel like you're on the set of a new sitcom set in a café in Anytown, U.S.A. — but it's right here in your backyard. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The adjacent Sidecar Speakeasy is open Thursday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.


Hollywood is undergoing a renaissance of sorts. A few years ago, Margaritaville opened as a celebration of all things beachy keen. On Saturdays, you can find dozens of kids lined up to catch a wave on its FlowRider, while parents wait for frozen margaritas at a makeshift bar inside an Airstream trailer. That's all fun, but if you're hankering for something more authentic than resort food, you'll find it a few blocks away at Le Tub. Located inside a former gas station, this place looks like it was decorated by a plumber on a bender. Painted toilets and bathtubs have been converted into planters, leading the way to what can best be described as a classic beach-town dive. A bright-yellow toilet seat invites you to "seat yourself." The dark wood-laden interior is decorated with foam boat floaters, old license plates, and assorted knickknacks. Service can be slow and the crowd can get loud, but if you're craving the best burger in town, you're in the right place. Made from beef ground daily in-house, the thick patty is crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Each burger ($12) sports a poppy-seed bun and, for 50 cents or $1 more, a gleaming square of American or Swiss cheese. Fries, an obvious add-on to your burger and beer, are cooked in peanut oil and arrive supercrisp ($4 to $5). Sure, there are other items like fish dip and a grilled chicken sandwich, but when the burger touted as supreme by both GQ and Oprah is in your backyard, you go for the burger. It doesn't hurt that Le Tub overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and comes with an amazing view. Sorry, Jimmy Buffett — this is the real cheeseburger in paradise. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Readers' choice: Diplomat Prime

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Sun

Begone, ye olde tired chicken wings and mozzarella sticks, because bar food has gotten an upgrade at Jaguar Sun. The cocktail bar, located in the X Miami building, is known for drinks by bartender Will Thompson, but chef/owner Carey Hynes is the one upping the bar-chow game. Instead of gorging yourself on high-fat fried foods, why not dip some fresh Parker House rolls into a ramekin of duck jus ($4)? You won't miss chicken wings when you have aged country ham ($9) to pair with your drink. But the most genius part of the menu here are the four pasta dishes, each satisfying and soulful. The campanelle with mussels and saffron ($18) works best with rum cocktails. And everything goes with the bucatini, tossed with Parmesan, Pecorino-Romano, and black pepper ($14). Pasta as bar food? It's so obvious yet such a revelation you'll kick yourself for stuffing your face with onion rings and pub burgers all these years. Hours are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (food served till 11 p.m.) Monday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. (food served till midnight) Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

Courtesy of Batch Gastropub

When Batch opened more than six years ago in Brickell, the restaurant promised to bring a real-deal gastropub to the neighborhood. More than half a decade later, Batch has made good on its word. In addition to offering an expansive lineup of wine, cocktails, and beer — including a number of options from local breweries such as Funky Buddha, MIA Beer Company, and Barrel of Monks — Batch serves an eclectic menu of food beyond your typical bar fare. There are sticky pork bao buns, made with nine-hour-smoked pork and Korean barbecue sauce ($13.50), alongside smoked avocado toast garnished with blistered grape tomatoes and cotija cheese ($11.50). You'll want to order dessert too. Go for the mud pie, where vanilla and coffee ice cream is placed in an Oreo cookie crust with peanut butter cups, warm chocolate, and caramel whiskey fudge ($8). Hours are 11:30 to 1 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.

Readers' choice: American Social

The Dive Bar

When you're a dive bar and your name is "the Dive Bar," you'd better be the best in your field. Fortunately, this Fort Lauderdale spot, located on A1A along the Galt Ocean Mile, delivers big time. Cozy up to the expansive wooden bar and pound a few brewskis with the locals at any hour — beers start at just $3. This no-frills spot has a stellar happy hour offering two-for-one well drinks, wine, and domestic beers daily until 8 p.m. ($5 and up). And there's plenty to keep you occupied here beyond the cold drinks. In addition to playing pool and videogames, you can belt your heart out during a karaoke session or rock out to live tunes throughout the week. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.


The United States was once filled with roadside tiki bars and dinner-show venues. There, your grandparents would dress up to watch fire dancers and hula girls while dining on crab rangoon and pupu platters and sipping drinks called the Jet Pilot and the Zombie. These days, only a handful of those places remain. South Florida is lucky to boast one of the most glorious examples. Perpetually lit tiki torches welcome thirsty travelers from far corners. Sure, the Mai-Kai offers a spectacular dinner show, but the real fun is at the Molokai Bar. Here, servers clad in bikini tops and sarongs serve classic tiki drinks. You'll find no foams, dry ice, or other trappings of molecular gastronomy here. Instead, you'll sip grogs, rum barrels, and Mai Tais the way they were meant to be enjoyed — from shrunken ceramic heads festooned with tiny paper umbrellas and maraschino cherries in an atomic shade of red. Go ahead and add your name to the lampshades that bear the monikers of thousands of people who came before you, and listen to the thunderous beat of the drums while the show goes on in the next room. Then venture out to the tiki garden for a selfie. It's a slice of Americana that's both fantastic and authentic at the same time. Hours are 5 to about 10 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 5 to about 11:30 p.m. Friday, 5 to about 11 p.m. Saturday, and 4 to about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. If guests want drinks after the show, the bar remains open until everyone leaves.

Readers' choice: GG's Waterfront

Photo by Karli Evans

Oddly, for a city known as one of the party capitals of the world, it's pretty difficult to find good food after midnight in Miami — and it's damn near impossible to find grub in the wee hours of the morning. But the Corner has got your back. This small, comfortable speakeasy offers food until almost dawn. The menu is concise yet offers everything you need to sate your drunk ass at, say, 3 in the morning. From bar snacks like deviled eggs and pan con tomate ($4 each) to a classic BLT ($8), the food is exactly what your body craves after a few drinks. Be sure to get the smoky weenies ($5.50) — a crock of tiny hot dogs served with toothpicks. If your buzz begins to wear off, don't despair — the Corner slings drinks as long as it's open, so you can keep the party going into the next day. Hours are 4 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Coyo Taco

Generator Miami

The Broken Shaker at the Freehand introduced Miami Beach to the concept of a hip bar housed inside a cool hostel. Now comes the next iteration of the bar-in-a-hostel series. Jim & Neesie, located inside the Generator, is a chill yet upscale space designed to resemble the living room of a fictional, chic European couple: Jim and Neesie. Brick walls and dangling lanterns set the scene for the bar's unique bottle cocktails. Each one arrives at the table already prepared and served at a precise 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The bartender then pours the drinks into glasses filled with one large ice cube. With a flourish, a garnish is added. A negroni supreme ($13), the classic drink of Italy, is made with raspberry-and-pistachio-infused gin and finished with a spritz of lavender, but the standout is the OMFG margarita ($13), made with a hint of fresh tangerine that adds a natural sweetness to the tart lime flavor. The bottled cocktails ensure your drink is perfect — much like the lives of our fictional besties who opened their home to entertain us. Hours are 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily; last serving is at midnight.

Readers' choice: Broken Shaker

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®