Kush
Valerie Lopez

Owner Matt Kuscher originally said his Wynwood spot, Kush, was meant to be a beer bar with a few snacks. So much for planning, because nowadays, locals and tourists fill the North Miami Avenue sidewalk outside the restaurant eager to tear into burgers like the Johnny Utah, topped with hot pastrami, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, diced white onions, cheddar cheese, and a secret sauce ($15), or the gator tacos, with garlic aioli-doused tail meat packed into crunchy corn tortillas with house pico ($15). No need for any guilt here either: All of the meat comes from Fort McCoy Ranch near Ocala and is ground in-house every day. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, noon to midnight Thursday, and noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Kyu

Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina
Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina

Preparations for this $23 beast begin about a month before your craving hits. Deep in the underbelly of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach is a chilled, well-aerated room where hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of beef is dry-aged. Among the racks of ribs, a hulking cow shoulder slowly withers. Evaporation concentrates and intensifies the meat's flavor. Bacteria slowly breaks down the tough connective tissues, giving the meat a gentle texture and a deliciously nutty aroma. After a month, the huge slab is trimmed down, run through a grinder, grilled, and finally tucked into a bun with double-smoked bacon, American cheese sauce, lettuce, and secret sauce. Behold the dry-aged steak burger at Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina. Be patient. Perfection takes time. Hours are 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Readers' choice: Kush

El Rey De Las Fritas
Emily Codik

Two crucial questions plague Miami. First, when will the sea rise above the sand and sweep our fair city into the ocean? Second, is it permissible to put cheese on a frita? Conventional wisdom says no. The nearly four-decade-old El Rey de las Fritas' namesake sandwich ($4) tastes great without cheese thanks to its beef-and-chorizo patty, a handful of freshly made papitas — a recent improvement — and a squirt of ketchup. But hold your tongue when your Anglo friends feel the need to slap a slab of cheese on top of their fritas here. If they like El Rey enough, maybe you can persuade them to go without the cheese on their next visit. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Stanzione 87
Katie June Burton

Making Neapolitan pizzas is easy, right? You'd think you'd simply need to stretch out some dough, slap on some toppings, and pop the thing into a blazing-hot brick oven for a few minutes. But at Brickell's Stanzione 87, the process is decidedly more complex. Owner Franco Stanzione orchestrates a carefully choreographed dance inside his mosaic-covered pizza oven, which can cook up to five 12-inch pies at a time, and each spot cooks differently. On a busy night, when dozens of orders for pies are buzzing into the kitchen, accidentally ripping a pie or spilling its toppings can cool one of the oven's five differentiated spots, making it unusable until it reheats. Just think about that the next time you bite into a slice of the carbonara ($17) or sausage and bell pepper ($15) pies. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Steve's Pizza

The Taurus
Photo courtesy of Blue Shell Media

When chef/owner Justin Flit announced the closure of Proof, one of Midtown's most beloved restaurants, customers were desperate for one last fix. But then Flit worked out a semipermanent pop-up inside Taurus Beer & Whiskey House, one of Miami's oldest bars. A wood-burning oven behind the bar churns out some of Proof's most popular items, including a lineup of pizzas and the cheesy, double-patty Proof burger ($15). The restaurant-inside-a-restaurant has become so beloved that the bar actually requires reservations to score one of Proof's burgers. Yeah, they're that good. Hours are 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Readers' choice: Bombay Darbar

The Citadel
Photo by Daniella Mía

In the past year, more than a dozen food halls have opened across South Florida, but only one has a lineup as stellar as the Citadel's. The mixed-use complex, which also offers shopping, entertainment, and office space, includes concepts from a handful of Miami's most popular chefs and restaurants, including Steve Santana's Taquiza, Richard Hales' Sakaya Kitchen, and Antonio Bachour's Bachour. The owners of Stanzione 87 are behind a wood-fired Neapolitan pizza spot — Ash! Pizza Parlor — while the Wynwood restaurant Palmar serves its take on Chinese cuisine. That means you can get the best of Miami's local food without hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood. Plus, the Citadel also boasts a 5,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge that's open Wednesday through Saturday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: 1-800-Lucky

Isabelle's Grill Room and Garden
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.

Burger Bob's
Burger Beast

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

Hotsy-Totsy Bar & Grill
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.

The Le Tub Saloon
CandaceWest.com

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

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®