Zak the Baker Bakery
Platonic Studios / Courtesy of Zak the Baker

This iconic Wynwood establishment is hard to miss — literally. Painted with the bold letters "BAKERY," the colorful exterior leads inside to a place that is much more than that. Zak the Baker goes beyond what's expected of a bakery, offering a variety of handmade pastries, artful toasts, and delicious soups and salads with a hint of Mediterranean flavor. Since the bakery came on the scene in 2012, owner Zak Stern has kept the establishment as fresh as its bread by incorporating new recipes for dough, pastries, and entrées. Most recently, he introduced a falafel pop-up with a limited menu and a ton of flavor, highlighting traditional falafel and shawarma served in homemade pita bread. In a sense, this is what makes Zak The Baker unique: an unwavering commitment to the comfort and magic of traditional yet delicious foods, even during a pandemic. And it's not just the food that makes Zak the Baker the best bakery — it's the compassion and dedication that goes into each batch of whatever he and his staff is baking. With every bite, you can taste the time and care that was part of the process.

Vicky's House
Photo courtesy of Kush Hospitality Group

Think of this Coconut Grove dessert parlor as an '80s-inspired time warp. When you walk inside, you'll transport yourself into a whole other world — and that's the point. Matt Kuscher, founder of Vicky's House and its parent company, Kush Hospitality, began the project with a vision: to recreate his childhood home and the sweet comfort of his mother's treats. The result is this magical dessert spot, equipped with good vibes and a retro attitude. Vicky's expertise is over-the-top milkshakes ($15) with frosted rims and wild ingredients, from cola gummies and homemade blondies to bacon-glazed doughnuts and caramel popcorn. Vicky's also partners with local vendors, offering ice cream sandwiches made with ice cream from Dasher & Crank and savory snacks from Miami Smokers.

Serendipity Creamery & Yogurt Cafe
Photo courtesy of Serendipity Creamery

Serendipity's ice creams are made from scratch in small batches to ensure every bite is as flavorful as possible. Unique flavors like lavender orange — made with real lavender! — and breakfast cereal are complemented by classics, including traditional vanilla and sweet pistachio. Serendipity also offers a series of sorbets, as well as house-made marshmallows and peanut butter cups. Dedicated to the community, the shop sources local ingredients, including beer, coffee, and flowers, to infuse into various ice cream flavors whenever possible.

Fresh key limes? Check! Buttery spiced graham cracker crust? Check! Controversially delicious Italian meringue topping? Check! The battle between meringue and whipped cream runs deep when it comes to the perfect key lime pie, but there's a clear winner at dbakers. This tangy slice of heaven comes topped with a mile-high mountain of meringue that gives each bite the ideal sweet to tart ratio. Owned and operated by twin brothers who have mastered the art of macarons, cakes, and a variety of confections, they left no stone unturned when creating their version of a quintessential South Florida favorite. It's available by the slice ($7) or a whole pie that's enough for 15 servings or one really big sweet tooth ($45). Calling ahead to reserve this tasty treat is recommended as it's known to fly off the display shelves.

Oh My Gosh Brigadeiros
Photo by Elena Vivas

Beneath a ceiling painted to resemble melting chocolate dripping onto bright pink walls, watch the team at this Coral Gables dessert and gift house carefully stir and then roll up the scrumptious condensed-milk base that makes up brigadeiros — the irresistible, bite-size Brazilian treats that come in flavors such as classic chocolate covered with sprinkles, dulce de leche, key lime, and cookies-and-cream. The confections are sold by the unit ($1.80) and in an assortment of gift boxes. Brazilian-born brothers Pedro and Luciano Brilho also entice guests with delectable milkshakes, gooey chocolate cappuccinos, and cakes, including jar options for the calorie-conscious. The shop offers same-day delivery and catering for special events.

Vice City Bean
Courtesy of Vice City Bean

It's tempting to call Roland Baker, the cofounder of this industrial specialty coffee shop at the nexus of Wynwood, Downtown, and Edgewater, the mayor, but given how backward most Miami mayors are we'll save the compliment. Instead, rest easy knowing that in an era when coffee shops embrace an aloof millennial hipster motif and staff that seem unwilling to utter more than a curt, monosyllabic greeting, Baker is a kind of coffee man of yesteryear. He knows each one of his regulars, and soon-to-become regulars, by name. He knows what they do, how many kids they have, what they've been up to lately, and best of all who in the room they will get along with and can perhaps make a few bucks with. Of course, a slice of almond cake ($4) and the espresso and tonic ($6.25) are a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, but it's the fact that Vice City has a true personality, thanks to those behind the counter, that makes it extra special.

If Miami is a global crossroad, then Mary's, which never closes, is a crossroad within a crossroad. Here, in the middle of the night, you can find regular folks doing their laundry while munching on a croqueta or some drunk young professional from the Grove grabbing a late-night snack. During the day, families pop in for an armful of cold drinks while someone else stops in for a quick Cuban sandwich on a 15-minute break from work. The blue awning and hum of the traffic offers a special kind of solace, a moment of relaxation, even as construction thumps all around and a pair of tires occasionally shriek. Never fret. With a medianoche ($5) in hand, all of the concerns about what you may have done earlier that night, or what you might have to slog through in a haze in the day ahead slip away.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®