Best Italian Restaurant 2020 | Cafe Prima Pasta | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo courtesy of Cafe Prima Pasta

Since 1993, Cafe Prima Pasta has been dishing up red-sauce classics in a setting that screams traditional Italian restaurant. From the wood floors that are polished yet creak slightly to the framed photos of local celebs who've dined here, the restaurant is welcoming and warm. Order a cocktail and peruse the menu of favorites — like a tender veal piccata or chicken parm that arrives, cheese a-bubbling, from the oven. The dishes may not be "modern" or "innovative," but they're the ones you crave. After all, when you've had a long day, and you're hangry, do you daydream about the quail egg with goat cheese foam or a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs? Thought so. Cafe Prima Pasta also offers family meal packages, so you can treat the clan to red sauce in the comfort of your own home.

Luis Meza Lifestyle Group

The ambiance is Mexican street food all the way, from the informal atmosphere to the ice-filled reach-in cooler stocked with cerevezas and refrescos. But it's the corn tortillas, each one hand-pressed and griddled to order, that will draw you back again and again to this pint-size spot on NW 25th Street just west of the Museum of Graffiti. Whether they're wrapped around salty-sweet pork al pastor with pineapple, grassy nopal, or battered fish with cabbage and chipotle (all $3 apiece) the nutty, slightly sweet flavor of warm corn always comes through and delights. The secret here, however, is breakfast. In particular it's the carne asada and egg burrito ($8) or the veg version filled with sauteed cactus, beans, and the creamy, slightly salty cheese called panela ($8). Hangover? Check. Long day ahead? Check. You just can't? Double check. And to think, so much joy for ten bucks! It seems unbelievable, but here it's the real deal.

Photo courtesy of Sushi by Bou

If you prefer your thrills prepared right in front of you, Sushi by Bou is where it's at. The thrills don't come cheap here, but don't let the hefty price tag deter you, as it comes with the promise of sensational sushi and an experience you won't soon forget. At Sushi by Bou, located in the former Versace mansion, you'll be treated to an intimate omakase dinner at a bar with seating for four or eight. "Omakase" means "I will leave it to you," which is where the thrill comes in: The head omakase chef stands in the center of the bar, whipping up 17 courses of handcrafted nigiri that are left completely up to his discretion. He will decide whether your taste buds get to savor hamachi, Japanese uni, hotate, unagi or a variety of other fresh fish. You get to decide which one you will obsess over most. There's a time limit to all this indulgence: Depending on which session you book, you will have either 30 or 60 minutes to eat all of the scrumptious sushi — and finish that bottle of sake while you're at it.

Listen, dear friends. Forget for a moment the hamachi with jalapeño and citrus, the cloying Brussels sprouts with bacon, and the pork belly with whatever. While the small-plates phenomenon has long been enjoyed and reviled by eaters of all stripes, it's worth returning again and again to this Sunset Harbour tapas spot for a reminder of where it comes from, and a temperature check on whether it's being done right. With skill and equal measures of restraint and creativity, the kitchen led by chef and co-founder Juliana Gonzalez re-creates the small dishes that are so essential to life in Spain. Hence, a plate of Cantabria's peerless white anchovies with garlic, tomato gelée, and a yuzu-truffle vinaigrette ($16) alongside a wahoo crudo with black olive dust, pearl onions, and lemon zest ($16). Of course, the whole purpose of tapas bar is to enjoy life, and so the best thing you can do is simply bring those you love, mix them with a few pitchers of sangria or bottles of albariño and trust the kitchen to do the rest.

Photo by FujifilmGirl

In 2018, Erika Kushi, the daughter and right hand of beloved itamae Michio Kushi of the now-shuttered Sushi Deli in North Bay Village, opened her own sushi spot just down the road from her dad's old haunt, after her father tragically passed away at the dawn of his long-awaited retirement. The family legacy fell to Erika, who, though apprehensive and heartbroken, was perfectly trained and prepared. She brought many of her father's classics with her to this larger space. Included on the menu of topnotch rolls are specials such as squid leg karaage ($5.50) and the opportunity to sample a chef's-choice sushi platter. Calm your California roll cravings for a moment and order the battera, a traditional pressed mackerel dish ($8.50), alongside a simple maki filled with the sweet gourd known as kampyo ($3.50). Bona fides secured, you're now ready to dive into Erika's omakase. It's different from her father's — and that's more than OK. It's a delight to watch a young chef blossom, especially when you can do it while enjoying the sweet shrimp served with its head tempura-battered, the Japanese sea urchin, and the needlefish (when it's in season).

If there's one thing we can all use this year, it's a hot bowl of pho. The traditional Vietnamese rice noodle and broth dish brings comfort to your soul, something 2020 has brought the opposite of. From variations of the famous dish to crepes stuffed with meat and veggies to rice platters, Vo An has continued to provide quality Vietnamese cuisine at an affordable price, all while the world went crazy around it. Whether you're craving a heaping helping of raw eye-round in your pho or hungry for grilled pork and a sunny-side-up egg next to a mountain of steamed white rice, Vo An hasn't stopped delivering on its quest to bring a piece of Saigon to Broward County. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of craft drinks you won't find anywhere else, like Thai tea and an avocado smoothie you won't believe until you try. We all need some comfort food in 2020. Vo An is providing just that.

Karli Evans

In the heart of Coconut Grove, this farmers' market is a one-stop shop for all grocery needs, providing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as access to specialty food vendors. The sheer variety here makes the shopping experience both reliable and exciting, allowing customers to find what they need while discovering a few unexpected treats along the way. The vendors are committed to freshness and flavor, so products vary based on season and demand. Along with produce, you can shop for homemade artisanal crafts, ice cream, and other specialty health items, like raw food pizza. The market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a mask requirement and social-distancing guidelines during the pandemic. Buy colorful ingredients to prepare a fresh, home-cooked meal, or pick up a snack and explore the vibrant Coconut Grove neighborhood.

Finding a good specialty Asian supermarket isn't all that easy in Broward. You have to drive miles to find one at all, hoping it won't be out of your much-needed bean sprouts or Thai basil. Oriental Food Market in Lauderdale Lakes takes all of the guesswork out of the scenario. A wall is dedicated to fresh veggies that will complete your homemade pho, and a corner is reserved for your favorite hard-to-find Asian fruits, like durian and jackfruit. It carries the biggest variety of rice and has aisles and aisles to browse if you're looking for something you can't exactly find at Publix. If the store doesn't carry it, you'll likely find it at another shop in the same plaza, adding to the draw. Good Asian markets are hard to come by. Oriental Food Market is the best there is in Broward.

Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease

Mo's, a longtime Miami staple, delivers exactly what you expect when you're craving a deli meal. It's inherently reliable, with cushiony booths, piping hot coffee, and an extensive menu serving up all the classics, from bagels to knishes. Mo's isn't trying to show off, either: The humble decor makes it feel like home, a place where you can feel comfortable digging into all of the best comfort foods at once. The food speaks for itself, with stacked pastrami sandwiches and thick New York-style bagels, along with staples like matzo ball soup and a selection of smoked fish. Mo's has limited outdoor seating for the moment, plus it's offering delivery and takeout so you can bring the deli feeling and flavor home. It's safe to say Mo's has got you covered for any and every deli need.

Courtesy of Airport Cafe & Liquors

Along a wide road clogged with tractor-trailers sits one of the city's perfect lunch spots. Chef Reuben Ruiz conjures insane creations — like an avocado, shrimp, and pesto crunch wrap; a cheddar buffalo fried-chicken sandwich with garlic Parmesan bacon; and a chorizo Philly cheesesteak. Be sure to arrive early enough to grab the daily lunch special before they run out. Oh, and the place is also a liquor store. Top that.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®