Sushi Erika
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.

Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market
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.

Mo's Bagels & Deli
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.

Airport Cafe & Liquors
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.

Society BBQ
Photo courtesy of Richard Hales

Richard Hales has long been known as a student of the cuisines of east Asia. This year he pulled a u-turn like some crazed Bird Road driver and opened a Texas-style barbecue spot plying juicy AF brisket ($10, and ask for the deckle), perfect pulled pork ($8), and delightful sides like squash and cheese ($8). The best part, however, might be the fact that for a mere three dollars you can add a single rib, perfectly smoked with a bright pink smoke ring that penetrates deep into the meat onto any order. It's the impulse buy of every meat lover's fantasy, and now it's real.

Pizza Tropical
Photo courtesy of Pizza Tropical

The pizza universe has ballooned to a beast of epic proportions. From technically perfect Neapolitan pies to ultra-crisp ones in the style of Brooklyn to the thick, chewy grandma (also known as Detroit) pies — it seems we've forgotten the humble pie that, while it might not rest upon the upper echelons of culinary achievement, is quite capable of providing speedy, utilitarian delight the likes of which are unmatched, and never for five bucks a slice. Such joy awaits in a blood-red and taxicab-yellow bungalow on Gramps' patio, where at lunchtime during the week a five-spot buys you not one but two slices, plus a Coke. The crust has just the right crunch. The cheese is the stretchy lava of your dreams. The sauce is fragrant and barely sweet. Sure, the joint's cheeky motto is "Hot Pizza, Cuban Coffee, Bogus Claims," but what you really get is a flashback to the days when life, and pizza, were simpler.

USBS
Photo by Victor Mayoli/@ThankfulMonster

What started as a weekly popup at Box Elder now can be found at the Citadel food hall. A shameless play on the United States Postal Service, United States Burger Service is the king of killer burgers in Miami. These burgers have garnered a cultlike following in a relatively short time period. Everything from the potato bun to the cheese sauce is made from scratch by husband-and-wife team Michael Mayta and Keily Vasquez. The pun-filled menu often features over-the-top specialty creations that rotate weekly, but the "Ground" (a single patty with "government cheese" and "priority" sauce for $7.50) and "2-day" (a double patty option for $10) is where it's at. The smashed patty has just the right amount of crisp while remaining juicy. The star of the show is the house-made cheddar-fontina sauce labeled "government cheese" — it's decadent, flavorful, and nothing like what government-assisted funding would provide. Add some "Insurance, " AKA thick-cut fries ($3.50) to complete the experience.

Dogma Grill
Aran S Graham

Miami is filled with places to eat and go broke, but if you want a delicious meal for less than ten bucks, get yourself to Dogma. This MiMo District hot dog shack will dress and decorate your dog any way you like. Franks are offered in beef, turkey and vegan versions, so there's one for every taste. Try a "Texas Tommy," topped with bacon and American cheese; the "Coney Island," with spicy brown mustard and sauerkraut; or the king of dogs, the "Chicago," topped with mustard, relish, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, a pickle, and celery salt ($4.75 each). Add fries ($3.50), and a soda and you've got a delicious lunch for just about a ten-spot. Throw in free parking and you've got one fine deal. Open daily.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®