Pink Love Donuts and More
Photo by Nicole Danna

Doughnuts can be complicated. From sourdough and yeast to cronuts and cake, a vast array of deep-fried baked goods comprise this beloved pastry category. With plenty of inspiration from his travels domestically and abroad, Argentinian transplant Diego Macedo began tinkering with simple recipes like pão de queijo and pound cake before his Pink Love Donuts dream took off. Today, the thriving family-run business is three locations strong, best known for its made-from-scratch croissants, Argentine-style empanadas, and — of course — gourmet doughnuts. At Pink Love, there's no such thing as too many flavors. The bakery has more than 80 in rotation, from classics like a plain frosted or raspberry jelly-filled to gourmet doughnuts like a sriracha glazed flecked with bits of bacon. Macedo kicks it up a notch with a limited series of "ultimate" creations, a designation reserved for his most decadent flavors, including a line of "drunken" donuts. Outfitted with a miniature pipette aimed at the core of each pastry, these are filled with spirits like Baileys Irish Cream or Kahlúa, making for a buzzy morning treat.

In 2015, after relocating from Venezuela, husband-and-wife team Salomon and Cori Salama dreamed of opening a business stateside that would fill the void of the two restaurants and gourmet cracker factory they'd left behind. Their goal: to create a place where customers could enjoy the flavors of the world through a variety of massive, decadent milkshakes. With the help of childhood friend Gabriela Bergoderi, the duo dreamed up a menu of more than a dozen dessert creations. A recent cheesecake series brought a list of 15 shakes, each one delivered like a statuesque tower covered in candy, cookies, or baked goods. Among the cotton candy, brownie, and cake-topped treats, memories of a "Creamy Cookies" shake linger: a cookies 'n' cream ice cream milkshake delivered in a vanilla frosted glass adorned with crushed Oreos sporting a triple-stack of chocolate doughnuts layered with a rich Oreo cream filling and crowned with a giant Oreo cookie. When you're finished, you might not be headed to Heaven or Hell, but you'll definitely be in food-coma purgatory. (If you find yourself up north, there's a Holy Shakes location in Boca Raton.)

If pie were a portal, a slice from Fookem's Fabulous would transport you directly to Key West. The scrappy business — run out of an inconspicuous home in Coconut Grove — was born during the early days of the pandemic after Joshua Abril, an out-of-work TV producer, taught himself to make key lime pie by watching dozens of YouTube tutorials. The version Abril settled on — a creamy, tart delight with a salty graham-cracker crust — quickly rivaled those made by the best pastry chefs in Miami. Grab a pie outside Abril's home daily from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., flag him down as he rides his bicycle cooler through the Grove, or place an order through DoorDash. Whole pies run $28, or try a mini pie for $6.

Bianco Gelato

The best way to beat the heat is with a frozen treat. Bianco Gelato brings a taste of Italy by transporting a Milanese family recipe to South Florida, with locations in the heart of Coconut Grove and the Shops at Bal Harbour. What, you ask, is it that elevates Bianco Gelato from standard gelato and Ice cream shops? It's their commitment to ingredients, freshly sourced and organic. The flavor profiles please children and adults alike, and in the event not everyone screams for gelato, Bianco also offers sorbets, popsicles, smoothies, baked goods, and (highly recommended!) granitas. Shunning artificial flavors and chemicals and embracing options for vegans and any dietary restrictions, Bianco Gelato is guilt-free. It's the perfect treat for a passeggiata any day of the week.

Best Desserts
Photo courtesy of Barton G.

There's something whimsical about Barton G., the Magic City restaurant with a flair for the dramatic. It's the type of place you go to impress your Tinder date or when you want to feel like every dish you order deserves its own photo shoot. Seriously, where else are you encouraged to pose for pics with a giant fork? That's especially true for dessert, where you can order a Marie Antoinette cotton candy bust — a two-foot-high twist of pink cotton candy "hair" artfully arranged atop a mini-mannequin head that's accompanied by a slice of vanilla cake. Or end it all on a giant note with The "Dolla Dolla Bill Y'all," the most expensive dessert on the menu. A platter's worth of chocolate and bling, it includes a brick-like s'mores-and-dulce-de-leche tart topped with toasted marshmallow meringue that's torched tableside. It's presented beside a giant faux gold brick and delivered by a sparkler-waving server along with a giant hundred-dollar bill for that Insta-worthy glam shot before you dig in.

A slew of contenders have rolled up for this award lately. Suddenly pasta makers — people, not machines — have appeared in restaurant windows and at highly visible perches all across the city. But we're still fans of the original Via Emilia 9 on South Beach, and sibling restaurant Via Emilia Garden in Midtown, where we first encountered Emilia-Romagna-style fresh ravioli, tortellini, tagliatelle, and more, made right there in the dining room, on the spot. After a not-so-brief interruption courtesy of the pandemic, we're happy to see them back rolling, stuffing, and pinching dough, just for us. Well, okay, for other guests, too — if you insist. After all, we can't eat it all — or can we?

Pulling into the parking lot at Pinecrest Farmers Market, you know you're in for a special morning. Located adjacent to Pinecrest Gardens park, PFM is nestled amid a lush, green near-wilderness setting. Cooled by the shade of banyans and oaks, stroll through the grounds and browse the wares of about five dozen vendors, offering tropical fruits freshly picked from nearby trees, homemade pastas, locally farmed veggies, hand-dipped candles, and much more.

Like you, we cringe at the notion of having to leave Miami-Dade County to shop for groceries. That said, we'll do it in a heartbeat for a trip to Kim and Lee Oriental Market in Lauderhill. Known to many as simply "Oriental Market," Kim and Lee is predominantly a Korean grocer, but it's sure to meet your Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai needs as well. If you arrive early enough in the day, there'll still be fresh-made kimbap and japchae, but a word to the wise: It sells out quickly. If you're tardy, though, don't fret. There's also an entire wall of freshly made kimchi and banchan of all types, ranging from snack-size containers to full-on gallons. This place is the closest you'll get to South Korea in South Florida.

Sawa Restaurant & Lounge
Photo courtesy of Sawa

Anyone on a dating app knows: Your dog is your best date. They're great company, provide plenty of hugs and kisses, and when it comes time to pick a place for dinner, they don't quibble with your choice. That's why Sawa Restaurant & Lounge is the perfect place to treat yourself and your pampered pooch. Located in the Shops at Merrick Park, Sawa has a beautiful outdoor courtyard with bright yellow patio umbrellas that provide shade. You and your furry friend will each have your own dedicated menu. Your pup can start with tapas of gourmet baked biscuits or grain-free jerky strips before digging into the main course: chicken breast, steak kebab, or an Angus burger patty, all fresh off the grill. Add a side of rice (white or brown) and you've got a dish fit for a prince(ss). For dessert, there are frozen doggie cups for your best mate while enjoy ice cream, cake, house-made baklava, or another glass of roe.

Zuma Contemporary Japanese Cuisine
Photo courtesy of Zuma

During the pandemic, some of us learned new languages, taught ourselves to play a musical instrument, or picked up a hobby like, say, needlepoint. And the rest of us just became drunken couch potatoes (which, to be fair, sounds like a decent dish). The team behind Zuma got constructive, embarking on a redo to mark the restaurant's tenth anniversary. The izakaya-style spot in the Kimpton Epic Hotel (also newly renovated) near the mouth of the Miami River downtown now features a host stand and DJ booth, both crafted from enormous planks of Indonesian trees. The bar's suspended shelving and acid-etched glass wainscoting is echoed in the hanging bamboo poles and glass façade that leads to the patio. And if you want to sit on the waterfront terrace and relax — it's all new furniture and greenery out there, too.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®