Few moments in life are more fulfilling than ending a day at the beach with a falafel sandwich from Safron Grill. The low-key restaurant with sidewalk seating on Washington Avenue and a scattering of tables inside offers a sizable and affordable menu of Mediterranean fare, from lentil soup to gyros to Greek salads and baklava. Its claim to fame, however, lies in the perfection of the deep-fried balls of mashed, spiced chickpeas known as falafel. Whether served with rice, salad, and pita in a $17 platter, stuffed into a pita sandwich for $11, or folded into a monster-size wrap for $13, Safron's savory rendition of this Middle Eastern staple will satisfy at least two of your five senses. (Pro tip: Request some of Safron's house-made tabbouleh on your sandwich — there's no extra charge.)

Some people say there's no good, reasonably priced Indian food in Miami. Those people haven't dined at Ashoka, a family-owned local treasure tucked inside Flagler Park Plaza in West Miami-Dade. Sliding doors open to a spacious dining room, complete with ornate trim along the walls, and the scents of spices wafting in the air. A daily lunch buffet offers a variety of dishes, from simmering curries to glistening grilled meats cooked in a tandoori oven. When you're seated, you'll find a basket of fresh naan bread at the center of the table looking as if it's been waiting for you its whole life. In addition to the buffet, a comprehensive menu is available at both lunch and dinner, featuring "Chef Specials," Indo-Chinese fusion dishes, and ample selections of vegetarian and vegan plates.

Photo by billwisserphoto.com

Head to Calle Ocho for great...Thai food? Yep, it's a thing, thanks to chef Bas Trisransi and what started as his passion project in 2015: Lung Yai Thai Tapas. Inspired by his Bangkok roots and the memory of his grandfather, the dishes here are as savory as they are beautiful. The space is cozy — there's a wraparound wooden bar where you can watch the Thai staples (pad thai, pad see ew, curries galore) get spiced to the max. Standouts on the menu — and in Miami, for that matter — include khao soi (egg noodles in a golden curry topped with crispy noodles, onion, and your protein of choice) and nam prik ong (ground pork in a house curry with crunchy pork rinds). If you've ever dreamed of visiting Thailand, you can experience a culinary journey at Lung Yai without leaving Miami.

A good bánh mì isn't hard to find. By nature, the Vietnamese specialty sandwich is hard to mess up. It's the details that set a great bánh mì sandwich apart from lesser versions. Baguettes that are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, crisp pickled veggies, and fresh proteins are the what you need to perfect. Bánh Mì 2020 in Sunrise nails all these things and then some, improving upon the greatness that is the location's sister restaurant, Huong's Bistro, located seven miles to the west in Lauderale Lakes.Bánh Mì 2020 offers a half-dozen other Vietnamese sandwiches, including a vegan version, and you'd be hard-pressed to find better in all of South Florida.

Photo courtesy of Duck 'N Sum

At Duck 'N Sum in Coconut Grove, Cantonese-inspired dishes reach a new level of satisfaction. Don't let the name fool you — there's no dim sum here, just really good Asian fusion. That's especially true of chef/owner Raymond Kasprzak's sublime interpretation of duck fried rice. The rice is light and fluffy, whisked in a hot wok with just a hint of sesame oil before it's topped with still-crisp vegetables, a Chinese tea egg, and a heaping pile of fragrant roast duck. Kasprzak loves duck, as evidencedby the 48-hour process it takes to roast two styles — Cantonese (marinated with star anise, Szechuan pepper, and licorice root) and Peking (tender, juicy meat beneath crisp, crackly skin). Both create the base for most of his dishes, which range from riffs on bao buns and spring rolls to noodles and sides made with spicy veggies.

The family behind Su-Shin Izakaya has been treating Miami's sushi-loving masses to an authentic izakaya experience for decades. When the restaurant opened in the late 1970s, the utilitarian space was one of the few spots to offer Japanese cuisine — a time when the notion of eating raw fish was still considered an exotic indulgence. Over the years, Su-Shin became known for its unique specialties and gastropub-like ambiance, presenting adventurous diners with Japanese foods they'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, served alongside plenty of beer and sake. Today, that philosophy persists, with a menu that offers a dizzying array of authentic dishes best enjoyed in a tapas-like fashion — and all of it still affordably priced. Ten sections in all, the list covers everything from maguro natto (sliced raw tuna atop fermented soybeans) and tosazu vinegar-marinated fish to the familiar grilled or tempura-fried items, hot pots, noodles, and katsu. If that doesn't float your boat, a list of daily specials — typically fresh seafood sourced directly from Japan and served as sushi or sashimi — is always filled with surprises.

Photo courtesy of Omakai

The Magic City is showing an impressive penchant for sushi, attracting world-renowned chefs and a growing number of elite omakase experiences. In Miami, a standout is Omakai, founded by three friends who lamented the area's dearth of reasonably priced sushi. To offer a more affordable omakase experience, you have a choice of three multicourse options that begin with seasonal-themed appetizers and sashimi followed by an assortment of sushi and hand rolls. We suggest you go with the "Oma Deluxe" — a ten-course progression that goes down even better when paired with one of the restaurant's four seasonal sake flights. A vestige of those pandemic days, there's even the brand's own "Home-akase" offering, a specialty to-go menu box that brings the Omakai chef-curated experience to you.

Walking into Tony and Jenny Chan's restaurant, Chang's Chinese, feels like you're being transported to a hole-in-the-wall Cantonese eatery in Hong Kong. Instantly, you're met with a sea of fresh fish to choose from, hand-drawn menus of daily selections on the wall, and the unforgettable sound of ingredients being tossed in a wok. Everything is made for the purpose of encapsulating the smokiness of the "wok hei" flavor profile, a key element in traditional Cantonese dishes. Menu highlights include salt-and-pepper tofu, stewed eggplant with minced pork, steamed fish, and beef hor fun. One meal at Chang's will change your perceptions of Chinese food forever.

Photo courtesy of Red the Steakhouse

For years, Miami chef Peter Vauthy has blessed the Magic City with Red South Beach, his take on the steakhouse experience. Since opening in 2008, the restaurant has become known as the place to go for high-end meat and impeccable service. Eager to offer guests a new and improved location with outdoor dining, Vauthy's new SoFi space sports an impressive wine wall and a glass-enclosed VIP room. One thing that hasn't changed: the chef's signature menu, filled with twists on classic steakhouse dishes. While you can find familiarity with an iceberg wedge salad and steak tartare, it's Vauthy's offbeat offerings — like the meat-and seafood-stuffed pasta dishes (think lobster fra diavolo or meatballs atop bucatini and smothered in his signature "Red Lead" sauce) — that truly shine. But the real lure is reserved for the carnivores –– Kansas City strips, cuts of Miyazaki wagyu, a foie gras-stuffed veal chop, hearty racks of lamb. Each can be paired with Florida creamed corn or house-made Parmesan-crusted tater tots. The bar boasts an award-winning wine list and signature handcrafted cocktails for the perfect marriage of food and drink.

Photo courtesy of Seawell Fish N' Oyster

Because brunch's bottomless bubbles

Will wash away all your troubles

Because the Florida fish fry

Is local and caught on the fly

Because you just can't be sour

During happy oyster hour.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®