Wayku
Photo by Brinson Renda

Not strictly Peruvian, you say? Stipulated. We appreciate a good classic Peruvian place as much as the next paper does. But there's plenty of room in our ink-stained heart for a renegade of culinary culture like native Italian chef Matteo Gritti, who calls his kitchen "experimental" and "borderless" with "traditional Andean elements." That translates into dishes like ceviche with green gazpacho "de tigre" and pickles; rainbow trout with Andean succotash, creamy cauliflower and cilantro gremolata; and charred prime rib-eye steak with crushed Parmesan potato and dry chimichurri Peruvian asparagus. It's way cool. (Say it fast, you'll get it.)

Okami
Photo courtesy of Okami

We howl with happiness at this stunning, stylish Design District restaurant, whose restaurant name means "great wolf" and whose lounge name means "moon." The artfully designed Japanese-Peruvian dishes are best consumed in the open-air dining room with double-story ceilings or on the hidden outdoor terrace, located next to Prada and across from Chanel. It's like eating fashion while being surrounded by it. Just don't wear your tightest designer jeans, because — fair warning — while the fare seems light, you won't be able to resist finishing everything on your plate and then ordering more.

Boteco
Photo courtesy of Boteco

Where will you watch the World Cup this year? If you're a Brazil fan, or if you're of a mind to sip some really good caipirinhas and graze on feijoada buffet-style while you watch the weekend matches, you'll be at Boteco Miami with us. Of course, fútbol is only part of what makes Boteco such a dandy place to chill. We've been coming here for more than a decade for the beef milanesa topped with fried eggs, the moqueca made with mahi-mahi and shrimp, the linquiça slider, the endless orders of pão de queijo — and samba, among other pleasures.

Forte dei Marmi
Ilona Oppenheim

In a city filled with sumptuous Italian restaurants run by talented Italian chefs and singular Italian restaurateurs, it seems almost unfair to single out just one. That is, it would seem unfair if you haven't dined on Forte dei Marmi's pata negra with green tomatoes bruschettone, followed by its sepia tagliatelle with caviar and agrume gel, then its magnificent Fiorentina-style 48-ounce T-bone to share. The fare ranges from wildly creative to traditional, all of it prepared with out-of-this-world execution. In accordance with the slow-food movement, chef Fabrizio Piga and owner Andrea Reitano rely on craft, simplicity, and high-quality organic ingredients to bind it all together, and in a jewel-box of a garden designed by Oppenheim and Milan-based Henry Timi, they 100 percent succeed.

Mareva 1939
Photo courtesy of Mareva 1939

It's only right that this historic location offers award-winning Spanish fare. After all, the National Hotel is an exemplar of Miami Beach; its food should be as well. And it is, from tapas like the endive and boquerones with toasted breadcrumbs, manchego, and orange sherry vinaigrette to the appetizer of Spanish octopus with potato cream, smoked paprika, and arbequina olive oil to the rice dishes to share. Among those last, we suggest the black paella with seared scallops, shrimp, and aioli. Of course, there's much more on Mareva 1939's extensive dinner menu, and a superior Sunday brunch — with high-quality entertainment and bottomless cocktails to boost it even higher — to explore. But we'll leave that for you to discover for yourself the next time you feel like experiencing an adventure in South Beach.

Le Bouchon du Grove
Photo courtesy of Le Bouchon du Grove

Le Bouchon Du Grove has been a hidden gem in the Cocowalk area since 1994. In an ever-changing city, this establishment has remained dedicated to challenging the misconceptions of French cuisine. Unfussy and devoid of attitude, this quaint bistro, inspired by the city of Lyon, serves food that's hearty, authentic, and deeply flavorful. At once rustic and refined, the menu captures the flavors of France, whether at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Mornings bring takes on French omelets and raspberry pancakes, evenings feature traditional starters like escargot and French onion soup and entrées like the exquisite moules mainières pommes frites. For dessert any time of the day, try crème brûlée or chocolate mousse.

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.

Lung Yai Thai Tapas
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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®