Amalia
Photo courtesy of Amalia

Embroidered linen napkins. Rose-gold silverware. Floral lighting fixtures. Walls dripping plants and flowers. Everything about this charming, out-of-the-way South Beach spot screams romance, right down to the the fair-trade, locally sourced Mediterranean fare that Argentine native chef Hernan Griccini prepares. Focusing on seasonal ingredients, Griccini produces shareable dishes from his open kitchen, ranging from roasted eggplant served with sun-dried tomatoes, maroquin lemon, stracciatella cheese, fresh herbs, and arugula salad to ricotta and pear fiocchi with balsamic glaze, truffle oil, fresh sage, basil butter, and tomatoes. Here's a thought: Go for brunch, where Griccini routinely welcomes guest chefs from around Miami — proving that he, too, believes in partnerships.

Shuckers Waterfront Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of Shuckers Bar & Grill

For a city known for its coastal pleasures and crystal-clear waters, when it comes to casual waterfront restaurants, Miami is seriously lacking. Enter Shuckers Waterfront Bar & Grill, a sports bar with a view so gorgeous it's impossible to keep your eye on the ballgame. As its name implies, Shuckers is also home to some of the best oysters in Miami. They've got steamed clams here, too, as well as peeled shrimp, a hardy burger, and outrageously tasty wings. Shuckers is the answer to "where should we go to eat?" no matter who's asking the question.

Terras
Photo courtesy of Terras

There's something exceptional about experiencing a South Florida sunset from a bird's-eye view, and Terras is our pick to take it all in. Sequestered in a quiet-ish corner of Little Havana, this tropical hideaway perched atop the Life House Hotel offers vibrant cocktails and Latin-inspired street food. For the complete experience, indulge in views of Miami's unrivaled cotton candy-hued sunsets equipped with a refreshing "Sandía Fresca" (concocted with vodka, watermelon, purple basil, and lime) and an order of Terras' sumptuous crispy maitake (hen-of-the-woods) mushrooms.

Tigre
Photo by Ivan Belaustegui

The Little River might not be the first waterway that comes to mind when you think about Miami, but did you know it's teeming with wildlife, from manatees to herons to cranes and iguanas? And that the nature show is accessible? Take a front-row seat at the inventive pan-Latin Tigre during happy hour, brunch, or dinner while you nosh on dishes like poached red prawn tiradito with compressed Asian pear, aji amarillo-lime vinaigrette, and trout roe; crispy skinned local red snapper with carrot-ginger bisque, grilled endive, and green mango herb slaw; and lightly smoked, sous-vided and grilled whole 36-hour short rib with demi-glace and "kim-chimi." The only thing that could possibly interfere with this picturesque dining experience is the rainy season, which is why Tigre offers indoor seating. (With a view, natch.)

Uptown 66
Photo courtesy of Uptown 66

Celebrate Taco Tuesday or any day of the week at Uptown 66. At the outset of the pandemic, chef Nuno Grullon and business partner Akira Van Egmond opened a tiny taco ventanita in a former coffee stand in Miami's Upper Eastside neighborhood, and they've flourished there ever since. Grullon and his crew don't get bogged down with a multi-page menu, nor does Uptown 66 sport a salsa bar. What it does do: serve up delicious tacos that are made with care. They're sold individually (with the exception of birria, which are sold in pairs) so you can — and should — order an assortment: the barbacoa (a blend of oxtail, beef cheek, and short rib), suckling pig carnitas, pollo asado, and earthy hongos (mushrooms, a vegetarian menu entry that comes with a garnish of chopped pear, of all things). Start with and order of fresh-fried chips and guac and nab a side of esquites (corn with crema) and a craft beer, and take your tacos out back to the newly minted Uptown Yard, an oasis of seats under a magical tree lit with purple lights.

Doggi's Arepa Bar
Photo courtesy of Doggi's Arepa Bar

Doggi's is your basic hot-dog-cart-to-arepa-powerhouse success story. Launched in 2010 as Doggi's & More, the since-rebranded Doggi's Arepa Bar expanded its Venezuelan menu in 2011 with the opening of its first brick-and-mortar location at Coral Way's eastern terminus. Today it stands as ground zero for arepa consumption, with outposts on Biscayne Boulevard in MiMo as well as in Wynwood (food truck) and Hallandale Beach. Go-tos include the "Santa Bárbara" (marinated churrasco, avocado, tomato, and white shredded cheese) and the "Pulpo" (octopus with vinaigrette and red pepper). And there's more here than arepas, including a cheesy-beyond-belief cachapa — a traditional, semisweet corn pancake folded over queso de mano and topped with cream and shredded cheese — that's a (very filling) must-try. There's claiming to serve the "best" arepas in Miami, and there's Doggi's, which has established itself as the one to beat.

Sergio's
Photo courtesy of Sergio's

After more than four decades and 20 million croquetas sold, Sergio's homespun success story boils down to two substantial bites of crisp perfection: the mighty croqueta. Each croqueta is fried with precision: the breading on the outside crisp but not too crisp, the minced ham and bechamel within so silky it makes you swoon. This is a croqueta so exceptional that Emilio Estefan produced a 16-minute film in its honor (see: croquetanation.com). All the croquetas are assembled at a central location, then frozen and delivered to Sergio's 14 South Florida outposts. They're offered in five varieties: ham, chicken, chorizo, spinach, and bacalao (cod). But don't expect to find duck confit, mushroom risotto, or dessert croquetas here. Truth be told, at Sergio's, the story really begins and ends with ham. No bells, no whistles. Only the humble croqueta, just as God intended, beloved by Miamians for 40-plus years. One croqueta will lighten your wallet by a buck and a quarter (crackers and lime included, of course).

La Birra Bar
Photo by Nicole Danna

Does the perfect burger exist? La Birra Bar certainly comes close. Cofounders and family members Daniel, Roxana, and Renzo Cocchia will tell you La Birra Bar was conceived as an extension of Daniel's parents' rotisserie deli in Buenos Aires. Today, fans of the brand call it "the temple," a nod to La Birra's myriad menu options and the family's admitted obsession with the "perfect burger." The latter starts with the patty, a proprietary blend that's hand-chopped from various cuts of beef. Next, the bun: hand-kneaded and baked fresh daily for a light and fluffy texture. And the toppings, everything made from scratch — pickles, crispy onion, sauces, you name it. Keep it simple with the "Clásica," a six-ounce patty topped with Emmental cheese, lettuce, and the house tomato-based secret sauce. Go savory with the "Umami," topped with aioli, spicy ketchup, confit tomatoes, and Milanese mozzarella. Or test your endurance with the massive "Burger 532," alternating layers of beef, cheddar, and bacon stacked five patties high that arrives like a teetering Jenga tower of meat and cheese.

Best Barbecue
Photo courtesy of Izzy's Brooklyn Smokehouse

Finding good barbecue in Miami just got easier thanks to Izzy's Brooklyn Smokehouse chef/owner Sruli "Izzy" Eidelman. The Brooklyn-born pit boss recently opened his third location — and the first in Florida — in Aventura. In 2015, Eidelman opened a kosher barbecue restaurant in New York City, offering high-quality, slow-cooked meats (sans pork) to the city's flesh-loving masses. Described as Texas-style with a Brooklyn-Jewish twist, the menu is 100 percent kosher. It matters not whether you keep kosher. Any carnivore will appreciate Eidelman's star menu item: an 18-hour smoked brisket seasoned with salt, pepper, and a touch of paprika. The newly renovated space serves top-quality meats smoked on the premises in an all-wood smoker and finished on a live-fire wood-oven pit, with the finished product sold by the half-pound or as part of rice-based bowls, tacos, atop nachos, or part of super-sized sandwiches. You won't miss the pork, what with all the brisket, beef ribs, turkey, and chicken — including specialties like the house "dino" beef short ribs, a two-week brined pastrami, smoked lamb ribs, and the popular fried smoked chicken sandwich, finished with house hot sauce and a zippy horseradish mayo.

Best Hot Dog
Photo courtesy of Marky's Caviar Lounge

Designed as a sister establishment to Huso in Manhattan, Marky's Caviar Lounge at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers the same elegant attractions as its Madison Avenue sibling — fine wine, handcrafted cocktails, and a highly curated menu. The magic of this menu is all thanks to Buddha Lo, an Eleven Madison Park and Gordon Ramsay London alum who applies contemporary techniques to execute opulent dishes, each punctuated with Marky's own line of locally sourced caviar. Filed under "signature dishes" is Lo's upmarket take on a plebeian meal: the "Huso Dog." It reigns supreme as the area's most gussied-up hot dog — a plump, crabmeat frank topped with meaty chunks of king crab leg, ripe avocado, pickled mustard seed, and a heaping portion of caviar. The roe lends a buttery-rich flavor that pairs perfectly with the seafood dog, which arrives nestled in a toasted, Kewpie mayo-slathered brioche bun.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®