Photo by Zachary Fagenson

You cannot get a better burrata panini with roasted peppers and pesto — anywhere. Or Italian panini, made with mozzarella, mortadella, ham, salami, tomato and pesto. Or the signature Brunito's panini, with stracciatella, bresaola, tomato and olive pâté, and Mimmo's panini, with mozzarella, prosciutto, tomato and olive pâté. Why? Because all those cheeses are made right here, on the premises of Mimmo's Mozzarella Italian Market, daily. "Cheese Factory" is right there in the name. Fair warning: These crunchy panini with their creamy and fragrant homemade insides are addictive. So whether you order to eat there, order to go, or order for delivery, you're going to want another one the next day. Our advice: While you're ordering, stock up on cheese, too, to ward off cravings until next time.

Photo by Karli Evans

Sandwiches are up for debate. OGs who know how to make a great sandwich need only three ingredients: high-quality meat, fresh bread, and a slathering of spicy mustard. The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches at Kush Hialeah (formerly Stephen's Deli and after that, Kush by Stephen's) are the real deal. The pastrami is boiled for three and a half hours, the corned beef for five hours. To prepare enough meat daily, owner Matt Kuscher's kitchen team starts working the night before. If you visit during the week, the king of pastrami, Henderson "Junior" Biggers, will carve your meat personally before placing it onto two slices of chewy Jewish rye, just as he has done since 1957. Other sandwiches are available, including a tuna melt and a spicy chicken, and burgers (yes, a burger is a sandwich), but with us it always seems to be a tossup between the pastrami and the corned beef.

Photo by Nicole Danna

The cubano is one of the city's most iconic contributions to the national food scene. While there are literally dozens of renditions, riffs, and upmarket ways Miamians have devised to dress up what amounts to a gussied-up ham and cheese sammie, nothing beats the traditional take at Karla Cuban Bakery, a three-generations-strong institution whose OG location still stands on West Flagler Street. The tender roasted pork and housemade pickles can leave a lasting impression, but what truly makes one Cuban sandwich stand out from another is the bread, and Karla's uses a recipe straight from the motherland, baked in-house daily. It's equal parts light, airy, toasty, and flaky, with the perfect ratio of chew to crunch, yet it's strong enough to handle the requisite layers of meats, cheese, pickles, and mustard. Served toasty and warm, wrapped in the required white paper, this is the consummate rendition of Miami's finest sandwich.

Photo by Macias Creative

An outer shell toasted to perfection that encapsulates the ideal combination of flavors within: slices of ham, mojo roasted pork, Gouda cheese, pickles, and a mustard mayo. Six simple ingredients (counting the bread), but any Miamian knows what they signify: a Cuban sandwich. No need to wait at a bakery or sit down at a café; Pollo Tropical whips up these delicious bad boys and hands them to you out of the drive-thru window. One bite of this unimpeachably prepared sandwich as soon as you pull into a parking space (we're not judging), you might find your shoulders shaking and your hips moving to an Afro-Cuban beat in your head. It's that good. And only eight bucks!

Photo courtesy of Off Site

Off Site, a modest-size collaboration between Adam Darnell of Boxelder and Steve Santana of Taquiza, isn't fancy, but it's golden — as in the hue of the perfectly fried chicken thighs wedged between two slices of bread. The sandwich itself has really no frills — it's just...perfect. Santana starts with plump Bell & Evans poultry that he breads and fries to that gorgeous, glowing shade. then he tops it with lettuce, garlic mayo, and housemade pickles. That's it. Bite into that baby with caution, though; the chicken is still so hot from the fryer that it actually steams. Cool yourself down with a glass of Off Site's Super Good lager, the sandwich's best friend.

Photo courtesy of Cluckin' Right Chicken

Chicken wings have become such a staple of American snacking that it's practically a travesty to watch a game or drink a beer without them. Although you can find wings almost everywhere, they are not created equal. Cluckin' Right Chicken's Mathieu Saint-Louis brines his wings, then dredges them in flour and spices and fries them to order. The result is a juicy, meaty wing that requires no slathering or masking, to the point where Saint-Louis prefers them with no sauce — the better to show off their inherent flavors. That's not to say he doesn't offer sauces (on the side!), including buffalo, barbecue, honey mustard, and a sweet and spicy "Frankenstein" version. Taste them for yourself Thursday through Sunday at Wynwood Brewing Co. — where you can avail yourself of freshly brewed local beer to pair with them.

Photo courtesy of the Oprah Winfrey Network

Want to eat like the Boss, Rick Ross? Eat at Chick'N Jones. Amaris Jones has served as personal chef for Ross and a host of other celebrities. Her fried chicken was a draw at her Motown-inspired restaurant South Street in the Design District. It closed in 2013, but Jones vowed to return. It took a while, but she made good on her promise in the summer of 2021 when she opened Chick'N Jones at Time Out Market in Miami Beach. Here, Jones brines her poultry for 24 hours with mustard and herbs, then fries it to a golden brown. Feeling spicy? Opt for the hot honey chicken, a Nashville-inspired classic that tingles the tongue. Pair your pick with a kale salad for a healthy balance or go all out by ordering a side of loaded fries. (Seriously, you're not here to count calories, are you?)

Photo by Laine Doss

Mac 'n' cheese may be the world's most perfect food: it's cheesy, full of carbs, and offers the kind of pleasure only your love partner can offer. Batch Gastropub's "Mac Attack" stands out like a perfect match on your Tinder app. "Gnocchi mac" is tossed with aged Gruyère, which coats the pasta like Spandex on a butt-lift recipient. For a final kick, the dish is sprinkled with Doritos dust. You can customize your Attack with any number of add-ons, including grilled chicken, pulled pork, steak, shrimp, herb fries, pecan-whiskey candied bacon, an egg, and/or truffle oil (the list of options is both exhaustingly long and exceedingly hedonistic). In fact, there are so many options, you'd wonder if Willy Wonka switched career paths. (In addition to the Miami restaurant, Batch wields its "Mac Attack" at its Delray Beach gastropub and at its two Batch Southern Kitchen & Tap locations, in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.)

Choices, choices. That's what we have at this poke restaurant tucked into the Citadel food hall in Little River, and it makes all the difference. Can't decide whether you want to start your bowl with rice or greens? They'll let you do both. Want to add salmon or tuna? They'll let you do both. Want to add all the veg or none? Sauces and/or seasonings? It's totally up to you. Everything is fresh and cool as air-conditioning in South Florida. (With the exception of that avocado half, which is always so perfectly ripe and soft you'll be tempted to rest your head on it instead of your chopsticks.)

Photo by Nicole Danna

Ceviche belongs in the same category as tacos and sushi: foods that our city excels at. But they're not all great. At Ceviches by Divino, brothers Christian and Frank Encalada create addictive variations that combine hot and cold with dazzlingly fresh flavors. A short menu offers several authentic renditions: fat cubes of corvina marinated in fresh-squeezed lime juice and seasoned with Peruvian limo chili, fresh cilantro, and onion and served with slabs of sweet potato and choclo (Peruvian giant corn). Try the trio de ceviches — smaller portions of the tracidional, an ají amarillo-spiked take, and the "Divino," with tips toward tropical with a mango-and-avocado-kissed leche de tigre.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®