Best Tacos 2022 | Uptown 66 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
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.

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.

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: 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).

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.

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.

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 king crab leg topped with chunks of ripe avocado, pickled mustard seed, and a heaping portion of caviar. The roe lends a buttery-rich flavor that pairs perfectly with the seafood, which arrives nestled in a toasted, Kewpie mayo-slathered brioche bun.

Photo by Nicole Danna

Greg Tetzner and his girlfriend, Jackie Richie, started Old Greg's as a pandemic pop-up and have now opened a brick-and-mortar shop. In the world of pizza, loyalty may fall to the classic New York slice, the doughy Neapolitan, the oil-slicked Detroit — even the Chicago deep dish or its alter ego, thin-and-crispy "pub" pizza. No matter the predilection, Miamians flock to Old Greg's for a taste of Tetzner's famous sourdough pies and slices that sport a crust nearly an inch thick yet is notably light, boasting a well-toasted bottom. While it's never a bad idea to order the plain pie, don't overlook the "O.G. Roni." One bite and you can truly appreciate the bright tang of the house tomato sauce, the even smothering of melted mozzarella, the fragrance of whole-leaf basil, the sweet heat of the hot honey drizzle, and, most crucial, a ton of pepperoni. And not just a random sprinkling, but rather a blanket of the cured meat, each slice baked into crisp-edged cups, pools of meat fat glistening at their centers. The list of side dishes includes breadsticks with garlic-hollandaise dipping sauce, meatballs, and massive breaded chicken wings. Those, and desserts like the olive oil-based lemon poppyseed tres leches kicked up with Sicilian pistachio, fennel pollen, and stracciatella-rich cream, make this far more than your run-of-the-mill pizza pit stop.

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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®