Best Chef 2023 | Brad Kilgore | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
MaryGold's photo

During the pandemic, fine-dining restaurants that couldn't pivot to takeout didn't fare well, and all three of Brad Kilgore's trendy, fine-dining restaurants — Alter, Ember, and Kaido — tragically closed. But, instead of languishing, Kilgore thrived personally and professionally. He took consulting jobs, worked on the menu for the exclusive, members-only Concours Club, and had a son with his wife, Soraya. Last fall, Kilgore partnered with BarLab's Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi to open MaryGold's Brasserie, a Florida-inspired restaurant offering modern American cuisine that highlights the many cultures Miami embraces. The restaurant in the Arlo Wynwood hotel has become a playground for Kilgore, who cooks with joy and tests the limits of his creativity. Dishes like oxtail beignets and his "Chicken & the Egg" are both whimsical and classic at the same time. When Kilgore pours flaming liquid onto his "Baked Florida" dessert, a tropical take on the cruise line staple Baked Alaska, he seems downright giddy. His happiness is not only palpable, it's palatable.

Photo by Ruth Kim

Why settle for falafel when you have "falafish"? Why dine on shawarma when you can enhance that experience with a healthier "fishwarma"? Why settle for a salad when you can order "Tom[atoes] 'n' Tahini"? This inventive Israeli restaurant shines with light from both the stained-glass ceiling and the exuberant talent of chef Tom Aviv. Winner of MasterChef Israel, this self-taught culinary savant is out to teach Miamians how to eat, drink arak cocktails, and hang out in cool, vintage, artisanal surroundings.

Evelyn's photo

A newcomer to the Fort Lauderdale dining scene, Evelyn's seemingly has it all: a team of top chefs, a coastally influenced Eastern Mediterranean menu, and pristine beachfront views from the Ocean Sun deck of the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences. Named for Evelyn Fortune Lilly Bartlett, the original owner of the city's historic Bonnet House, this poolside rooftop restaurant is a hidden gem amid the string of beachside establishments on Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard below. For executive chef Brandon Salomon, each dish is about exploration and storytelling, right down to the breads, including chewy, stone-fired pitas and a savory buckwheat lavash — they pair perfectly with the house mezze. The menu traverses the Mediterranean, from small plates to soups and salads, wood-smoked skewers, and elegant mains. You might splurge on a vintage Champagne to accompany your meal, but it would be a shame to ignore the cocktail list. Try the "Rangpur Daiquiri," a modern rendition of the drink crafted by Evelyn Fortune Bartlett herself. (The original recipe is displayed in the shell museum at the Bonnet House.)

Lazy Oyster photo

Alexander Gilardi and Brandon Mesa started the Lazy Oyster as a delivery service, bringing fresh oysters to homes during the pandemic. The partners now host pop-ups throughout South Florida, shucking oysters at wine shops, festivals, and breweries. The Lazy Oyster also has a weekly pop-up on Saturdays and Sundays at Smorgasburg Miami in Wynwood. If you're an oyster lover, you owe it to yourself to seek them out. Gilardi and Mesa obsessively choose the best oysters around. They also offer grilled oysters fired from a portable pizza oven. There are always at least a half dozen different oysters to choose from, and if you're new to the oyster game, the staff can easily steer you to the perfect oyster for you. Plus, the Lazy Oyster's oysters cost less than those at some schmancy restaurants.

Adrian Gaut/The Standard Spa

Tucked away at the end of the Standard Spa hotel, the Lido Bayside Grill is perched directly on an oversized deck with a breathtaking view of Biscayne Bay. Enjoy the cool breeze as you sip a spritz and slurp on some oysters. The menu offers light but flavorful fare that leans healthier with oven-baked peri peri chicken and local daily catch. But that doesn't mean you can't indulge in lobster ravioli or parmesan tots. The view is so gorgeous, the ambiance so relaxing, you can't help but softly sing Otis Redding to yourself because you're just "sittin' on the dock of the bay," tastin' wine.

Photo by James McDonald

Having trouble finding a rooftop fine-dining spot that doesn't come with a DJ-thumping party vibe? Allow us to suggest Bellini. Intimately nested atop the Mr. C Miami hotel in Coconut Grove, this chic space is perfect for a relaxing lunch or after-work drinks and a leisurely dinner. It might not be the city's highest-altitude venue, but don't let that deter you: This peaceful European-style oasis boasts views of Biscayne Bay and the Coconut Grove skyline. On the menu: classic Italian cuisine inspired by the travels of hotelier brothers Maggio and Ignazio Cipriani, fourth-generation members of the family whose great-grandfather, Giuseppe Cipriani, created the famed Harry's Bar in Venice.

Courtesy of Il Gabbiano

Located at the base of One Miami East condo tower, Il Gabbiano is an unexpected addition to the city's waterfront dining game. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto an outdoor terrace, where a six-seat bar and covered dining patio overlook Biscayne Bay. Il Gabbiano has seen its share of special-occasion gatherings, but that's not a necessary excuse for visiting. The views here are stunning — the surrounding open water is a mirage of dancing lights from the cruise ships from the port to the left and the Brickell Key skyline to the right — the menu equally so, with a robust selection of Northern Italian dishes. If you're unfamiliar with Italian cuisine, by all means avail yourself of your server's expertise, lest the depth and breadth — from antipasto, insalata, and verdura to minestra, pasta, and risotto to heartier fare in the form of veal, beef, chicken, and seafood entrées — overwhelm you. The star of the show might be the restaurant's signature "Costoletta Alla Valdostana," a massive bone-in veal chop stuffed with foie gras pâté, Fontina cheese, and prosciutto di Parma smothered in a rich cream sauce and served with sautéed mushrooms. Afterward, a stroll along Miami's Riverwalk is the perfect nonalcoholic digestif.

Photo courtesy of Klaw

Klaw might sound more like the name of a cartoon villain than a romantic restaurant, but we can assure you that it's the latter. Take the golden elevator inside the historic Miami Women's Club building in Edgewater, and you'll encounter an elegant dining room with blue leather chairs and warm lighting. If you're here to gaze into your lover's eyes, opt for the candlelit rooftop with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. Order succulent oysters, Norwegian king crab legs with melted butter, and dry-aged steaks. If you want to get even more intimate, Klaw has two private dining rooms perfect for planning the remainder of the evening or the rest of your lives together.

Photo by Katie June Burton

Set a bit away from the glare of neon clubland on historic Española Way, the Drexel is the ideal place for people to feel comfortable in their surroundings. The Mediterranean setting is romantic but not too secluded, especially for people who have never met in person. The coastal-inspired fare is simple and delicious without being too challenging, ranging from homemade pasta and pizza to whole grilled prawns and organic chicken, all easy to share if the evening's going well. And it's close to a valet, plus other restaurants filled with people, just in case you need to dip. It is a first date, after all.

Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying


Photo by Jeff Salter

Everything at Naoe is done with care, from the soy sauce that's made at the chef/owner Kevin Cory's family's shoyu brewery in Japan to the sake, which is imported from the town of Kanazawa. Cory and manager Wendy Maharlika host ten weekly seatings in the intimate Brickell dining room, where guests are encouraged to dress casually to enjoy the meal. Service starts with a bento box of treasures before the sushi, barbecue, and even a special ice cream is brought out over the next two hours. This is a place to appreciate the zen and the art of sushi, which has led to Naoe's Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Award and AAA Five-Diamond Designation. But it isn't cheap: Dinner costs $280 per person (before beverages, tax, and gratuity), making it the logical first suggestion when someone else is picking up the check.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®