Best Chinese Restaurant 2023 | Tanka (in the Grand DoubleTree) | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Tanka photo

So you say you like your Peking duck set on fire. Well, you're in the right place. This inventive, well-run, high-end Chinese restaurant offers more than flaming fowl, however. Located in the former Tony Chan's Water Club location in the Grand DoubleTree, Tanka features what it calls "izakaya-inspired" dishes. That's shorthand for small plates like Wagyu dim sum, pork belly bao buns, grilled branzino with pickled mustard leaf, and fried rice with garlic miso butter and edamame. You can also indulge in sushi, which is fresh and delicious. But in a city where omakase abounds and Chinese-with-a-twist does not, we're going here for the truffle egg drop soup and lamb chops with mango-yogurt sauce.

Photo by Nicole Danna

Located in a nondescript Sunrise shopping plaza, Ten Ten Seafood Restaurant is not only one of the latest dim-sim serving restaurants to open in the region but, with 80 options in all, one of the most prolific. You're instantly greeted with a bevy of smiling servers eager to seat you and get you started on your Cantonese cuisine journey. The dining room's red umbrella-adorned ceiling will instantly transport you to a shop in Hong Kong, but it feels even more authentic when the carts, stacked with steaming bamboo baskets, begin to roll out from the kitchen. Here, dim-sim is served all day, but it's best when delivered hot and fresh for the busy lunch rush. From the delicate and savory to the adventurous and bold, each dish is made fresh and to order. You'll start with traditional dumplings, siu mai, and buns before the servers bring out the rice paste, noodles, and congee — expertly crafted and bursting with flavor. Don't skip the house specialties, which include crab meat dumplings in black rice paper wrapping (the meat is sourced directly from the live seafood tanks at the front of the house) and walnut buns, sweet chewy balls stuffed with a creamy nut filling. But the real treat just might be the black gold quicksand bun, a fluffy black sesame bao that holds a molten, velvety-smooth salted duck egg yolk paste at its core.

You can find Korean Kitchen in a North Miami Beach shopping plaza, but step inside, and its tarp-shielded outdoor courtyard is reminiscent of the country's pojangmacha street stalls. The authenticity expands into the menu, which features classics like bibimbap and budae jjigae (army stew) and delicacies like silkworm larvae soup. Don't forget the kimchi!

Basilic Vietnamese Grill serves dishes so fresh, simple, and authentic you'd think you were in Hanoi — not a North Miami Beach shopping plaza. The sleek dining room smells of ginger and lemongrass as crispy green papaya salads, fresh spring rolls, beef sauteed lemongrass vermicelli bowls, beef pho noodle soups, and other Vietnamese staples are prepared in the kitchen. The best part? No one will mind if you raise the bowl to your lips and slurp the last drops of pho.

Situated within a quiet strip mall off Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, Larb Thai-Isan specializes in flavorful cuisine from Thailand's northeastern region, particularly a meat salad known as larb (pronounced "lawb"). The menu includes longtime family recipes like duck curry, papaya salad, tom kha kai, and delectable desserts like mango sticky rice and coconut ice cream on brioche bread. The service is warm, and the restaurant has a relaxed vibe, with colorful Thai beer posters decorating the walls and a three-wheeled tuk-tuk taxi tucked in the corner. It's a no-frills spot that doesn't take reservations, so you might find yourself waiting for a table, but it's worth it.

It seemed the never-ending pandemic would rob us of one of the guiltiest pleasures in life: the all-you-can-eat buffet. But thankfully, the lunch buffet at Bengal Indian Cuisine hasn't gone extinct. Every weekday, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the downtown Miami spot offers a bottomless plethora of Indian delicacies for $15.95. Soup, salad, naan, a variety of rice and entrees, including three or four vegetarian options, are all to be had at your leisure. The food is made fresh and frequently replenished. If you're not a glutton or prefer a more a la carte experience, you can't go wrong with the samosas or the eye-watering chana saag, a medley of spinach and chickpeas. When they ask you how spicy you want it, be warned that "medium" packs a punch of heat.

El Turco photo

Most Mediterranean restaurants offer fare from the Greek Isles and southern Italy and can overlook dishes from the Mediterranean Sea's northeastern shore: Turkey. El Turco puts Turkish fare at the forefront of its menu and serves it al fresco under a giant Banyan tree. The restaurant offers many Mediterranean favorites you're familiar with, including hummus, grape leaves, yogurt, and fresh fish. Still, there are dishes that are meant to be explored, like the eriste, a homemade pasta dish tossed with walnuts, feta, and parsley, and izmir kofte, a casserole of meatballs, carrots, and potatoes in a fragrant tomato sauce. Finish your meal with a cup of rich, potent Turkish coffee. El Turco doesn't offer wine, but you can bring a bottle.

Calista Taverna photo

Calista Taverna's white-and-blue storefront looks as if it were chiseled off a Santorini cliffside and magically transplanted onto Giralda, the popular pedestrian street in Coral Gables. The housemade moussaka is the eatery's pride and joy, as is the Greek salad made with Greek-imported feta. Pescatarians can rejoice in the daily fresh selection of whole fish and seafood on ice in the back of the restaurant. But don't skimp on the turf-based offerings, including chicken souvlaki and lamb chops.

George Martinez

Because Miamians are always chasing after the next big thing, too distracted with the shiny and the new, we forget, never learn, or don't care about the truly terrific restaurants like Tim Andriola's Timo that thrive in nontouristy neighborhoods and quietly celebrate 20 years of serving high-quality, inventive Italian fare to adoring fans. Well, now you know. Pass it on to the tech bro from California to whom you just sold your condo for three times what it's worth.

Zeru photo

Sure, Zeru Miami serves plenty of Basque cuisine, ranging from tasty pintxos (snacks) to socarrats (rice dishes that mimic the burned, stuck-to-the-pan part of paella). And we know how a separatist Vascongado might feel about getting lumped in with anything that says Spain, even for an award. But since Zeru offers a range of the country's cuisine, with most of the main courses and side dishes cooked on a very Spanish Josper grill, we figure it fits within the parameters just fine. That said, while Zeru mines inspiration from Spain, it takes its cue from quality, and sources proteins from all over the world, including a don't-miss Alaskan king crab with miso glaze, a Wagyu tomahawk, and Japanese Kobe striploin.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®