Best Greek Restaurant 2023 | Calista Taverna | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
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.

Bagatelle photo

With a rolling wave of French places opening up in town, it's becoming tough for Francophile culinarians to choose where to dine. Or is it? With fare that reflects the southern, sunshine-y aspect of the country, Bagatelle Miami serves plenty of dishes with fresh, explosive flavors, ranging from grilled octopus with blistered red peppers, tomatoes, and toasted almonds to steamed sea bass with Florida oranges and fennel. The art leans toward the pop culture side of things, and a DJ builds energy with bops leading into bangers, so you've got yourself a perfect Miami evening filled with a feast of entertainment.

Come to Niu Wine for its extensive natural wine selection and personalized recommendations. Located just a few doors down from its sister restaurant, Niu Kitchen, this industrial-chic space is just as intimate and romantic with narrow tables and candlelight. Rather than order off a menu, the staff will bring you some selections to try. Part of the experience is never knowing what to expect, whether it's a glass of grenache/syrah blend from Ardèche or an Italian vermouth. It all pairs perfectly with an ever-changing tapas selection.

Imagine wearing rose-colored glasses. That's what it looks like inside Lolita Dessert Club. In addition to displaying seemingly every shade of pink, this dainty tearoom is more than an Instagram backdrop. This intimate North Miami Beach space serves colorful macaroons and warm cookies. Opt for the chocolate-covered strawberries, or European sweets like dark-chocolate bonbons and homemade crêpes that come in a variety of flavors, including cheesecake, Nutella, and banana pudding.

Photo by Karli Evans

In a town that's way too comfortable demolishing its history to make way for luxury condos, it's noteworthy that Matt Kuscher and his team have preserved the integrity of one of the oldest New York-style delis in Miami-Dade dating back to the 1950s. When you step inside, Kush by Stephens feels as if it were cast in amber with nostalgic wood paneling, stained glass lamps, plush booths, and antique swivel stools at the bar. Keeping its original hand-sliced promise, the menu highlights Hialeah's Jewish-Cuban flavors with Bubbie's matzoh ball soup, crispy latkes, and Newman's Jewban, a sandwich marrying both cultures with pulled pork and corned beef. If you had any doubt that you were indeed in Hialeah — a city that boasts the largest population of Cuban and Cuban-American residents in the country — peek inside the men's bathroom for a urinal cake with Fidel Castro's face on it.

Etzel Itzik serves Israeli cuisine so authentic that each bite of hummus feels like it's bringing you closer to Tel Aviv. From the schnitzel to the shishlik, the meats at this Aventura restaurant are proudly all kosher. But don't miss the tahini, hummus, falafel, or daily specials. The menus are printed in English and Hebrew, and staff can understand and often speak both languages.

Bo Legs BBQ photo

Inspired by his North Carolina roots, self-made chef Kevin Doherty has spent more than 30 years perfecting the art of barbecue. His restaurant's new location inside an El Portal skatepark is an unexpected upgrade from his longtime outdoor operation from the Foxy Lady Laundry parking lot in North Miami Beach. As part of a collaboration with South Florida restaurant group Hip Hop Eatery, Bo Legs BBQ officially relaunched inside Skatebird Miami earlier this year. Don't worry, there's still classic oak wood-smoked meats like St. Louis-style spare ribs, beef brisket, turkey legs, and jerk chicken. Everything is designed to taste better when doused in Doherty's signature sauces (the yellow-hued golden barbecue sauce is addictive) and paired with sides, such as the homestyle mac and cheese, tender collard greens, smokey and sweet baked beans, and butter-slathered corn on the cob.

Platea Miami photo

The usual complaints arise when you tell urban-core Miamians that they simply must try Platea Miami, located in the suburban enclave of Pinecrest. "Too far," they grumble. "Traffic is awful," they gripe. But once diners get a taste of this Peruvian steakhouse's innovative fried ceviche, appetizers like the aji amarillo-inflected "foie mosaic" with balsamic pearls, and main course meat and fish options that are surprisingly reasonable for the superiority of the product, those objections simply disappear like reservations do on "Tomahawk Tuesdays," when you can enjoy a three-course meal for two, featuring a 64-ounce USDA Prime tomahawk, for $150.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®