Best Chef 2024 | Niven Patel | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Ghee Indian Kitchen photo

A lot of chefs have talent, but Niven Patel has something more. He has range. His breakout restaurant, the beloved Indian staple, Ghee, won him multiple awards. He was inducted into Food and Wine's Best New Chefs Class of 2020 and received recurring Bib Gourmands. But his expertise doesn't stop with South Asian cuisine. With an affinity for freshness, he's launching a direct farm-to-table experience at Rancho Patel, his Homestead farm where he grows produce for his restaurants. Patel spent time in Florence during the early days of his career and wows with exceptional dishes at his newly opened Italian-inspired restaurant, Erba. But why stop there? He expanded north of the 305's borders to Tequesta to serve fresh coastal Mediterranean dishes at NiMo. One thing is for sure: Chef Patel is certain to always keep us on our toes.

Mangrove photo

This lively spot is the sister restaurant to Aventura's fast-casual Jamaican concept, Jrk! Mangrove sneakily appeared on the scene at the start of the year. Those in the know visited it first as more of a late-night dance hall spot. But now in its full glory, Mangrove is a speakeasy-style, full-service restaurant. It has stylish retro decor and DJs to keep the ambiance consistent. Bartenders serve cocktails named after popular reggae songs, like the "Could This Be Love" with gin and watermelon juice and an espresso martini riff named the "Get Up Stand Up!" with caramel whiskey and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Dishes here are packed with island flavor, like the jerk chicken, jerk mac & cheese, and griot with pikliz. Mangrove adds a missing element of culture and community to a dining scene with not nearly enough restaurants that represent the wants and tastes of a younger, hip Caribbean crowd.

Vitolo photo

Take a stroll down Las Olas Boulevard and Fort Lauderdale Beach and, well, Fort Lauderdale is absolutely loaded with Italian options. They've all been put on high alert with the arrival of Chef Anthony Vitolo's namesake outpost on the beach. Menu-wise, it's New York-style Italian cuisine that's as primo as it gets, spanning a grilled octopus with mustard vinaigrette to a queen margherita pizza with San Marzano pomodoro to can't-get-fresher spaghetti alla carbonara. Its dining room is elegant and primed for date night, with arched entries, pops of green plants, and deep blue accents. If you're flying solo or want a bargain, its daily 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour has bites for under $14 and glasses of wine for under $10.

Photo by Carolina Cruz

We hesitated with this one because this spot is so special, just writing this risks blowing it up. Located on No Name Harbor, the Cleat Mia is at a right turn after you pay to enter Bill Baggs State Park, famous for being the Key Biscayne beach with the lighthouse. The Cleat is the place to take in spectacular sunsets. The bar and tables are right on the sand, promising unobstructed views of the sky and water. It's not quite a restaurant, but the Cleat has the best fish dip in Miami. You can also fuel up with a charcuterie board, guac and chips, shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare, or ceviche before slamming a few notable cocktails that won't cost you $22. Oh, and there's live music. Did we mention the atmosphere? Atmosphere and sunsets galore! The Cleat Mia checks off every box for a destination bar with bites. It's perfect, bar none.

Photo by Gary He

When this New York-based hotspot found an additional home in the Design District, it was immediately embraced by everyone from Florida foodies to the super-wealthy. The sultry Korean steakhouse boasts impeccable service, the finest steak cuts, solid lunch deals, and a seriously stocked wine cellar. With more than 1,200 wines on its list, Cote Miami was nominated for "Outstanding Wine Program" four consecutive years in a row by the James Beard Foundation. On the list, you'll find some of the most coveted grand crus and also plenty of lesser-known growers and producers, making it an incredibly well-rounded selection. Additionally, Cote has great relationships with tons of wine producers who make magnum bottles (1.5 liters or larger bottles of wine) that are only available at Cote and will kickstart a wild night out. In honor of these magnums, Cote hosts Magnum Mondays, where they select one of these massive bottles to open and pour by the glass at their cost. Cin cin, we say!

Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying


Ariete Hospitality photo

If money is no object or you're not the one that's paying, Ariete is the place to eat. All the focus is on the food at Chef Michael Beltran's Michelin-starred, well-situated Coconut Grove restaurant. A la carte is an option, but most first-timers opt for one of the two prix-fixe choices. There's the versos clásicos ($145 per person) and the versos modernos ($205 per person); wine pairings for each are $195 or $295 per additional person, and the in-house sommelier is at your ready. Additional courses are a must and an extra charge. You'll be hard-pressed to match the experience of Ariete's famous duck presentation, canard a la presse ($45 more on the prix fixe, $160 for two if ordered a la carte). The extravagant French dish is a tableside show with a hand-turned press to liquify parts of the bird, yielding ingredients for a heavenly sauce. For dessert, get the cigar, a nod to Beltran's Cuban roots, filled with a fluffy chocolate and hazelnut mousse, cleverly served in a cigar box. Ariete is a place you'll want to return to again and again, but only if someone else is scrambling for the check.

This simple Cuban sandwich shop is tough to spot these days now that it's eclipsed by high-rise buildings that developers continue to erect around it. But that hasn't stopped it from staying one of the most popular dining destinations in the area, and not just for natives. Soccer superstar David Beckham even credits the shop for teaching him how to make the perfect espumita with his cafecito when he first moved to town. But it's not a place for the super-rich. It's for the people. Enriqueta's is one of the few places where you can still score a solid breakfast or lunch for under $10. The cramped but comfy enough dining area and counter feature kitschy Florida placemats on which the servers will set down $9 classic sandwiches like pan con bistec, Cuban, and medianoche. The daily specials are hardier with rice, beans, and salad alongside your entrée for way less than $20. Of course, a little pick-me-up via the beloved ventanita is an easier way to score a taste of Enriqueta's.

Myles Restaurant Group

Okay, caaaalm down. Yes, there are a ton of great restaurants in Miami Beach, we know! But there's a reason Big Pink's been around for almost 30 years and is still thriving. Big portions. Friendly staff. Vibrant atmosphere. And options, options, options. This classic SoBe diner knows what it has that other trendy spots on the beach don't. If you're in the mood for good, old-fashioned American fare that won't cost a small fortune, this bright, bubbling pink corner on South Beach will welcome you in — flip-flops, messy hair, farmer's tan, and all. Their menu has every classic diner item you can imagine, and then some. Just a few blocks from the sand, Big Pink is a prime location to start your beach day with brunch or end it with one of the best burgers on the island and a specialty cocktail because why not? And for the late-night partiers looking for post-clubbing fries, you'll be glad this diner stays open till 5:30 a.m. on weekends — a true restaurant for the people.

Photo courtesy of Doya

With modern Aegean cuisine hailing from the shores of Greece and Turkey, Doya inspires with its dishes and its setup. Maybe it's the bohemian decor, impressive wooden tables, lush patio for dining al fresco, and giant windows that usher in the perfect amount of light from dawn to dusk, but this is one of the most handsome restaurants in Wynwood. And the food is divine. You're guaranteed to savor both big and small plates, from branzino ceviche to the baked feta. Make sure to order meats and veggies prepared over wood fire and coals, lending a distinct flavor that will ship you off mentally to a sea-sprayed, sparkling evening on the Aegean Sea.

Best Restaurant (Design District/Midtown)

Tablé by Bachour

Tablé by Bachour photo

Upon its early 2023 arrival in the Design District, Tablé by Bachour was a breath of fresh air on many levels. First and foremost, walking in and seeing an expanse of the most pizzazz-ed French petits gateaux is truly breathtaking. It should be expected from the restaurant's namesake, Antonio Bachour, who is a true pastry icon in and beyond Miami. And dare we say it, compared to its high-dollar neighbors, Tablé by Bachour is a bargain for its quality. Offerings include an $18 truffle butter-dashed breakfast sandwich and $42 king salmon with avocado hummus. As the Design District blossoms, Tablé by Bachour truly feels like it will be part of the neighborhood's fabric for quite some time to come.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®