Chefs on the Run | 100 Best Restaurants in Miami and Beyond in 2024

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September 19, 2023

Our annual list of Miami's essential restaurants, from date night to late night.

As Miamians, we're accustomed to being overlooked. Miami, after all, is a destination. People come here. No one actually lives here. Does anyone here actually work? At a job? (And don't even start with that wretched "Florida man.")

As for what we like to eat, we all know that drill: We're one big "melting pot." We're addicted to cafecitos. The only pie we acknowledge is key lime, the only sandwich the cubano, the only seafood spiny lobster (or stone crabs, in season).

And we'd all be tycoons if we had a nickel for every time we heard the biggest kiss-off of all: Miami has no food scene.

But like the climate, all that has been changing. In 2022, the Michelin Guide deigned to take note. Earlier this year, Bon Appétit dubbed us "Food City of the Year." And just this month, Food & Wine included Val and Nando Chang (see B-Side on this list) in its annual crop of the nation's "Best New Chefs."

That said, the task we've been setting for ourselves since 2019 — choosing Miami's 100 Essential Restaurants — isn't nearly as simple as picking the ones everyone's drooling over right now.

To the contrary, the list you have in front of you represents our highly subjective distillation of the 100 restaurants that, as a group, best convey the essence of dining out in Miami.

These are places that, regardless of the average tab, stand out to us for their high quality, their inventiveness and ingenuity, their staying power, and, perhaps most important, for their flavor. (There isn't a single entry on this list that's less than a year old. That's by design.)

Below, listed in no particular order, you'll find everything from humble mom-and-pop places to straight-up, once-in-a-blue-moon splurges. If you and your food-loving friends were to spend months assembling your own Top 100, you'd surely make different choices.

We'd love nothing more than to hear your picks. Let us know on social media or via email: [email protected].

Nicole Danna, New Times food and beverage writer

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Chefs on the Run

Chefs on the Run
Photo by Nicole Danna
Chef/owner Jodrick Ujaque
Puerto Rican-born chef/owner Jodrick Ujaque took stints at well-known Caribbean-inspired Miami establishments before opening his Homestead restaurant in 2011. With influence, however, comes innovation, evidenced by a menu that displays a tasty blend of American, Taíno, Caribbean, and even Asian influences. The eight-table dining room is simple, dark, and rustic, if a tad cramped. Start with pa' picar — snacks like bolita de queso (deep-fried golden torpedos of stretchy cassava dough filled with Gouda and white cheddar) and alcapurria (delicate picadillo nestled in a plantain masa and fried to crisp perfection). Puerto Rican purists might pass on more unorthodox offerings like macarrones con res, a truffle and chipotle mac & cheese made with cotija cheese and birria-style braised beef. But they'll surely rejoice when presented with the mofongo, a Boricua staple of pounded green plantain mash mixed with nibs of pork-belly chicharrón and shaped into a sphere, whose starchy texture softens when dunked into the accompanying caldo de pollo. It can be served alongside chicken, shrimp, or steak and arroz con gandules, the Caribbean island's version of rice and beans.
10 E. Mowry Dr., Homestead, 33030

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen

Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen
Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen, a partnership between chef Samuel "Sam" Gorenstein and Omer Horev, founder of Pura Vida Miami, might just be the most charming restaurant in Miami Beach. The eatery, inside a small house complete with a porch lined with flowing plants and cozy cushions, offers a plethora of bright fare. Start with a few salatim, such as baba ghanouj, smashed avocado, roasted beets, or the "holy grail" of black and white tahini with grated tomato and green harissa (all served with fire-baked pita), before moving on to grilled lamb chops, a whole branzino, or baby cauliflower — all oven-baked. Gorenstein drew his inspiration from the cafés of Tel Aviv, a city he says is like Miami in style and climate. Abbalé is intimate, inviting, and altogether an extremely pleasant way to pass the time grazing on shareable plates while sipping a glass of wine (or two).
864 Commerce St., Miami Beach, 33139

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Anthony's Runway 84

Anthony's Runway 84
Anthony's Runway 84 photo
If it's a classic red sauce restaurant you're after, look no further than Anthony's Runway 84 — Broward County's iconic restaurant and supper club. The dimly illuminated and vibey airline-themed establishment located off State Road 84 has been serving Italian-American staples since 1982 and recently underwent a year-long renovation. Be forewarned, though: It's never merely about dinner at Runway 84. Dress to impress (business casual is suggested and shorts aren't allowed), especially for the lively bar scene that extends far past happy hour. Assuming you've come to dine, start with heaping platters of hot or cold antipasti, fried calamari, and meatballs before moving on to mains like chicken parmigiana, veal scallopini, and spicy vodka sauce-soaked rigatoni. On Sunday, don't miss the "feast," a classic meat-based Sunday sauce served with meatballs and topped with a scoop of ricotta. New menu items include a 40-ounce porterhouse for two, plus an expanded selection of steaks and chops. After dinner, head back to the bar for a nightcap and dessert while soaking up the ambiance like the "made" Floridian you are.
330 W. State Rd. 84, Fort Lauderdale, 33315

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Apocalypse BBQ

Apocalypse BBQ
Photo by Nicole Danna
A business that began on a Weber Smokey Mountain has grown into one of the area's best barbecue restaurants. In 2022, Jeff Budnechky channeled his pandemic side hustle into a standalone location. Outside the restaurant, a small array of smokers billow aromas of pork and beef that betray Budnechky's Brazilian-Argentinian roots and his wife's Cuban heritage. Arrive early and you might snag an order of the brisket bacon: seasoned and smoked pork belly sliced thick and tossed on the flattop before serving. If you manage to resist ordering the St. Louis-cut ribs at first, you might change your mind after seeing platters emerge from the kitchen, slow-cooked and practically begging to be lacquered with Budnechky's colada-infused "oro negro" sauce. Cafecito-rubbed, Texas-style brisket or pulled pork shoulder pair nicely with the chef's Carolina-inspired mustard sauce (not to mention classic sides like a pepper-flecked mac & cheese, sweet coleslaw, and honey-doused cornbread). Further upping the ante: a ten-seat bar offering tropical and classic cocktails. Try a shaken pina colada made with fresh juices or the berry-infused, housemade sangria.
9980 SW 104th St., Miami, 33176

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Arbetter's Hot Dogs

Arbetter's Hot Dogs
Photo courtesy of Arbetter's Hot Dog
It's not necessarily the hot dogs themselves that are better at Arbetter's. Rather, these all-beef or pork-and-beef franks are ideal blank canvases for the three garnish combinations that solidified Arbetter's reputation when this family-run institution opened more than a half-century ago. The basic onion/relish dog is nicely tangy, and the sauerkraut/mustard dog, loaded with beautifully buttery, cooked-all-day-tender kraut, is even better. Along with the rich and flavorful but not overly hot all-meat chili topping from an old Arbetter family recipe, a garnish of diced raw onion adds that reassuring subliminal message that you're consuming a healthful greenish vegetable that certainly counteracts the menu's cholesterol count — so, hey, have another. For a taste of the 305, try a "Miami" dog with mustard, onion, cheese, tomato, and potato sticks. Or throw caution to the wind and order the "Zelda": a hot dog with "everything" on it.
8747 SW 40th St., Miami, 33165

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Ariete

Ariete
Ariete Hospitality photo
Chef Michael Beltran's Ariete adds an air of refinement to Coconut Grove not seen since the days when industrialist James Deering caroused its shores. Ariete serves dishes like foie gras with smoked plantains, but there's something more than fancy amid the elegance offered by Beltran, who trained under chefs Norman Van Aken and Michael Schwartz. The Little Havana native twists bits of Cuba and France into every dish, just the way his grandparents taught him. In 2022, Beltran's culinary craftsmanship earned Ariete a Michelin star.
3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove, 33133

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Awash Ethiopian Restaurant

Awash Ethiopian Restaurant
Photo by CandaceWest.com
At Awash, owners Eka and Fouad Wassel want to take you to an authentic Ethiopian-style home kitchen called a gojo bait. Try the doro wot, a rich chicken dish with a depth of flavor similar to the moles of Mexico. The Awash River, from which this restaurant and many other Ethiopian eateries across the nation take their names, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley surrounding it was where researchers in 1974 found 52 fossilized bone fragments of the famed early hominid Lucy. Carbon dating put the partial skeleton's age at more than 3 million years, a fact almost every Ethiopian knows. But it's also one that brings home the history of this part of the world and the fact that much of human culture was born here. You might be tempted to visit only at night, but be sure to pop in during the daylight hours for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, the same one that's repeated up to three times a day in the Horn of Africa. Green coffee beans are pan-roasted, hand-ground, and then slowly brewed over hot coals. The point is to slow you to a stop in order to connect with the coffee and those with whom you're sharing it.
19934 NW Second Ave., Miami Gardens, 33169

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Azabu

Azabu
Azabu Miami Beach photo
Long before every other Miami restaurant was a New York transplant, Tribeca-based Azabu opened an outpost at the Stanton Hotel in Miami Beach. The sleek restaurant, with origins in the Azabu District of Tokyo, comprises three areas: a lounge offering more than 40 different whiskeys, the main dining room, and a hidden room called "the Den." The main room offers sushi and izakaya items from Azabu's robata grill, while the Den serves an incomparable omakase experience for fewer than a dozen diners per seating. The Den's pristine seafood, flown in from Japan, earned it a Michelin star.
161 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 33139

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

B-Side

B-Side
Photo by Nicole Danna
If you crave impeccable sushi in all its permutations and without the pomp and price of most local dens, B-Side is for you. The sushi offshoot of Miami's beloved modern Japanese-Peruvian restaurant, Itamae, the counter-style setting presents a short and sweet menu of snack-sized dishes, maki, and bowls-style meals that wow with simple yet flavorful presentations. The short list of rolls rotates frequently, and you'll often find them paired with housemade sauces that range from a leche de tigre cream sauce to yuzu-shoyu to a spicy ponzu. And there's more going on here than sushi — try snacks like an octopus tiradito, barely marinated slivers of tender mollusk doused in leche de tigre and artfully plated with botija olive sauce, fried capers, and red onion.
143 NW 23rd St., Miami, 33127

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Bachour

Bachour
Bachour photo
Bachour, the namesake restaurant and bakery from Antonio Bachour, is an oasis of the Instagram-worthy pastries that made the Puerto Rican pastry chef a national sensation. The clean, industrial setting is the perfect backdrop for the brightly hued pastries, cakes, and other confections. Open for breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner, Bachour's all-day menu of salads, sandwiches, and hearty entrées earned the restaurant a Michelin Bib Gourmand designation in 2022. A meal can range from an egg sandwich or eggs Benedict to heartier fare, including a steak sandwich, lomo risotto, and fettuccine in a housemade pomodoro sauce. Be sure to end with a slice of key lime tart — and grab a box of bonbons or macarons to take home. Since opening in Coral Gables in 2019, Bachour has added a location in Doral.
2020 Salzedo St., Coral Gables, 33134

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Blue Collar

Blue Collar
Photo courtesy of Blue Collar
Danny Serfer's Blue Collar takes its cues from the classic American diner. The tiny restaurant in the MiMo District offers daily specials and elevated comfort foods. Start with a gutsy New Orleans-style dish of shrimp and grits with bacon and Worcestershire-based barbecue sauce, or Hanukkah latkes (served year-round). Don’t miss the veg chalkboard, filled with delightful options from which you can build your own customized plate. Order a thermos of Panther coffee and a cheeseburger or the "parm of the day" and make yourself as comfy as you’d be in your mom’s kitchen. Pro tip: Serfer's also the chef behind another of our faves, Mignonette, an oyster bar and all-around seafood gem, just north of downtown.
6730 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 33138

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Boia De

Boia De
Photo by FujifilmGirl
This hip Little Haiti spot run by chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer offers an ever-changing lineup of pastas designed to comfort and enchant. Look for pappardelle "Alla Lepre" — unctuous shreds of braised rabbit tangled with wide ribbons of pasta. It's not all about noodles here, however. Boia De offers plenty of non-pasta delights, including meat and fish dishes and crisp potato skins filled with milky stracciatella cheese, caviar, and a hard-cooked egg. The editors of Florida's first Michelin Guide took note, awarding the restaurant a star.
5205 NE Second Ave., Miami, 33137

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Bombay Darbar

Bombay Darbar
Photo courtesy of Bombay Darbar
What began as a mom-and-pop 30-seater has grown into an Indian-food mainstay with two locations (Coconut Grove and Fort Lauderdale). Diners crunch on crisp papadum wafers while watching Bollywood movies on a large screen and perusing the menu. That list is lengthy, but at its heart are the tikkas, tandooris, and vindaloos that fans of Indian food crave. Bright vegetable samosas are a good start, as are some of the tandoor-baked breads — try the soft, fluffy, onion-flecked kulcha naan. Most dishes can be made mild, medium, high medium, hot, or super-hot. On that last count, Bombay Darbar thoughtfully offers cold Kingfisher beers to cool you down from even the spiciest of culinary adventures.
2901 Florida Ave., Miami, 33133

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Buccan

Buccan
Buccan photo
Wood-grilled squid and octopus at Buccan
Clay Conley forever changed the Palm Beach dining scene in 2011 when he opened Buccan, his take on a modern American bistro. The Todd English protégé, who has notched six James Beard nominations, renders topnotch ingredients into approachable, balanced, and robustly flavored dishes. The menu changes seasonally; perennial favorites include the flawless USDA prime burger and sweet corn and ricotta agnolotti, the latter bathed in a rich, mildly piquant espelette butter sauce dotted with nibs of bacon. Pro tip: Stop by for happy hour, when you can pair margaritas or dirty martinis with the chef's short rib empanadas, a simple ceviche, or the hot dog panini — a grilled and sliced Hebrew National dog paired with housemade panini slathered in garlic aioli, a trio of mustards, grilled onions, sauerkraut, and melty Gruyère. The chef's ventanita-like sandwich shop around the corner draws a daytime crowd.
350 S. County Rd., Palm Beach, 33480

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Byblos

Byblos
Photo courtesy of Byblos
Byblos, the Eastern Mediterranean restaurant at the Royal Palm South Beach, focuses on interpreting dishes from Levantine culture, found mostly in Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and parts of southern Turkey. The original Byblos is in Toronto, and as is often the case with Miami outposts, this one offers a more extensive seafood selection than its Canadian sibling. It's equipped with a wood-burning oven, used to bake pide (Turkish flatbread) and to finish off whole fish, lamb, and chicken dishes that are rustic yet refined.
1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 33139

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Cafe La Trova

Cafe La Trova
Photo by Adam Delgiudice
Between Cuban cantinero Julio Cabrera's daiquiris and chef Michelle Bernstein's fare, there's something uniquely Miami about Cafe La Trova. Bernstein's comfort food is all-around tempting. She works to meet the foodie fantasies of her guests, whether they're in search of elaborate dishes or a traditional tres leches dessert. Cabrera's cantineros take pride in the art of drink making. Here they "throw" daiquiris, tossing the precious liquid from shaker to shaker to create an arch in the air, before spontaneously bursting into a choreographed dance number. But as with all things Magic City, this joint isn't fueled solely by good food and drink: At any given time of the day, expect guayabera-clad musicians or jazz trumpet players to fill the air with their vibrant tunes, all set against a stage backdropped with the weathered façade of an Old Havana edifice. The Florida Michelin Guide recognized Cafe La Trova for its superior food and drink.
971 SW Eighth St., Miami, 33130

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Captain Jim's Seafood Market & Restaurant

Captain Jim's Seafood Market & Restaurant
Photo by Michael Campina
David Garcia (La Camaronera Seafood Joint) now owns this iconic North Miami seafood spot, which dates back to the 1990s. This heir to Miami seafood royalty kept the menu mostly unchanged, allowing Captain Jim's to do what it does best: serve the freshest fish possible. Favorites include stone crab claws and a beautiful take on conch salad with meaty hunks of the mollusk tossed in a spicy tomato marinade and cubed red and green peppers. Fresh yellowtail snapper and hogfish can be ordered grilled, blackened, or fried. Regulars go for the "Captain's Combo" — the catch of the day served with one side.
12950 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami, 33161

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Casa Isola Osteria

Casa Isola Osteria
Photo by Nicole Danna
When Pubbelly Noodle Bar closed in Miami Beach's Sunset Harbour neighborhood back in 2019, it left an empty space in the hearts of fans of José Mendín. Fortunately, the chef kept the lease, opening a quaint Italian bistro with longtime business partner Sergio Navarro and former Lucali chef Santo Agnello. The result, Casa Isola Osteria, is a charming spot that serves up red-sauce classics like linguini with white clams and pappardelle alla bolognese with braised Wagyu. The star of the show, however, is a stellar rigatoni alla vodka. The restaurant's décor attempts to replicate the ambiance of a tiny Italian village, so if you've been jonesing for some international travel, it's a chance to get away to Italy — if only for a meal.
1418 20th St., Miami Beach, 33139

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Chayhana Oasis

Chayhana Oasis
Photo by billwisserphoto.com
A mural depicting a desert beneath a floating pair of eyes is the only sign that beckons passersby into this Uzbek-style hideaway, accessible only from one side of NE 163rd Street. Chayhana Oasis offers fare not only from Uzbekistan but also the entire central Eurasian region. Translation: You can eat your way around several nations. To keep the proceedings simple and entertaining, the menu contains quirky descriptions of lesser-known dishes. Begin with the doma, tender stuffed Turkish-style grape leaves; continue with shish kebabs of lamb, chicken, beef, or shrimp. For dessert, try gnezdo, a crunchy meringue topped with diced walnuts. In standard European fashion, wash it all down with a shot of top-shelf vodka. Go ahead — there's no shortage of fresh, chewy Uzbek-style bread to soak it up.
250 Sunny Isles Blvd., Sunny Isles Beach, 33160

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Chug's Diner

Chug's Diner
Ariete Hospitality
Michael Beltran distinctly remembers the day he got his nickname. It was his first day as a high school freshman; Beltran walked in late to class, a chocolate milk chug in hand. Today, Chug is the name of the restaurateur's Cuban-American diner, a successful pop-up he's since expanded into a permanent, full-service eatery and modern-day ventanita. Where once stood a tiny grab 'n' go, Chug's now shows off an airy, open design inviting morning, afternoon, or late-night dining, complete with diner-style booths and a bar with lounge-style seating. True to the diner ethos, a crave-worthy menu of Cuban-American eats covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While you can order lechón hash to start your day or grab a frita patty melt for lunch, don't miss out on the curated selection of Pastelito Papi's famous fruit- and meat-stuffed pastelitos, or the house Cubano sandwich served on fresh-baked Cuban bread from the diner's bakery. In 2022, Chug's was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its approachable, excellent fare.
3444 Main Highway, Miami, 33133

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2024

Clive's Cafe

Clive's Cafe
Photo by Laine Doss
Clive's Cafe makes its mark with Jamaican favorites such as curry goat, oxtail, and jerk chicken. The original Wynwood location, which had been around for nearly four decades, closed, but the Little Haiti digs make for a colorful haven in which to eat some of the best Jamaican fare in Miami. The chicken is cooked to diner perfection and the curry is a smooth and subtle blend. The jerk chicken with rice and beans is a favorite menu item. The mood is laid-back — right down to the small radio pumping out reggae sounds. You just may catch Clive's fan Lenny Kravitz taking in the scene. The place is great for takeout but just as nice for a pit stop at any time of day.
5890 NW Second Ave., Ste. A, Miami, 33127