The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Rusty Pelican

Rusty Pelican
Photo courtesy of Rusty Pelican
Savory seafood and stunning views of Biscayne Bay from every seat in the house (or out): That’s what makes this Key Biscayne landmark just off the Rickenbacker Causeway a perennial favorite for birthdays, engagements, and graduation dinners. The list of appetizers features crab cakes, grilled herb-marinated octopus with fingerling potatoes, and corvina ceviche. For dessert, order the chocolate sabotage — a platter of vanilla and chocolate beignets, gianduja mousse, molten chocolate cake, and chocolate and peanut butter truffle pops served with crème anglaise, chocolate glaze, passionfruit marshmallows, raspberry coulis, and chocolate flakes. The restaurant is equipped with a glass-cube wine “cellar” that holds more than 300 bottles, and all servers are well versed in the treasures within. New Normal: All staff members participate in Servesafe training. The restaurant is equipped with touchless sanitizer stations and accepts touchless transactions. Sunday brunch has transitioned from a buffet to à la carte.. ($$$)
3201 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne, 33149

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

All Day

All Day
Photo by Zachary Fagenson
Nationally recognized barista Camila Ramos’ downtown coffee shop is a bright, tropical oasis nestled between downtown, Overtown, and the Miami Arts District. The centerpiece of the space is the massive La Marzocco espresso machine, among the largest in the nation, from which Ramos and her skilled team craft perfect cortados, espressos, and macchiatos. Pair one with a thoughtfully sourced lineup of eats, including some of the city’s best egg sandwiches. And don’t even think of missing All Day’s seasonal drink. Ramos the crew spend months creating special coffee-based beverages such as Our Sweetheart No. 4 (cold brew, rosemary syrup, and lime juice), Coffeewein (white oak-aged cold brew, roselle tea, and salted cacao bitters), and the Paloma (grapefruit, nitro coffee, and pink peppercorn syrup topped with tonic water and dried pineapple). New Normal: All Day accepts reservations via Resy. ($$)
1035 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 33136

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

The Anderson

The Anderson
The Anderson
The building that houses the Anderson has been a bar far longer than most of us have been alive. Restaurateur Ken Lyon has given the space new life with lush outdoor gardens, a tiki bar, and the taco joint El Toro Taco, decorated with wonderful black-and-white photos of people and places in Mexico — all shot by Lyon on his various trips to the country. Between the indoor lounge, the outdoor patios, and the eatery designed to look like a food truck, the Anderson seems more like its own little world than a simple bar and kitchen. New Normal: Lyon has enlarged the Anderson’s outdoor space and installed additional outdoor seating. ($$)
709 NE 79th St., Miami, 33138

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Anthony's Runway 84

Anthony's Runway 84
Photo courtesy of Anthony's Runway 84
Anthony’s Runway 84, from the owner of the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza chain, is airport-themed, but it feels more like what you’d get if Epcot opened a restaurant based on the quaint Brooklyn of yesteryear. There’s a dining room, but if you really want your evening’s entertainment, eat dinner in the lounge. Faux cockpit windows have you coming in for a landing as you peruse the menu, which leans heavily toward red-sauce Italian fare. Women with teased hair wearing leopard-print dresses with fat diamonds on their red-lacquered fingers drink pink martinis while Sinatra croons in the background. Before dinner, a basket of warm, fresh bread arrives with a dish of olive oil spiked with garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re on a date, agree that you’ll both have garlic breath — it’s worth it. Meatballs arrive with a dollop of ricotta, Sicilian peppers are stuffed with more cheese and garlic, and clams oreganata, baked with breadcrumbs in a garlic and lemon sauce, are authentically Sheepshead Bay. The civolata sausage is presented with broccoli rabe and roasted peppers. The sausage is spicy, the peppers are sweet, and the combination is classic. New Normal: Anthony’s takes all the recommended COVID precautions and now offers takeout and delivery for those who prefer to enjoy their sausage and peppers at home. ($$$)
3380 W. State Rd. 84, Fort Lauderdale, 33315

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

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. New Normal: Arbetter’s offers outdoor seating. If you can’t make it out to the Bird Road mainstay, order for delivery via Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates. ($)
8747 SW 40th St., Miami, 33165

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Ariete

Ariete
Photo by Charlie Garcia
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. A meal ends with tres leches, and you won’t stop thinking about the sweet treat until the next time you visit Ariete. New Normal: Ariete’s lush, outdoor patio is great for those who prefer not to dine indoors. ($$$)
3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove, 33133

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Arson

Arson
Photo by Jose Romero / WordinTown
In 2017, Katrina Iglesias, Adam Hughes, and chef and Barcelona native Deme Lomas opened Arson two doors down from their first venture, Niu Kitchen. The centerpiece of Arson is the Josper, a charcoal-burning grill/oven hybrid that influences Lomas’ gastronomy. Whiffs of Asia and South America rise off of the one-page menu, which includes about 20 dishes. Mainstays include charbroiled oyster with ponzu and rice vinegar mayo; Argentine shrimp with smoked paprika, tequila, and quebracho charcoal; and “Duck 2 Ways,” which comes charbroiled and smoked with apple textures and honey-mustard bread. New Normal: Arson and Niu Kitchen have combined in order to accommodate more outdoor seating. It’s a win-win for guests who can now order from both menus. ($$)
104 NE Second Ave., Miami, 33132

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

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. It’s 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. New Normal: Awash doesn’t have outdoor dining, so reservations are strongly recommended. In addition, Awash offers takeout and delivery. ($$)
19934 NW Second Ave., Miami Gardens, 33169

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Azucar Ice Cream Company

Azucar Ice Cream Company
Photo courtesy of Azucar Ice Cream Company
When you’re strolling Calle Ocho beneath the sweltering sun, nothing cools off your afternoon like a frosty treat. Pop into Azucar, where you’ll find flavors that could only be dreamed up in Miami. Making ice cream is a tradition in owner Suzy Battle’s family. Her grandmother made ice cream in Cuba and many of the flavors pay tribute to the island nation — like plátanos maduros (sweet plantains) and “Abuela Maria” (vanilla ice cream laced with with ripe guava, chunks of cream cheese, and crushed Maria cookies). New Normal: Azucar is a scoop shop, so order your cone and carry on with your socially distanced walk down Calle Ocho. ($)
1503 SW Eighth St., Miami, 33135

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Bachour

Bachour
Photo by Javier Ramirez
The namesake of Puerto Rican pastry chef Antonio Bachour is an oasis of the Instagram-worthy creations that have made him a national sensation. Glass display cases proffer seductive rows of brightly colored cakes, macarons, croissants, and bonbons to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth. This 5,000-square-foot spot, tucked away in Coral Gables on a serene corner of Salzedo Street, offers not only melt-in-your-mouth pastries and desserts, but also workshops for culinary professionals and a daylong à la carte menu of salads, egg-based dishes, tarts, sandwiches, and hearty entrées such as churrasco and grilled salmon. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Bachour has become a hub for the community. New Normal: Cooking at home more often? Elevate your meal by ordering one of Antonio Bachour’s cakes. ($$)
2020 Salzedo St., Coral Gables, 33134

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Bakan

Bakan
Photo by Laine Doss
When you spot the decorative cacti out front, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Bakan. This lovely Wynwood restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes far removed from the taco joints that proliferate throughout Miami. Here you’ll find Oaxacan mole dishes and whole grilled fish (and quesadillas and guacamole if that’s your jam). If you’re feeling adventurous, look for the “Los Exoticos” section of the menu. Try the gusanos de maguey, pan-fried agave worms served with blue-corn tortillas and a side of guacamole; and the escamoles, a rare ant caviar sautéed with butter, serrano chilies, and epazote and then wrapped in a blue-corn tortilla and topped with a spoonful of guacamole and pickled vegetables. Wash down your incomparable meal with a selection from Bakan’s list of 200-plus tequilas and mezcals. New Normal: Bakan’s gorgeous outdoor terrace, accented with rock gardens and aloe plants, has been expanded onto the sidewalk for additional outdoor seating. ($$)
2801 NW Second Ave., Miami, 33127

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

BarMeli69

BarMeli69
Courtesy of Barmeli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar
This tapas and wine bar, located in Miami’s MiMo District, sits alongside a no-tell motel. The location makes BarMeli69 seem all the more like a hidden gem, a personal find, the kind of place you whisper about to your friends, as in, “I just found this great little joint.” Inside, the restaurant feels like one of those wonderful little bistros or tavernas you only see in movies. You really can’t pinpoint the exact country or town; you just know it’s charming. Wines are predominantly from the Mediterranean, including off-the-grid selections from Sardinia and Israel. All the tapas are delicious, but the showstopper is the flaming saganaki; the Greek cheese dish is doused with brandy and set aflame. A friendly, casual vibe, along with good food and drinks at reasonable prices, makes BarMeli69 a great neighborhood joint. New Normal: BarMeli now has a small outdoor patio behind the restaurant. ($$)
6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 33138

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

The Bazaar by José Andrés

The Bazaar by José Andrés
The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel on South Beach comes to us thanks to the genius of James Beard Award-winning restaurateur, cookbook author, and Made in Spain TV star José Andrés. The Bazaar’s menu offers adventurous takes on the flavors of the world: Spain, Singapore, and Japan, as well as Miami’s unique Latin American connection. Thus we get exciting plates like Japanese tacos: perfectly grilled eel, shiso, and wasabi, wrapped in slivered cucumber and topped with flakes of crisp chicharrones. More traditional Spanish tapas, including hams, cheeses, and croquetas, are also available. Can’t decide? Indulge in the $65-per-person “Clasicos” menu and treat yourself to a five-course menu of the chef’s favorites. New Normal: Indoor tables are marked for social distancing with whimsical stuffed monkeys. Alternatively, opt for an outdoor table courtesy of Bar Centro, another Andrés/SLS undertaking. ($$$)
1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 33139

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

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 Chanukah latkes (served year-round). Don’t miss the veg chalkboard, filled with delightful options from which you can build your own customized plate. Order up a cheeseburger, a thermos of Panther coffee, and a “parm of the day” and make yourself as comfortable as you’d be in your mom’s kitchen. New Normal: Chef/owner Danny Serfer has set up an outdoor beer garden where patrons can dine al fresco and down a few cold ones. ($$)
6730 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 33138

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

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; or green pea garganelli with a pop of smoked trout roe. 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. New Normal: For the time being, the tiny dining room has given way to a similarly small outdoor patio. The restaurant sells wine to-go and has installed a ventanita for easy pickup. ($$)
5205 NE Second Ave., Miami

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

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 note, the restaurant thoughtfully offers cold Kingfisher beers to cool you down from even the spiciest of culinary adventures.) New Normal: Both locations offer outdoor dining and contactless takeout and delivery options. ($$)
2901 Florida Ave., Miami, 33133

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Bon Gout BBQ

Bon Gout BBQ
Photo by Zachary Fagenson
Bon Gout BBQ's "zakos."
The crew at Bon Gout BBQ arrives shortly after dawn to begin preparing brisket, ribs, and chicken for the barbecue, along with a bounty of Caribbean and soul-food sides. Here the secret is the epis: a Hatian seasoning base of onions, scallions, bell peppers, garlic, parsley, and spices, pulverized into a coarse paste that’s applied liberally to nearly everything. After several hours in the smoker, the epis dehydrates into a smoky crust with a sharpness that slyly balances out the meat’s fat. Don’t miss the griot — fat-rippled knobs of pork shoulder that emerge from the deep fryer with a burnished crust and a juicy interior. If you like, the meat can be lovingly tucked into a tortilla and crowned with the spicy fermented cabbage known as pikliz. Scoville Scale zealots can order Bon Gout’s extra-spicy pikliz, which combines the addictive fermented condiment’s funk with the fiery heat of what one would expect in Southeast Asia or the blistering pepper sauces of Trinidad. New Normal: Bon Gout’s barbecue travels well, the better to be enjoyed at home. ($$)
99 NW 54th St., Miami, 33127

The Top 100 Miami Restaurants of 2021

Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina

Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina
Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa
Bourbon Steak is a contemporary American steak house — and one of South Florida’s finest. Tucked inside the swank JW Marriott Turnberry Isle Resort & Spa, it offers all-natural, organic, and hormone-free selections of beef, tempered in herb-infused butter and then grilled over wood, including the legendary, exquisitely marbled Japanese A5 Kobe (well worth the market price). The seafood, too, is topnotch, as are farm-fresh sides of truffle mac and cheese, roasted mushrooms, and crisp Brussels sprouts. In the mood for a casual meal? Request the Turnberry burger, an off-menu option made with your choice of beef, turkey, or falafel. To accompany your feast, Bourbon Steak’s wine cellar stocks more than 850 selections. New Normal: Party size limited to four guests who aren’t from the same household, six if they are. Tables are seated in a safe rotation, and restrooms are single occupancy. ($$$)
19999 W. Country Club Dr., Aventura, 33180