Best of Miami 2016: The Ten Best Food and Drink Categories

Best of Miami 2016: The Ten Best Food and Drink Categories

New Times' annual Best of Miami issue has finally arrived, and our editorial staff has chosen more than 400 winners in categories ranging from Best Artist (Farley Aguilar) to Best Dog Groomer (Dogtown)

But if you're reading this, you're clearly in it for the food and drinks. That's all good, because our editorial staff worked hard to curate this year's lineup of Miami's finest restaurants, best chefs, and most delicious dishes.

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We've complied a list of the top ten food and drink all-stars for your reading enjoyment. Here, you'll find both the funniest and sincerest picks from our favorite places around town.

The complete list of all of our selections is available at miaminewtimes.com/best-of. And be sure to pick up a copy at newsstands this Thursday. 

10. Best Drunk Food - Ichimi Ramen
There are two kinds of food when you're hangry and drunk — soothing and fried. Luckily, Coral Gables' Ichimi serves both of your inner lushes. If you're the kind who wants the culinary equivalent of mom tucking you in with an aspirin and a hug, you need a steaming bowl of ramen, and you need it now. 

Best of Miami 2016: The Ten Best Food and Drink Categories
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

9. Best Nicaraguan Restaurant - Las Mercedes Restaurant
If you want a bite of Denise Paredes' baho ($10), you'd better ask in advance. Weeks in advance. In fact, there's a waiting list for it pinned to the icemaker at Las Mercedes Restaurant (8199 NW 54th St., Doral). The hopeful line up, desperate for this taste of home. 

Best of Miami 2016: The Ten Best Food and Drink Categories
Photo by Laine Doss

8. Best Coffee - Per'La Specialty Roasters
Massard tastes each and every batch. Cupping each coffee, Massard takes in the liquid with a mighty slurp as if he were born part Hoover. Only after he's perfectly satisfied with a batch will it be bagged and sold to a demanding public (drinkperla.com).

Tom kha gai (coconut soup)
Tom kha gai (coconut soup)

7. Best Restaurant in South Beach - NaiYaRa
NaiYaRa's cuisine takes inspiration from Thailand's street vendors, who sell everything from skewers to noodles. The food is bright, delicious, and spicy — bold curries are toned down with hits of lime and coconut. The restaurant also serves fresh sushi and crudo flecked with gold flakes. But the main reason NaiYaRa is so damn busy every night is because of its chef/owner, Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, better known as Chef Bee. 

Best of Miami 2016: The Ten Best Food and Drink Categories
Photo by Maureen Aimee Mariano

6. Best Cuban RestaurantLa Palma Calle Ocho
As you drive on SW Eighth Street toward the hub of Calle Ocho, there's one building in particular that lets you know you're almost at the epicenter of Miami's Cuban culture. On your left-hand side near Sixth Avenue stands a structure with a white roof and orange walls. Its towering sign featuring a prominent palm tree attracts the eye. 

Best of Miami 2016: The Ten Best Food and Drink Categories
Photo by Amadeus McCaskill

5. Best Brewery - MIA Brewing Company
Although owner Eddie Leon and brewers Michael Demetrius and Piero Rodriguez have been making beer for quite a few years, it's been just one year since the company's taproom opened to the public. While most Miami breweries chose Wynwood as their operational hub, Leon picked Doral, which has turned out to be one of the fastest-growing cities in Miami-Dade. Call it foresight or luck, but the move worked well (10400 NW 33rd St., Doral).

4. Best Hotel Restaurant - the Continental
The second outpost of Stephen Starr's beloved Continental is straight out of AMC's hit show Mad Men. Sure, Starr's first great success was born in Philadelphia, but at the one in Miami, you'll feel like you're walking onto the set of that episode where protagonist Don Draper decamps to California. 

Best of Miami 2016: The Ten Best Food and Drink Categories
Photo by Leah Gabriel

3. Best Colada - Las Olas Cafe
This is a story about espuma: Only the finest cafeterias can coax the perfect amount of sweet bronze effervescence from the humble combination of sugar and first-brewed Cuban coffee. At Las Olas Café, the ladies working the window conjure the fluffy magic with a steady stream of espresso. "¿Que quieres, papi?" one asks as you step up with a fistful of bills.

Brad Kilgore
Brad Kilgore

2. Best Chef - Bradley Kilgore 
Bradley Kilgore has been searching for a unique cuisine his entire life. It began when he tried to make brownies out of a Betty Crocker cookbook and accidentally replaced salt with sugar. It continues today at Alter, his casual yet ambitious Wynwood restaurant.  

1. Best New Restaurant - Vagabond Restaurant & Bar
When it comes to sitting and being fed into a happy stupor, the Vagabond Restaurant & Bar has it down to a science. First there's the venue itself. Rather than bulldoze a historic property, a time machine to the past, developer Avra Jain restored the Vagabond Hotel to its retro glory. Venezuelan-born Alvaro Perez Miranda outfitted the interior as an ever-hanging art gallery filled with furniture that perfectly captures midcentury designers' obsessions with the future. And the restaurant, overseen by wunderkind Alex Chang, is even more eclectic and spectacular.

Celebrate with us at the Best of Miami Launch Party at the Rusty Pelican this Thursday, June 16. Tickets cost $45. Visit microapp.miaminewtimes.com/bestofparty/2016 to purchase in advance.

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