Best of Miami

Best of Miami 2018: The Best Restaurants in Miami by Neighborhood

Courtesy of La Petite Maison
Miami New Times' annual Best of Miami issue is live online today. For hundreds of our staff's picks on the finest places to eat and drink and the most notable people and personalities who defined South Florida over the past year, check out the full issue.

Here's a rundown of this year's best restaurants in Miami by neighborhood.
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Courtesy of La Petite Maison
Best Restaurant in Brickell: La Petite Maison. As gastronomy has become cultural currency, France's lauded cuisine has been forced to share the stage with the other great cultures of the world. La Petite Maison, a French concept in the stable of restaurateur and Zuma founder Arjun Waney, shows why we shouldn't forget the primacy of les Français. The bayside spot exudes the vibe of an art gallery in Le Marais, a seaside beach shack near Nice, and a grand extravagant dining room in Paris. Here you'll find precise, airy interpretations of French classics. The coquilles St. Jacques ($25) contains raw scallops expertly sliced into impossibly thin coins with a scattering of toasted almonds and dried cranberry flecks that add delicate licks of salt and sweetness to each bite. A thick, bone-in section of turbot ($44.50) is prepared with artichoke, chorizo, white wine, and fragrant olive oil. The combination of chorizo and the fish's soft, buttery flesh makes you forget — at least for a moment — the staggering price. No regrets. 1300 Brickell Bay Dr., Miami; 305-401-9133;
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Courtesy of Glass & Vine
Best Restaurant in Coconut Grove: Glass & Vine. In an idyllic setting overlooking the bay and Peacock Park, you can find celebrated chef Giorgio Rapicavoli's creativity throughout a menu that changes constantly. Sometimes his dishes are inspired by a single color. Other times they're stoner-friendly items such as carbonara fries. Sometimes he'll toy with an unusual ingredient like bison and follow it with instant classics such as homemade semolina pasta tossed in a green-pea pesto with pistachios and lemony breadcrumbs. Call it ingenious, call it Rapicavoli growing up, but whatever you do, be sure to call in your reservation. 2820 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove; 305-200-5268;
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Courtesy of Miss Saigon Bistro
Best Restaurant in Coral Gables: Miss Saigon Bistro. When Miss Saigon opened in Coral Gables in 1997, most South Floridians were more familiar with the Broadway musical of the same name than Southeast Asian cuisine. In the past two decades, though, Miss Saigon has helped familiarize Coral Gables. Pho might not yet be as ubiquitous as foreign foods such as hummus or sushi, but Miss Saigon's six varieties of the northern Vietnamese beef soup have helped right that wrong one order at a time. The dinner menu lists a wide range of dishes, including an inspired vegetarian section with a $21.95 seitan watercress that's worth a drive. The weekday lunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. is more economical, offering 23 items — from bun (rice noodle bowls) to pad thai — for $9.95 to $12.95. 148 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables;
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Courtesy of St. Roch Market
Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown: St. Roch Market. On a cool Friday evening, stylishly dressed crowds scurry up an escalator toward the recently opened St. Roch Market. The 10,000-square-foot food hall holds 12 distinct food and drink concepts. You can sample house-made Italian ravioli, wolf down a bowl of spicy ceviche, and slurp a few oysters on the half-shell. The idea is based on the successful flagship of the same name in New Orleans. Start with a drink before dinner at the Mayhaw, which serves tiki cocktails made with fresh juices and mixers. Then try gnocchi-like spinach dumplings called gnudi toscani at Dal Plin ($15) or 25-hour-brined fried chicken served on a cheddar-chive waffle at Coop ($18). Finish with a slate of vegan desserts such as sprinkle doughnut holes and frozen matcha at Chef Chloe and the Vegan Cafe ($2 to $6.50). The market is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. 140 NE 39th St., Miami; 786-542-8977;
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Photo by Natalia Pascual / Prism Creative Group
Best Restaurant in Downtown Miami: Alloy Bistro Gourmet. In 2016, Federico Genovese, his brother Claudio, and partner Luna Bertolotti opened this charming Mediterranean-style spot tucked into one of the narrow courtyards hidden between downtown buildings. At Alloy Bistro Gourmet, you can find a survey of cuisine that always includes a house-smoked fish and tender octopus ($20), as well as simple salads such as one composed of whipped goat cheese and watercress with a watercress dressing. The best part is that the short menu changes almost monthly, and the owners are often the ones to guide you through a meal. Most recently, they served a duck prosciutto ($17) and black pasta infused with coconut charcoal tossed with soy and portobello mushrooms ($22). If any of that sounds enticing, don't delay. 154 SE First Ave., Miami; 786-773-2742;
Best Restaurant in Little Havana: Taquerias El Mexicano. Although Little Havana is named for the capital of Cuba, the beauty of the neighborhood is its vast array of cultures and nationalities. For example, Miami boasts a large Mexican community, and Taquerias El Mexicano is easily one of the best culinary contributions to the area. The menu is vast, and the question "Do you have...?" will inevitably be answered with a resounding, "Sí." For the most part, the dishes are old-school, but Taquerias El Mexicano is under new ownership that is modernizing the restaurant. The colorful decorations inside and out are still traditional and proudly celebrate all things Mexican. The service is friendly and the food deliciosa. And the prices are relatively low. For the best value, try a combo platter, such as the one that brings a flauta, an enchilada suiza, and a picadillo taco for a mere $11.50. If that trio isn't appetizing enough, go for the bistec ranchero ($17) or carne asada ($16). Taquerias El Mexicano is open from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, to midnight Thursday, and to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The ventanita opens at 8 a.m. daily. 521 SW Eighth St., Miami;
Best Restaurant in North Miami-Dade: Chayhana Oasis. If you decide to pay this Uzbek hideaway a visit, be sure to go on a Friday or Saturday, when a resident belly dancer does her thing across the room all night long while music blares and an oversize flat-screen TV loops video of a fireplace. Secure a bottle of vodka — this could be a long night. Luckily, Chayhana Oasis serves plenty of deeply satisfying food representative of not only Uzbekistan but also the entire central Eurasian region where the former Soviet republic today traces its borders. Hence, a meal might begin with the tender stuffed Turkish-style grape leaves called doma ($12) and proceed to kovurma lagman ($15) — fried, house-made egg noodles flecked with chewy bits of beef and bell peppers topped with an impossibly thin shredded egg crepe. Later comes another western-Chinese-style salad: chopped cucumbers and minced meat tossed with soy and garlic, then sprinkled with a flurry of sesame seeds. Of course, there's no shortage of lamb and tender, chewy fresh-baked bread to soak up that waterfall of vodka. It's going to be a good night. 250 Sunny Isles Blvd., Sunny Isles Beach; 305-917-1133;
Stubborn Seed's lavash
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Best Restaurant in South Beach: Stubborn Seed. Miami Beach's South of Fifth neighborhood is known for many things: multimillion-dollar condos, celebrities, Lamborghinis, and boob jobs. Though the neighborhood is replete with solid and beloved restaurants, it wasn't considered a hub of culinary innovation. That changed when Jeremy Ford — the Florida-born, smooth-scalped winner of the 13th season of Bravo's reality cooking show, Top Chef — set up shop. At Stubborn Seed, Ford is building on his widely publicized win and pumping out dishes the likes of which Miami has rarely seen. There is nai ragi on homemade buttermilk dressing. A puck of warm celery root ($17), braised with lemon juice and olive oil, is treated like meat and paired with slivers of maitake mushrooms — crisped in tempura batter and served with a frothy mustard sauce. Multiple carrot preparations, including foamed, puréed, powdered, pickled, or roasted, accompany a succulent hunk of umami short rib and show off the kitchen's deep skills and dedication. If he keeps this up, Ford is destined to become an icon like some of his long-standing neighbors. 101 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 786-322-5211;
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Buckwheat noodles ($18)
Photo by Carla Torres
Best Restaurant in South Miami-Dade: No Name Chinese. Do you want a wine that goes best with roast duck and pickled vegetables? Or maybe you would like to know which varietals pair well with dumplings and steamed buns. Fret not. At No Name Chinese, the team has the perfect bottle to go with thoughtfully sourced and executed Chinese cuisine that turns what was once familiar into something that honors Chinese traditions with a South Florida twist. The turnip cake ($12) is a dim sum classic with sweet soy, Japanese mayo, katsuobushi flakes, lap cheong sausage, and shiitake mushrooms. Many of the dumplings here were picked up from Asian masters when the kitchen crew traveled around looking to fill out the menu and the classic take-out dishes. Among them are beef and broccoli ($20), which deploys grass-fed tenderloin and gai lan to create something that's guilt-free even if you devour the entire plate. 7400 SW 57th Ct., South Miami; 786-577-0734;
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Photo by Laine Doss
Best Restaurant on the Upper Eastside: 'O Munaciello. 'O Munaciello isn't your regular pizza shop. The Neapolitan-style restaurant on Miami's Upper Eastside makes a slate of unique pies. Some are infused with activated charcoal, creating a black-hued dough. Most are topped with traditional fixings such as mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. The eatery offers other fare from Italy's Campania region as well, including homemade tagliatelle pomodorini, made with tomatoes, fried eggplant, and buffalo cheese ($20), and a seafood scialatiello, a pasta platter for two prepared with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and Piennolo cherry tomatoes ($20). But the star of this Biscayne Boulevard spot is the pizza ($12 to $25), made by chef Carmine Candito, who grew up working at his family's pizza shop in Naples, Italy. Hours are noon to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 6 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. 6425 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-907-4000;
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Brad Kilgore
Photo by Stian Roenning
Best Restaurant in Wynwood: Alter. It's not hyperbole to say Alter has changed Miami's culinary game forever. When Brad Kilgore opened his Wynwood restaurant, naysayers said it might not last. Sure, the food was impeccable. Kilgore impressed guests with his intricate dishes that combined molecular gastronomy, traditional culinary techniques, and an artistic worldview. But there was more. The food was not only delicious but also lovely. Dishes such as soft egg white sea scallop espuma and caviar ($20) might sound twee, but one taste will leave you groaning in delight. The restaurant offers tasting menus starting at $75. It's no wonder Kilgore has won dozens of accolades, including being named one of Food & Wine's best new chefs of 2016. Alter is open from 7 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and bar hours are 5 p.m. to midnight those days. 223 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-5996;

Next Thursday, June 21, X Miami will host New Times' Best of Miami party, where you can enjoy bites from more than a dozen of the area's best restaurants while sipping unlimited cocktails and jamming to live music.

Purchase tickets for $50 in advance, or pay $60 at the door. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit Miami Lighthouse for the Blind.

New Times' Best of Miami Party. 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, June 21, at X Miami, 230 NE Fourth St., Miami. Tickets cost $50 via 305-571-7579 or or $60 at the door.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss