Best of Miami

Best of Miami 2019: The Best Restaurants in Miami by Neighborhood

Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown: Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown: Mandolin Aegean Bistro Mandolin Aegean Bistro
New Times' annual Best of Miami issue is now live. 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.
click to enlarge Obra Kitchen Table - COURTESY OF MIAMI CHEF
Obra Kitchen Table
Courtesy of Miami Chef

Best Restaurant in Brickell

Obra Kitchen Table
1331 Brickell Bay Dr., Miami

Celebrated Venezuelan chef Carlos García made his Miami debut with the opening of his first U.S. restaurant, Obra Kitchen Table. From 2013 to 2016, García’s Alto in Caracas held a spot on Latin America’s "World’s 50 Best Restaurants" list. Now in Miami, García offers upscale comfort food in Brickell’s Jade building right off SW 14th Street near the waterfront. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant boasts an open kitchen with a wrap-around counter, allowing diners to watch chefs in action and discuss the food while they eat. The Venezuelan-influenced menu centers on dishes cooked on a Josper grill and includes rigatoni and clams ($29), fried snapper with tostones ($35), sea urchin fried egg French fries ($22), and Wagyu flank steak with brown buttered onions ($28). Top off the meal with desserts such as arroz con leche ($12) and citrus pie ($13). Hours are noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 11:30 p.m. Friday, and 6 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Proof Pizza at Taurus - BILL WISSER
Proof Pizza at Taurus
Bill Wisser

Best Restaurant in Coconut Grove

Taurus Beer & Whiskey House/Proof Pizza
3540 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove

When chef/owner Justin Flit announced the closure of Proof, one of Midtown’s most beloved restaurants, customers were desperate for one last fix. But then Flit worked out a semipermanent pop-up inside Taurus Beer & Whiskey House, one of Miami’s oldest bars. A wood-burning oven behind the bar churns out some of Proof’s most popular items, including a lineup of pizzas and the cheesy, double-patty Proof burger ($15). The restaurant-inside-a-restaurant has become so beloved that the bar actually requires reservations to score one of Proof’s burgers. Yeah, they’re that good. Hours are 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Seven Dials

Best Restaurant in Coral Gables

The Seven Dials
2030 Douglas Rd., #102, Coral Gables

The hearty fare of Britain at first doesn’t seem like it has a place in sweltering, body-conscious Miami. But in the hands of Seven Dials chef and owner Andrew Gilbert, plates such as bangers and mash ($18), oxtail soup ($12), and fish and chips ($16) meld with the tropical atmosphere. Just take a look at the last dish to find out how: Here, the mushy peas, a staple of fish and chips, would infuriate any bona fide British citizen (including Gilbert’s mother) and aren’t the kind you’d find at an English chip shop. Instead, a quenelle of the grassy-colored mixture with an occasional whole pea is served chilled and brightened by mint and a squirt of lemon. The beer-battered shell encasing a fat slab of corvina is crisp beyond belief. Sprinkle the whole plate — including those house-made French fries — with some malt vinegar to complete the experience. Hours are noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday.
click to enlarge Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown: Mandolin Aegean Bistro - MANDOLIN AEGEAN BISTRO
Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown: Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Best Restaurant in the Design District/Midtown

Mandolin Aegean Bistro
4312 NE Second Ave., Miami

The kitchen at Mandolin Aegean Bistro came under the leadership of chef Roel Alcudia — formerly of Michael Schwartz’s Cypress Room and Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto — in 2015. Since then, things have been a little different. For starters, the kitchen is always stocked with ingredients from the likes of great South Florida farmers such as Chris French. And the menu offers a bounty of Alcudia’s interpretations of Mediterranean and Greek classics that stand far and above those at most other similar restaurants. Still not sold? Along with preparing standard dishes such as fava-spinach-chickpea kofte ($24) and pillowy manti dumplings ($20) stuffed with minced beef and topped with a rich sauce of garlicky yogurt with burnt butter, the kitchen is constantly churning out specials such as cucumber salad with marinated mussels, leeks, bottarga, and herbs ($14); scallop crudo with English peas, pistachio, and chervil ($18); and dakos with baby heirloom tomatoes, feta, and oregano ($16). Hours are noon to 11 p.m. daily.

Best Restaurant in Downtown Miami

Shirin Glatt Kosher
48 E. Flagler St., Miami

Chef/owner Stella Elishayev doesn’t want you to tell your friends about her lunch spot tucked into one of Miami’s mostly abandoned downtown arcade buildings. She just wants you to eat. So grab a seat at one of the shiny metal tables at Shirin Glatt Kosher and sit back while Elishayev unleashes an onslaught of kosher delights from across the Jewish diaspora. In the mood for some Israeli food? She’s right there with the kitchen sink of chicken parts that is a Jerusalem mixed grill ($19.95). There’s also hummus ($5.95) and Israeli salad ($7.95), of course. And for a full meal, go for plates such as plov ($19.95), a rice dish cooked with carrots and meat, or the manti ($17.95), dumplings packed with onions, beef, and lamb. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 3 p.m. Friday.
click to enlarge BAZAAR BY JOSÉ ANDRÉS
Bazaar by José Andrés

Best Restaurant in Miami Beach

The Bazaar by José Andrés
1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Celebrity, author, humanitarian, chef. These are just a few words that describe José Andrés. The brilliant chef has devoted his life to feeding people both at his cutting-edge restaurants and in the aftermath of disasters through his organization World Central Kitchen. His South Beach restaurant, the Bazaar by José Andrés, transports guests into a whimsical world filled with giant shell chandeliers and a bull wearing a pink wrestling mask. The rooms set the tone for the food, which can only be described as fanciful yet grounded in reality. One example is the frozen blue cheese sandwich ($14 for dinner). Basically a blue cheese ice-cream sandwich, it’s Andres’ reframing of a humble childhood treat into a masterpiece of sweet and savory tastes. The menu is filled with small wonders in which the chef makes the mundane magnificent: A taco is stuffed with precious Ibérico ham and Ossetra caviar ($50), a PB&J sandwich is made decadent with the addition of foie gras ($16), and a simple margarita is topped with salt “air” ($16) as if it were gently kissed by a mermaid. These twists are both playful and elegant. The Bazaar is a restaurant with which you can never grow bored — there’s always something new to discover, which is the mark of a truly special establishment. Hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Best Restaurant in South Miami-Dade

8945 SW 72nd Pl., Miami

Ceviche nachos ($15) and croquetas with guava marmalade ($10) are just a couple of the dishes chef Jorgie Ramos serves at his rustic American bistro in South Miami. Located in Downtown Dadeland, the 2,300-square-foot spot is related to Ramos’ second concept in the same complex, Abi Maria, an old-school-inspired Cuban cocktail bar with late-night programming. Make it an evening with dinner at Barley: Begin with a couple of orders of the daily mac and cheese, which ranges from carbonara to croqueta ($12 to $18), along with the charred broccolini ($12) and the double-patty cheddar burger ($18). Then make your way to Abi Maria for the Guantánamo ($10), a frozen cocktail made with bourbon, mango, agave, and mint. Hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
La Placia
Natascha Otero Santiago

Best Restaurant on the Upper Eastside

La Placita
6789 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Jose Mendin has already made a name for himself through his work in beloved institutions such as Pubbelly Noodle Bar and Pubbelly Sushi. Now the Puerto Rican-born chef has created something more personal with La Placita. Along with his partners, Mendin has founded more than an eatery: It’s a multisensory trip to Puerto Rico. Nothing about this place is subtle: You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the three-story Puerto Rican flag painted on the building by artist Hector Collazo Hernández. Inside, Goya bean cans serve as napkin holders, and a mural lists the restaurant’s offerings. Everything is thoughtful, from the music to the soundtrack of coquís — Puerto Rico’s famous singing frogs — chirping in the bathrooms. The menu reads like a trip to abuela’s house: Plantain fritters known as alcapurrías ($12), the codfish pancake called bacalaito ($8), and a piquant escabeche de pulpo ($12) are all delicious, but the star of the show is the mofongo. Choose between classic plantain or trifongo (green plantain, yuca, and sweet plantain) for your base; then add shrimp, lobster, chicken, or ropa vieja as a protein (prices vary by base and topping). Any way you order it, it’s Mendin’s flavorful tribute to his homeland. Wash it all down with a cocktail menu created by Cocktail Cartel and you’ll be swaying to the beat of the salsa streaming from the speakers — and from your heart. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
click to enlarge VALERIE LOPEZ
Valerie Lopez

Best Restaurant in Wynwood

2003 N. Miami Ave., Miami

Owner Matt Kuscher originally said his Wynwood spot, Kush, was meant to be a beer bar with a few snacks. So much for planning, because nowadays, locals and tourists fill the North Miami Avenue sidewalk outside the restaurant eager to tear into burgers like the Johnny Utah, topped with hot pastrami, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, diced white onions, cheddar cheese, and a secret sauce ($15), or the gator tacos, with garlic aioli-doused tail meat packed into crunchy corn tortillas with house pico ($15). No need for any guilt here either: All of the meat comes from Fort McCoy Ranch near Ocala and is ground in-house every day. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, noon to midnight Thursday, and noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
click to enlarge ANTHONY'S RUNWAY 84
Anthony's Runway 84

Best Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale

Anthony’s Runway 84
330 W. State Rd. 84, Fort Lauderdale

Anthony’s Runway 84, by the owner of the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza chain, is airport-themed, but the restaurant feels more as 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, have dinner in the lounge. False cockpit windows have you coming in for a landing as you peruse the menu filled with red-sauce Italian fare. Women with teased hair wearing leopard-print dresses and large diamonds on their red lacquered fingers drink pink martinis while Sinatra croons in the background. Your bartender takes your drink order and then sends a different server for your food order (for some reason, you’ll also get separate checks for food and drinks, but just go with it). Before dinner, a basket of warm, fresh bread arrives with a dish of olive oil festooned with garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re on a date, agree to both go with garlic breath and scarf that bread down — it’s worth it. Meatballs arrive with a dollop of ricotta ($12 for lunch, $14 for dinner), Sicilian peppers are stuffed with more cheese and garlic ($11), and clams oreganata ($12), baked with breadcrumbs in a garlic and lemon sauce, are authentically Sheepshead Bay. The civolata sausage is presented with broccoli di rabe and roasted peppers. The sausage is spicy, but the peppers are sweet, and the combination is classic ($15). Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 4:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
click to enlarge Le Tub - CANDACE WEST
Le Tub
Candace West

Best Restaurant in Hollywood

Le Tub
1100 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood

Hollywood is undergoing a renaissance of sorts. A few years ago, Margaritaville opened as a celebration of all things beachy keen. On Saturdays, you can find dozens of kids lined up to catch a wave on its FlowRider, while parents wait for frozen margaritas at a makeshift bar inside an Airstream trailer. That’s all fun, but if you’re hankering for something more authentic than resort food, you’ll find it a few blocks away at Le Tub. Located inside a former gas station, this place looks like it was decorated by a plumber on a bender. Painted toilets and bathtubs have been converted into planters, leading the way to what can best be described as a classic beach-town dive. A bright-yellow toilet seat invites you to “seat yourself.” The dark wood-laden interior is decorated with foam boat floaters, old license plates, and assorted knickknacks. Service can be slow and the crowd can get loud, but if you’re craving the best burger in town, you’re in the right place. Made from beef ground daily in-house, the thick patty is crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Each burger ($12) sports a poppy-seed bun and, for 50 cents or $1 more, a gleaming square of American or Swiss cheese. Fries, an obvious add-on to your burger and beer, are cooked in peanut oil and arrive supercrisp ($4 to $5). Sure, there are other items like fish dip and a grilled chicken sandwich, but when the burger touted as supreme by both GQ and Oprah is in your backyard, you go for the burger. It doesn’t hurt that Le Tub overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and comes with an amazing view. Sorry, Jimmy Buffett — this is the real cheeseburger in paradise. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
click to enlarge Hotsy-Totsy - LAINE DOSS
Laine Doss

Best New Restaurant in Broward

2032 Harrison St., Hollywood

Nestled inside an old art deco building on Hollywood’s Harrison Street and filled with vintage sewing machines and cameras, this little bistro looks like it’s been around for decades, but it’s actually only a few months old. Order a cocktail while your body begins to sway to the boogie-woogie music playing in the background. A French 75, the classic New Orleans cocktail made with gin, lemon, and champagne, is a good choice. The not-quite-tapas menu includes items meant to be shared and has plenty of choices for vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores. Vegan deviled eggs use hearts of palm for a zingy, almost Mediterranean version of the Southern treat ($6.50). The carrot tart, served with hazelnuts, is buttery and flaky enough to be a dessert ($8). Larger dishes include a grilled flat-iron steak with corn ($16) and shepherd’s pie ($11), which also comes in a vegan version ($9). Hotsy-Totsy is so adorable and retro it makes you feel like you’re on the set of a new sitcom set in a café in Anytown, U.S.A. — but it’s right here in your backyard. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The adjacent Sidecar Speakeasy is open Thursday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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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