Dena Marino's Five Favorite Restaurants

Where the Chefs Eat is a series in which we ask Miami chefs to list their favorite local restaurants. In this installment, we spoke to Dena Marino -- chef of MC Kitchen in the Design District -- about her preferred Magic City spots.

Dena Marino likes fancy eats. Which makes sense considering the chef runs MC Kitchen -- a posh Italian restaurant in the Design District. At her fine dining locale, Marino cooks stone oven-roasted octopus, quick-braised Florida grouper, and roasted pear and cheese fiocchi with white truffle cream.

What follows are, in her own words, the chef's five favorite restaurants in Miami.

1. Hakkasan

The atmosphere here is as great as the food. Hakkasan sets the standard for Peking duck, and more specifically, their Peking duck salad lives up to all the expectations. It's always so much fun to dine at the Fontainebleau, mostly because you aren't going out just for dinner -- it feels like you're on a vacation.

2. BLT Steak

One word, three times: popovers, popovers, popovers! I get so excited when I arrive at the restaurant -- the anticipation of waiting for those popovers to hit the table feels like Christmas morning. Sitting outside and people watching are added bonuses.

3. J&G Grill

This restaurant epitomizes elegance, yet is still able to maintain a friendly atmosphere. The food is honest, clean and locally-sourced.

4. Michy's

When you walk into Michy's, you feel like you're in Michelle Bernstein's home. The décor is so welcoming -- just like the staff -- and the food here is straight from the heart.

5. The Forge

Not only does The Forge have some of the best service in town, but the food is delicious. I like to sit at the bar and have the Forge chopped salad, and the grilled hanger steak.

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Emily Codik