Miami's Ten Best Restaurants to Open in 2016 (So Far)

The Miami dining scene keeps getting better and better. As the palates of our community mature, so does the restaurant industry. Today, "farm-to-table," "organic," and "clean" are no longer buzzwords — they're standards — and chefs can no longer ride on the coattails of a famous name or stunning decor to ensure success in this city.

In the first half of 2016, we've seen a host of stellar restaurants open. From fast-casual cafés that serve simple and fresh family cuisine at wallet-friendly prices, to cutting-edge eateries that cater to carnivores or vegans, here are the ten best restaurants to open during the first half of 2016. We're looking forward to the next half of the year with a hearty appetite.

Check out our slideshow for more delicious pictures. 

10. Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen 
James Beard Award nominee Sam Gorenstein and partner Roger Duarte already proved that fresh, high-quality food can be affordable when they opened My Ceviche. Now the duo has teamed up with chef Daniel Ganem to do the same thing for Mediterranean food at Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen (1250 S. Miami Ave.): offer fresh, delicious meals at affordable prices. Choose a bowl ($8.85), salad ($8.85), or roll ($8.25); then add rice, bulgur wheat, or various greens as a base before the fun begins. Add house-made hummus or mint tzatziki, hormone-free chicken, baked falafel, and slow-roasted beef (additional $1.95) to make the meal hearty before topping it with any number of vegetables. The result is a colorful, healthful dish at a price so affordable you can eat there every day.
9. Zest
Cindy Hutson's flair for Caribbean cuisine shines at her new downtown Miami restaurant, Zest (200 S. Biscayne Blvd.). There, the chef has designed a menu full of flavor. A fish dip is punched up with Scotch bonnet peppers ($12), a ceviche is flavored with ginger and cooled with coconut milk ($19), and octopus is braised with curry ($26). The result is a bounty of brightness in a convivial atmosphere. Best part: The chef also offers her cuisine in grab-and-go form at the adjacent Zest MRKT. 
8. Sushi Garage
Juvia's Jonás and Alexandra Millán tapped Sunny Oh as partner and executive chef for this neighborhood sushi restaurant inside a former garage. The restaurant serves Japanese and sushi favorites such as California rolls and chicken teriyaki. The key, however, is in the ingredients and execution: both excellent.
7. The Sarsaparilla Club
Top Chef's Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis have made a triumphant return to Miami Beach with the opening of the Sarsaparilla Club at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand. The restaurant combines the culinary couple's loves of Asian and Southern flavors in an American dim sum format. Several carts contain savory offerings such as heirloom tomatoes with homemade ricotta and tomato sorbet ($9) and drunken deviled eggs ($6). It's the chicken, however, that's a must-try. McInnis puts a new spin on his famous bird by brining it in green curry and lemongrass before finishing it with kaffir lime ($23). Leave room for the restaurant's namesake: an old-fashioned sarsaparilla soda and ice-cream float ($4). 
6. The Anderson
When Bar Lab partners Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi opened the Broken Shaker, they turned the tide on the Miami cocktail scene forever by offering well-crafted drinks made with fruits and herbs grown in the bar's own garden. Now Orta and Zvi have expanded to mainland Miami with the Anderson, a grownup playground that pays tribute to the 1980s. With a cocktail menu that riffs on staples like the apple martini and Sex on the Beach and a bar menu by Vagabond's Alex Chang, the Anderson is cool yet approachable. Don't be too enthralled with the bar's drinks and jukebox filled with Michael Jackson and David Bowie to step outdoors, or you'll miss the laid-back chill of the Anderson's Caribbean hut that serves frozen libations that change daily.
5. Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann
The luxurious Faena Hotel Miami Beach is home to Los Fuegos, Patagonian master chef Francis Mallmann's new home of his fired-up culinary style. Though the hotel exudes decadence, the cooking styles are as rustic as they come: chickens are strung over an open pit, and steaks are fired on a grill. The meals are extravagant (a 48-ounce tomahawk rib eye sells for $195, and a wine list includes bottles that equal a monthly mortgage payment), but the meal is memorable.
4. Glass & Vine
Glass & Vine, nestled inside the former Coconut Grove Library in Peacock Park, is a partnership between Grove Bay Hospitality Group and chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, best known for Coral Gables' Eating House. Rapicavoli, a James Beard Award semifinalist several times, might just take home the top honors for this new endeavor, which showcases a more mature side of the toque. Dishes such as house-made semolina pasta with uni butter ($24) and grilled duck breast with smoked carrot juice ($25) are free of smoke and mirrors, allowing the ingredients — and chef — to shine in a beautiful garden setting.
3. Plant Food + Wine
Raw-food guru Matthew Kenney is surely changing the way we eat, but could an upscale vegan restaurant cut it in a city that loves its meat? The answer is that even a carnivore would be hard-pressed not to fall in love with so much flavor. Standouts include the restaurant's kimchee dumplings ($15) and mushroom moqueca ($21) as prepared by chef Horacio Rivadero. 
2. Bachour Bakery + Bistro
If you've been to Paris, you might have been enchanted by a visit to a local pastry shop with its rows upon rows of delicate confections. At Bachour Bakery + Bistro, master pastry chef Antonio Bachour's creations are displayed like royal jewels. A divine mojito pastry ($7) tops a mint cake with lime mousse and a potent Bacardi rum gelée. Make sure, however, to pay close attention to the savory side of the menu by chef Henry Hané. There you'll find a creamy bowl of gazpacho, presented with olive oil powder and edible flowers ($9), and tartines made with Bachour's bread, baked daily. It's quite possibly the most beautiful lunch in town at surprisingly affordable prices. 
1. Ariete
Partners Jason Odio and Michael Beltran have created a warm space in which to serve Ariete's hearty yet refined fare. The Coconut Grove bistro is a showcase for chef Beltran's cooking. The chef, who worked in the kitchens of local greats Norman Van Aken and Michael Schwartz, mixes classic culinary techniques with flavors from his Cuban-American roots, best evidenced by his smoked pork chop ($28), described by New Times food critic Zachary Fagenson as "a hulking affair reminiscent of offerings at Hialeah Cuban barbecue joints like Mesa BBQ." Upon presenting a roasted chicken ($22), the chef notes it's seasoned only with salt. That minimalist attitude allows the bird to shine on its own merits.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.