Miami's restaurant scene is a hotbed. Each month, despite prophecies of doom, our city's openings far outweigh any closures. With celebrity chefs, small indie restaurateurs, and foreign investors all wanting to feed us a piece of the proverbial pie, there's a lot of speculation to be had.
It's difficult to look into a crystal ball and come up with what restaurants will connect with the hearts and palates of Miamians. It takes more than a famous chef or a good burger to make it. Nevertheless, there are several eateries set to open this year backed by solid chefs and good concepts. With that in mind, here are the top ten restaurants to look forward to in 2016.
10. Trust & Co.
Batch Gastropub co-creator Jerry Flynn is opening Trust & Co., a chef-driven restaurant in Coral Gables that will offer craft cocktails. The 6,000-square-foot restaurant, located in the former Azucar Cuban Cuisine space (2 Aragon Ave.), will feature a menu of local produce, seafood, and proteins in an industrial-chic setting. Flynn describes it as "steampunk meets a bank," with a modern feel and steel accents. The cuisine is described as "diverse American" with Latin, French, and Italian influences. Trust & Co. is expected to open shortly.
9. Sullivan St. Bakery
James Beard Award nominee Jim Lahey is planning a commercial and retail bakery at 5550-5570 NE Fourth Ave. in Little Haiti. The 4,000-square-foot location will first house a wholesale business and eventually expand to retail. Lahey's New York City operation supplies bread to about 250 restaurants. The baking chef has had his sights set on Miami for more than two decades, and now that he's found a space, he's not in any rush. “It’ll take us about six months to get into the groove with people. It’s a different labor market in terms of where people come from.” Don't expect to enjoy Lahey's famed bread in Miami in the immediate future. Pressed for a completion date of his new bakery, Lahey simply said, "It's still TBD."
8. Quinto La Huella
Uruguay's Parador La Huella is the most lauded restaurant in that country. Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants calls it a "breezy seaside grill, whose high-end beach shack appearance speaks of lazy lounging and barefoot walks along the sand." Now the owners — Gustavo Barbero, Martin Pittaluga, and Guzman Artagaveytia — are bringing their high-end beach shack to the East Miami Hotel at Brickell City Centre. The restaurant, along with a rooftop bar, Sugar, was originally scheduled for a winter 2015 opening, but the hotel's website takes reservations beginning May 1. Until then, you can always take a flight to Uruguay's Brava Beach, a small town about 100 miles from Montevideo, for a taste of the restaurant's signature beef.
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6. Paulie Gee's
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5. Alinea Pop-Up
Although Alinea isn't setting up permanent residence in Miami, we'll take what we can get. The three-Michelin-starred restaurant by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas is popping up at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach (3201 Collins Ave.). Alinea in Residence will offer its unique dining experience beginning February 17 and continuing through March 13, with prices ranging from $275 to $385 per person (based on the day). Wine pairings up the ante with an additional $150 to $495 per person. The dinners are already sold out, but Alinea is accepting names for a wait list. If you didn't find tickets for one of these dinners under the Christmas tree, visit alineamiami.tocktix.com.
4. Phuc Yea
When Phuc Yea popped up in downtown in 2011, it took Miami by storm. One of the first pop-ups in the Magic City, the little concept that took over lunch spot Crown Bistro by night was an instant success. Two of the restaurant's partners — Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata — opened the Federal Food Drink & Provisions just a few months later but always thought of resurrecting their Vietnamese restaurant when the opportunity arose. That moment came when MiMo's Moonchine Asian Bistro went on the selling block. The partners jumped on the location at 7100 Biscayne Blvd. The restaurant is set to open any day, so have your chopsticks ready.
3. PB Station
For the first time, Miami diners won't have to cross a causeway to dine on the Pubbelly Boys' grub. PB Station is set to open in February at the Langford Hotel, a boutique property at the former Miami National Bank Building at 121 SE First St. in downtown. Partners Andreas Schreiner, Jose Mendin, and Sergio Navarro plan to incorporate menu items from their much-lauded PB Steak, but this eatery will not be just another steakhouse. According to
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2. Sarsaparilla Club (Plus One)
When Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth took off for the Big Apple, Miami lost two great chefs at once. The partners opened Root & Bone, serving what Eater New York calls "Manhattan's best new fried chicken." Just a few months ago, Booth and McInnis announced they were returning to Miami with the opening of Sarsaparilla Club at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach Hotel. The restaurant, located in the former Morimoto space, will offer American dim sum and is set to open in February. That's not all, folks: The life and business partners are also planning a seafood concept, complete with a sunset rooftop, at 1787 Purdy Ave., in the former home of Joe Allen and PB Steak.
1. Bachour Bakery & Bistro
Antonio Bachour is, in every respect, an artist. His creations are gorgeous compositions of color and form, and, best of all, they're delicious. The pastry genius, along with Henry Hane, is opening a 40-seat bistro and bakery at 600 Brickell Ave., featuring breakfast and lunch offerings. Of course, the chef's impeccable pastries will be showcased. Once the eatery opens, Miami could very well experience its own Dominique Ansel-like lines and frenzy for Bachour's edible works.