This year, the rising took over Miami, and while brains were obviously on the top of the menu, a few restaurants made the cut for Best of Miami, too.
But there are still so many places we love, we just had to bring our Best Of back. This week we're taking it to Coral Gables. Although Route 9 was our official winner, here are five more of our favorites.
5. Mykonos Greek Restaurant
Walking into Mykonos makes you feel as if you've just stepped onto the Greek island of the same name--brightly painted walls depict scenes of the ocean from atop white houses, while the smell of fresh Mediterranean food and music fills the air. This is the place to come with a group and share a variety of appetizers and entrées, because everything is worth trying. Traditional dishes include the lasagna-like pastitsio and moussaka (both $12.95), as well as roasted lamb ($14.95), gyros ($7.95), and keftedes ($10.95), or fried meatballs. While most dishes include meat, there is a vegetarian menu with vegetarian mousaka, lasagna, and Greek style omelet (all $9.95). Dessert is also a must; filo dough and nuts dominate the dessert menu with traditional bakery items like baklava ($3.50), kataifi ($3.50), and ekmek ($5.95 with a scoop of ice cream), while rice pudding ($3.50) and Greek cookies ($1.25) are available for those with nut allergies. Mykonos is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day and has happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m.
4. Smoke'T Southern Kitchen & Tap
Here's a visit to a completely different side of the globe; Smoke'T delivers some of the best Southern food in the Gables. While they've got all types of barbecued platters of brisket ($15.75), smoked chicken ($15), and grilled salmon ($17), as well as the delectable fried chicken and waffle ($13.95). But what we've got a hankering for is the long list of delicious "Fixin's." You can't walk out of there without trying the franks and beans ($4.75), sweet brussels sprouts ($4.50), jalapeno cornbread ($3.75), or baked jalapeno mac & cheese ($5.75). Happy Hour is also a plus, with half off all liquors, draft beers, and wine from 4 to 7 p.m. on week days. It's a good excuse to get the 64 ounce mason jar-full of Dixie Highway Moonshine (Jack Daniels, triple sec, and Lemonade; usually $15).
3. Casola's Pizzeria & Sub Shop
We know how it goes. You say you're going to stick with just two slices, but before you know it, the whole pie is gone. At Casola's, you don't have to worry about any of that: one slice is just enough (and if you get a dessert too, we won't judge). For $4, you get about three slices worth of cheesy goodness. A whole pie at this authentic pizzeria (first established in New York in 1944) starts at $9.99 for a small 14-inch, to $21.99 for a large 20-inch. They've also got warm subs from $4.95 to $8.29, pasta dishes from $6.69 to $8.99, and quite a few salads from $3.99 to $8.99. Oh yeah, they're also open until 2 a.m. on weekdays, 5 a.m. on Saturdays, and 1 a.m. on Sundays for the stoners craving midnight munchies, Groveites coming back from a serious bar crawl, and, face it, we know you're craving a late-night slice too.
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2. Seasons 52
For a place where every item on the menu is less than 475 calories, it's hard to go home hungry. Seasons 52's constantly evolving menu showcases fresh, seasonal fare. Appetizers like the buffalo chili with black beans and cilantro sour cream ($5.75 for a cup) and caramelized crab & shrimp stuffed mushrooms ($8.95) will keep you satisfied until the main course. The wood-roasted pork tenderloin with herb polenta and veggies is a perfect meal at $16.95, and so is the cedar plank roasted salmon at $17.95. Yet, the stars of the show are the signature flatbreads ($3.75-$9.95), with their cheesy, crunchy perfection. Top it off with a "Mini Indulgence" dessert shot (or two!) for $2.50; go with the mango cheesecake and tres leches flavors.