As tourist season heats up, things in the kitchens of our favorite hotels get even hotter. Most of our city's best chefs are involved in hotel restaurants: Michael Schwartz has one at the Raleigh in South Beach, and Michelle Bernstein will soon open Seagrape at the Thompson in North Beach. On top of that, Miami imports the world's best restaurants and restaurateurs to its hotels, and the game is always changing.
Here are the ten best hotel restaurants where you can get a great dinner and stay the night. These eateries can do for your stomach what magic fingers in a cheap motel can do for your back.
10. Biscayne Tavern at b2
Many hotel restaurants can be stuffy, but this self-proclaimed "gastro-tavern" is a bit more casual. Biscayne Tavern pairs best with cold drinks, a juicy burger, and a couple of old friends. If you want an even homier experience, end your meal with chocolate chip cookies and milk.
9. Zuma at the Epic Hotel
Contemporary Japanese cuisine and a Zen-like dining room don't come cheap. However, at this showstopper, the presentations are stunning, while the cuisine has both yin and yang -- it's delicate and flavor-packed. No wonder this restaurant is a favorite among Miami chefs. The brunch is over-the-top.
8. L'echon Brasserie at Hilton Cabana Miami Beach
The Pubbelly Boys have ventured from their safe Sunset Harbour haven to give tourists a taste of a locals' favorite with some French flair. The pork-tastic dishes you have come to love are here, in addition to skate wing, escargots, and confit de canard.
7. DB Bistro Moderne at JW Marriott Marquis
For some of the best service in Miami and an overall luxurious business lunch, try DB Bistro Moderne. The Original DB Burger of ground sirloin, short rib, and foie gras is the menu signature, and it's as impressive as you'd imagine (and almost worth the hefty price). Beyond the burger, the wine list is beyond impressive and upward of 30 pages long.
6. La Mar by Gastón Acurio at Mandarin Oriental
The view at the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key is breathtaking. And now the restaurant that bears the name of the Peruvian culinary ambassador Gastón Acurio is making locals and visitors swoon. The piscos and ceviches take Peruvian classics to a new level.
5. Blue Collar at Biscayne Inn
Motel restaurants don't enjoy the same level of prestige as hotel restaurants. But Blue Collar, a separate entity attached to the Biscayne Inn, breaks the stereotype. With lunch boxes on the wall and daily specials on the chalkboard, this locals' favorite serves the people's comfort food.
4. The Dutch at the W
For a taste of Americana with a touch of globe-trotting, the Dutch can make you a bit dizzy, but all of the food is delicious. The tiny po'boy, also known as the "little oyster sandwich," is pretty perfect, and ending a meal with a forkful of flaky homemade pie crust is the happy ending that foodies dream of. Entrées are strong, but perhaps mas fuerte is the Montezuma's Revenge cocktail, made with jalapeño-infused mezcal.
3. Scarpetta at Fontainebleau
Miami has Scarpetta to thank for the Top Chef in our hearts, Nina Compton, along with Scott Conant's signature spaghetti pomodoro, which is as slurpable and divine as it looks. Though the menu is evolving with a new chef, and Conant is working on a new hotel restaurant in Miami, the staples are still there and always make for a memorable meal.
2. Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons
Despite being located inside a Four Seasons, Edge offers some of the most reasonably priced food and drinks in Brickell. We call it the "haute hotel restaurant with a heart." The happy hour, the brunch, those tostones, that bourbon cocktail with a bacon rim, and that view are all highlights.
Tucked away on James Avenue are hotel-restaurant gems such as Pied à Terre and Casa Tua, but OLA is a standout. Always a welcome respite from the SoBe craziness, OLA serves consistent, delicious meals. Sip a strong mojito and dive into the menu that's a culinary trip around Latin America. The raspado de pato -- duck breast served over crisp rice with edamame, raisins, and pine nuts -- is like a bibimbap that's packed with flavor and sweet notes. The lobster ceviche is out of this world, and no meal is complete without OLA's deconstructed key lime pie.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst
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