Twenty Miami Restaurants to Watch in 2016 and 2017

33 Kitchen

3195 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove; 786-899-0336;

The man behind the Asian-influenced Peruvian food at 33 Kitchen in Coconut Grove is Chilean-born chef Sebastian Fernandez. He worked at the Coral Reef Yacht Club for 14 years before leaving to open 33 Kitchen with his Peruvian wife, Leslie Ames. The restaurant's name is a nod to the Grove's zip code, as well as the number of vertebrae in the human spine. It's also Fernandez's favorite number. The menu is divided into hot and cold tapas, each with about a dozen options. From the cold section, try the causa limena, a signature Peruvian potato dish made here with purple mashed potatoes, seared tuna, and microgreens. The final touch is a coating of creamy and spicy ají amarillo sauce, which the chef makes from scratch. It's utterly delectable and beautifully ties in all the elements. From the hot section, grilled octopus with an olive cream sauce and bonito chips is perfectly crisp and tender. For dessert, there's a delightful bread pudding. It's not quintessentially Peruvian, but neither is 33 Kitchen. It is, however, a great addition to Miami's dining scene.

The Anderson

709 NE 79th St., Miami; 305-757-3368;

When Magnum Lounge closed in October 2015, the Upper Eastside neighborhood mourned its loss. Magnum was more than a bar. For years, it was a place of all-inclusive community: Gay, straight, young, and old were welcome. As long as you liked your cocktails with a side of music, you were part of the family. Now, the Anderson has opened in its place. The bar and restaurant, a partnership between Broken Shaker/Bar Lab's Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi and the Workshop's Jourdan Binder, is a harmonious blend of nostalgia and newness. Instead of razing Magnum, the team has embraced the kitschy club, keeping its red naugahyde booths and the piano. Outside, the scene changes into a tribute to Caribbean bars. The theming still fits with the '80s vibe — during that decade, reggae burst into the mainstream following Bob Marley's untimely death.


3540 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-640-5862;

Chef Michael Beltran and co-owner Jason Odio's Ariete returns an air of refinement to Coconut Grove not seen since the days when industrialist James Deering caroused on its shores. The 72-seater in the space that long housed Calamari is where you can now find foie gras served with crisped plantain and tea sandwiches lined with velvety egg salad dotted with trout roe. But there's something more amid the elegance offered by this young chef who has trained under Norman Van Aken and Michael Schwartz. The Little Havana native twists bits of Cuba into every dish. The chicken livers are whipped with dark Zacapa rum. Beltran's sauces — elegant and luscious — are bound with whipped calabaza, just the way his grandparents taught him. A meal ends with a ginger-infused meringuito, and you won't stop thinking about the sweet treat until the next time you're at Ariete.

Bachour Bakery + Bistro

600 Brickell Ave., Miami; 305-330-6310;

If you've been to Paris, Rome, or New York, you might have been enchanted by a visit to a local pastry shop. Rows upon rows of delicate, beautiful confections are on display. When you finally choose your one delicious item, it is carefully boxed and secured with a bow.Bachour Bakery + Bistro captures the delight of a trip to a fine European pastry shop. Located in Brickell World Plaza, the collaboration between beloved pastry chef Antonio Bachour and chef Henry Hané is a most welcome addition to the neighborhood. The cream-filled brioche is a standout, as is the Nutella croissant. Don't think for a second that this bistro is all about the sweet side of things. Chef Hané's menu meets Bachour's high standards. The lunch menu is filled with soups, salads, tartines, and sandwiches — all given as much thought in eye appeal as in taste.Tartines, French open-faced sandwiches, are made with Chef Bachour's bread, baked in-house daily. The smoked salmon is chef Hané's take on a lox and bagels. Smoked salmon is chopped and served with crisp capers, crème fraîche, and egg snow. Leave room for one of Bachour's desserts — these gorgeous presentations are mini works of art.

Beaker & Gray

637 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-699-2637;

Beaker & Gray is perhaps Miami's most ambitious casual restaurant. A hip crowd floods in for chicken nuggets cooked sous vide and libations spiked with house-made bitters and syrups. The place comes courtesy of chef Brian Nasajon — a onetime philosophy student — and Ben Potts, who swapped investment banking for bartending. Nasajon makes use of modernist cooking techniques at almost every opportunity. Seemingly simple plates are dotted with fluid gels, but his simplest preparations work best. One dish, unassumingly called "grains," is a nutty, toothsome heap of bulgur, red quinoa, and black barley doused in a concentrated tomato water that captures the fruit's delicate sweetness and fluttering acidity. Combine it with one of Potts' skillfully crafted cocktails and you'll understand why this place is packed even on early weeknights.

Glass & Vine

2820 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove; 305-200-5268;

The menu here eschews plate sizes and is split into four sections: Snacks, Garden, Sea, and Land. To start, opt for the barbecue spiced nuts that in recent weeks have included cashews and walnuts tossed in a meringue spiked with garlic and onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, and complete seasoning. Left out to dry, the savory nibble takes on an ear-shattering crunch when eaten. Nearly all dishes arrive on black plates, which makes for eye-popping and sometimes ominous presentations. Charred cauliflower is first roasted and later fried until the florets take on a dark-chocolate tone. Rapicavoli isn't hesitant to say it was inspired by a meal at Michael Solomonov's Zahav in Philadelphia. The slick of tahini, along with crushed dried chickpeas and olives, makes a decent complement.


251 NW 25th St., Miami; 786-577-0150;

At Kyu in Wynwood, a sizable portion of the restaurant's menu is prepared on its wood-fired grill using a combination of Asian and American barbecue techniques. The restaurant is the brainchild of Michael Lewis and Steven Haigh. The pair met at Zuma London eight years ago. Lewis, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and Jean-Georges restaurant alum, went on to run the kitchen at Zuma Miami, while Haigh was appointed general manager. The strongest example of Lewis' hybrid grilling style is the Wagyu beef brisket. Here, the meat is simply prepared with Japanese sea salt and black shichimi pepper, then smoked for 12 to 14 hours. It arrives divided into thick slices on a flat wood stump with a bevy of accoutrements such as fresh lettuce for possible wrapping, pickled cucumbers, red onions, and shiso. There are also three miniature beakers containing sweet/sour, spicy/smoky, and light/spicy barbecue sauces. Kyu is precisely what Wynwood has been missing: an Asian-American concept with a thriving bar scene, killer cocktails, and a fun and energetic dining experience.

Le Zoo

9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; 305-602-9663;

At Le Zoo in Bal Harbour Shops, the menu is for the most part a hybrid of Le Diplomate and Parc in Philadelphia, both of which are French brasseries owned by Stephen Starr. Like the decor, Le Zoo's menu consists predominantly of brasserie staples, save for a few Mediterranean-leaning plates. Take, for instance, the angel-hair pasta entrée, featuring a substantial serving of Alaskan king crab paired with Fresno chilies and crème fraîche. You're unlikely to find this dish at a typical French bistro, but who cares when the delicacy's meat is mouthwatering and Starr's favorite noodle variety goes down like silk? This is not a cheap spot, but the portions at Le Zoo are more than generous, and the overall high quality of the cuisine and service are unmistakable. And though not everything here tastes quite as irresistible as pastry chef Kelli Payne's milk chocolate pot de crème, this fun brasserie is on par with some of France's finest.

Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann

3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-655-5610;

Within the luxurious confines of the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, orange flames lick a multifunctional grill designed and built in Texas. Oak and charcoal fuel its plancha, parrilla, and smoker. It's also the source of scalding ash for rescoldo, a process in which vegetables are gently roasted in the fire's refuse. There's also an open pit where cooks string up whole chickens that bob to and fro. It's a method that Argentina's favorite cocinero, Francis Mallmann, often deploys while cooking in remote parts of Argentina or Uruguay's rolling hills. But there's no such rustic outdoor fire pit here. Instead, hulking steaks, whole chickens, and blistering cast-iron pans bearing charred vegetables whip around a crimson and cheetah-print room. And despite the trendy scene, the food is superbly simple. Meat comes adorned with little more than a punch of chimichurri. Sides receive only a splash of olive oil. Simpler is often better, and in this case, it's stunning.


1854 Bay Rd., Miami Beach; 786-275-6005;

NaiYaRa's offerings are mostly expensive takes on Asian-tinged dishes served in glitzy environs. The standard pad Thai is just that: standard. There's no hint of the ultrasweet, almost pruney tamarind pulp or salty fish-sauce funk that signify this creation's best iterations. Similarly, many miss the sweet-spicy-sour flavor combination that is the hallmark of Southeast Asian cuisine. Beyond the crowd pleasers and plates that help pay the rent is a handful of ambitious dishes offering a peek at the possibilities. Bee's beef jerky is crackly, smoky, meaty shards of addictive goodness. The woody, almost incense-like perfume of ground coriander overtakes your senses. The spicy dipping sauce called nahmjimjao made with sweet tamarind pulp, lime juice, and chilies functions almost like a barbecue sauce. Yet it's far superior, as its clean flavors — spicy, sour, and sweet — complement rather than overshadow the meat.

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Miami New Times staff