In the past couple of years, Miami's food scene has joined the ranks of the nation's greatest dining destinations. The New York Times' Frank Bruni cited the rising Design District, including Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, for its great potential. Bon Appétit named Yardbird Southern Table & Bar among the nation's 50 best new restaurants. And the New York Post declared South Beach part of "a Miami food scene that's really catching up to the rest of America."
Though the Magic City still isn't San Francisco or New York, the past year has seen an impressive new lineup of small, low-to-mid-priced, chef-driven eateries such as My Ceviche, Blue Collar, the Federal, Macchialina, and Josh's Deli. Three powerhouse toques -- José Andrés (the Bazaar), Katsuya Uechi (Katsuya), and Jean-Georges Vongerichten (J&G Grill) -- also arrived in the past 12 months.
Wynwood continued to rise with additions like Bloom, Pride and Joy, and Wood Tavern. The same goes for midtown and the Design District -- with the opening of Salumeria 104, Oak Tavern, South Street, and MC Kitchen. But many pieces of the local culinary puzzle are still missing.
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After a painstaking study of the city's current food scene, New Times herein proclaims 2012 the year of the vod-bomb. Yes, we mean the ubiquitous drink known as the vodka Red Bull, the speedball, and the VRB. Why, you ask? Because while we benefited from a handful of Red Bull-induced uppers, we also coped with a bounty of vodka-inspired downers. So sit down, grab a caffeinated cocktail, and sample these top 12 uppers and downers of Miami's dining scene in 2012.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.