I have been going to Miami for many years. My favorite restaurants including new finds are:
News Café, 800 Ocean Ave.: The perfect spot near the beach for breakfast, good food and great people watching!
Juvia: At 1111 Lincoln Road, this is a sleek, contemporary 10,000 sq. ft. indoor/outdoor restaurant and lounge on the penthouse level of the parking garage designed by Herzog and de Meuron. The views of South Beach are really incredible. You will find excellent sushi, ceviches and entrees including fish, chicken and duck. Just be aware that the chef was not so accommodating for substitutions even for dietary concerns.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, 1600 Lenox: A James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best New Restaurant 2012 and Best Chef South 2012. It is known for its Southern cooking and hearty comfort food with a great vibe and décor. I loved the chicken meatloaf with homemade ketchup, snap peas, corn, kale and mashed parsnips. The carrot cake was to die for!
The Dutch Bar Restaurant and Oyster Room, 2201 Collins Avenue: This is one of the restaurants at the W South Beach Hotel. Having been to the Dutch for brunch in New York, I had to check out their second location in South Beach.
Katsuya by Philippe Starck: I have eaten their great sushi in LA and in San Diego in 2012, the week it opened. The concept opened in 2012 also at the SLS Hotel. As in San Diego, the design was done by Philippe Starck. I enjoyed eating at the sushi bar talking to locals. It is at 1701 Collins Ave.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres: Also located at the SLS hotel, at 1701 Collins, is the ultra-hot Bazaar by Jose Andres. He reimagines Spanish tapas in a wonderful space designed by Philippe Starck.
Joe’s Stone Crab: My first trip to South Beach was in the early 1980’s when Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant was the only game in town. It has since moved to 11 Washington Avenue.
The restaurant is huge and the waits can be up to two and a half hours so be prepared. Tipping helps get you higher on the list. I really liked the original restaurant better. If you have never been, it is worth the wait particularly when the stone crabs are in season. It has been an institution for 100 years.
Tap Tap: One of my favorite meals in South Beach was at this popular local institution that features Haitian home cooking and a wonderful collection of Haitian art. I thought the food was really outstanding. So glad it is still there. 819 5th St.
I also liked Puerto Sagua at 700 Collins Ave. It is a casual, neighborhood coffee-shop that serves good casual Cuban food.
Dirt/Eat Clean: Making the list of one of Miami Beach’s hot new spots, Dirt offers vegetable and grain bowls, sandwiches, juices, smoothies, coffee and more. 232 5th St. Miami Beach.
Wynwood Arts District:
Wynwood Kitchen and Bar: What’s not to like about Latin cuisine and great murals and art. The design is really striking and there is a large outdoor patio overlooking the Wynwood Walls murals and street art. 2550 NW 2nd Ave.
Joey’s Wynwood, 2506 NW 2nd Ave.: An Italian cafe next to the Wynwood Walls, serving excellent pastas and pizzas. The grilled prawns and calamari in a tomato sauce with arugula made for a perfect lunch. There is both indoor and outdoor seating.
GK Bistronomie at 218 NW 25th St.: Located in the Wynwood Arts District, this restaurant has a creative menu featuring Peruvian inspired dishes. I enjoyed a wonderful seafood ceviche and grilled octopus dish for lunch. The service was excellent.
Zak the Baker, 405 NW 26th St: A popular Wynwood bakery/cafe for carry out or eating in.
Alter: A Wynwood restaurant getting great press for Chef Brad Kilgore. He gets great reviews for his soft-cooked egg in sea scallop espuma with truffle pearls or Cape Canaveral prawns with grits and mole verde. 223 NW 23rd St.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, 130 N.E. 40th St.: Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, formerly of the Travel Channel and now with CNN, I found this great restaurant in the Design District for lunch. They have an attractive indoor dining room and nice outdoor seating as well. Make sure to add this to your must-do list!
Crumb on Parchment: A local friend loves this bakery/cafe located in the heart of the Design District in the Melin Building. It is owned by James Beard Award Winning Chef, Michelle Bernstein.3930 NE 2nd Ave.
Little Havana/Calle Ocho:
To see the heart of the Cuban community make sure to try Versailles Restaurant, 3501 Southwest 8th Street. Known for good Cuban food, it is where the leaders of the community meet for coffee and politics and to discuss the fate of Fidel Castro and his brother. I make sure to go every time I am in Miami!
Make sure to visit the casual Cuban restaurant, Palacio de Los Jugos for great Cuban sandwiches, sides, juices and desserts. They have nine locations including one in Little Havana on Calle Ocho. I enjoyed the one at 5721 W. Flagler the night before I headed to Cuba.
Coconut Grove and Coral Gables:
Ariete: Listed on the Eater Hot list as one of the hot new spots in Miami, I enjoyed a fun meal in Coconut Grove at this new restaurant which opened in January, 2016. It features shareable entrees and snacks revolving around a wood fired grill. I loved the smoked pork chop after two weeks of eating non-stop seafood. 3540 Main Highway.
Eating House: This is a casual dining spot at 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd in Coral Gables. It was my first stop in Miami and it was worth the drive as I loved the shrimp tacos for lunch.
Bulla Gastrobar: This is a popular tapas bar with really excellent food. I planned a fun dinner with local friends. We all enjoyed two salads, the Spanish tortilla, oxtail and shrimp and tuna tartare. All were perfect for sharing, besides I got to try more dishes. 2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd in Coral Gables.
I would also add Miami Culinary Tours to your list along with three Miami restaurants recommended to me: The River Oyster Bar, Lagniappe that was recommended to me as a New Orleans-style wine bar with a shabby-chic decor featuring barbecue and live music nightly and Baccano known for pizza.