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!
Katsuya South Beach: 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.
I also liked Puerto Sagua at 700 Collins Ave. It is a casual, neighborhood coffee-shop that serves good casual Cuban food.
Food & Wine Magazine recommends Cecconi’s, at the Soho Beach House on Miami Beach, as great new Miami hot spot.
High on my list to try is La Mar by Gaston Acurio for Peruvian cuisine and ceviche at the Mandarin Oriental. I have been to two of his restaurants in Lima, Peru and another in Chicago. He is considered to be one of the best chefs in the world. Another famed chef, Thomas Keller, has The Surf Club Restaurant, for continental cuisine at 9011 Collins Ave.
Also getting good reviews is Stiltsville Fish Bar, a casual neighborhood restaurant featuring locally sourced seafood and Caribbean-style drinks. Food hall lovers like me will enjoy The Lincoln Eatery, a new ten vendor food destination located at 723 N. Lincoln Lane. It features barbecue to coffee and French food to sushi.
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.
Zak the Baker, 405 NW 26th St: A popular Wynwood bakery/cafe for carry out or eating in.
For more recommendations check out Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.
The Miami Design District
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, 130 N.E. 40th St.: Thanks to the late Anthony Bourdain, 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!
Other recommendations can be found in our Exploring The Miami Design District post.
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.
Other recommended spots by Eater Miami include, Exquisito Chocolates for truffles, Casa Juancho for Spanish tapas and paella, Sanguich De Miami for Cuban sandwiches, Bar Nancy with a nautical theme, La Camarone Seafood Joint & Fish Market for fried shrimp and their fish sandwich.
According to the NY Times,” Ball & Chain dates itself as a Little Havana nightclub all the way back to 1935, complete with storied concerts by Count Basie and Billie Holiday.” I definitely want to visit it on my next trip long with Cafe La Trova. It has a retro Cuban atmosphere that features “their artisanal, handcrafted cocktails. James Beard Award Winning Chef Michelle Bernstein lends her culinary prowess with a contemporary take on Cuban-styled dishes.”
I just read about the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center. This is a museum and performing arts center, where you can enjoy one of the largest collections of Cuban art from 1800 to 1959, enjoy live music and have a great mojito in their bar that focuses on rum drinks! I can’t wait to go on my next trip. 1465 SW 8th St #106.
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 on a recent trip 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.
Check out our post Exploring Coconut Grove and Coral Gables, FL for more recommendations.
I would also add Miami Culinary Tours to your list in order to explore the neighborhoods mentioned above.