1) Sunny Isles: Celebrity chef Ralph Pagano's seaside Italian spot Alba is now open at Sole on the Ocean. Pagano, having battled the likes of Bobby Flay and Gordon Ramsay, is now taking on a challenge in the way of his own South Florida restaurant. Alba is an Italian "beach-chic" concept focused on pastas, stone crabs, and seafood, which he dubs "vacation cuisine." He's bringing some of Gulfstream Park with him (was the Executive VP of Hospitality there) in what he calls "The Vinny D Split." The game happens at the end of the meal before the check comes, where a bingo wheel with balls numbered 1 through 100 and guests pick a number. The wheel is spun and if the first ball picked is the one you called, the entire check is on the house. Thanks, Vinny D.
Status: Certified Open; 17315 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach, (786) 932-9305
Previous Coverage: Thrillist 01/07
2) Kendall: Sometimes the Kendall area gets a little left out of all the restaurant bustle and happenings, but not this time. The guys from Devon Seafood + Steak have brought the Chicago-based swanky steakhouse to South Florida and opened its outpost in The Palms at Town & Country Mall. They've got indoor and outdoor seating, a private dining room, wine cellar room for 12, and a lounge. Appetizers include items like mini New England lobster rolls, while pretzel-crusted trout and a bone-in ribeye are among the entrees.
Status: Certified Open; 11715 Sherri Lane, Kendall, (305) 275-0226
Previous Coverage: Thrillist 01/14; Miami.com 01/03
3) South Beach: The James Royal Palm is certainly pumping out some hot spots. After Florida Cookery came CATCH, leaving the hotel with two new big-ticket restaurants. Now, their downstairs club SL Miami is open at the adjacent building CATCH is in, still sporting the retro Shorecrest sign. It comes from NYC's EMM Group, the guys that also brought CATCH down to SoBe. The Miami outpost of SL is similar to the New York version, just a bit smaller with a different layout. It's got a main bar and a handful of booths and tables available nightly to an exclusive crowd. The DJ booth also has a booth and table for purchase, big enough to give Nervo or whoever is spinning room to do their thing while you booze. Oh, and they've got real human x-rays illuminated on the changing lights around the room.
Status: Certified Open; 1545 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, (786) 224-7200
Previous Coverage: Thrillist 01/15; NBC Miami 12/27