As we put a cap on 2016, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from top standbys to top newcomers, from best meals to restaurants they’ve broken up with. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2016. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.
Jackie Gutierrez-Jones (UrbanDaddy Miami): Pretty shocked that the amount of moaning coming out of my mouth at The Sarsaparilla Club didn't get me permanently banned. Matthew Kenney nearly turned me into a vegan with the absolutely stunning plates coming out of Plant Food & Wine (emphasis on "nearly"). But Glass & Vine takes top honors for their bar's close approximation to a playground. Run free, little one. Mama's got some rosé and cured meat to attend to.
Carla Torres (Ocean Drive): I was lucky enough to be able to have three meals at PAO in 2016, and each one got better and better. It’s definitely a panty and palate dropper (Asian-style mushroom paella, anyone?). I also have a really soft and indulgent spot in my heart for Ariete and what Michael Beltran is doing over there. I’m trying to eat 90% less meat but his short rib drives the carnivore in me wild, and Dallas Wynne’s cookies and carrot cake waffles are out of this world. Speaking of sugar, Bachour Bakery & Bistro is killing it as much with sweets as with savory. I probably had one of the best gazpacho’s of my life there.
Laine Doss (Miami New Times): Glass and Vine has to be my outright favorite place for brunch. I've been several times and the food is simple and well executed. A salad and a few glasses of rose al fresco? It's what Miami is all about. I also love the new Bar Meli -- Liza Meli, the owner, managed to keep the charm of the original.
Evan Benn (Indulge Miami): KYU, Los Fuegos & Upland
Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami Contributor): Out of towners brought the thunder this year as my favorites are Pao, Bazaar Mar & Upland.
Matthew Meltzer (Thrillist Miami): Spring Chicken. If you're ok with not washing down your fried chicken with a small-batch, single barrel, only-made-in-an underground-bunker-somewhere-outside Boone County whiskey, it's Yardbird at a third the price in a tenth the time. Lilikoi Organic Living: The fresh pressed juices and organic salads here are perfect after barre class or a tough session at Barry's. 4 Rivers Smokehouse. People might say "OH I don't want to drive all the way to Coral Springs for barbecue," but those are also the same people Snapping me pictures of them waiting on like a 12 hour line for it in Austin. And this stuff is better. Salty Donut. Better late than never to the gourmet donut party.
Steven Scharf (The Chowfather): Pao by Paul Qui, Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann and KYU. Look for very late arrivals Bazaar Mar and Antico Pizza to make some noise in 2017.
Sara Liss (Miami.com): Plant Food and Wine, The Wynwood Yard (or della's Test Kitchen), Ariete, Sarsaparilla Club, Cafe Roval, Olla, Upland, Filia
Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): KYU, Salty Donut, PAO by Paul Qui, and the very, very new Bazzar Mar and Upland Miami.