It’s time to announce the winners of the 2018 Eater Awards for Miami after a week of reader’s choice picks. This is the ninth time Eater is celebrating the top talent from 24 cities around the country (and globe).
These chefs and restaurants are the cream of the crop, the ones that best represent the unique culinary and dining culture of Miami. Thank you to everyone who voted. Find out more about the editor’s choice winners, which have all received the iconic Eater tomato can, and stay tuned for upcoming features on all the winners.
Restaurant of the Year
Amara at Paraiso
After years of anticipation, Michael Schwartz’s Edgewater stunner Amara at Paraiso finally debuted in the beginning of 2018. And more importantly — it lived up to its hype. The two-story, waterfront eatery, which Schwartz called his “love letter to Miami,” was one of the most exciting new spots of the year, seemingly knocking every detail out of the ballpark. From its enviable waterfront location, to its flavorful Latin American inspired fare, to its well-executed wine list, every part of the dining experience was thought out in meticulous detail. Proving once again, good things come to those who wait. — Olee Fowler
Reader’s Choice: Amara at Paraiso
Chef of the Year
Vegan cuisine isn’t exactly thought of as exciting, but that all changed when Planta Miami Beach debuted on the scene this spring. With a menu led by executive chef Benjamin Goldman, it has brought cravable, plant-based cuisine to the Magic City in a way a restaurant has never done before. The menu plays up on comfort food classics like nachos made with sweet potato instead of cheese, sushi topped with dehydrated watermelon in lieu of tuna, decadent pizzas, and a truffle veggie burger that even the most devout carnivore would love. Showing that vegan cuisine can not only be embraced in South Florida, but can be on par with some of the best dishes in the city. — OF
Reader’s Choice: Tadashi Shiraishi (Hiden)
Most Gorgeous Restaurant of the Year
There are plenty of showstopping restaurants in Miami, but Chotto Matte might have them all beat. This UK import, designed by Andy Martin Architects (AMA), blends the restaurant’s Tokyo vibe with Miami’s tropical mystique. The 219-seat restaurant and bar features Shou Sugi Ban wood ceilings and hanging gardens created by Raymond Jungles. A large floating ceiling, inspired by an Japanese roof style known as Irimoya, delivers year-round al fresco dining with a fully retractable roof. Sitting in the center of the space is a 19-ton Sicilian boulder that divides the sushi bar and cocktail area, while a mural created by Miami graffiti artists Marcel Katz and Ahol Sniffs Glue is prominently displayed on the walls. And with the use of texture and natural elements like stone, carbon steel, tinted glass, and dark stained timber the space makes for a modern take on the traditional Nikkei eatery. — OF
Reader’s Choice: Planta Miami Beach
Bar of the Year
The latest bar to arrive to Downtown Miami’s bustling bar scene, Jaguar Sun, has drawn an immediate following in three short months. The tropical-chic space features an eclectic array of drinks crafted by co-owner and bar manager Will Thompson. The menu is split into three sections: Patio Pounders (refreshing and easy to drink), Cocktails (opt for the Green Ghoul made with tequila, mezcal, polano, cucumber, chamomile, and lime), and Exotics (here’s where it gets adventurous). But oenophiles will also be at home since Thompson clearly knows his “juice” and the proof is in the wine list.
As for food, don’t expect wings and burgers on this menu. Instead think dishes like parker house rolls served with honey butter and beef jus, classic cacio e pepe, spicy pork ragu rigatoni, and country ham, which is an ode to chef and co-owner Carey Hynes’ go-to snack. Jaguar Sun is the kind of spot that starts with a solid cocktail and also ends on a high-note with one of the fanciest ice cream sandwiches (made on a kouign-amann) in Miami. — Amber Love Bond
Reader’s Choice: Jaguar Sun
Coffeehouse of the Year
House of Per’la
What happens when one of Miami’s most loved coffee roasters collaborates with one of the city’s most well-known chefs? A cozy coffee shop with top-notch coffee and chef-driven food is born. In October, the duo behind Per’La Specialty Roasters teamed up with Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House to take over the former Cafe Curuba space. House of Per’La is open daily serving everything from espresso to cold brew to lattes made with locally roasted beans from the Per’la’s own Miami Winter blend. When it comes to food, Rapicavoli has created a menu featuring all-day breakfast, with dishes like bread pudding French toast and chilled overnight oats. For lunch there’s a selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches such as the B.L.A.T, a take on the classic BLT with the addition of smashed avocado. The pastry case is full of rotating treats, including a muffin of the day and coffee cake made with cream cheese, cinnamon, and a vanilla maple drizzle. For those interested in learning more about their preferred roast, House of Per’La offers cupping sessions, open to the public, one Saturday a month. — ALB
Reader’s Choice: Deco Coffee Co.