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Friends of Eater Pick 2019’s Best Dining Neighborhood

Which ‘hood reigned supreme?

Paradise Plaza
Miami Design District/Facebook

As we put a cap on 2019, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them nine 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 2019. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Responses do not necessarily reflect the views of Eater and Eater Miami.

Amber Love Bond (Eater Miami contributor): I love how Downtown and Coconut Grove are continuing to evolve and are so easily walkable. I really like heading to one spot and being able to bounce around without having to get into a car again.

Jenny Starr Perez (Indulge Miami): North Beach and North Bay Village. It has cool, new spots like Silverlake Bistro (a must!) and Gino’s Mediterranean, long time local favorites like Prima Pasta (#RIP Black Sheep), and it’s about five minutes from fine dining at Le Sirenuse and The Surf Club. Those that want inexpensive, quick and good food need not look further than Katana (obviously), Little Brazil, and this non-fancy Peruvian cuisine spot that is sandwiched in between Denny’s and a vacant space that used to house McDonald’s, true to the somewhat gritty and totally unpretentious North Beach aesthetic.

Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami photographer): Little Havana w/ Sanguich, Los Altos, Ball & Chain, Lung Yai and La Trova. #ForeverCuban

Curt “Big Daddy” Hollingsworth (Thrillist Miami): I”m gonna go with South Miami. I mean once upon a time, the dinning highlight here was Rainforest Cafe. Maybe Sunset Tavern if you got the pizza. And while I miss Fox’s more than I miss the Orange Bowl now you’ve got both Root and Bone and Mi’Italia opening down there, plus Cracked by Chef Adrienne and Fiola. You’ve got Rok:Brgr and TacoCraft still there too. Oh, and a little place called Miami’s Best Pizza setting up shop across US-1. That’s really all you need.

David Rosendorf (Food For Thought): Neighborhoods are dead. The best neighborhood is anywhere you can open without putting yourself immediately underwater with the rent: Little Haiti, Allapattah, Downtown, Dadeland, North Beach, Upper East Side ...

Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): South Miami really flourished this year.

Virginia Gil (Time Out Miami): Downtown made a slow-but-steady comeback this year with newcomers Pez, Vinaigrette and Balloo, among others. It’s definitely a neighborhood to watch in 2020.

Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): I have to pick one? So much going on all over Miami, it’s (almost) impossible to keep up! I’ll go with MDD.

Sara Liss ( Design District continues to kill it with Kilgore, Robuchon (sorta) and the new Bodega trailer plus all the goodness at St. Roch Market. The easy and cheap parking helps a lot, too.

Jennifer Agress (Freelance restaurant writer): I think Little Haiti is having a moment! Between Bon Gout, Boia De and all the yummy mom-and-pop spots over there, there’s so much good food coming out of Little Haiti right now.

Kelly Blanco (NBC 6): Design District

Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): I think block for block it’s hard to beat the Design District right now. Between newcomers like Ember and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, staples like Michael’s Genuine and Mandolin (that have both been killing it for 10+ years — almost unheard of in Miami), and quick-and-easy options at St. Roch, it’s offering something for everyone. Little Havana would be a close second for me, and I have a feeling this time next year Downtown Miami might even take the top spot if it keeps evolving the way it has.