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Friends of Eater Share Their Top Restaurant Newcomers of 2021

Which stood out the most?

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Cote Cote/Instagram

As we put a cap on 2021, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them ten 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 2021. 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.

Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): Chug’s Diner isn’t really a newcomer, but it did re-emerge after a makeover and now provides a much larger space for fans to enjoy all those Cuban American comfort food favorites. I know Mom told me to eat all my vegetables, but I could have the cast-iron pancake for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Gretchen Schmidt (Edible South Florida): Orno, because of chef Niven Patel’s actual farm-to-table ethos.

Amber Love Bond (Eater Miami contributor): I really think Cote blew it out of the water when they opened in the beginning of 2021 and is becoming a favorite of mine.

Matthew Meltzer (Thrillist Miami): Buya was hands down my favorite new spot, and not just because they had a “Sonics were ROBBED” sticker up in the bathroom. It reminds me of the little yakitori spots I used to go to in Seattle as a kid, except clean. Eleventh Street Pizza is my co-Rookie of the Year, proving once again that whole “it’s in the water” thing is as an urban legend right up there with affordable rent.

Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): I was very happy to see that chef Pablo Zitzmann was back at it with his new restaurant, Zits Sum in the Gables (his dumplings and sauces are fire). Tur Kitchen is a great spot in the Gables, too (you have to try the roasted squid with medjool dates, chorizo, chili, cilantro, and sumac), and Leku Restaurant’s chef’s tasting menu which was the most food I’ve ever eaten (and the bread is phenomenal).

Virginia Gil (Time Out Miami): Cote was a total surprise in the best way possible. It came up as other big-name restaurants were opening but none ticked off all the boxes quite like Cote did—from service to food to value. And, ugh, that bar is so sexy. Zitz Sum was another winner from start to finish. The perfectly plump dumplings, the deconstructed steak tartare, the flowing natty wines—the Coral Gables spot just nails it.

Juliana Accioly (Eater Miami contributor): Newcomer ZZ’s Club serves great Wagyu and the music they play in the dining room is excellent.

Sara Liss (Author of Miami Cooks): Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food are my jam so I was excited to have Abbale, Doya, Layla and Heavenly Mykonos in Doral on the scene. I also think David Foulquier perfected pizza with Eleventh Street Pizza.

Kelly Blanco (NBC 6): COTE was the newcomer that most excited me this year and it did not disappoint.

Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): Cote had so so so much hype around it, and it really lived up to all of that hype and then some. I still dream about the wagyu sliders at ZZ’s, and the pristine sushi at Uchi is worth the visit.