Today we announce the winners of the 2022 Eater Awards, celebrating the newest restaurants and bars that have impacted the South Florida dining scene over the past 12 months.
It hasn’t been easy for restaurants this year. After recovering from closures and capacity limits due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the city was open again for dining in a big way. But labor shortages were prevalent nationwide, food costs went through the roof, and rents soared, forcing many restaurants to pass on those prices to diners and shorten hours.
But despite the challenges, Miami's food scene still thrived with a record number of new openings across the city. Below are the best of the best that represent Miami's unique culinary and dining culture.
Restaurant of the Year: Klaw
Klaw is one of the splashiest newcomers this year and is also one of the best. The stunning, multi-story restaurant space is housed inside the former Miami Women’s Club space in Edgewater, and is reason enough to visit — especially to soak up those enviable waterfront views from the neighborhood’s only rooftop bar. But, as the name alludes, seafood is certainly the star of the menu. Guests come in droves for the massive king crab sourced from Norway and proudly on display throughout the building, but this restaurant isn’t a one-trick pony offering an impressive selection of dry-aged meats and a well-executed bar program to round out its offerings. While not the cheapest meal in town, it’s worth a visit for a special night out.
Best Reason to Visit Fort Lauderdale: The Katherine
When one of Miami’s best chefs, Timon Balloo, had to shutter his namesake restaurant Balloo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a real loss to the city. But, good news for us Miamians, he opened a new restaurant, the Katherine, just over the county line in Fort Lauderdale that is worth the drive to Broward County. His latest restaurant is a mish-mash of Balloo and his wife’s backgrounds and the food they enjoy, from the clam chowder-topped fries that are a nod to San Fransisco, where Balloo is from, to the craveable jerk chicken that gives the nod to Balloo’s Caribbean background, there’s a story behind every dish — which the team is always happy to share.
Best Comeback: Fox’s Lounge
Almost seven years after legendary South Miami bar Fox’s Inn closed its doors, the beloved dive bar and restaurant has returned to South Florida in its former location, complete with new owners but the same dark look and feel as the original. Nostalgia is in full force at this new iteration with a mainly untouched menu with favorites like the beloved French onion soup, thumb bits, and Thursday prime rib nights all making a return. And the cocktails are simple, strong, and served cold — just as any true Fox’s fan would remember.
Best Bar: The Gibson Room
The team behind Coconut Grove staple Ariete has taken over the former the Mighty location to transform it into a new spot dubbed the Gibson Room, serving up American-tavern-style fare in a throwback setting complete with dark walls, a grand piano, taxidermy on the wall, and nods to its neighborhood found throughout. While the decadent double Smashburger and pork head cheese, eel, and shrimp nuggets shouldn’t be missed, the real art here is the cocktails. The cocktail menu is filled with classics with clever twists, like the namesake, the Gibson, being made with the addition of sherry or its Penicillin topped with a Scotch float; each one is perfectly created right in front of guests into the wee hours of the evening.