As we put a cap on 2023, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all-around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them six 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 2023. 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’ve had the same go-to restaurants for the last five years (seriously, you can fact-check it in previous versions of this!) — Jaguar Sun and Macchialina always hit the spot. Food, cocktails (I’m a sucker for a solid martini), and vibes never miss at either one! They’re my go to spots for celebrations, taking out of towners, and random Tuesdays where I just need a pick-me-up!
Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): In an inspiring testament to my self-growth, 2023 marked the year I fully embraced my love of bread and celebrated accordingly. Regular can’t-stay-away-from spots for those sharing that same passion are: Zak the Baker, Caracas Bakery, Jaguar Sun (Parker roll heaven), and Madruga Bakery.
David Rosendorf (Food For Thought): El Bagel for breakfast. Motek for lunch. Wabi Sabi and New Schnitzel House for dinner. Happy hour at the Gibson Room. Mix in some Su Shin Izakaya for lunch, Walrus Rodeo for dinner, take-out from Collins Pizza, Old Greg’s, Tacos vs. Burritos, Square Pie City. Rinse and repeat.
Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami photographer): Destination wise, El Vecino in downtown for a nice stiff drink and a stick after a Heat game; Medium Cool has me head over heels in love with Miami Beach again; Zitz Sum never ever ever disappoints; having Jeremy Ford in the Gables with Beauty and the Butcher was a blessing; and Klaw’s rooftop with its views, food, and drinks was a always a target for me.
Laine Doss (Eater Miami contributor): When it all comes down to it, I’m a low-key person who likes simple food and drink done right. That being said, I like places where I can meet friends and laugh (or hang with my dog, Luna) and not spend a fortune. This year, a favorite has been Off-Site because I cannot get enough of its chicken sandwich paired with a good beer and a great friend. I also like spending Sunday evenings with Luna at LauderAle — a dog-friendly brewery located in Port Everglades.
Lyssa Goldberg (Freelance food writer): I’m so glad Motek opened in the Gables this year because it became a go-to for meeting up with family and friends, and almost-weekly takeout whenever we’re craving some fresh-baked pita and hummus. Pura Vida also entered my mix for quick, healthy breakfast or dinner options. And you can still find me at Graziano’s Market grabbing breakfast in my PJ’s most weekend mornings – that hasn’t changed from year to year.
Falyn Freyman Wood (Time Out Miami editor): Los Felix / Krus Wine, Jaguar Sun, Michael’s Genuine, Off Site, Over Under
Jesse Scott (Eater Miami contributor): I’m a man of simplicity. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers expansion throughout South Florida since landing in South Beach in ’22 has been bliss… and has led my cholesterol levels to meteorically rise. Whatever, it’s worth it. The best dive bar on Earth - Big Dog Station in Oakland Park - has been the site of many late nights, laughs, strong drinks and the best damn cajun turkey club and tots, period. Its combo of such a chill and welcoming staff, neighborly vibe and borderline unbelievable quality of grub is something like no other. Plus, there’s a scratch-off lotto machine. I mean, come on. For the record and as badass homegrown spots continue to fall to corporate megalords throughout our region - if the City of Oakland Park ever messes with Big Dog Station, it will be war.
Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): I have designated seats at the bar, as well as a table at Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Bar and you’ll definitely see me there at least once a month. You can also find me at Flanigan’s on Kendall and 127th Avenue eating mahi fingers and spicy wings about twice a month.
Sara Liss (Author of Miami Cooks): Mister 01 for fantastic pizza (so happy they opened in Bay Harbor Islands close to me), Motek for solid Israeli comfort food, Uchi in Wynwood for sushi, Champagne Bar at The FS Surf Club when I have out-of-town guests, Carrot Express always on repeat and LPM when I’m feeling fancy and spendy.
Matt Meltzer (Thrillist Miami):I can already feel the judgment of some of the other people on this list, but I found myself eating at Moxie’s a LOT this year. I’m sorry, but do your chef-driven-hidden-gems let your order Chicken Vindaloo and poutine at the same time? No? Ok then.
The Ghee tasting menu is like a quarterly destination. E11eventh Street Pizza might be the only thing in the world that’s actually better in Kendall. I also ate at Coyo Taco at least once a week and at halftime of every Bills game. Basically, if it was a Miami restaurant that opened on Las Olas this year, I’m probably a fan.
Ashley Brozic (Freelance food writer): You could probably find me at Jaguar Sun, Michael’s Genuine or El Salon sipping a dirty martini, Over Under digging into their amazing burger, brunching at Contessa or just dining in and around The Grove.
Gretchen Schmidt (Edible South Florida): We’ll interpret “destinations” as neighborhoods: Coconut Grove is bustling: El Bagel, QP Tapas, Amal, Ariete, Los Felix, Omakai, to name just a few. And 79th St/Little River/Upper East Side is filled with good places to eat: Rosie’s, Gaucho Ranch Grill & Wines, Tran An, The Citadel, Off Site, among others.
Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): Motek is an all-time favorite, Off Site for some beers and burgers, Old Greg’s pizza never disappoints, LPM for a special occasion meal (and Tomatini!), while on the weekends, you can catch me at Barkyard & Brews, a dog park with a bar attached. Genius.