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 think I have a love/hate thing for omakase. I love the concept, I’m here for the experience and the ritual of it, but I don’t think we need one on every single corner. It feels like every day there’s an announcement that another one is opening and I think that almost takes away from how special and unique of an experience it is.
Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): I’m not sure why it took the world so long to figure this out, but I am thrilled Miami is getting so much love for its dynamic, and well-deserved, culinary scene. Being named “2023 Food City of the Year” by Bon Appétit is pretty sweet.
David Rosendorf (Food For Thought): Exciting: the return of small-scale, chef-driven restaurants and pop-ups. EntreNos, Tam Tam, QP Tapas, Gilda, Grand Central, Jaguar Sun’s visiting chef pop-ups at Understory in the beginning of the year. The big-name, big-box restaurants may get more attention, but this is where the really interesting fun stuff is happening.
Infuriating: I’d be raging against the “clubstaurant” here, but I already did that last year and they still haven’t gone away. “Infuriating” may be too strong a word for it, but does every other new restaurant in Miami need to be Mediterranean / Middle-Eastern? And if so, do they all need to have a two-syllable name with at least one, and preferably two, soft-a sounds in it? Aba, Amal, Avra, Eva, Mazeh, Levant, Lira, Neya ....
Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami photographer): Exciting - Pop ups, chef collabs, bar takeovers, here for all of it.
Infuriating - Pink anything. Over explaining what “family sharing” is. Canned Fish is something no one should be allowed to eat in public.
Laine Doss (Eater Miami contributor): I have had it up to here with uber-expensive restaurants with DJs and subpar dining. Never liked it – never will. But now, that inauthentic claptrap disguised as a restaurant just has to stop. Miami, we are better than this.
Falyn Freyman Wood (Time Out Miami editor): Loved seeing scrappy, unique pop-ups continue to proliferate around Miami. Infuriating? So. Much. Italian! Also, let’s scale back the over-the-top interiors and invest more in creative food and meticulous hospitality.
Jesse Scott (Eater Miami contributor): Let’s get therapeutic and opt to go the infuriating route. Perhaps it’s less of a trend and more of a “wake the F up and let’s start being real, people.” The subject: Michelin stars. I’ve had a handful of meals at Michelin-starred restaurants in Miami and well beyond this year that have absolutely sucked. In fact, I would have preferred three Cheesy Bean and Rice Burritos from Taco Bell - at 1/100th of the price - and been more satisfied than whatever flat-falling foam I consumed. Let’s start having real conversations about the Michelin-starred spots and provide real feedback with one another, rather than “OMG, I’ve been here and it has a Michelin star.” More so, let’s not let a marshmallow-y, tire dude-thing distract us from discovering all the incredible mom-and-pop, often internationally-infused restaurants just waiting for our love in our magical corner of the globe.
Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): With scammers on the rise, I’m really getting tired of the QR codes. I take so many cyber security training courses and am drilled over the risks of scanning a fake QR code so I feel that it’s time to bring back menus.
Sara Liss (Author of Miami Cooks): I think the omakase overload encapsulates the dichotomy here. There were times when it was fun and exciting by shaking up the usual omakase formula (looking at you, Sushi by Scratch and Sushi Bar) and other times when it was taking the formula to a new and refined level - MILA and Queen. But it also seems like we’re at a saturation point here with this option - and the stratospheric pricing is going to start to annoy locals - or I think it has already begun.
Matt Meltzer (Thrillist Miami): I’m ok with the hand held electronic cashiers instead of printed checks. You know what I’m not ok with? My server showing me a number that, for all I know, was randomly generated by a computer server somewhere in Bangalore and telling me it’s what I owe for dinner. Then when I ask to see a check they have to get a manager to show me anything itemized. Let’s have a little more transparency with those things, and maybe also tell us gratuity is included. Not that I don’t trust servers, I just don’t trust anyone who’s lived in South Florida for more than a week and a half. Myself included.
Ashley Brozic (Freelance food writer): Not a trend per say, but just the general cost of drinking in Miami. Going out just isn’t as enjoyable anymore when you have two or three drinks, maybe a small appetizer, and you’re out $100 – especially at an average/ok joint. There are way too few places to go where you can socialize and have fun without feeling like you should be making more money.
Gretchen Schmidt (Edible South Florida): Exciting? Themed street food festivals at Smorgasburg Miami. Most infuriating? Pity the poor publicists who have to put a new spin on the latest omakase, pizza or taco restaurants in town.
Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): Can we stop with every restaurant opening being Italian or wildly overpriced omakase that only the 1 percent can afford? Please?