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dining room image with writing on it. Casadonna

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Here Are 2023’s Eater Award Winners for Miami

The best new restaurant, best new bar, and best design of the year

The 2023 Eater Awards in Miami highlight the city’s dynamic and diverse dining landscape. This year’s accolades include a Mediterranean gem serving innovative cuisine, a hidden cocktail haven inspired by mythical lore, and a French bistro import that brings a touch of Parisian elegance to Coral Gables, amongst others. And while the city has courted some truly outstanding openings — far too many to recognize in this year’s Eater Awards, these five restaurants were front-of-mind for all of us.

food on table.
Dinner spread at Branja.

Branja: Best New Restaurant

At the heart of Upper Buena Vista, Branja, from MasterChef Israel winner Tom Aviv, offers the city a new take on cuisine found on every corner of this city. Here, every dish tells a story: The Falafish, a playful combination of falafel and fish, and the Tuktuk kebab, a symphony of spices and textures, exemplifies Aviv’s flair for fusing Levantine flavors with a modern approach. The Fishwarma, another highlight, is a melody of fish marinated in spices, epitomizing the restaurant’s creative spirit. Industrial chic meets retro elegance at Branja, a setting adorned with Tel Avivian art and a chef’s table once housed at the iconic Delano Hotel that complements the food, creating an atmosphere as dynamic and innovative as the menu it showcases.

cocktail with smoke coming out of it.
The King Ghidorah, Bar Kaiju’s martini service complete with three sides: pickled vegetables, citrus zest, and olives.
Bar Kaiju

Bar Kaiju: Bar of the Year

Tucked away on the second floor of the Citadel in Little River, Bar Kaiju is a hidden cocktail spot that brings a touch of fantasy to the city’s nightlife. Dreamt up by Derek Stilmann, this speakeasy features a menu centered around mythical monsters from global folklore that showcases Stilmann’s creative approach to cocktail crafting. Each cocktail, artfully detailed in a graphic novel-style menu, pays homage to a different creature, from the infamous Godzilla to the mysterious Barbegazi. The bar’s atmosphere, with its red lighting and Japanese anime decor, adds to the allure, creating a space as intriguing as its drinks.

Maine bouchot mussels steamed with white wine, Dijon mustard, and saffron, served with French fries at Bouchon Bistro.
Deborah Jones

Bouchon Bistro: Best New Restaurant Import

Over the years, Miami has become a hub for celebrated restaurants to expand with satellite locations. Topping them all this year, however, was Bouchon Bistro, the latest South Florida culinary outpost by famed chef Thomas Keller. This eagerly awaited addition graces Coral Gables’ historic La Palma building and introduces Keller’s acclaimed French bistro to Miami’s dining scene. Bouchon’s Miami location mirrors the elegance of its Yountville and Las Vegas counterparts, both in its menu — featuring French classics like steak frites and croque madame — and sophisticated design, bringing a taste of French finesse that Miami is flocking to.

dining area.
Casadonna’s outdoor patio, which features sweeping views of Biscayne Bay.
Ngoc Minh Ngo

Casadonna: Design of the Year

Casadonna, the first-ever collaboration between David Grutman and Tao Group Hospitality, is a standout addition to Miami’s array of beautiful restaurants. Located in a 1926 Mediterranean Revival building, formerly the Miami Women’s Club, this massive Edgewater newcomer combines historic charm with modern design by longtime collaborator Ken Fulk. The space greets guests with a double-height courtyard bar with vaulted glass windows and a retractable roof, while inside, diners will find multiple themed rooms filled with luxe touches like the Garden Dining Room with plaster-finished walls and vintage artworks and the Loggia Dining Room, with parquet wood floors and Murano glass chandeliers. Outside, the Ocean Bar offers an outdoor lounge and dining area overlooking Biscayne Bay, furnished with rattan armchairs and sofas. While it’s not on the Italian Riviera, it certainly brings a slice of that lifestyle to Miami.

green pasta.
Erba’s mafaldine with Bahamian conch.
Alpareno Group

Erba Miami: Best New Italian Restaurant

Italian cuisine has been a major trend in Miami this year, and Erba is leading the charge. This Coral Gables establishment, a venture from the Alpareno Group led by chef Niven Patel and Mohamed Alkassar, initially gained acclaim as a pop-up in 2019. Now a permanent fixture, Erba, meaning “herb” in Italian, artfully blends classic Italian fare with a distinct Miami flair. The menu showcases Patel’s fusion of Italian techniques with local flavors and produce, evident in dishes like Roman hearts of palm, mafaldine with Bahamian conch, and a unique tiramisu infused with tres leches, helping to highlight Italian flavors while also paying homage to Miami rich culinary heritage.

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