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The 38 Essential Miami Restaurants, Spring 2017

Your essential Miami spots

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We now present you an updated version of Miami's Eater 38 for spring of 2017. Your answer and ours to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This highly elite group, which is listed in alphabetical order, has been culled from a panel of experts and covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, histories, locations, and, collectively, satisfies all of your restaurant needs, save for those who are never happy.

Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (being open for more than six months — but closer to a year), or have stepped up their game.

After much reflecting and pouring over reader emails and comments, we've decided to drop Quality Meats and The River Oyster Bar. The good news is that in their places we've added Bachour Bakery + Bistro and Ariete.

Think we missed something? Temper tantrum not necessary- just nominate your favorite restaurant in the comments section or drop us a line. Pop-up restaurants, however, do not qualify.

Note: Restaurants are listed alphabetically. The numbers are not rankings.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Edge, Steak & Bar

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1435 Brickell Ave
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 381-3015
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Bringing a sleek update to the traditional steakhouse, executive chef Aaron Brooks has successfully set his sights beyond just the mastery of your standard filet mignon at Edge, Steak and Bar. His menu features a variety of unique dishes like Aussie lamb shoulder, kangaroo empanadas, and steamed stone crabs tossed in hot butter. And while it might be housed in the ritzy Four Season Miami, you don’t have to empty your wallet to enjoy it.
Edge/Four Seasons

2. El Mago de las Fritas

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5828 SW 8th St.
West Miami, FL 33144
(305) 266-8486
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The best fritas in Miami. Hands down.
Trip Advisor

3. El Palacio De Los Jugos

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5721 W Flagler St
Miami, FL 33144
(305) 262-0070
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Cheap Cuban food, fresh fruits, veggies and a bakery known for it's fresh-squeezed sugarcane, tamales and perfectly salty chicharones cut to order. Sort of like Miami's version of Grey's Papaya and very high on pork fat.
el palacio de los jugos

4. Joe's Stone Crab

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11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-0365
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Like the Madonna of restaurants, Joe's needs only one name and little explanation. It's a South Beach stone crab institution that's always mobbed and home of the original Miami Beach power lunch.
Wikipedia

5. La Camaronera

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1952 W Flagler St
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 642-3322
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Long before Guy Fieri discovered it, La Camaronera was one of Miami's best kept secrets for fresh fish and the best fried fish sandwich you may ever eat. And while it may be no secret anymore and on the to-do lists of every hungry tourist who watches his show, it still offers up some of the best priced grub in Miami.
Giovanny Gutierrez

6. Makoto

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9700 Collins Ave
Bal Harbour, FL 33154
(305) 864-8600
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A Stephen Starr restaurant in Bal Harbour Shops where what's on the plate is more important than who's sitting in front of it sounds almost as implausible as a half off sale at Gucci, but alas, thanks to chef Makoto Okuwa, former Head Sushi Chef at Morimoto New York and Philadelphia, it's the real deal. In addition to the raw stuff, Makoto's modern Japanese dishes and bincho charcoal robata have even the most finicky fashionistas fawning over the fare.
Makoto

7. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

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130 NE 40th St
Miami, FL 33137
(305) 573-5550
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Design District trailblazer featuring groundbreaking, contemporary American, organic fare by Michael Schwartz. And even as it celebrates its 10th year in business, Michael's remains a celebrity and foodie favorite.
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

8. NAOE

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661 Brickell Key Dr
Miami, FL 33131
After shutting down his spot on Sunny Isles, Sushi chef Kevin Cory relocated his acclaimed NAOE to Brickell Key and he hasn't missed a beat. The tiny eight seat NAOE constantly puts out the best sushi experience in Miami, always fresh and never disappointing.
Jeffery Salter

9. Ortanique on the Mile

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278 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 446-7710
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One of the few restaurants where the word fusion doesn't mean 'we're not sure what we are,' Ortanique's seamless blend of Latin, Caribbean and Asian cuisines translates into an exceptional culinary experience. Boozehounds praise the place for their mad mojito making skills, too.
Ortanique on the Mile

10. Pubbelly

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1418 20th St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 532-7555
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Typically, serious food fans would laugh off the notion of an Asian-inspired gastropub in Miami, but when it comes to Pubbelly, it's no laughing matter and a serious statement of what happens when people know what they're doing. This is the one that started it all, now many more siblings in the restaurant "family."
Pubbelly

11. Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill

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3252 NE 1st Ave
Miami, FL 33137
(786) 369-0353
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Overnight sensations are a dime a dozen (see: Justin Bieber), but when it comes to Miami restaurants, Sugarcane is a success story like no other. Chef Timon Balloo is a cool, culinary renegade, leading a talented team that works the restaurant's three kitchens to delightful effect.
Sugarcane

12. Zuma

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270 Biscayne Boulevard Way
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 577-0277
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Rainer Becker's modern Japanese inspired by traditional, informal Izakaya-style dining may seem almost oxymoronic, but the sleek, chic crowd of culinary mafia, celebrities and scene-chasers who eat and drink here don't care. After all, it is the first Miami restaurant whose London and Hong Kong siblings made the Top 100 listing of The S.Pellegrino World's Best Restaurants.
Miami & The Beaches

13. Mandolin Aegean Bistro

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4312 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33137
(305) 576-6066
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The best Greek and Turkish food in Miami is tucked away in the intimate, understated courtyard at Mandolin. Transport to the Greek Isles with a menu of elegant small plates (no over-fried falafel here) and entrees like lamb and beef meatballs and the exceptionally grilled octopus with refreshing Greek wine to complete a great meal.
Mandolin

14. Eating House

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804 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Miami, FL 33134
Miami, FL 33134
(305) 448-6524
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What started as a hit pop-up by chef Giorgio Rapicavoli partner Alex Cassanova quickly turned into a permanent drool-inducing Miami go-to. Several years after going permanent, the spot continues to churn out creative dishes that summon taste buds all ‘round. Think pasta carbonara like you’ve never had it, playful desserts like the ‘dirt cup’ and, yep, cap’n crunch pancakes.
Eating House

15. Macchialina

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820 Alton Rd
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 534-2124
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Macchialina, which comes from the words "Macchia" meaning "mark or spot" and "Maialina" meaning piglets, aims to be reminiscent of a "small rustic eatery in the heart of any Italian town." Under the chef and owner Michael Pirolo's lead it creates Italian classics (braised shortrib lasagna, pork chop Milanese, etc.) with some interesting twists, like beet-filled ravioli that is a favorite amongst many.
Macchialina

16. La Mar by Gaston Acurio

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500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 913-8288
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Located in Brickell at Mandarin Oriental, La Mar by Gaston Acurio offers a combo of well-executed upscale novo-Andean fare and Asian-Peruvian fusion dishes. Think classics like lomo saltado, local offerings like yellowtail snapper and several ceviche options.
La Mar

17. Bombay Darbar

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2901 Florida Avenue
Miami, FL 33133
(305) 444-7272
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Arguably some of the best Indian food in the city, this Coconut Grove staple is always packed. Luckily for us, it moved to a much bigger space down the street than its original location so getting our hands on some of the restaurant's signature dishes like crab samosas, lamb vindaloo, tandoori chicken and mango lassi is much easier.
Bombay Darbar

18. La Sandwicherie

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229 14th St
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 532-8934
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This South Beach staple offers some of the most authentic and fresh French sandwiches and salads around, topped with the restaurant's signature sauce that people still go crazy for. Not to mention it's also the perfect after hours spot, staying open until 5 a.m. on weeknights and 6 a.m. on weekends.
In the Scene Miami

19. Lucali

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1930 Bay Rd
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 695-4441
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This NYC import has been a hit since the day it opened its doors. The pizzas and calzones are made with handmade dough, wheeled into thin sheets by empty wine bottles before it enters the wooden oven. Simplicity is key here, but the devil is in the details, as the restaurant uses some of the freshest ingredients around. As for the toppings, we suggest you go all out. Pile up and enjoy.
Lucali

20. Tropical Chinese Restaurant

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7991 Bird Rd
Miami, FL 33155
Miami's premiere dim sum palace, Tropical Chinese is a bit of a schlep for most, but worth the trip when it comes to old school, pick off the cart Chinese small plate and dumplings.
Tropical Chinese

21. Uvaggio

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70 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 448-2400
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Owned by Craig DeWald and wine-obsessive Heath Porter, this Coral Gables’ European-style wine bar and restaurant has gathered a following for its rare bottles and laid-back attitude. Food isn't an after thought, however, with a menu that features small plates as creative and unique as the wine it serves.

22. Whisk Gourmet

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7382 SW 56th Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33143
(786) 268-8350
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This South Miami staple has been flying under the radar for years, long before the whole local, sustainable, organic craze really blew up. Executive chef Brendan Connor was a sous chef at Charleston's Hominy Grill and started Whisk as a catering company with his sister. The family affair became a dine-in love affair amongst locals and those who travel quite a distance for the seasonal, home style and yep, gourmet, fare.

23. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

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1600 Lenox Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 538-5220
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The southern belle of South Beach, Yardbird Southern Table and Bar brought comfort food to Miami when it opened in October of 2011and quickly became the star of the 50 Eggs Restaurant Group empire. Close to five years later, people from all over are still flocking to the restaurant for fried chicken and green tomatoes, washed down with one of its many bourbon concoctions.
50 Eggs

24. Mignonette

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210 NE 18th St
Miami, FL 33132
(305) 374-4635
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A modern take on the classic seafood restaurant by Blue Collar chef Danny Serfer and partner Ryan Roman. Described by many as a "plain and fancy" oyster heaven, it also features tons of other seafood items, too, as well as non sea-dwelling options like prime rib, chicken and veggies.

25. Taquiza

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1506 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 748-6099
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Sure, Miami Beach has plenty of taco shops, but authentic taquerias? Not so much. But that's where Taquiza comes in. This grab-and-go restaurant in the heart of Sobe features traditional tacos like pastor, chicken and even tongue, served on top of handmade blue masa corn tortillas so good that it now supplies them for half of the restaurants in town.
2727 Indian Creek Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(305) 531-2727
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The first full-service restaurant and bar from the guys that brought us the Broken Shaker, 27 Restaurant plays homage to Miami’s diversity with an eclectic menu filled with signature dishes from South America, the Caribbean and even the Middle East. Located in a historic two-story house adjacent to the Broken Shaker, it features the same laid-back spirit and inventive drinks of the Broken Shaker in a hip (and air conditioned) setting.
The Freehand Miami

27. Cake Thai Kitchen

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7919 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138
(786) 534-7906
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Odds are you will find your favorite chef having dinner at Cake Thai on his night off – and there is a reason for that. The small restaurant located in a strip mall has gained a cult-like following in its year or so in business. Sure, it may not have a bathroom. Or a liquor license. But if you can look past those quirks, then you will find some of the best Thai food in the city made by a former Makoto chef. But if you don’t want to brave the elements then there is always takeout or delivery available.
Cake Thai

28. Alter

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223 NW 23rd St
Miami, FL 33127
(305) 573-5996
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Alter has helped put Miami’s artsy neighborhood of Wynwood on the radar of food-lovers near and far, proving that is it is worthy of all the hype around it — and there is certainly a lot. Running the kitchen is Brad Kilgore, recently named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs for 2016, who at just 30-years-old has worked in some of the best kitchens in the world like Alinea and L2O, and brings those cooking chops to Alter. On the menu think beautiful, high-end, Florida-inspired cuisine utilizing flavor combos you won’t see anywhere else, all served in an unassuming and purposely industrial warehouse setting that perfectly aligns with its hipster ‘hood.
Alter

29. The Local Craft Food and Drink

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150 Giralda Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 648-5697
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The Southern-inspired menu features classic Americana dishes by Phil Bryant that are a rarity in South Florida, like hot browns, homemade pimento cheese, fried chicken and boiled peanuts, that could convince anyone they are dining in the deep South. Pair that with an inventive, booze-forward bar program — something needs to cut all that rib stickin’ cuisine after all — and you’ve got yourself a stellar combo that is sure to live on for years to come.
The Local Craft Food & Drink

30. NIU Kitchen

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134 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33132
(786) 542-5070
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Seeing the word “tapas” on a menu is almost as common as hearing “dale” in the Magic City — it happens more often than it should. And while there are plenty of middle-of-the-line, traditional Spanish restaurants in this town, the gem of the bunch in NIU Kitchen. Tucked away in Downtown Miami, this 26-seat restaurant showcases Catalan cuisine by Barcelona native Deme Lomas the way it should be: simple, light, flavorful and fun. The plates and menu rotate frequently but you’d be remiss not to try the cold tomato soup with mustard ice cream, the truffle and egg-filled potato foam and any and all of its tartare.
NIU Kitchen

31. Lung Yai Thai Tapas

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1731 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135
(786) 334-6262
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Good Thai cuisine can be found in Miami, and Lung Yai Thai Tapas is proof. This small, unassuming, Little Havana spot has been peretually packed since its debut featuring a menu filled with duck salad, curries and some of the best fried chicken around — just be prepared to wait, since reservations aren’t accepted.
www.onthegrid.city

32. Byblos

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1545 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 508-5041
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Arguably one of the most stunning restaurants in town, Byblos also serves food that worthy of writing home about. While the menu is described as Mediterranean, don’t expect to find any hummus on it. Instead this dishes feature a more Middle Eastern and Northern African slant like duck kibbeh, lamb ribs, Cornish hen in lentil sauce, served with a variety spiked tea cocktails.

33. Pinch Kitchen

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8601 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138
(305) 631-2018
This homey, neighborhood spot serves up some serious cuisine thanks to executive chefs John Gallo and Rene Reyes, who’s resumes read like a who’s who of the Miami restaurant world. The menu features twists on American classics like pork secreto, roast chicken with local veggies and rum cake topped with thyme gelato. Combine that with a stellar beer list, unpretentious vibe and reasonable prices and you’ve got yourself a winning combo.
Pinch Kitchen

34. KYU

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251 NW 25th St
Miami, FL 33127
(786) 577-0150
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The brainchild of two former Zuma alums, KYU features Asian eats with a barbecue twist, think wood-fired meats, unique dishes like brisket lettuce wraps and duck “burnt ends,” sushi, all housed in a hip Wynwood setting. Oh, and don’t you dare miss that Coconut Cake for dessert.
KYU

35. Pao by Paul Qui

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3201 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(844) 798-9713
What do you get when you Top Chef champ and James Beard award-winning chef, Paul Qui, with Miami’s most opulent hotel, The Faena? You get Pao by Paul Qui, serving up a high-brow mix of Filipino, Japanese and Texas barbecue cuisine, creating a unique dining mishmash that the Magic City never seen before in a see-and-be-seen setting that we are more than familiar with.
Pao by Paul Qui

36. Zak the Baker

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405 NW 26th St
Miami, FL 33127
(786) 347-7100
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You see that bread you're munching on at your favorite restaurant? Odds are Zak baked it. The popular baker, who has been supplying bread around town for years now has expanded to include his own shop in the mix — which became so popular it had to move to a much larger and more colorful location in the heart of Wynwood (the old location still serves as a grab and go bakery). On the menu expect not only his signature breads but an assortment of soups, salads and pastries, that will turn even the most carb-fearing person into a bread-loving convert.
Zak the Baker Facebook

37. Ariete

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3540 Main Hwy
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
(305) 640-5862
Leading the way for Coconut Grove’s culinary renaissance, Ariete has quickly become the stand out in a group of relative newcomers to the area. Led by Cypress Room alum Michael Beltran, along with his business partner Jason Odio, it features a menu of inventive yet hearty comfort food dishes with a Cuban flair that reflects Beltran’s upbringing. Highlights include the grilled oysters drenched in bone marrow butter, a smokey pork chop with black-eyed peas and a still on-the-bone short rib that is more than enough to satisfy any hungry group. But with all that decadence, make sure to save room for dessert created by rising pastry star Dallas Wynne – a Hedy Goldsmith protégé – who’s spins on classic creations like homemade pies made with fillings like coconut and plantains and homemade doughtnuts are stars in their own right.
Ariete

38. Bachour Bakery + Bistro

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600 Brickell Ave
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 330-6310
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When Miami’s superstar pastry chef Antonio Bachour announced his own namesake restaurant after years of creating dazzling desserts at hotels around the city, no one thought it would be anything but delicious. But wow-ed Miami – and helped make the restaurant an instant hit – was the strength of the entire menu, not just the sweet specialties. Helping Bachour run the kitchen is former Eating House chef and partner Henry Hane, who helped devise a menu of elegant but still approachable entrees like a Cuban sandwich filled with smoked ham and pork butt, tartines topped with spicy tuna or the classic avocado, and hearty salads. Of course, desserts can’t be missed and all of Bachour’s trademark sweets from the entremets, to macaroons, to beautiful croissants and bon bons can be found on the extensive bakery menu.
Giovanny Gutierrez/Chat Chow TV

1. Edge, Steak & Bar

1435 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131
Edge/Four Seasons
Bringing a sleek update to the traditional steakhouse, executive chef Aaron Brooks has successfully set his sights beyond just the mastery of your standard filet mignon at Edge, Steak and Bar. His menu features a variety of unique dishes like Aussie lamb shoulder, kangaroo empanadas, and steamed stone crabs tossed in hot butter. And while it might be housed in the ritzy Four Season Miami, you don’t have to empty your wallet to enjoy it.
1435 Brickell Ave
Miami, FL 33131

2. El Mago de las Fritas

5828 SW 8th St., West Miami, FL 33144
Trip Advisor
The best fritas in Miami. Hands down.
5828 SW 8th St.
West Miami, FL 33144

3. El Palacio De Los Jugos

5721 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33144
el palacio de los jugos
Cheap Cuban food, fresh fruits, veggies and a bakery known for it's fresh-squeezed sugarcane, tamales and perfectly salty chicharones cut to order. Sort of like Miami's version of Grey's Papaya and very high on pork fat.
5721 W Flagler St
Miami, FL 33144

4. Joe's Stone Crab

11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Wikipedia
Like the Madonna of restaurants, Joe's needs only one name and little explanation. It's a South Beach stone crab institution that's always mobbed and home of the original Miami Beach power lunch.
11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

5. La Camaronera

1952 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33135
Giovanny Gutierrez
Long before Guy Fieri discovered it, La Camaronera was one of Miami's best kept secrets for fresh fish and the best fried fish sandwich you may ever eat. And while it may be no secret anymore and on the to-do lists of every hungry tourist who watches his show, it still offers up some of the best priced grub in Miami.
1952 W Flagler St
Miami, FL 33135

6. Makoto

9700 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour, FL 33154
Makoto
A Stephen Starr restaurant in Bal Harbour Shops where what's on the plate is more important than who's sitting in front of it sounds almost as implausible as a half off sale at Gucci, but alas, thanks to chef Makoto Okuwa, former Head Sushi Chef at Morimoto New York and Philadelphia, it's the real deal. In addition to the raw stuff, Makoto's modern Japanese dishes and bincho charcoal robata have even the most finicky fashionistas fawning over the fare.
9700 Collins Ave
Bal Harbour, FL 33154

7. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

130 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137