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Charred octopus anticucho
Michael Pisarri

The Hottest New Restaurants in Miami, February 2023

Which restaurants to check out this month.

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Charred octopus anticucho
| Michael Pisarri

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends, and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? And while the restaurant industry certainly looks different now due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, many new restaurants have persevered. They have opened their doors over the past few months to new customers. Here are 13 of the best this month.

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Avra Estiatorio

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Arguably one of New York’s most successful restaurants has unveiled its first Florida location.  Avra Estiatorio, which originally debuted in New York City nearly 22 years ago, has debuted its chic Greek dining room — complete with ocean views — inside the Estates at Acqualina. On the menu are many popular items like the Greek salad, classics like octopus and saganaki, an extensive raw bar, local grilled fish like red snapper, and Wagyu ribeye and grilled lamb chops are on the menu for those who prefer meat.

Aba Miami

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Created by Top Chef alum and chef-partner CJ Jacobson and executive partner Marc Jacobs, Chicago-import Aba’s menu showcases flavors from across the Mediterranean with dishes like carrot and sunflower dip, the everything Jerusalem bagel served with smoked salmon spread, hamachi, and  shawarma spiced skirt steak. Located inside the chic Bal Harbour shops, in the former Makoto space, the airy 250-seat restaurant keeps with the Mediterranean theme with olive trees, climbing ivy, and vintage lighting, including original Parisian street lamps and gold Moroccan fixtures. 

Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt

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Housed inside the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, this intimate fine dining restaurant serves a six-course tasting-menu filled with modern takes on classic French cuisine with Asian influences from Tristan Brandt. The menu rotates frequently, but diners can expect dishes like thinly sliced scallops marinated in brown butter and curry spices served with cauliflower puree, roasted cauliflower, with a lobster, tarragon, and saffron sauce poured tableside. As for beverages, Tambourine Room is currently wine only, as Brandt believes the menus are best served with wine. A variety of vintages are available by the bottle and glass or diners may choose to add a wine pairing for $55 (6 p.m. seating) or $135 (8:30 p.m. seating).

Walrus Rodeo

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The duo behind Boia De, Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, along with partner-chef Jeff Maxfield, have debuted their new wood-fired focused restaurant, Walrus Rodeo, just doors away from Boia De in Little Haiti. The menu revolves around the restaurant’s central wood-fire oven with dishes like lasagna with lamb ragu, charbroiled Island Creek oysters with jalapeno hot sauce and brown butter brioche crumble; the spicy OG pizza with boquerones, melted shallots, and maple brown butter; local wahoo crudo with green papaya and crispy rice; and churros with fluff and spiced chocolate.  

Contessa Miami

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The latest creation from the Major Food Group team (Carbone, Sadelle’s, and Dirty French) is a swanky, two-story restaurant in the Miami Design District focused on Northern Italian cuisine. Dine on decadent portions of pasta, hearty Italian entrees like grilled branzino and veal Milanese, and take in the “Lake Como circa 1960” vibes complete with jewel-toned Art Deco marble floor, Italian Murano light fixtures, and plenty of people watching. 

MaryGold's Florida Brasserie

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Marygold’s Brasserie, the much-anticipated new restaurant collaboration from chef Brad Kilgore and the Bar Lab team, has debuted inside the Arlo Wynwood hotel. The menu focuses on Florida-inspired cuisine with items like beignets with jerk oxtail, baked oysters with ’nduja and rye crumbs, grouper al pastor, and Baked Florida, a twist on the classic featuring tropical fruit semifreddo. Drinks are equally as creative with options like the Caper Berry, Marygold’s twist on martini service featuring a choice of Grey Goose or Beefeater, Martini Ambrato, umami brine, and an assortment of accouterments.

Get a taste of New Orleans flavor on South Beach at newcomer Joliet, the latest restaurant from Lost Boy & Co., the team behind places like Lost Boy Dry Goods, Tropezon, and Fox’s Lounge. Expect plenty of seafood fare with Southern flavors like shrimp Po’Boy sandwiches, cornmeal fried Florida yellowtail, and a daily Gumbo in an eclectic and properly artsy space.

Sushi Bar Miami Beach

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One of Miami’s most unique omakase experiences is tucked away inside the Esme Hotel. Led by one of the country’s only female omakase chefs, Ambrely Ouimette, diners feast on a 17-course meal that let’s the “chef decide.” Expect contemporary nigiri enhanced with ferments, salts, koshos, and unique condiments. While the menu will shift almost daily, expect unique items like aged bluefin akami with dehydrated red miso, bagel spice, and the Hokkaido scallop with white truffle salt shaved black truffle, and spherified truffle caviar.

Brasserie Laurel

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French classics fill the menu at newcomer Brasserie Laurel from chef and restauranteur Michael Beltran, with dishes like escargot, frog legs, foie gras, venison tartare, beef Wellington, and Maine lobster with veal sweetbreads, created by executive chef Ashley Moncada, formerly chef de cuisine at Ariete. Housed inside the splashy Miami Worldcenter, the restaurant space keeps with the French theme with dark wood, gold, and deep blue throughout, paired with a well-crafted cocktail menu with French favorites.

Eating House

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Popular Coral Gables restaurant Eating House is back with brand new digs, blocks from its original location. A considerably more grown-up version of the longtime restaurant with a larger, sleek interior complete with a full bar and private dining room, it also serves new takes on many of its favorite dishes like the cavatelli ‘carbonara’ with egg yolk, bacon, black truffle, and ‘carbon’ breadcrumbs and an updated take on the beloved dirt cup.

The Gibson Room

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The team behind Coconut Grove staple Ariete has taken over the former Mighty location to transform it into a new spot serving up American-tavern-style fare in a nostalgic setting complete with a grand piano, taxidermy on the wall, and nods to its neighborhood found throughout. The decadent double Smashburger and grilled oysters topped with plenty of garlic butter pair perfectly with the well-crafted cocktails on the menu.

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Miami

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High-end omakase is having a moment here in Miami, and the latest newcomer on the scene is Michelin-starred Austin import Sushi by Scratch Restaurants. Now housed in a permanent location in Coconut Grove, guests dine at a 10-seat counter-only space manned by a team of three chefs and one bartender. With three seatings nightly (5 p.m., 7:15 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.), the 17-course meal consists strictly of nigiri with each item served as is — meaning no extras like soy sauce or wasabi. The menu changes regularly, but certain favorites have made their way to Miami, like the hamachi painted with a sweet corn pudding and topped with bread crumbs and the 1-2 Punch offering different presentations of bone marrow over two courses. 

Beauty and the Butcher

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Jeremy Ford’s latest restaurant with local restaurant group Grove Bay Hospitality Group, focuses on American cuisine with global flavors weaved throughout the menu. Taking over the former Public Square space, the American-leaning menu focuses on seasonal fare with a strong emphasis on its in-house dry-aging program featuring a Wagyu Tomahawk for the table, served with all the fixings; a 48-hour smoked beef rib; and Florida red snapper highlight the butcher aspect of the restaurant.

Avra Estiatorio

Arguably one of New York’s most successful restaurants has unveiled its first Florida location.  Avra Estiatorio, which originally debuted in New York City nearly 22 years ago, has debuted its chic Greek dining room — complete with ocean views — inside the Estates at Acqualina. On the menu are many popular items like the Greek salad, classics like octopus and saganaki, an extensive raw bar, local grilled fish like red snapper, and Wagyu ribeye and grilled lamb chops are on the menu for those who prefer meat.

Aba Miami

Created by Top Chef alum and chef-partner CJ Jacobson and executive partner Marc Jacobs, Chicago-import Aba’s menu showcases flavors from across the Mediterranean with dishes like carrot and sunflower dip, the everything Jerusalem bagel served with smoked salmon spread, hamachi, and  shawarma spiced skirt steak. Located inside the chic Bal Harbour shops, in the former Makoto space, the airy 250-seat restaurant keeps with the Mediterranean theme with olive trees, climbing ivy, and vintage lighting, including original Parisian street lamps and gold Moroccan fixtures. 

Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt

Housed inside the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, this intimate fine dining restaurant serves a six-course tasting-menu filled with modern takes on classic French cuisine with Asian influences from Tristan Brandt. The menu rotates frequently, but diners can expect dishes like thinly sliced scallops marinated in brown butter and curry spices served with cauliflower puree, roasted cauliflower, with a lobster, tarragon, and saffron sauce poured tableside. As for beverages, Tambourine Room is currently wine only, as Brandt believes the menus are best served with wine. A variety of vintages are available by the bottle and glass or diners may choose to add a wine pairing for $55 (6 p.m. seating) or $135 (8:30 p.m. seating).

Walrus Rodeo

The duo behind Boia De, Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, along with partner-chef Jeff Maxfield, have debuted their new wood-fired focused restaurant, Walrus Rodeo, just doors away from Boia De in Little Haiti. The menu revolves around the restaurant’s central wood-fire oven with dishes like lasagna with lamb ragu, charbroiled Island Creek oysters with jalapeno hot sauce and brown butter brioche crumble; the spicy OG pizza with boquerones, melted shallots, and maple brown butter; local wahoo crudo with green papaya and crispy rice; and churros with fluff and spiced chocolate.  

Contessa Miami

The latest creation from the Major Food Group team (Carbone, Sadelle’s, and Dirty French) is a swanky, two-story restaurant in the Miami Design District focused on Northern Italian cuisine. Dine on decadent portions of pasta, hearty Italian entrees like grilled branzino and veal Milanese, and take in the “Lake Como circa 1960” vibes complete with jewel-toned Art Deco marble floor, Italian Murano light fixtures, and plenty of people watching. 

MaryGold's Florida Brasserie

Marygold’s Brasserie, the much-anticipated new restaurant collaboration from chef Brad Kilgore and the Bar Lab team, has debuted inside the Arlo Wynwood hotel. The menu focuses on Florida-inspired cuisine with items like beignets with jerk oxtail, baked oysters with ’nduja and rye crumbs, grouper al pastor, and Baked Florida, a twist on the classic featuring tropical fruit semifreddo. Drinks are equally as creative with options like the Caper Berry, Marygold’s twist on martini service featuring a choice of Grey Goose or Beefeater, Martini Ambrato, umami brine, and an assortment of accouterments.

Joliet

Get a taste of New Orleans flavor on South Beach at newcomer Joliet, the latest restaurant from Lost Boy & Co., the team behind places like Lost Boy Dry Goods, Tropezon, and Fox’s Lounge. Expect plenty of seafood fare with Southern flavors like shrimp Po’Boy sandwiches, cornmeal fried Florida yellowtail, and a daily Gumbo in an eclectic and properly artsy space.

Sushi Bar Miami Beach

One of Miami’s most unique omakase experiences is tucked away inside the Esme Hotel. Led by one of the country’s only female omakase chefs, Ambrely Ouimette, diners feast on a 17-course meal that let’s the “chef decide.” Expect contemporary nigiri enhanced with ferments, salts, koshos, and unique condiments. While the menu will shift almost daily, expect unique items like aged bluefin akami with dehydrated red miso, bagel spice, and the Hokkaido scallop with white truffle salt shaved black truffle, and spherified truffle caviar.

Brasserie Laurel

French classics fill the menu at newcomer Brasserie Laurel from chef and restauranteur Michael Beltran, with dishes like escargot, frog legs, foie gras, venison tartare, beef Wellington, and Maine lobster with veal sweetbreads, created by executive chef Ashley Moncada, formerly chef de cuisine at Ariete. Housed inside the splashy Miami Worldcenter, the restaurant space keeps with the French theme with dark wood, gold, and deep blue throughout, paired with a well-crafted cocktail menu with French favorites.

Eating House

Popular Coral Gables restaurant Eating House is back with brand new digs, blocks from its original location. A considerably more grown-up version of the longtime restaurant with a larger, sleek interior complete with a full bar and private dining room, it also serves new takes on many of its favorite dishes like the cavatelli ‘carbonara’ with egg yolk, bacon, black truffle, and ‘carbon’ breadcrumbs and an updated take on the beloved dirt cup.

The Gibson Room

The team behind Coconut Grove staple Ariete has taken over the former Mighty location to transform it into a new spot serving up American-tavern-style fare in a nostalgic setting complete with a grand piano, taxidermy on the wall, and nods to its neighborhood found throughout. The decadent double Smashburger and grilled oysters topped with plenty of garlic butter pair perfectly with the well-crafted cocktails on the menu.

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Miami

High-end omakase is having a moment here in Miami, and the latest newcomer on the scene is Michelin-starred Austin import Sushi by Scratch Restaurants. Now housed in a permanent location in Coconut Grove, guests dine at a 10-seat counter-only space manned by a team of three chefs and one bartender. With three seatings nightly (5 p.m., 7:15 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.), the 17-course meal consists strictly of nigiri with each item served as is — meaning no extras like soy sauce or wasabi. The menu changes regularly, but certain favorites have made their way to Miami, like the hamachi painted with a sweet corn pudding and topped with bread crumbs and the 1-2 Punch offering different presentations of bone marrow over two courses. 

Beauty and the Butcher

Jeremy Ford’s latest restaurant with local restaurant group Grove Bay Hospitality Group, focuses on American cuisine with global flavors weaved throughout the menu. Taking over the former Public Square space, the American-leaning menu focuses on seasonal fare with a strong emphasis on its in-house dry-aging program featuring a Wagyu Tomahawk for the table, served with all the fixings; a 48-hour smoked beef rib; and Florida red snapper highlight the butcher aspect of the restaurant.

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