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Miami Restaurants

Bin #18
1800 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami , Florida
Tel: 786 235 7575

Alfredo Patiño, the onetime wunderkind chef from the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, struck out on his own and opened this neighborhood hangout in December 2006. Patiño's deceptively simple menu consists of sandwiches and salads, plus platters piled high with Italian, French, or Spanish cheese and meats. He griddles figs and pairs them with blue cheese, piles a sandwich with Manchego and Serrano ham, and wraps yet more delicious Serrano ham around a ropelike pile of creamy burrata mozzarella. The space, a few blocks from the new Adrienne Arsht Center, and dressed with vintage wine barrels, crystal chandeliers, and a rotating art gallery, is the best place to grab a casual meal before a show. Plus, there's free parking in the lot out back.

Closed Sundays.

Buena Vista Bistro
4582 N.E. 2nd Avenue
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 456 5909

Claude Postel, a seventh-generation chef originally from Paris, ran restaurants in Montreal and South Beach before opening this stamp-size foodie haven in May 2008. Located in Buena Vista East, an artsy enclave fringing downtown's Design District, this casual European-style bistro is the kind of place where locals sit at outdoor tables with dogs leashed at their sides and the owner's wife scoots up on her skateboard.

Postel's concept is simple—fresh, market-sourced food at pleasing prices. The menu changes daily and is scrawled on chalkboards and mirrors in the narrow restaurant, an effect that adds to the ambience along with black-and-white photos of the neighborhood hanging on the walls and low crooning tunes from Edith Piaf and Amy Winehouse. Starters might include a carpaccio of scallops sliced razor thin and marinated in lime; main courses are of the French comfort food variety like salmon with ratatouille and steak frites. The wine selection is creative and vast for such a small place, with old- and New World wines priced from $8 per glass.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 11 am to 12 am and Mondays 1 pm to 12 am.

Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne
455 Grand Bay Drive
Key Biscayne , Florida
Tel: 305 365 4500

The large, family-friendly Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne, a posh island community just south of downtown Miami, may seem an odd spot for a superb restaurant, but don't be put off—it's worth a detour, wherever you're staying. A luxe take on a traditional Tuscan trattoria, Cioppino has a warm, homey vibe, and the food is largely made from ingredients flown in from the motherland. Burrata mozzarella arrives twice weekly, and the namesake stew, a soupy seafood mash-up of shrimp, clams, and calamari, is made with imported Italian tomatoes.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

The Dining Room
413 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 397 8444

Brothers Zack and Brian Lieberman—the duo behind popular Ola restaurant in Miami Beach—were looking to bring something with a more local vibe to South Beach's SoFi district when they opened this intimate restaurant in early 2011. The Lieberman family has deep ties to Miami; the brothers' grandmother was social director at the Fontainebleau back in its heyday. The Dining Room has a European café-style interior with Lieberman family photos on the walls and a vintage chandelier. There are only six outdoor tables on the café-packed block of Washington Street and another six tables indoors, so reserving your spot is a must. Inside, all tables face the postage stamp–size kitchen (little more than a set of gas burners and countertop space); miraculously, the tiny galley turns out dishes such as crispy braised pork with a tangy mustard sauce and grilled scallops wrapped in Serrano ham with a foie gras sherry sauce. Don't miss the baked Patagonia (dulce de leche ice-cream with Italian meringue and passion-fruit coulis) for a lovely Latin American dessert.—Terry Ward

Open Tuesday through Sunday 6 pm to 11 pm.

2830 N.E. 2nd Avenue
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 573 4681

Ask your hotel concierge where to go for authentic Cuban food in Miami and you'll be sent to the venerable (and worthy) Versailles. Ask a local, however, and they'll point you to Enriqueta's, a greasy spoon that sits next to an auto repair shop on a nondescript road in Wynwood. It's a low-ceilinged shoebox of a space with bars on the windows, an open kitchen, and a small take-out window for cortaditos (tiny cups of sweet café con leche) on the run. The regulars in guayaberas prefer the red vinyl stools at the bar, while the small tables with plastic swing-around chairs (reminiscent of a 1980s Burger King) are filled with doctors in scrubs, office workers, and creative types from the nearby Design District. They all come here for the same reason: cheap, authentic Cuban food. Daily lunch specials include vaca frita (shredded beef) with beans and rice, lechón asado (roast pork), and bistec à la milanesa (breaded steak with cheese). And there's always the Cubano, Cuba's classic pressed sandwich with ham, cheese, and pork. The side of shoestring fries is not exactly an old family recipe, so instead opt for the tostones—plantains pounded and fried golden yellow and served with a zingy lime-and-garlic mojo sauce.

Open Mondays through Fridays 6 am to 4 pm and Saturdays 6 am to 2 pm.

Fratelli Lyon
4141 N.E. 2nd Avenue
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 572 2901

Fratelli Lyon lures Design District denizens, European expats, and members of the Latin American art world for some of the best Italian food in town. Dapper servers in gray henleys lend knowledgeable advice as you choose which Italian cheeses to round out a sampler appetizer (semihard montegrappa pairs well with triple-milk la tur and gorgonzola di montagna) or the best selection of marinated vegetables for an antipasto. Main dishes include the house specialty ravioli evelina (homemade pasta stuffed with herbed ricotta, asparagus, and brown butter) and branzino alla francesina (Mediterranean sea bass with lemon-caper sauce). The restaurant is located at the front of design shop Driade, which means the haute-design salt and pepper shakers, French café–style wine tumblers, and whimsical spongy place mats on the tables are all available for purchase. The long utilitarian tables mirror the open ductwork and high ceilings in the main dining area, which can be noisy at capacity. There's a more intimate dining room off to the side and seats in the bar area, but the place to be is obviously the outdoor patio.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 10 pm, Fridays 11:30 am to 11 pm, and Saturdays 12 to 11 pm.

Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market
398 N.W. North River Drive
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 375 0765

Located on an out-of-the-way stretch of the Miami River (the reason even some longtime residents have never heard of this place), this very basic restaurant with an outdoor patio right on the river serves some of the freshest and most reasonably priced seafood in town. Dolphin sandwiches; grilled, fried, or blackened shrimp; and stone crabs are among the specialties. Go on a Sunday afternoon, when local families tend to congregate, and there's a lively feeling on the patio. That will help you pass the time while you wait for a table.

Lunch and dinner daily.

Joe's Stone Crab
11 Washington Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 673 0365

What started as a lunch counter in 1913 is now a block-long institution with a who's-who history—everyone from J. Edgar Hoover to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor has come to Joe's. The restaurant is open only during stone crab season (mid-October to mid-May) and doesn't take reservations; we recommend going for lunch to avoid the horrendous wait at dinnertime. Be warned, though, that crab quality can be inconsistent—sometimes fabulous, other times waterlogged and mushy. One Miami chef divulged that you sometimes get better stone crabs if they know you. (An alternative for out-of-towners: Monty's. It's not as famous, but the quality is consistent: 300 Alton Rd., Miami Beach, 305-672-1148;

Open Mondays 5 to 10 pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 2 pm and 5 to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 2 pm and 5 to 11 pm, and Sundays 4 to 10 pm, mid-October to mid-May.

163 N.E. 39th Street
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 572 1400

Design District denizens come to Maitardi for affordable (for the neighborhood, at least) northern Italian fare and an atmosphere that balances between superstylish and pretention-free in a way that's rare for Miami hangouts. A tiled wood-burning oven dominates the small dining room, which shines with an antique mirror and polished concrete floors. But on balmy Miami nights, a seat on the patio under sweeping oak trees and Moroccan lanterns is the hottest ticket. (An alcove fronted with concrete columns and backed by a mosaic wall is a particularly sexy spot to settle in.) On Friday nights, a DJ spins Motown and funk and patrons linger after meals of perfectly crisped flatbreads and pizzas fired in the open hearth or risotto with fresh scallops bathed in squid ink and tossed with crispy leeks. The jazz brunch on Sundays draws families; while the parents sip prosecco, the kids run around the courtyard. The restaurant's name, by the way, means "never late," and its slogan—"a place where time is not of the essence"—happily does not apply to the spot-on service.—Terry Ward

Open Sundays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 12 am.

Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Avenue
Bal Harbour , Florida
Tel: 305 864 8600

Restaurateur Stephen Starr of Buddakan and Morimoto fame opened this high-design restaurant inside the Bal Harbour Shops (across from Versace, next to Marc Jacobs) in March 2011. The accolades—not to mention ridiculously good-looking patrons—keep rolling in. For the best people-watching as you dine, snag one of the curved wooden booths near the front of the restaurant (there's outdoor seating on the back patio and in the open-air mall's courtyard). Executive chef Makoto Okuwa's Japanese cuisine hits the right note between classic and modern. Robata (grilled specials) include Japanese eggplant topped with bonito flakes, chicken, king crab, and tiger prawns that arrive sizzling on a slate of river stone. The sushi and sashimi platters pair rolls with hamachi and chutoro (medium fatty tuna) as well as orange clams, sweet shrimp, and live scallops.—Terry Ward

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to midnight, and Sundays 11:30 am to 10 pm.

Meat Market
915 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 532 0088

Meat Market is the only upscale restaurant on Lincoln Road, a popular pedestrian mall lined with casual outdoor cafés, art galleries, and clothing stores. The interior is a cool mix of leather, marble, and distressed wood furnishings with whimsical horsehair wall panels and Lucite sculptures. During stone crab season (mid-May to mid-October), start your meal with a few of the meaty claws served with the restaurant's tangy mustard sauce. First and foremost, however, chef Sean Brasel's menu is about steak. From Niman ranch filets to Japanese Kobe tenderloins, à la carte beef cuts are either grilled in an infrared oven or seared over a wood fire. Side dishes are of the heavy variety, such as truffled creamed corn and Gouda tater tots. Arrive with an appetite.—Terry Ward

Open Sundays through Thursdays 6 pm to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays 6 pm to 1 am.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
Atlas Plaza
130 N.E. 40th Street
Design District
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 573 5550

The latest spot from chef Michael Schwartz—of Nemo fame—is this industrial-chic indoor-outdoor space with a raw-concrete floor and simple dark-wood fixtures. Schwartz's signature focus on fresh and locally grown food is in place, and the zingy modern American menu includes meant-to-be-shared standouts such as a mouth-puckeringly spicy beef with chile salad and wood-roasted black grouper. On a cool evening, the sheltered, leafy patio is the best place to eat, but try to hit Michael's for lunch. That's when the tables are filled with iced tea–drinking, heavy spec–wearing, black-clad arty types from the Design District's neighboring offices and galleries—and you can eavesdrop shamelessly for tips on who'll be the next Damien Hirst.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 3 pm.

6927 Biscayne Boulevard
Biscayne Corridor
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 759 2001

In 2006, local-girl-made-good Michelle Bernstein opened this homey neighborhood spot on the Biscayne Corridor and tricked it out with whitewashed thrift-store chairs, orange-and-cobalt walls, and crisp white tablecloths, like a '60s beach house. The lunch menu is standard modern American appetizers and entrées; it's better to stop by at dinner, when every dish is offered in half or full portions—a brainwave of her husband-cum-maître d' David Martinez—that allows multiple tastings. The simple yet flavor-packed menu might include a meaty mixed-fish ceviche; blue cheese and shredded duck croquettes; and conch doused in garlic, like escargots. Unlike other celebrity chefs, the charming Bernstein really does work on the line—usually at the sauté station. The chef recently opened Sra. Martinez, a buzzy tapas restaurant in the Design District; the food doesn't quite live up to Bernstein's reputation, but the atmosphere—a two-level former post office with tables on the front patio—is enjoyably buzzy (4000 N.E. Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-5474).

Open Tuesdays through Thursdays 6:30 to 10:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 6 to 10:30 pm, and Sundays 6:30 to 9:30 pm.

Miss Yip Chinese Café
1661 Meridian Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 534 5488

This trendy Chinese spot in South Beach, owned by scenester Jenny Yip, has the feel of an Indiana Jones–era Shanghai bistro: dark, bentwood furniture; tiled floors; and huge glass jars of exotic ingredients displayed in the windows. There's a full dim sum menu that includes Shanghai soupy dumplings and shrimp wontons; lunch specials (try the General Tso chicken) ring in under $11. For dinner, expect Chinese-American staples like cashew chicken, Mongolian beef, and Hong Kong-style lo mein. There's a delivery menu for ad hoc room service, but if you eat on-site, head upstairs after dinner for a drink at the Buck 15 bar, with its Tokyo-style graffiti decor—it's most popular on Tuesdays for hip-hop night (

Lunch and dinner daily.

OLA (Of Latin America)
Sanctuary Hotel
1745 James Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 695 9125

This onetime Biscayne Boulevard staple defected to a prime spot on the beach in fall 2006, inside the Sanctuary Hotel in South Beach. The clubby, fairly formal space has large, modernist uphosltered chairs and crisp white tablecloths, but the menu's much zanier and more laid-back. Chef Douglas Rodriguez cooks up fish-heavy, pan-Latin selections (hence the name: Of Latin America) that jump from tapas-sized ceviches (try the Ecuadorian shrimp) to fusion appetizers such as foie gras-and-fig empanadas. The mojitos are superb, too.

Dinner nightly.

Prime One Twelve
Browns Hotel
112 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 532 8112

Detractors—probably those who've had to wait a long time in the bar even with a reservation—say this restaurant in the Browns Hotel is just a steak house. True, but what a steak house it is. The prime beef is spectacular and carefully cooked, as are all the sides, such as four-cheese truffle mac(aroni) and rum-baked sweet plantains (for 11 bucks, they should be baked in gold). Sometimes, the excess is really excessive: a one-pound Kobe beef burger for $30! But then, everything about the place is oversized—particularly the portions, which are enormous. Even though you practically have to take out a bank loan for dinner here, it's been mobbed, including a large celebrity contingent, since the day it opened in 2003. Some of the overflow is now going to Prime Italian, which opened across the street in late 2008. The menu is much the same, with the addition of pastas, pizzas, classic Italian dishes, and ridiculously large meatballs stuffed with cheese (101 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-695-8484).

Open Mondays through Thursdays noon to 3 pm and 5:30 to midnight, Fridays noon to 3 pm and 5:30 pm to 1 am, and Saturdays 5:30 pm to 1 am.

Scotty's Landing
3381 Pan American Drive
Coconut Grove
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 854 2626

Coconut Grove is one of the oldest neighborhoods in town, and tucked in among the expensive homes and mini-malls you can still find vestiges of Miami the Way It Was: ancient banyan trees, Bahamian-style wooden cottages, and the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse (where Waiting for Godot had its U.S. premiere). Scotty's isn't particularly old (it opened in 1991), but it captures the right feeling: Right on the waterfront, between the Chart House and Miami's incongruously sited City Hall, it's an unpretentious locals' joint that stands as a sharp counterpoint to the commercialized surroundings. Sit outside, order a cold beer with conch fritters and a grilled dolphin sandwich (the fish, not the mammal), and watch the million-dollar boats dock at the marina. The menu warns, "We are not responsible for well-done orders, special requests, or natural occurrences"—how much more laid-back Miami can you get?

Lunch and dinner daily.

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Shops at Midtown Miami
3250 N.E. First Avenue
Miami , Florida
Tel: 786 369 0353

Introduced in January 2009 by the folks behind Sushi Samba, this wildly popular spin-off restaurant's innovative tapas-meets-raw-bar menu and stunning warehouse-style space (reclaimed wood floors, soaring windows embellished with curving wrought iron) whisks you far from its strip mall location. Chef de cuisine Timon Balloo's Miami history includes stints at Design District hot spot Domo Japones and the Mandarin Oriental's celebrated Azul restaurant; his menu is a melting pot of fresh flavors inspired by Japanese, Peruvian, and Brazilian palates. Making the meal last all night approaches art-form status here: Cozy into one of the horseshoe-shaped booths to share small plates such as goat cheese croquettes, duck egg with beef-tongue stew, and flopping fresh Florida snapper sashimi with your fellow foodies. Then relax with a mojito before summoning the stylish servers for the next round—perhaps White Water clams on the half shell plucked from Sebastian Inlet, up the coast, or steak tartare with pickled shallots. A surprisingly affordable bill at the end of the night is a sweet finish.—Terry Ward

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11 am to 12 am, Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 2 am, and Sundays 11:30 am to 1 am.

Tap Tap
819 5th Street
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 672 2898

This longtime South Beach standby, decorated with brightly colored murals, serves some of the best—and best-presented—Haitian food in Miami. It's a welcome break from Cuban fritters and toxically sweet cafecito. It's a bargain, too: You'll struggle to spend more than $10 for an entrée. (Our favorite is the goat in a peppery tomato broth.) Go on a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights for live jazz and folk music.

Dinner only.

3555 S.W. Eighth Street
Little Havana
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 444 0240

This Little Havana standard will win no awards for decoration—it's actually an avalanche of kitsch with chandeliers and mirrors meant to emulate the French palace. But all the movers and shakers in the Cuban community still congregate here. The kitchen turns out well-prepared classics such as ropa vieja and Cuban sandwiches well past midnight.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.