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The 50 Finest

As cliché as it may sound, when it comes to dining out in Miami, variety is the spice of life. But this spicy mix is not for unadventurous palates. We’re talking tantalizing trattorias, boisterous brasseries, gourmands-only gastropubs and posh points of interest where menu magic, mixology moxie and dessert decadence deliver the goods when it comes to good taste. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to live... and dine!

Chef Danny Grant’s Michelin cachet is on display at 1826 Restaurant & Lounge with dishes like his foie gras pavé with strawberry sauce, young onion and St.-Germain elderflower liqueur ($18).

Michael Mina 74
Although we could, we don’t have the space to give you 74 worthy reasons to dine at celebrity chef Michael Mina’s hip Fontainebleau hotel eatery. Instead, these three will have to do: Chef de Cuisine Thomas Griese, who executes Mina’s bistro vision expertly; the tapas-sized Berkshire pork with pigeon peas, a dish so succulent, it deserves a large-plate version; and the seafood cart, a rolling feast of crustacean delights that lets diners know they’re in for something very special. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.674.4636

1826 Restaurant & Lounge
Michelin-starred toque Danny Grant wasn’t content with simply opening a restaurant in South Beach. The Food & Wine Best New Chef recipient had to build one from the ground up. The futuristic, glasscentric 1826 is an ideal neo-modern setting for Grant’s forward-thinking, French technique-based, seasonal cuisine (like the Instagram-worthy foie gras pavé—yes, as in pavé diamonds—with dollops of strawberry sauce) and one that also reflects the vivacity of its larger, South Beach setting. 1826 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.763.8860

Bocce Bar
This Italian sibling to beloved Sugarcane (also run by Executive Chef and partner Timon Balloo) brings Brooklyn hipster panache to Midtown. The métier here is sharing small plates of chicken and duck liver pâté; and deep-fried olive ascolane stuffed with fennel-flavored sausage. Forks are likely to cross over the polpette di agnello, which is topped with a whip of goat cheese and coupled with crostini. Make nice with some negronis and a bocce match on the restaurant’s front court. 3252 NE First Ave., Miami, 786.245.6211

Lorenzo Miami
The talent behind the scenes at Lorenzo is mighty indeed. The brainchild of Tony Mantuano, a James Beard Award recipient and noted cookbook author, the eatery boasts a kitchen helmed by Chris Wyman, who knows a thing or two about acclaim, thanks to stints in New York’s Scarpetta and Aventura’s Chef Allen’s. The chefs’ seasoned approaches are obvious in dishes such as cheese ravioletta in a brown butter-rosemary sauce and locally caught grilled fish with fennel, artichoke, blood orange and lime gremolata. The Redbury South Beach, 1776 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786.483.1796

The District Miami
The low-key approach of this neighborhood favorite belies the caliber of talent in the kitchen. Chef Horacio Rivadero may have only been a semifinalist for this year’s Best Chef South Award from the James Beard Foundation, but his lobster escabeche and beets topped with duck confit make him a worthy winner in our book. 190 NE 46th St., Miami, 305.573.4199

La Gazzetta Miami
Tired of seeing diners overpay because of location, restaurateur Stephan Fortier (no stranger to Miami) continues his Italian adventure with this unassuming Brickell cafe where extravagant items like truffles, lobster and lamb chops, and ornate sauces made with Champagne, saffron and clarified butter, don’t command the South Beach prices you might expect. Now, that’s amore! 1010 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305.523.2393

La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Superstar chef Gastón Acurio has done Miami a favor by allowing us our first taste of the complexities of fine Peruvian cuisine. Going beyond ubiquitous ceviches and tiraditos, Acurio’s novo-Andean exploration familiarizes us with delightful causas, potato-based appetizers; and anticuchos, grilled street fare influenced by nikkei (Japanese) and chifa (Chinese) cooking traditions. Mandarin Oriental Miami, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, 305.913.8358

Prime Fish
Restaurateur Myles Chefetz and chef Mike Sabin continue their winning streak with this fourth entry in the Myles Restaurant Group empire. Here, an a la carte section allows patrons to choose any sea protein—Hawaiian bigeye tuna or Chilean sea bass, for example—as well as its preparation (sauteed, blackened, grilled or steamed) and extras (hollandaise, foie gras). Expertly composed dishes, such as swordfish schnitzel with a fried egg, and Holland dover sole, let diners know they can also let the kitchen take charge. 100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.532.4550

The Forge Restaurant & Wine Bar
Open since 1968, The Forge is an homage to well-executed reinvention. In its latest incarnation it has Executive Chef Christopher Lee (a James Beard Award winner with two Michelin stars to his credit) at the helm. The toque has hit the ground running by adding new succulent menu dishes—like yellowfin tuna tartare, English pea ravioli and miso-marinated Chilean sea bass—and switching meat purveyors to premium butcher Pat LaFrieda to ensure the restaurant’s steakhouse offerings are a cut above the rest. 432 W. 41st St., Miami Beach, 305.538.8533

Mister Collins
Situated on the speck of land where Intracoastal meets causeway, the restaurant at the ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa may not be in the middle of the action, but foodies would be well-served to sharpen their navigational skills now that new chef Ferdinand Ortiz Jr. is in the kitchen. Once diners see (and taste) his petite veal porterhouse, chorizo-vegetable flan and faux apple souffle, they won’t be able to unsee them. 10295 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, 305.455.5460

Meat Market Miami
This South Beach favorite has maintained a loyal clientele by offering excellent evening fare since 2008. Now chef/co-owner Sean Brasel is doing the same for daytime diners. From noon to 4pm, Meat Market offers a selection of crudos, salads, sandwiches and light entrees (ranging from roasted wagyu carpaccio with enoki mushrooms to a Snake River Farms American Kobe hot dog with Fresno chile confit) that ensure lunch doesn’t take a backseat to dinner—at least here. 915 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305.532.0088

The St. Regis Bar
Easily the most elegant lounge in South Florida, The St. Regis Bar recently instituted a menu that equals its vibe in élan. Comprising mainly sushi, the list brings out the big guns—bigeye tuna, Kobe beef, Alaskan king crab and king salmon—enhanced by a superior—and rather splendid—selection of fine wines and Champagnes. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, 9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, 305.993.3300

Palme d’Or
Since 2000, Palme d’Or has been teaching Miamians about the intricacies of fine French cuisine, so fans of the grand dame were naturally worried when a new chef took over the kitchen last year. However, it’s very obvious that Gregory Pugin, a man who cut his teeth under the mighty Joël Robuchon, knows what he’s doing. The proof is in his tasting menu, a symphony of classics with highlights like marinated langoustine topped with osetra and a stellar tableside cheese presentation that many diners have been known to skip to. The Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 305.913.3200

The Cypress Room
Ryan Goodspeed, the bar brains behind all of Michael Schwartz’s restaurants, is a genius after our own hearts. One sip of his latest barrel-aged cocktail at The Cypress Room, the Pomme Charmé (an apple concoction aged in oak for four months) and you’ll see what we mean. 3620 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305.520.5197

Batch Gastropub
Pre-batched in five-gallon, nitrogen-cooled kegs, Batch Gastropub’s cocktails feature precise recipes with ingredients measured down to the milliliter. That ensures signatures like the 305 Collins, made with mint-infused vodka and passionfruit, are good to the last drop. 30 SW 12th St., Miami, 305.808.5555

The Cocktail Collection
Once the site of many illicit happy hours, Tobacco Road has come a long way since its speakeasy days. The venue is celebrating that rebel legacy with this new lounge concept by Patrick Gleber, which focuses on eight signature cocktails, four of which rotate throughout the year. 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305.374.1198

MO Bar + Lounge
Making visitors feel special is a Mandarin Oriental specialty. And at the hotel’s new lobby bar, that mantra is taken to new heights with martinis, daiquiris, fizzes and caipirinhas conceived by Angelo Vieira that live up to the property’s five-star reputation. 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, 305.913.8358

Rum Line
The tiki bar gets a serious upgrade at this homage to lost recipes from the Hemingway days. More than 100 varieties of rum find their way to classics like scorpion bowls, fruit punches and hand-shaken daiquiris garnished with fresh fruit and flowers. Papa, can you hear us? Loews Miami Beach Hotel, 1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.604.1601

Open for dinner just one day a week (Thursday), Verde has emerged as a daytime gathering spot for developers, finance types and art-world decision-makers. We’re not surprised. Restaurateur Stephen Starr had to beat out 10 other contenders to get the location, and chef Nicolay Adinaguev’s menu of crudos, pizzas and light entrees is (apparently) what business deals are made of. Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305.375.8282

Jason Pringle, DB Bistro Moderne
Jason Pringle had never been to Miami before he became executive chef of DB less than one year ago. Today, guests can’t get enough of his pork dishes done a zillion ways: barbecued and pulled atop a burger, formed into sausage, rolled into pasta and even served up Thai style. JW Marriott Marquis, 255 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305.421.8800

William Crandall, Azul
All eyes will be on William Crandall as he takes over the revered kitchen of the Mandarin Oriental’s culinary crown jewel, the former stomping grounds of Michelle Bernstein and Clay Conley. Rest assured Crandall can take the heat, having cut his teeth under Andrew Zimmerman at NoMi in Chicago. 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, 305.913.8358

Dewey LoSasso, AQ by Acqualina
Well-known for his wizard ways in the kitchen (and for putting The Forge on the map during its last reinvention in 2011), Dewey LoSasso is now working his magic at AQ, where he’s elevating common dishes with ingredient-driven panache. For example: tostones topped with foie gras, croquetas made of organic snapper, and risotto with farro. Acqualina, 17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach, 305.918.6816

Eileen Andrade, Finka Table & Tap
Part of the Cuban family that gave Miami the Islas Canarias cafes, Eileen Andrade is a third-generation gourmand who learned the ins and outs of cooking from an early age. After testing the waters with a food truck, the local has taken the neighborhood restaurant route with Finka, a gastropub where the menu is inspired by her travels to South Korea and what she learned from her mentor, chef Omar Caycho, about Peruvian cuisine. 14690 SW 26 St., Miami, 305.227.8818

She hails from Las Vegas, so Carla Pellegrino is no stranger to late nights, which is a good thing, because at Touché, the kitchen stays open into the wee hours, doling out pasta favorites, Tuscan signatures and sushi after 2am. Those who got a taste of the menu for her June dinner at the James Beard House in New York (branzino ceviche, crostini with filet mignon, and pan-seared foie gras with apple compote) know the James Beard Foundation VIP member can deliver on all accounts. 15 NE 11th St., Miami, 305.358.9848

L’Echon Brasserie
Seems those Pubbelly guys can do no wrong, and their seventh piglet is a prime example. Order up the charcuterie plate, an inducing array featuring rabbit terrine, Toulouse sausage and other meats, and see how you squeal with delight. Let that whet your appetite for a parade of French classics with Miami-gastro flair, such as Coquille St. Jacques and brown-butter tart tatin. Hilton Cabana Miami Beach, 6261 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.498.0824

Taperia Raca
A trip to Barcelona inspired chef Giorgio Rapicavoli to open this petite Spanish tapas restaurant and wine bar, sister to his ridiculously popular Eating House in Coral Gables. Ingredients like smoked honey, duck wings and bechamel shine, while cornmeal peach pancakes delight during Sunday brunches. 7010 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305.751.8756

Il Mulino New York
After proving itself in New York and Sunny Isles Beach, Il Mulino is giving South Beach a try. The new South of Fifth eatery stays honest to the original concept with Italian classics, but the menu here is more seafood-heavy (the roasted branzino is a standout). And what better way to toast this latest expansion than with a serious mixology program? 840 First St., Miami Beach, 305.372.1221

Blue Collar meets the big blue sea at chef Daniel Serfer’s second eatery. This Old Florida shrine to all that is oyster perfection shares the locals’ vibe of Blue Collar (down to the Lolo Reskin cherry-picked soundtrack), but this cuisine is all about shuck value—not to mention Champagne and caviar happy hours to keep those loyal regulars coming back for more. 210 NE 18th St., Miami, 305.374.4635

Oolite Restaurant & Bar
The name isn’t so weird considering chef Kris Wessel’s deep Florida roots. Oolite is the mineral found in our state’s limestone and coral rock foundation and, like his previous efforts, Red Light and Florida Cookery, Wessel’s menu here, at the former Cooper Avenue site, is chock-full of local ingredients and flavors. 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., Miami Beach, 305.907.5535

Seasalt and Pepper
A favorite of politicos, reality-TV housewives and the city’s in-the-know set, SeaSalt and Pepper is very much about being in the scene. And what a scene it is—especially when night falls, the torches fire up and those status yachts vie for dock space right next to your delicately trembling martini and that glorious tuna-salmon-scallops-crab tartare. Just make sure to call way ahead for a reservation. 422 NW N. River Drive, Miami, 305.440.4200

Traymore Restaurant and Bar
Chef Jonathan Lane’s expert approach at the seafood parlor of the Metropolitan by COMO hotel in Miami Beach deserves attention. Refurbished columns and restored terrazzo floors provide a perfect setting for Lane’s beautifully presented cuisine, which is best exemplified by dishes such as fluke crudo with celery and grilled jumbo octopus with salsa verde. 2445 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.695.3600

Via Verdi Cucina Rustica
Twin brothers Nicola and Fabrizio Carro have been dishing out some of the best northern Italian cuisine in South Beach at the scene-heavy Quattro since 2006. At their debut as restaurateurs, the chefs’ homemade pastas and tapas-style plates of fried risotto, whipped ricotta, veal meatballs and eggplant bruschetta have already garnered a solid following. 6900 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 786.615.2870

BLT Prime
Steakhouse types go weak at the knees at the smell of the Gruyere popovers at BLT Steak at The Betsy hotel. The chain’s new location at the Trump National Doral isn’t exactly central, but certainly worth the drive. Overlooking the legendary Blue Monster greens, site of many PGA crowning moments, popular cuts like Kobe wagyu rib-eye are all the more enticing. 4400 NW 87th Ave., Doral, 305.591.6606

Tap 79 Brews and Burgers
Former Bin No. 18 chef Alfredo Patino takes the craft beer route—and he doesn’t steer diners wrong—at this new gastropub-style spot, where small plates of clams and chorizo, salmon Scooby snacks, charred octopus, various ramen dishes and lamb-and-feta meatballs pair well with rare brews like Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale and Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale. 1071 NE 79th St., Miami, 305.381.0946

Earls Kitchen + Bar
Bal Harbour Shops has had the upper hand when it comes to retail nourishment for years, but this Canadian import may just put Dadeland Mall on the map on that regard. The sprawling 300-seater features an open kitchen that churns out global fare like cobia ceviche, barbecue pork buns and crispy dry ribs with salt crystals. It’s been packed since day one—with nary a shopping bag in sight we might add. 7535 N. Kendall Drive, Miami, 305.667.1786

Miami native Michael Shikany’s eponymous restaurant is a Wynwood game changer. A converted warehouse, the 4,000-square-foot eatery retains its industrial charm with polished concrete floors and utilitarian tables and chairs. A vertical garden by the entrance is a sign of the aesthetic pleasures to come—and that includes Shikany’s dishes, which are artfully composed installations of greens, proteins and sweets by Pastry Chef Jill Montinola that are (almost) too pretty to disturb with a fork. 251 NW 25th St., Wynwood, 305.573.0690

Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge
Cheetah prints! Zebra tablecloths! The former DeVito’s has been transformed to look like designer Roberto Cavalli’s Tuscan villa. Those wild prints play off the large photos of the designer and his celebrity friends, all of which makes the ideal backdrop for model-watching and spaghetti-eating. Or, as we like to call it: la dolce vita, Miami style. 150 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, 305.695.4191

Il Sole at The Villa
The restaurant at the former Versace mansion has a new name and a new chef (Scott Linquist), but what hasn’t changed is the spectacular setting: the Onyx bar, the gilded dining room and that romantic terrace overlooking the gold-tiled swimming pool designed by its past owner, Gianni Versace. 1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, 305.576.8003

Area 31
Perched at the mouth of the Miami River, the Epic hotel’s 16th-floor restaurant is as impressive as ever with its vistas of Brickell skyscrapers and the nautical traffic below. The outdoor patio has been upgraded with better lighting and furniture, and the bar has expanded to accommodate the restaurant’s popular afternoon happy hour. Indoor seating offers views of the busy open kitchen, where chef Wolfgang Birk’s staff does right by his seafoodcentric menu manifesto. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305.424.5234

Cantina La Veinte
The Cinbersol Group may be new to our shores, but in its native Mexico the company has launched more than 30 restaurants since 2011. For its Miami debut, Cinbersol tapped the architectural firm of Niz + Chauvet to create an homage to the Mexican art-deco tradition—that means a floor-to-ceiling black-onyx bar with a pyramid-shaped black-and-gold chandelier, marble flooring in the dining room and an open kitchen where chef Santiago Gomez spices things up with dishes such as smoked beef with cactus salad. South of the Border just took on a new meaning. Icon Brickell, 495 Brickell Ave., Miami, 786.357.0038

Toro Toro
True to its name, Toro Toro’s La Bomba dessert is an explosive, hands-on experience. Made of dulce de leche; strawberry ice cream; cream-cheese mousse; almond cookie crumbs; and drizzles of a caramel, vanilla and berry sauce all encased in a milk-chocolate shell, the dish is presented to patrons and then promptly tossed into a vibrant mound on the table. A gloved server corrals the savory morsels, and diners are encouraged to scoop up those innards using shrapnel from the shell. Metal spoons are also provided. InterContinental Miami Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, 305.372.4710

Ever since this famed Parisian patisserie set up shop in South Beach earlier this year, it has been packed with both locals and tourists craving its famed macaroons—the rose petal is a fragrant standout—which are packed in the kind of boxes that remind us refinement is alive and well. The shop expands its footprint this summer with outdoor table service, ice cream sundaes and a Champagne bar to round out the sweet offerings. 1118 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 786.275.6621

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
Although she certainly could, Pastry Chef and noted author Hedy Goldsmith is not one to rest on her laurels. Instead, she keeps creating sweet magic for the restaurants of Michael Schwartz. This summer finds Miami’s first lady of sugar in a cool state of mind and offering frozen treats to beat the heat. But these are no ordinary ice creams, frozen yogurts and sorbets. To wit: roasted peach sundae with Greek yogurt sherbet and oatmeal pecan streusel. 130 NE 40th St., Miami, 305.573.5550

Buns and Buns
At this gastropub, yeasty delights are the star, thanks to a variety of rolls that are baked in-house. And while those salty-savory offerings have impressed, it’s the venue’s desserts that have garnered it a cult following. The Lost Bun, for instance, is a rich bread pudding made with brioche and rum sauce, while the refreshing Coco Pabana is a parfait of coconut mousse, roasted pineapple and banana. As they say here: Go carb or go home. 5748 Sunset Drive, South Miami, 786.216.7754

J&G Grill
Just when we think Antonio Bachour can’t dazzle us any further, along he comes with new selections at the venerable J&G Grill—and that’s why we can’t speak of desserts in this town without mentioning his contributions. Or, rather, his compositions—like the candied tomatoes with salted honey yogurt, compressed strawberries and meringue—which are installations of aesthetic ingenuity that always deliver on taste. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, 9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, 305.993.3333

Morimoto South Beach
The iconic Shelborne hotel continues garnering buzz—this time thanks to its culinary component: a flagship Morimoto eatery. We’ve been told to expect seductive surroundings and artistic, flavor-packed plates like the legendary toro tartare and duck with foie gras croissant. 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Siena Tavern Miami
The former China Grill space is getting hit with a heavy hand of personality as chef Fabio Viviani makes it the second outpost of his Chicago-based brand. The menu is not yet set, but Viviani is promising housemade pastas and pizzas, mozzarella and crudo bars, and brunch offerings with Miami flair. 404 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

Michael Mina goes for No. 3 in South Florida and No. 2 at the Fontainebleau with his takeover of the former Gotham Steak space. This steakhouse-leaning bistro will offer A5 Japanese Kobe beef, line-caught seafood, 100 single-malt scotches and—hopefully—Mina’s lauded butter-poached bone-in top loin. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Unnamed Tom Colicchio Concept
James Beard Award favorite and Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio is not revealing the appellation of his end-of-year South Beach debut at the 1 Hotel & Homes, but we do know it will be a farm-to-table concept heavy on Mediterranean seafood. Could a Michelin star be in our future? 2399 Collins Ave., Miami Beach 

White Lotus
At this partnership with event-planning powerhouse Karla Dascal, raw cuisine master Matthew Kenney will offer creations like kimchee dumplings with sesame foam and chocolate cheesecake brownies alongside organic wines and detox drinks. To our health, indeed. The Sacred Space Miami, 105 NE 24th St., Miami