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If you haven’t been to Miami in the past few months, you’d barely recognize some of the new names gracing its neighborhoods. Each week heralds in a new crop of restaurants everywhere from the street art-centric Wynwood Arts District to the swanky hotel-filled streets lining South Beach. From fine dining eateries to more laid-back local joints, these 10 spots alone are worth the trip. We’ve made the rounds eating our way from one neighborhood to the next, scouting out the best new restaurants hitting Miami’s dining scene (served up here in no particular order).
1. PB STATION
Downtown Miami is going through a bit of a revival, so it’s no surprise that the same group that started strong in Sunset Harbour recently moved into the ground floor of The Langford Hotel, a boutique beauty housed in a 1920s Beaux-Arts building that was once a bank.
The American craft eatery’s design is inspired by train stations, with black-and-white tiled arches and names of cities like Boston and Baltimore scattered overhead. The menu also takes inspiration from cities across the US with classic dishes like Kansas City Steak 1855 Dry Aged Prime — modernized with bone marrow and smoked Bordelaise — as well as more gourmet spins on sports bar faves like buffalo sweetbreads served with blue cheese dip and pickled carrots.
2. JAYA AT THE SETAI
It seems as if everything The Setai hotel touches turns to gold and its latest restaurant concept, Asian eatery Jaya, is no different. Sanskrit for “victory,” Jaya is the brainchild of exec chef and Chopped winner Mathias Gervais and executive sous chef Vijayudu Veena.
You’ll still find Setai classics on the menu like Peking Duck and sea bass, in addition to a fusion of Asian dishes influenced by Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Designed as an Asian version of a modern steakhouse, Jaya serves up dishes like Tandoor Chicken Tikka and Lobster Laksa with quail egg, coconut milk, Malaysian spices and rice noodles, prepared at wok stations and in tandoori ovens. Watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen or sit al fresco in one of the hotel’s main highlights, the serenity pond-lined courtyard.
3. THE SARSAPARILLA CLUB
If you’re familiar with late-night noodle bar Gigi and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, two members behind these teams — chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth — are back in Miami with their latest concept at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand.
Named after the root used in both Asian and American cuisines, The Sarsaparilla Club highlights both of these flavors with its comfort food-meets-Cantonese Dim Sum menu that includes mouth-watering small plates like beet and short rib dumplings and housemade steamed buns with pork belly bacon, as well as larger main dishes like green curry fried chicken and rendang curry short rib meatloaf.
4. GLASS & VINE
For Chopped champion and James Beard Award semi-finalist Giorgio Rapicavoli’s latest venture, the chef converted the former Coconut Grove Library into a vine ceiling-covered restaurant aptly named Glass & Vine.
The menu is divvied up into three sections — garden, sea and land — with mix-and-match-style shared plates like grilled sweetbreads, charred cauliflower with green tahini, and fish à la plancha with sea urchin butter and Florida grapefruit. Pair your plate with one of the handcrafted cocktails designed by Eddie Fuentes and the Cocktail Cartel, such as the cheeky Miami Incident, a blend of vodka, kaffir lime, strawberry and eucalyptus extract.
5. BACHOUR BAKERY + BISTRO
Former Eating House chef Henry Hané and local pastry genius Antonio Bachour have joined forces to open the new bakery and bistro in Brickell. Breakfast is all about Bachour’s freshly baked goodies from croissants served up Miami-style with guava and cheese to more classic treats like Danishes and brioche.
Already a popular spot with the lunch crowd, Lima-born Hané adds an elegant air to salads, soups and sandwiches with dishes like gazpacho with tropical flowers and Bolognese tartine topped with mascarpone and herbs.
6. PLANT FOOD + WINE
The plant-based food trend is slowly starting to make waves in town and one of the movement’s star chefs, Matthew Kenney, is leading the way with a Miami outpost of Venice, California’s Plant Food + Wine.
Set in The Sacred Space in Wynwood, the eatery makes vegan and raw fare look and taste just as savory as something you’d find in any fine dining spot across the globe. Start with a glass of biodynamic wine and dig into the watermelon poke with macadamia and mint before moving on to main dishes like banana leaf tamales and coconut ceviche tacos with sunflower chorizo.
7. THE CONTINENTAL
A spin-off of the Philadelphia favorite (and restaurateur Stephen Starr’s first eatery), The Continental opened up on Miami Beach last year in a revamped Mid-Century modern building by the water.
Think classic Americana with a throwback diner-meets-Hollywood glamour feel. The menu plays on global flavors with recently promoted executive chef, Richard Torres — who has worked alongside Sugarcane’s Timon Balloo and “Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine” chef Douglas Rodriguez — adding his own Latin spins to dishes like Gaucho-style grilled short rib empanadas with olive and Colombian aji.
8. LE ZOO
Another one of Starr’s spots, Le Zoo, opened up at Bal Harbour Shops last fall, adding French flair to the haute shopping destination. Picture a Parisian terrace transplanted to Miami with a similar brasserie concept that you’d find at a typical sidewalk café in the City of Light.
Take a seat on the patio and start with a platter of oysters served alongside a carafe of vin blanc. Then, move over to French staples like seared foie gras with roasted plums; steak tartare with capers and quail egg; and a decadent mushroom tart topped with truffled pecorino, one of the faves featured on the weekend brunch menu.
9. B BAR TAPAS & GRILL
Blending the best of Mediterranean, Asian and South American cuisines, this North Miami eatery offers fusion-inspired small plates with dishes like truffle potato octopus, miso-marinated sea bass skewers and Korean baby back ribs.
Tuesday is all about tacos, with more off-the-wall fillings like kimchi chicken salad and pork guava BBQ, while weekends are devoted to brunch. Order bottomless sangria, mimosas or Bloody Marys paired with classic brunch fare served up with a global twist. Think French croquet “Cuban” madame — a Cuban sandwich on Texas toast with a fried egg and Hollandaise sauce — or shredded skirt steak and egg tacos with spicy cream and avocado.
Thai chef Piyarat Arreeratn (a.k.a. Chef Bee) brought elements of his country’s hawker culture to Sunset Harbour eatery, NaiYaRa. Developed with his mother, Chef Bee crafted a menu heavy on Thai and Japanese styles with dishes like Tom Yum Nam Khon — or creamy ramen soup with prawns — that his grandmother sold at their local village market.
The retro-chic restaurant also takes on the look of a street food scene straight out of Thailand, with tables crafted from reclaimed Indonesian teak, Thai fishing baskets and an art installation of The King of Thailand.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Miami? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy Shutterstock.
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