UPDATE: Voting for Day 6 is now closed. Check MiamiHerald.com/restaurants Wednesday at 8 a.m. to vote in the next round.
Once there were 64. Now only 32 restaurants remain standing in our Miami Herald Munch Madness.
You voted for your favorite Miami restaurants to help cut the field in half. Now, these restaurants are vying for the honor of reaching the Sweet Sixteen.
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Come back to MiamiHerald.com/restaurants each day, vote for your favorite, and help them move through the bracket until you crown the Munch Madness champion on April 4.
Yesterday, we kicked off Round 2 with our Casual Dining Region. Today, our Chef-Driven Region returns to action. (That’s the bottom left quadrant if you downloaded the bracket.) Voting closes Tuesday, March 21 at 8 p.m.
(16) Mignonette vs. (8) Los Fuegos
Mignonette’s Danny Serfer, when he isn’t creating comfort food at his nearby Blue Collar, has created the go-to spot (that has sparked a second location) for a raw bar and flavorful seafood, including oysters flown in fresh from all over the country. At Los Fuegos, super chef Francis Mallmann cooks all sorts of the highest grade meats and vegetables over an open flame in an opulent, theatrical setting that makes for an unforgettable meal.
(5) Zuma vs. (4) The Forge
Wide eyes and hungry stomachs greet the modern interpretations of Japanese cuisine in a posh setting at Zuma, with its fresh market sushi and open-flame robata grill inspired by northern Japanese fishermen. The Forge is to steak as Joe’s is to seafood: a Miami landmark that continues to excel at steak-centric classics like its “Super Steak,” while churning out award-winning talented chefs to serve Miami Beach heavy hitters.
(6) Eating House vs. (3) Plant Food and Wine
The sawesera’s own Giorgio Rapicavoli became a national star when he won “Chopped” and used the cash to open Eating House, where he takes the latest cutting-edge culinary techniques and applies Miami flavors to create rich, satisfying dishes that might include yuzu and black truffle or Iron Beer Latin soda. Chef Matthew Kenney turned his skill with meat (and his lifestyle) to vegetables to create this vegan and vegetarian restaurant that rises into the stratosphere of fine dining, where a dish like kimchi dumplings (fermented red kimchi pulsed into a paste with cashews, sesame, ginger and sesame oil in wrappers of dehydrated Thai coconut) are flatly addictive.
(10) La Mar vs. (2) Michael’s Genuine
Chef Diego Oka executes Gaston Acurio’s take on upscale Peruvian at La Mar in the Mandarin Oriental with flair, from glorious ceviches to homey potatoes drenched in huancaina sauce and a host of grilled anticuchos and rice dishes served in a gorgeous, modern setting. There’s a reason people keep coming back to Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink after 10 years, and it all stems from Michael Schwartz using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients with a deft chef’s touch to create comforting dishes (gulf shrimp and grits with house-smoked bacon) in an atmosphere that is as the name implies: genuine.