It’d be wrong to say Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbour is the best-kept secret in great dining — because the secret is out.
The nook off Alton Road and 19th Street, thankfully removed from the tourist-trap path in South Beach, brings another sterling addition to South Florida’s dining scene with the Italian restaurant Due Baci. I gave it a 3.5-star review in the Miami Herald three weeks ago, moving it into the Miami Herald’s Top 10 best-reviewed restaurants of 2016.
I noted that the “attention to tradition, simplicity and care is clear in every aspect — from the food to the service.” It’s a fitting homage from the chef, Tonino Doino, to his late mother, the chef and inspiration behind Rosinella’s on Lincoln Road, the longest-running Italian restaurant there.
“The recipes are old-world Roman. The key is fresh ingredients, many imported from Italy (by one of Doino’s brothers), treated with respect and expertly transformed by Doino in ways that easily makes Due Baci one of South Florida’s best,” I wrote.
For Due Baci to move into our Top 10, one 3-star restaurant (Very Good) had to fall. It was Coral Gables’ Ichimi, which nevertheless still produces ramen bowls that are “beautifully presented with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and a nest of pepper strings artfully resting above a sliced soft-boiled, soy-marinated hanjuku egg.”
The ramen bowls are still slurp-worthy down to the last drop. However, I was disappointed to see on a recent visit that the most-affordable bowl has gone up in price from $12 to $18.
Here is the rest of our list of best-reviewed restaurants of 2016 so far, listed alphabetically. (We use a 4-star rating system.)
The list could change weekly with our Big Review.
What else could affect the list? If a chef leaves. If the menu changes. A bad inspection report, which you can check out on our continually updated Dining Advisor. All of them could knock a restaurant out of our Top 10.
“Main courses include, of course, a fine parrillada with plump chorizo, morcilla, tasty skirt steak and prime rib. But it is the richly decadent square of lechon braised for more than five hours with wine and herbs that begged me back for more. The tightly pressed plank of pig is then roasted until it earns its crispy, crackling deeply satisfying shell. (Read more)
Faena Hotel, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 786-655-5610; www.faena.com
Plant Food and Wine
“Food is either completely raw, dehydrated, fermented, smoked or cooked sous vide. The menu features salads and other starters, mains, desserts and shareable multi-piece dishes. Two concepts are at work: Some dishes look, sound and taste like familiar dishes that incorporate animal products. Others are never-seen-it-before creations.” (Read more)
105 NE 24th St., Miami. 305-814-5365; plantfoodandwine.com
“Despite fear of never getting a seat again, I’m ready to rave about Coconut Grove’s 33 Kitchen.... The setting has charm and style. It looks like a hipster hangout with a rustic, reclaimed wood bar, (faux) exposed brick wall, an old bicycle mounted on the wall, as well as cool metal chairs and straight-back wooden benches. Fernandez’s cooking is confidant, clean, bold and just what I want to be eating. So, please, save a seat for me.” (Read more)
3195 Commodore Plaza, Miami. 786-899-0336
“Open less than two months, this sexy spot stashed in an urban courtyard steps from the new Langford Hotel (where the Pubbelly boys are doing their part at PB Station) offers an experience that is at once exhilarating and comforting.” (Read more)
154 SE First Ave., Miami; 786-773-2742; alloybistro.com
Beaker & Gray
“In a Food Network-fueled era in which every celebrity chef is opening a Miami outpost, Beaker & Gray is a refreshing local exception.... Beaker & Gray has soared into the upper echelon of Wynwood dining. (Chef Brian) Nasajon’s super-creative, ingredient-rich menu has Yelpers yapping and snapping, and Ben Potts’ broad and dazzling cocktail menu and artisan wine list is putting the place squarely in the sights of any self-respecting hipster.” (Read more)
2637 N. Miami Ave., Miami. 305-699-2637
“The white tablecloths and wall-mounted stag heads are gone, but refined service and impeccable classics remain at the refreshed Cypress Tavern. Cypress may have loosened up its man bun since a do-over last year — transforming from a formal “room” to a more relaxed “tavern” — but going casual here is like Jeeves and Wooster donning their country tweeds.... ike a reliable friend, Cypress Tavern can be counted on to deliver traditional dishes with expertise and outstanding service.” (Read more)
3620 N.E. Second Ave, Miami (Design District); 305-520-5197
“Like any good immigrant child, Due Baci wants to do right by Mamma, cutting its own path while respecting its deep Italian roots. With every bite, it succeeds.” (Read more)
1920 Alton Rd., Miami Beach, 305-763-8926
Glass and Vine
“With Glass and Vine, (chef Giorgio) Rapicavoli has reined in the playful instincts of his early years, maturing just enough as a chef to hit the sweet spot with almost every dish. The bright and airy, 200-seat, picnic-in-the-park space, with its fresh-flavor, ingredient-driven menu, couldn’t be more different from the dark, 50-seat Eating House, with its heavier comfort-style food. Service is impeccable, and wine and cocktail and beer lists are intriguing.” (Read more)
2820 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove. 305-200-5268
“For the barbecue that brings out the smoky best of Asian-American wood grilling. For thoughtful presentations that make eating fun. For knowledgeable servers and chefs who are excited about the food and don’t hesitate to sit and chat with diners about it. KYU (pronounced “Q” like the last syllable in “barbeque”) has easily become one of Wynwood’s best restaurants.” (Read more)
251 N.W. 25th St, Miami. 786-577-0150
“NaiYaRa is seducing outsiders into the once-isolated domain of Joe Allen and Purdy Lounge with artisanal sushi and elevated interpretations of Northern Thai specialties the Thai-born (chef) Bee Arreeratn learned at his grandmother’s side.... The green curry sea bass sang in creamy coconut sauce with snappy bell peppers, bamboo shoots and basil over jasmine rice. Crispy duck in red curry, jazzed with bell peppers and slivers of pineapple, also was superb.” (Read more)
1854 Bay Rd.Road, Miami Beach.786-275-6005