1. THE SURF CLUB RESTAURANT
Few moments were as significant to Miami’s food world in 2018 than when — after years of rumors and speculation — chef Thomas Keller opened a restaurant here. Not just any restaurant, of course, The Surf Club Restaurant in Surfside is an ode to Continental cuisine’s glamorous glory days. Extraordinary dishes like prime beef short-rib Wellington, celery-heart Victor with white anchovies, and black-truffle fettuccine Alfredo are executed without flaw and served with anticipatory, polished hospitality. Chef Manuel Echeverri, Keller’s kitchen leader in Miami, imbues his boss’ recipes with techniques from his past experiences at Toscano Divino and Bazaar Mar as well as from his childhood in Colombia. —ESB 9011 Collins Avenue, Surfside; 305-768-9440; surfclubrestaurant.com.
2. FIOLA MIAMI
When husband-and-wife team Fabio and Maria Trabocchi quietly opened Fiola in Coral Gables, it was only a matter of time before word got out. Their Washington, D.C., location — a favorite of Barack Obama — has earned a Michelin star. Now a piece of the Trabocchis’ magic is in Miami. —EB 1500 San Ignacio Avenue, Coral Gables; 305-912-2639; fiolamiami.com.
3. THE KITCHEN
Chef Adriana Egozcue has two mantras: support local and make tantalizing dishes. The former Eating House sous chef is on her own now, serving all-day breakfast, weekend brunch and Thursday-Friday dinners at The Kitchen in Coconut Grove. We love her beet-cured salmon with radishes and sprouts on Zak the Baker toast. —CGD 3444 Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305-699-6004; thebookstoreandkitchen.com.
4. SOUTH BEACH SUNBURN
If you like a little kick with your tequila, you’ll be as obsessed with this cocktail as we are. The South Beach Sunburn at S Bar at the SLS Lux starts with Casamigos Blanco, lime juice and a splash of simple syrup. Things get steamy when your bartender torches a serrano pepper in front of your eyes. —EMN 805 South Miami Avenue, Miami; 305-859-0201; sbe.com.
5. SILVERLAKE BISTRO
La Fresa Francesa owners Sandy Sanchez and Benoit Rablat hit another comfort-food home run with their latest venture, SilverLake Bistro. In the kitchen, chef Jeremy Kermisch turns out California-inspired dishes like duck fat-seared gnocchi with melted gouda, beer-brined roasted chicken, and green goddess salad with whipped avocado cream. —ESB 1211 71st Street, Miami Beach; 786-803-8113; opentable.com.
6. THE DORAL YARD
The team behind The Wynwood Yard takes its talents to Downtown Doral this spring. With the help of Joseph Furst, The Doral Yard will open a 20,000-square-foot food hall, co-working cafe and more. Charcoal, one of Wynwood Yard’s most popular restaurants, is making the move west. —EB thedoralyard.com.
Antonio Bachour, an internationally acclaimed pastry chefs, has partnered with Javier Ramirez (Palmar) to open Bachour in Coral Gables. At the bakery and cooking school, look for Bachour’s remarkable confections, plus savory dishes for breakfast and lunch. —CGD
2020 Salzedo Street, Coral Gables; antoniobachour.com.
8. LA TROVA
Little Havana welcomed Michelle Bernstein to the neighborhood this winter in her new collaboration with renowned mixologist Julio Cabrera. La Trova celebrates classic cocktails and modern Cuban cuisine. The tribute to the island’s culture is complete with live music and an outdoor patio for cigar and domino enthusiasts. —CGD 971 Southwest Eighth Street, Miami; 786-615-4379; cafelatrova.com.
9. PRIX-FIXE ON FLEEK
We’ll let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to wait for Miami Spice to enjoy set menu pricing at top restaurants. We hit these lunch prix-fixes on the regular, and you should too:
* Cipriani: Three courses for $28. River rivers. Pasta. Yes, yes, yes. ciprianimia.com.
* Estiatorio Milos: Three courses for $29. Don’t skip the lobster pasta. milos.ca.
* La Mar: Start with the $25 Express Lunch, then opt for the $7 wine pairing. mandarinoriental.com.
* Cantina la Veinte: Three courses for $25. The crispy octopus with pineapple salsa is one of the best things we tasted this year. cantinala20.com. —EB
10. DESSERT AT MYKONOS
Miami’s Greek community and beyond have flocked to Mykonos for more than four decades for a taste of real-deal Mediterranean food. True insiders know to order the special Kataifi Pagoto dessert. Owners Maria and John Kafouros top shredded phyllo with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and a dusting of cinnamon. Trust us: You want this. —CGD 1201 Coral Way, Miami; 305-856-3140; mykonosinmiami.com.
11. SWANK SPECIALTY PRODUCE
This 20-acre farm, created by Darrin and Jodi Swank, started as a lettuce grower in 1996. It’s now a hydroponic leader in South Florida, supplying about 350 varieties of produce like vegetables, edible flowers and microgreens to local restaurants. The Swanks also host monthly feasts starring chefs like Paula DaSilva and Adrienne Grenier. —CGD 14311 North Road, Loxahatchee; 561-202-5648; swankspecialtyproduce.com.
12. THE YEAR OF COFFEE
No one’s trying to step on the toes of Miami’s ventanita tradition. But plenty of local purveyors are pitching in to elevate our specialty coffee scene to the next level. Current favorites include Vice City, House of Per’La, Cafe Galleria, Panther, All Day and the new Deco Coffee. Deco, from the owners of brunch favorite Threefold Cafe, features an impressive menu from chef Carl Guillaume. —CC
13. DUMPLINGS AT SHIBUI
For those willing to travel for dumplings, a visit to Shibui for the shrimp shumai is a must. Hidden in a residential neighborhood in Kendall, it looks more like a two-story house than a restaurant. Don’t be confused. Steamy, briny balls of goodness await inside. —EMN 10139 Southwest 72nd Street, Miami; 305-274-5578; shibuimiami.com.
14. TOMATINI AT LA PETITE MAISON
It’s boozier than gazpacho. Thinner than a bloody Mary. Shaken, stirred and guaranteed to be sipped, the Tomatini at La Petite Maison is a peculiarly perfect combination of muddled tomatoes, Ketel One vodka, salt, pepper and aged white balsamic. —EMN 1300 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami; 305-403-9133; lpmlondon.co.uk.
15. GRETCHEN SCHMIDT AND KATIE SULLIVAN
This mother-daughter duo doubles as the editor (Gretchen) and publisher (Katie) of the award-winning Edible South Florida. Their quarterly magazine dives deep into the local food scene, always compelling us to dog-ear pages of places to visit, recipes to try and chefs to check out. —ESB ediblesouthflorida.com.
16. AD LIB
John Kunkel’s restaurant group, 50 Eggs (Yardbird, Spring Chicken, Chica), assembled a dream team for its latest project, the new Ad Lib, located in Coral Gables where Swine used to be. Led by executive chef Jamie DeRosa, executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith, wine director Daniel Toral, cocktail and spirits director Sam Ross, and service director Cristiano Azevedo, Ad Lib aims to provide approachable fine-dining. —ESB 2415 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables; 50eggsinc.com.
17. REGIONAL CUISINE RULES
Because it’s nearly impossible to represent an entire country’s cuisine on one menu, restaurants are increasingly focusing on regional specialties:
* Donna Mare Trattoria: Although the menu slides into parts of southern and central Italy, it’s the northern Lombardy region — where chef Manuel Mattei is from — that stars in Donna Mare’s dishes. donnamare.com.
* NIU Kitchen: Chef Deme Lomas is hyper-loyal to the cuisine of his native Catalonia at downtown’s NIU Kitchen. Try the porridgy and soul-nourishing arròs caldós. niu-kitchen.com.
* Yuzu: A fixture in the St. Roch Market, Yuzu serves regional Asian cuisine based on Miami-born chef Andrew Zarzosa’s culinary travels: Hong Kong duck noodles, Hainanese chicken rice, Kota Kinabalu curry and more. instagram.com/yuzu_miami. —EB
Fair warning: You may find yourself gravitating toward North Miami Beach after getting your first taste of Kabobji. Boasting one of the best Middle Eastern menus in town, this casual kebab joint serves an unforgettable fattoush, a salad loaded with peppers, tomatoes, parsley, cucumbers and just the right amount of sumac, all topped with homemade pita croutons. —EMN 3055 Northeast 163rd Street, North Miami Beach; 305-354-8484; eatkabobji.com.
19. SANGUICH DE MIAMI
When Calle Ocho’s best sandwich shop was forced to close, it broke our hearts. Thankfully, it’s back and better than ever. Pro move: Order the croqueta preparada starring three kinds of housemade pork; plus a milkshake on the side. —CC 2057 Southwest Eighth Street, Miami; 305-539-0969; sanguich.com.
20. MRS. WONDERFUL LEMON BURST CAKE
After long days at his New York bakery making bagels and bialys, Hyman “Slim” Schwartzberg would rejoice at the sight of his wife’s chocolate bundt cakes. “Thank you, Mrs. Wonderful!” he’d say. Today, his son and grandchildren carry on the family baking traditions, both savory and sweet, from Miami. On the sweet side, Mrs. Wonderful’s Cakes are available at Publix; the Zesty Lemon Burst flavor is out in time for Easter. —ESB mrswonderfulscakes.com.
21. BLACK BRICK CHINESE
After five years, Black Brick Chinese is officially a Miami mainstay. When Guy Fieri visited with Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, he dug the Dan Dan Noodles. We’re partial to General Tso’s Florida Gator. No matter what you order, it’s a guaranteed first-class ticket to Flavortown. —CC 3451 Northeast First Avenue, Miami; 305-573-8886; midtownchinese.com.
Expect to find some South Beach glitz and glam when you experience Dune, the opulent restaurant at the new Auberge Beach Residences and Spa in Fort Lauderdale. It’s helmed by accomplished executive chef Edgar Beas, who previously cooked in New Mexico and California. —EB 2200 North Ocean Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale; 754-900-4059; dunefl.com.
23. JOE’S TAKE AWAY
Stone crabs have kept Joe’s Stone Crab in the spotlight for more than 100 years. But consider this fried pairing for a minute: half an organic chicken and a side of green tomatoes. Add a squirt of fresh lime, a splash of Tabasco and the convenience of Joe’s Take Away, and this may be the most addictive under-$16 meal in town. —EMN 11 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach; 305-673-4611; joesstonecrab.com.
24. HAPPIER HOURS
Even those with a wine fridge just for vintage Champagne can appreciate a good deal. Here are four of our favorite spots to belly up for a happy-hour cocktail, and what to eat while drinking:
*KYU: Korean fried chicken with a tiki-inspired Guatemalan Tradewinds cocktail.
*Amara at Paraiso: yucca cheese puffs with a Tulum Spritz.
*Le Zoo: oysters with white wine.
*Pubbelly Brickell: tostones con ceviche with Coedo Ruri Japanese pilsner. —CC
25. BOXELDER CRAFT BEER MARKET
Miami’s most innovative culinary incubator just happens to be one of its best craft beer bars, located in the heart of Wynwood. Stop in for a beer, and you may be treated to one of these impressive pop-ups:
*Super Good Chicken: Fried chicken sandwiches from Taquiza’s Steve Santana.
*El Bagel: Long lines, short inventory at the Matteson Koche’s Saturday-morning bagel shop.
*Masa Craft: Croquettes inspired by the cuisines of Cuba, Spain and the Philippines.
*Tricycle: Nostalgic desserts from Mignonette pastry chef Devin Braddock.
*United States Burger Service: Burgers from longtime Michelle Bernstein collaborator Michael Ombia. —CC
2817 Northwest Second Avenue, Miami; 305-942-7769; bxldr.com.