Zuma: Salads, seared tuna, escolar, even rib eye steaks all arrive at the table like intricate art installations at this sexy London import inside the Epic Hotel downtown. Contemporary Japanese fare with impeccable service and a waterfront terrace overlooking the Miami River. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami; 305-577-0277; zumarestaurant.com. Small plates $5-$36.
db Bistro Moderne: With out-of-this-world colors, smears and squiggles, the frozen pink macaroon with lemon curd, guanabana and raspberry sorbet that this Daniel Boulud eatery created for a fundraiser during breast cancer awareness month would make a surrealist’s heart sing. Bistro classics demonstrate similar flair in a formal dining atmosphere inside the JW Marriott Marquis downtown. 255 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-421-8800; dbbistro.com/miami/. Entrees $26-$45.
neMesis Urban Bistro: Top Chef contender Micah Edelstein’s “Tuscan sushi” (prosciutto wrapped around mascarpone, Gorgonzola and figs) are like rows of edible, amorphous Nick Cave costumes reduced to delightful bites. Occupying the ground floor of a residency space run by Cannonball, a nonprofit advocacy group for artists, the wee eatery is a pioneer in a dicey downtown neighborhood still evolving near the I-395 overpass just south of the Arsht Center. Art-wrapped walls are in keeping with an eclectic, experimental menu. 1035 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-415-9911; nemesisbistro.com. Entrees $12-$33.
Michy’s: Miami native Michelle Bernstein modernizes Baked Alaska into mixed media, with a dense pistachio cake hidden inside a toasted swirl of sticky meringue, peppered with pistachio chips and flanked by puddles of tangy passion fruit salsa. The funky Upper East Side restaurant features a creative mix of Latin, Southern and comfort foods. 6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-759-2001; michysmiami.com. Entrees $20-$40.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Copperbox Culinary Atelier: Inside her intimate gastronomic studio in a Wynwood warehouse, chef Gabriela Machado deftly interprets innovative dining installations with duck breast, foie gras, lobster and crème brulée as her palate. 3328 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-392-0983; copperbox.com. $125 six-course meal includes wine.Barton G. – The Restaurant: Lobster pop-tarts served popping out of toasters and duck displayed in wooden decoys are performance art with a pop sensibility at this 10-year-old South Beach eatery. 1427 West Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-8881; bartongtherestaurant.com. Entrees $21-$53.