Issues & Ideas

Dining Adviser site to the rescue for South Florida restaurant patrons

If you are making dinner plans tonight, you’ll want to visit our new Dining Adviser, a one-stop site for fastidious foodies.

For many of us, deciding to go out to dinner is easy, but choosing a restaurant requires surfing multiple apps or websites to get everything from reviews to hours of operation. Perhaps a friend recommended a new favorite, but what do others think about the food? And does the restaurant get a clean bill of health?

There are apps for restaurant reviews. There are sites that list state health inspections. But nothing gives you both — until now.

In two clicks, visitors to can have a list of nearby restaurants, at-a-glance star ratings — and find out which ones have a perfect score by state inspectors or have recently been cited for rodents or roaches.

“It’s an incredibly useful, user-friendly site that compiles a boatload of restaurant information — reviews, health inspections, maps, hours, contacts and more — and puts it in the palm of your hand,” said Evan Benn, the Miami Herald’s food editor.

The Dining Adviser aggregates years of reviews from Miami Herald food critics, as well as Yelp, Google places and Factual. It also includes statewide inspection reports, which are updated weekly, from the Florida Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

Dining Adviser is a collaboration among Benn, Editor Fred Gonzalez, programmer Damian Franco, Interactive & Marketing Vice President Alex Fuentes, developer Kate Stringer and graphic artist Shannon Velazquez. It works on everything from a smartphone to the desktop. With one click, you can add a button for it to your smartphone.

The launch of the Dining Adviser is timed to this week’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Also debuting this week is South Florida Food 50, a special print section devoted to the burgeoning culinary scene in South Florida.

On Wednesday, we’ll highlight 50 people who are shaping the way we eat and drink. It’s not a ranked list nor is it a comprehensive who’s who, Benn said.

“We easily could have selected 100 or more,” he said. “I wanted to give readers a snapshot of what’s going on in South Florida’s food scene right now — beyond the celeb chefs and Food Network stars in town for the festival.”

While you are searching for a good (and clean) restaurant to eat, be sure to check out our coverage of the Wine & Food Festival with live blog and social media updates (@Miamicom, @MiamiHeraldFood), daily Miami Herald print coverage, plus photos, behind-the-scenes news, recaps and more on

“We know people are hungrier than ever for information about where to eat, what to eat and who’s making their food,” Benn said. “Our goal is to deliver that content through digital and print. That was the idea behind the Dining Adviser and the South Florida Food 50, as with all of our food coverage.”

Aminda Marqués Gonzalez, executive editor, can be reached at 305-376-3429 or The mailing address is 3511 NW 91st Avenue, Miami, FL 33172. Follow on Twitter @MindyMarques.