This is my list of favorites. The best places to eat in Miami. Some are fancy or expensive, but most are not.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
The best restaurant in Miami, hands down. It’s not the fanciest place, but the food is really the star here. Farm-to-table with Caribbean, local and Spanish influences. Favorite dishes: Peach & Radish salad (seasonal), Crispy Rice Cake, Fried hominy, Brunch Pop Tarts and special pastas.
Check out sister-restaurant Harry’s Pizzeria nearby for delicious thin-crust, Escarole Salad with lemon and anchovies, and local beers.
If you have a very special occasion and some money to spend, NAOE is the best dining experience in the city. The restaurant has 2 seatings a night, 8 people each. Chef Kevin Cory prepares everything himself – right in front of you, if you can score a seat at the counter (recommended). The sake comes from his family’s brewery in Japan, as does the shoyu (soy sauce). There is no menu and everything you eat will be sublime.
Probably the best and most authentic Italian food in Miami. Start with a plate of salumeria – cheese served with honey, cured meets, pickled veggies – and continue with their homemade pastas. Don’t overlook the specials board.
Jamon Iberico Pata Negra
A cozy and very authentic Spanish restaurant in the NeoLofts apartment building. The owner will almost certainly come out to greet you. Listen to his recommendations.
My favorites include Croquetas de Bacalao, Arroz Con Pollo, Cerdo & Garbanzos, Arroz Negro and Solomille Y Rifionada (T-bone steak served on a sizzling plate and dusted with flaky sea salt).
Sergio’s or Versailles
If you’re in Miami and you don’t hit up a Cuban diner, then you weren’t really here. Must-haves: ham croquetas, Cuban Sandwich, Pan con Bistec (steak sandwich), Media Noche and a Batido de Mamey (fruit smoothie). Don’t forget to wash it all down with a cafecito.
Counter-service Korean and one of the few good Asian restaurants in Miami. I love the Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps, Pork Buns, Bulgogi Burger, Spicy Tater Tots, Honey Ribs and Ginger Brussel Sprouts. Whatever you get, it’s sure to be delicious and pair well with the local beer selection.
More farm-to-table goodness. Pretty small and hard-to-find, but if you’re down in South Miami, it’s worth the effort. Recommend the Fried Green Tomato sandwich and Key Lime Pie. I hear the burgers are great, but only available Fridays.
I have to add my neighborhood favorite here. It’s also the best Indian food in Miami, and not because there are so few. This beats every Indian place I’ve ever had, including my 8 years in Boston / New York.
The Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House - OB House
Not in Miami, not cheap, and not only for breakfast. Open for lunch and dinner, their ingredients are top-notch. Recommend the BLT, Smoked Marlin Dip, Mahi & Mac and Fisherman’s cob salad. If you’re into sweets, the pancake is supposedly amazing.