Five Miami Restaurants to Try
If you're in town for the weekend, here are the new (and newish) restaurants you need to experience
In the past decade, Miami’s dining scene has gone from boring to top-shelf. What was once a town filled with hotel restaurants, chains, and not much more has become a culinary hotspot, thanks in part to out-of-state investors who want to open a branch of their latest endeavor in Miami pronto!
Think big names too: Major Food Group, Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay, Massimo Bottura, Michael Shulson, Michael White, and Stephen Starr are just some of the chefs and restaurateurs that have opened (or will open) restaurants in Miami.
What some people don’t know is that Miami has a list of talented chefs and restaurateurs that are homegrown. Not every chef was born in the 305, but they dug their roots deep into Miami’s sandy soil to help create and refine the city’s food scene into something exciting and unique.
Here are five intriguing new additions to Miami that should be checked out.
Chef Michael Beltran and his Ariete Hospitality Group have amassed a host of accolades for their endeavors. Ariete, which merges Beltran’s Cuban heritage with his fine dining training received a Michelin Star and his Cuban-American diner concept, Chug’s Diner, received a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Beltran just opened Eva in Coconut Grove’s Cocowalk (an indoor/outdoor shopping and dining center). The restaurant offers Mediterranean dishes, paired with creative cocktails and a mostly Mediterranean wine list. Just next door, the Oyster Bar offers a concise menu of seafood items and cocktails.
You might have seen chef Nuno Grullon on Good Morning America, where his birria tacos were crowned the best in the nation. Grullon opened his Uptown 66 taqueria in Miami’s MiMo neighborhood in the height of the pandemic. And, while that might seem like bad luck, for Grullon it was serendipity: the small taco shop has no indoor seating and serves as a taco counter of sorts where people can order a few tacos and beers and take it to the enchanted garden behind the restaurant and dine under a giant shade tree festooned with fairy lights. The Bronx native just opened a second restaurant — transforming yet another tiny, overlooked space into a charming bistro named after NYC’s Grand Central Station (because no matter what we say, New Yorkers living in Miami are HOMESICK). The small but mighty eatery serves crab cakes, chicken pot pie, and dry-aged steak. But the star of the show is Grullon’s burger — two patties fashioned from a blend of Black Angus brisket, chuck, and short rib, topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and house-made pickle. Because at the end of the day, sometimes you just want a damn fine burger.
Cuban-born Julio Cabrera is one of the world’s best bartenders. The cantinero has been on the cover of GQ, and his Cafe la Trova is listed on World’s 50 Best Bars. All the accolades are well deserved — Cabrera brings elegance, excitement, and precision to everything he does. And, while Cafe La Trova remains a solid “can’t miss” in Miami, he recently opened La Cumbancha in the upper-class suburban neighborhood of Miami Lakes. Here, you’ll find love music lightly, a martini cart where bartenders will make a bespoke martini tableside, and a menu of Cuban and Italian delights. After dinner, choose a cigar from the humidor, step outside with a fine rum or cafecito, and enjoy the balmy breezes.
I have written love letters about restaurateur Liza Meli and her outstanding hospitality. Meli seemingly floats from table to table at the little wine bar she owns, making every patron feel like family. Located in a strip mall in the Miami Shores neighborhood, No Reservations (named after the fact that she just wants people to drop in and enjoy some wine and conversation) offers mostly Mediterranean wine and fare, but the real draw is Meli and her charm. This is the place to go for a first date, catching up with friends, or if you’re having an extremely good (or bad) day. Any reason is a good reason to visit with my friend Liza. After a few glasses of rose, she’ll be your friend, too.
Alvaro Perez Miranda is both a restaurateur and gallery owner with a focus on Japanese food, art, and culture. Perez Miranda owns Blackship Gallery, alone with several sushi restaurants throughout Miami, with Ogawa being his latest endeavour. The restaurant is a sleek affair that combines both of Perez Miranda’s worlds — art and food. Perez Miranda was named a cultural ambassador to Japan and Ogawa is the showcase. Look for works by emerging Japanese artists as you are transported far from Miami’s decidedly urban Little River neighborhood to a quiet riverside refuge in Osaka.