Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tiers of Excellence - Final Rankings for 2011

2011 is quickly coming to an end and I'm looking forward to even better food year in 2012.  My final tiers of excellence for 2011 are:


The following tiers feature the best restaurants in Miami.

TIER ONE - The best of the best in Miami and must do's.

Azul - In a league of their own doing creative and cutting edge cuisine.  Chef Huff is a super star and Azul should be at top of all lists.

Bourbon Steak-Much more than a steakhouse. Chef Fenton is the most underrated chef in town. Best service and best wine list around.

Naoe- Great daily changing bento box followed by mind and wallet blowing sushi. 100% omakase so leave your reading glasses at home. Slow pace so leave your watch too. Relocating shortly.


Michy's- The Queen of Miami. Always delivers a great meal.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink-The King of Miami. Great daily specials keep menu "fresh".  Don't miss dessert or Sunday brunch.

Red Light- Tier one caliber food. Slow service and setting only drawback. Go with an open mind and let Kris blow you away.  


Yakko-San- Go with a group and order away.  Look for daily specials, pass on new sushi options.

Makoto- Quality sushi across the board.

Sushi Deli-Special place for sushi fans. Casual place with limited seating plus they close early so check times.

Macaluso's- Best meatballs in Miami and not even close. Fahgettaboudit!!  Everything else is great.


Area 31- Make the effort to go. Chef Reidt has skills.

Tudor House - Pork belly Cuban sandwich and his meatballs are awesome but Chef DeRosa has fine dining skills too.
Sustain- Great affordable wine list and cocktails. Keeping it real.

The Dutch Chef Carmellini is a welcome addition to the South Beach food scene.  Don't miss the lobster roll.

db Bistro Moderne- One word-Boulud

Hakkasan- Weekend dim sum lunch is a must do.


Altamare- Great service and consistently good food. South Beach's finest.

Timo- Diverse menu with something for everyone.

Sra. Martinez- Go early and stay after dinner so you can enjoy their great cocktails.

Chow Down Grill- Chef Josh's specials board is the play. 

NeMesis Urban Bistro-Chef Micah's world travels on full display. Sit back and enjoy the journey.

Sugarcane Raw Bar- Deceiving name with ambitious menu that delivers the goods. Lively scene.

TIER OF THEIR OWN (non traditional tier featuring great unique spots)

gastroPod- Miami's best food truck.  Chef Jeremiah is the real deal.

Sakaya Kitchen & Dim ssam a go go truck-Don't be fooled by this fast food-esque place. Addictive food is served.

Crumb on Parchment- Chef Michy's delicious breakfast/lunch only spot in the design district. Don't miss Mrs. Bernstein's cakes.

Kings County Pizza-Best NY slice in Miami. Sicilian and grandma pies even better.  Don't miss the baked ziti.

Shake Shack- That is a tasty burger.

Joe's Stone Crab - Miami institution. Fresh stoney's from Oct. 15- May 15. Save $$ via takeout counter.

Chef Philip Ho - Newly opened spot in Sunny Isles featuring outstanding dim sum from former Setai dumpling chef. Push cart service during lunch daily. May move into tier three next go round.

Harry's Pizza- Chef Schwartz is charring some creatively tasty toppings in his wood burning oven. Cool casual spot in the Design District.

Places that I need to get back to because of new chef- Sushi Samba (Bloise), The Royal (Schwartz/Gorenstein- Raleigh Hotel)

Places that I suspect are tier worthy but I have not tried - Tuyo, Zuma, The Local Craft, Setai, Osterio del Teatro, Edge, 1500 Degrees.

Coming Soon- The Federal, JG Grill (Jean Georges-St. Regis), The Bazaar by Jose Andres (SLS Hotel), Katsuya (SLS Miami)

Places that were tier worthy at one point but have dropped off because I have not been in a long time, Nobu, Bond St, Sardinia, Scarpetta, Blue Door, Casa Tua.


Anonymous said...

an excellent list, but i feel sugarcane was snuffed.

The Chowfather said...

oops, they were left off by mistake. I just added them. Thanks for the heads up.

Bill said...

A very nice list. Looking to trying a few on the list

dan-E said...

Great list, and I'm going to be trying to scratch a few off my list but, no Pubbelly?

suffolk county catering halls said...

You have a great list. Most of these venues have amazing dishes.

Maia Dobson said...

There are so many restaurants that I haven't tried yet in this list. I'll make it my goal to go and check these out once I got the time. Thanks for the information!

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