Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Miami's Best Restaurants - Tiers of Excellence

Summer is almost here so it is time to update the Tiers of Excellence and recognize the restaurants in town that are turning out great food on a daily basis.  Ranking the best is becoming difficult due to the influx of quality restaurants in town.  Unfortunately, one of my favorites who were really doing things right is no longer with us. SUSTAIN will be missed.


The following tiers feature the best restaurants in Miami.  They are ranked alphabetically within each tier.
Every restaurant ranked is worth visiting.

TIER ONE - The best of the best in Miami. Run don't walk to these must do's.

Bourbon Steak- As I've said before, this is MUCH more than a steakhouse. Chef Fenton is the most underrated chef in town. His specials are always awesome. Best service, cocktails and wine list in town to boot.

Edge Steak and Bar- This newcomer to the scene is cranking out some of the best all around cuisine in town. Chef Brooks and chef King are the real deal.  Go!

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink- It's all about the food and chef Schwartz and crew are always tweaking the menu. Their daily specials keep things interesting for regulars. Don't miss dessert, lunch or Sunday brunch.

Michy's- My favorite chef in town always delivers a first class meal. Must do for tourists and locals. 

Naoe- Recently reopened at their new spot on Brickell Key.  I haven't been to the new location yet but I'm confidant that they haven't skipped a beat. Great bento box followed by mind and wallet blowing sushi.


db Bistro Moderne- One word-Boulud.  

Makoto- Sushi is up there with Naoe.  Non sushi items are great too.

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

The Dutch- Chef Carmellini and crew are cranking out some of the best food on the beach.

Tudor House - Chef DeRosa kills comfort food (meatballs, burgers, pork belly Cuban) and fine dining (truffle dinner) Exacta box!

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


Azul - Bumped down two tiers due to the recent departure of chef Joel Huff.  His number 2 and 3 are manning the kitchen now so I suspect they are still turning out great food.  Tier three until I return to confirm.

Juvia- Chef Oh's raw fish offerings coupled with dynamite views makes Juvia tier worthy and a must visit.

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

Pubbelly- Fun menu and fun place. Perfect combination for South Beach.

Salumeria 104- Chef Massarin is cranking out some of the best pasta in Miami. His daily special board delivers some real treats for food lovers, tripe, cuttlefish, and braised rabbit.   

Sushi Deli- Special place for sushi fans. Casual with limited seating plus they close early so check times.
Yakko-San- Go with a group and order away.  Look for daily specials, (hamachi kama is a must order) pass on new sushi options.


Altamare- Great service and consistently good food. Best on Lincoln Road.  

Area 31- Don't let the worst valet in Miami deter you from paying a visit. Chef Reidt has skills.

Chef Philip Ho - Newly opened spot in Sunny Isles featuring outstanding dim sum from former Setai dumpling chef. Push cart service during weekend brunch. Non dim sum items are great too. 

Sra. Martinez- Great cocktails, great food and a great setting. 

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


Ni. Do. Caffe- Newcomer to MiMo. Great neighborhood spot serving authentic Italian food. Great house-made mozzarellas and pastas. 

Toscano Divino Only one visit but was impressed. Mary Brickell needs a legit restaurant this could be it.

The Casual Tier- Counter service and/or on the casual side.

Blue Collar- Grab a burger or the big ragout sandwich along with the pork and beans. Killer secret menu item, The Chowfather burger.

Crumb on Parchment- Chef Michy's delicious breakfast/lunch only spot in the Design District. They've turned their daily specials up a notch recently. Don't miss Mrs. Bernstein's cakes.

Harry's Pizza- Enjoy this place more after every visit.  Cool casual spot in the Design District. Perfect pre Marlins game stop for those traveling from north of the stadium. 

Josh's Deli- Pastrami on rye is the play.  

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

Sakaya Kitchen- Don't be fooled by this fast food-esque place. Food is addictive so be careful.

Shake Shack- Shack burger is so freakin good.

TO EAT TIER- Places that I suspect are tier worthy but I unfortunately have not tried.

Tuyo, Zuma, Setai, 1500 Degrees, Estiatorio Milos, J & G Grill, The Federal & Eating House(pop up)

COMING SOON- The Bazzar by Jose Andres (SLS Hotel), Katsuya (SLS Miami).

What is your top 10?


Emily Codik said...

Where's Yardbird?!!

Anonymous said...

what about Meat Market?

The Chowfather said...

Emily, I had/have issues with the authenticity of Yardbird and the franchise/chain feel. That being said, if the food is great that's all that counts. Only had one meal there and thought it was ok. Need to go back and give it a shot.

Anon, Meat Market was a favorite of mine but my last meal was bad, bad enough to be removed from tiers.

Anonymous said...

I usually go to Sushi Bar. I'm still not sure if they already have sushi roll maker but as long as I can see them make sushi as I order, then that would still be great.

Mallory Burford said...

Visited some of the restaurants mentioned. My favorite is the Kings County Pizza, their White pizza is heaven! Not to mention that the place is great for family gatherings. Decors depict the urban living in New York.