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A Chat with Miami Chef Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar and Mignonette

A Chat with Miami Chef Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar and Mignonette


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Daniel Serfer is one of Miami’s most creative and well-loved local chefs. A native of The Magic City, Serfer trained at Le Cordon Bleu, then earned his culinary stripes while working under Allen Susser at Chef Allen’s. Susser eventually appointed Serfer as executive chef of The 15th Street Fisheries & Dockside Café in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Serfer promptly revamped the entire restaurant, creating a more modern and approachable menu.

In 2012, Serfer opened his first restaurant, Blue Collar, offering a menu of contemporary American comfort food in an intimate setting (in the cool neighborhood of MiMo). The restaurant quickly became a local favorite, pleasing both carnivores and vegetarians alike.

In April 2014, Serfer announced the opening of his second restaurant, an oyster bar called Mignonette. In the year since its opening, the restaurant (in the up and coming neighborhood of Edgewater) has stayed hot, retaining a steady stream of both local and visiting diners seeking a delicious, fun, and traditional seafood experience. The menu offers classics like Oysters Rockefeller, warm lobster rolls, and Clams Casino, as well as must-haves like the famous prime rib.

Serfer took some time to chat with The Daily Meal about the experience of opening a second restaurant, his general approach to food, and his restaurant pet peeves.

What was your first restaurant industry job?

I worked in Tallahassee when I was in college at a place called Po’ Boys Creole Café. It was kind of like a Dip-N-Dunk: dip it in the flour, dunk it in the frier. It was really busy so there was a large lunch crowd all at once. So even though the food wasn’t so intricate, it really taught me how to be organized and fast; the sandwiches there are excellent. The hardest thing I ever did was opening up Mignonette, because I can’t be in two places at once.

When you first walk into a restaurant, what do you look for as signs that it’s well-run and will be a good experience?

I like to see that people aren’t standing around; people aren’t on their phones. I think it’s obvious – you know when you walk into a restaurant whether it’s right or not. My pet peeve, though, is snooty hosts or hostesses. I could be in shorts and flip-flops – we’re in Miami after all – but despite what I may be wearing, I still deserve good service and not to be treated at the door like I couldn’t afford to eat at that place. It’s usually indicative of my experience. And the reverse is true – when you walk in and a host is warm and gracious, that usually translates to the rest of the meal.

What is the most transcendental dining experience you’ve ever had?

Probably when I was at Azul when Michelle (Bernstien) was there. On New Year’s Eve of 2002 going into 2003, she did a prix fixe. I was in my junior year of college, and I came down for it, and at that dinner is when I decided to work in the kitchen instead of becoming a lawyer. That meal really changed it. It was so good.

More frequently, I love NAOE, I love Milos and I love the omelet at Verde is one of the best things to eat in the whole city. It’s a perfect French omelet and you don’t see that very much.

What would you say are the major similarities and differences between Blue Collar and Mignonette?

If you go into each restaurant back-to-back, it’s very obvious that they share the same DNA. The way the staff interacts with the guests and what we’re trying to achieve – and, of course, the vegetable menu. I think you can very much see that the bones are similar. Even in the food, one is seafood-heavy and one more meat-focused, but you look at the preparations and both are very simple and very approachable for the guest. The biggest difference would be that one is seafood-heavy and one is land-heavy. Also, Mignonette is our second restaurant, so we were trying a little bit more with the design and feel. As I mature, I would hope the restaurants would, too.

Has it been difficult splitting up your time between the two eateries?

The hardest thing I ever did was opening up Mignonette, because I can’t be in two places at once. It was really just letting the people that are in place – the managers and the chefs – letting them do their thing and trusting them to do it. And finding the right balance of where to spend my time is still an ongoing process. Initially, that was so hard. For Blue Collar, I spent literally 14 hours a day, every day for two years there. So, when we opened Mignonette and in the six months leading up to it, it was very difficult. Now, I think I’ve found a good balance of how to manage the two and not lose much.

What is a food you don’t particular enjoy?

I don’t really like octopus, so I told Bobby (Frank, the chef de cuisine at Mignonette), ‘Show me an octopus that I like.’ And whatever he did, it’s amazing, it’s a winner [it’s a mouth-watering octopus sous vide that is now permanently on the menu]. Now that I’m at two places, I let the chef de cuisine do more menu development than I have in the past. I let them come up with their own things and flex their abilities, because they want to and I want them to.

What is exciting to you in today’s food environment?

I love how everyone is very excited about oysters – more raw bars and oyster bars are opening down here, and I think that’s great. I heard someone describe as “half-cup culture.”

Have you come up against any oyster or lobster snobs?

We’ve been very fortunate so far. In fact, the other day someone came in from Connecticut and they enjoyed the lobster roll very much – we do the New England style with the warm butter. Obviously, Maine lobster crushes Florida lobster always. But, the same oyster you would eat at an oyster bar up north is the same one I have here. As long as we keep it cold and shuck it properly, it should taste the same. We’ve had more of, ‘I’m from so and so and this is really great’ rather than the opposite.

What should people be buying now to make at home?

Chicken thighs! Chicken breast sucks. Chicken thighs are so good and they are way more forgiving than breast as far as being able to keep the meat moist. I have a new wood grill at my house – I use cherry and oak, and I’m obsessed with cooking chicken on it. I don’t usually like chicken that much unless it’s fried or in Chinese food, but I can put chicken on there and I enjoy it very much, it’s easy – garlic, thyme, oil, salt, and pepper. Even before we had a grill and we were living in an apartment, we’d do chicken thighs in a pan or in the oven. We have chicken thighs on the menu at Mignonette and sometimes at Blue Collar. I think it would be awesome if more people would give into the chicken thigh at home.


A Chat with Miami Chef Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar and Mignonette - Recipes

This week, Danny Serfer's Vinaigrette Sub Shop opens in downtown Miami, while more than 30 of Miami’s bars and restaurants will participate in this year's Negroni Week. Plus, the inaugural Flavors of Kendall Restaurant Week kicks off, offering special promotions and dining deals through Sunday, and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar's Midnight Munchies dinner series returns.

EXPAND

Negroni Week in Miami. The Negroni is one of the world’s greatest cocktails. The Italian libation, made with gin, vermouth, and Campari, is a classic blend of sweet and bitter. It's also one of the few drinks that gets its own week. Imbibe magazine and Campari have dedicated the last week of June to the Negroni for a good cause. Every bar or restaurant that signs up chooses a nonprofit from the list of more than 30 official Negroni Week charity partners and makes an initial donation to participate. It then gives a portion of proceeds from sales of the featured Negroni. Monday through Sunday, the sixth-annual Negroni Week will be celebrated worldwide, with more than 10,000 participating venues from San Francisco to Sydney. The celebration has raised nearly $2 million to date for various charitable causes. More than 30 of Miami’s bars and restaurants will participate this year, so check out the list of favorites, plan your week accordingly, and feel good about sipping that expertly crafted cocktail.


Is Mignonette your oyster?

Who wouldn't want to love Mignonette, the 52-seat charmer set in a vintage 1930s building first used as a gas station? The bay that cars drove through is now the front dining room. Miami's oldest cemetery is across the street. One of the city's oldest synagogues is up the road.

Mignonette gets its name from the sauce of red wine, pepper and shallots served with raw oysters. The restaurant's oyster menu is offered via oversized letters on a movie-marquee-style board above the eight-seat bar that looks into the open kitchen. West Coast oysters (Royal Miyagi and Kumamoto, for example) are on the left. East Coast oysters (they might include Beavertail and Riptide) are on the right. You'll do well to order them, even if you'll have to ask for a fork.

Chef and co-owner Daniel Serfer came to attention three years ago when he opened Blue Collar, where the comfort food offerings include potato latkes, cheeseburgers, pot roast and jambalaya served in a homey, diner setting. Now, imagine the same chef, who owns the restaurant with attorney and restaurant blogger Ryan Roman, turning his talents toward oysters Rockefeller ($19), seafood towers ($55-$90) and whole-roasted fish (market price).


SWANK FARMS 2018-2019 SWANK TABLE SCHEDULE

Food lovers get ready, because Swank Farms has announced their 2018/19 Swank Table schedule bringing together more than 80 celebrated chefs from South Florida and beyond during the harvest season. The season kicks off on Sunday, November 18th with Crazy Uncle Mike’s Southern Brunch.

This season, Swank is excited to welcome their new Resident Chef, Sam Horrocks, who will work alongside each guest chef. He will also host the Easter and Mother’s Day brunches. Brunch at Swank Farms is a family affair, so they will have a selection of kid friendly activities to keep the younger one’s active and occupied, including an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday, while the adults sip on unlimited mimosas, bloody Mary’s and craft beers.

The team at Swank Farms has also planned several very special events for 2018/19 including a 3030 Ocean Reunion Dinner where Founder Dean Max and his now legendary cast of chefs will celebrate the history of the Fort Lauderdale restaurant. Also reuniting is a team of 24 all-star chefs from the recently shuttered Delray Beach institution 32 East, for the biggest Swank dinner yet. This season master chefs from Milwaukee, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, and Louisville will also have the opportunity to show off their skills in a city takeover. And of course, the much-loved White Party will return.

Based in Loxahatchee Groves, Swank is a hydroponic farm that has become regionally famous for the impeccable quality of the veggies grown onsite, producing more than 350 varieties of vegetables, edible flowers, and micro-greens for the area’s top restaurants. What began as an intimate 70 person dinner in 2011 has grown into 18 unique signature events where the Swanks honor the farm and the growing process, while also raising money for local charities.

There’s something different, and special, about sitting down to eat right where the food grows, so Swank Table dinners do sell out fast. For tickets and additional information please visit www.swankspecialtyproduce.com.

SWANK TABLE at Swank Farms – Dinners

December 2 – Réveillon Dinner

  • Benefiting: New Horizon Service Dogs
  • Music by: The Rockin Jake Band
  • Chef Rick Mace, Cafe Boulud Palm Beach
  • Chef James King, 3800 Ocean
  • Chef James Versfelt, The Shelborne
  • Chef Mark Militello, Josie’s Ristorante
  • Chef Sebastian Setticasi, Josie’s Ristorante
  • Pastry Chef Zachary Detweiller, EAU Resort & Spa
  • Steam Horse Brewing Company

January 6 – Farm Market

  • Benefiting: Slow Food, Glades to Coast
  • Music by: The Homegrown Sinners
  • Chef Clark Bowen, Boulud Sud Miami
  • Chef Michael Hackman, Aioli
  • Chef Daniel Serfer, Mignonette and Blue Collar
  • Chef Suzanne Perrotto, Brulé Bistro
  • Pastry Chef Devon Braddock, Mignonette
  • Mixologist Jessica Bell, El Camino
  • Barrel of Monks Brewing

January 27 – Chinese New Year – Year of the Pig

  • Benefiting: Festival of the Arts, Boca Raton
  • Music by: Taylor Loren
  • Chef Joe Ferro, The Admirals Club
  • Chef Danny Ganem, The Betsy Hotel
  • Chef Jose Mendin, Pubbelly Group
  • Chef Raheem Sealey, KYU
  • Chef Marianne Daly, Bazille
  • Cocktails by: 123 Datura
  • Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks

February 10 – Throw Back the Music of the 70’s

  • Benefiting: Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches
  • Music by: Pawn$hop
  • Chef Brendan Conner, Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering
  • Chef James Everett, Driftwood
  • Chef David Schroeder, Brick & Barrel
  • Chef Thomas Op’t Holt, 50 Ocean
  • Baker Loic Autret, Loic Bakery & Café
  • Mixologist Justin Himmelbaun, Mucho Gusto
  • Funky Buddha Brewery

March 10 – Vegetable Love

  • Benefiting: Caridad Center
  • Chef Eric Baker, Mazie’s
  • Chef Clayton Carnes, Cholo Soy
  • Chef Jorge Ramos, Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
  • Chef Nina Kauder, Beach Scene Productions
  • Pastry Chef Bashar Al Shamali, Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
  • Cocktails by: Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
  • DeVour Brewing Company

March 31 – 3030 Ocean Reunion Dinner

  • Benefiting: Palm Beach State College Foundation
  • Music by: Killbillies
  • Founder Dean Max, DJM Restaurants
  • Chef Paula DaSilva, Burlock Coast at the Ritz Carlton
  • Chef Jeremy Ford, Stubborn Seed
  • Chef Adrienne Grenier, 3030 Ocean
  • Chef Brooke Mallory, 3030 Ocean
  • Chef Pushkar Marathe, Ghee Indian Restaurant Design District
  • Chef Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Restaurant Miami
  • Pastry Chef, 3030 Ocean
  • Head Bartender Jean-Pierre Belonni, Burlock Coast at the Ritz Carlton
  • Tarpon River Brewing

April 7 – Vetu de Blanc 6th Annual White Party

  • Benefiting: Pathfinders of Palm Beach & Martin Counties
  • Music by: The Homegrown Sinners
  • Chef Jose Gamez, Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
  • Chef Brad Kilgore, Alter
  • Chef Michael Pirolo, Macchialina
  • Chef Andris Salmanis, City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill
  • Baker Jennifer Johnson, Johnson’s Custom Cakes
  • Mixologist Shawn Powell, City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill
  • Civil Society Brewing Company

April 28 – The Three Little “Gloucestershire” Pigs

  • Benefiting: Cultural Council of Palm Beach County / Children’s Art Programs
  • Music by: Uproot Hootenanny
  • Chef Kevin Darr, Louie Bossi’s Boca Raton
  • Chefs Daniel Ramos and Jason Brown, Red Splendor
  • Chef John Thomas, Sassafras
  • Chef Jeremy Carrier, Sweetwater
  • Pastry Chef Kursten Restivo, Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island
  • Mixologist Mario Villar, Brick & Barrel
  • Twisted Trunk Brewery

MASTER CHEF SERIES

  • January 12 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Benefiting: Palm Beach Opera
  • Music by: Nouveau Honkies
  • Cocktails by: Sweetwater
  • Chef A.J Dixon, Lazy Susan
  • Chef Jonathan Manyo, Morel
  • Chef Dave Swanson, Braise

February 2 – Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

  • Charity: Pathfinders of Palm Beach & Martin County
  • Cocktails by: Sweetwater
  • Chef Christopher Gianfreda, Outermost Inn
  • Chef Noah Kincaide, Atria
  • Chef Carlos Montoya, Garden East

March 16 – Louisville, Kentucky

  • Benefiting: Women of the Western Communities
  • Music by: Sosos
  • Cocktails by: Sweetwater
  • Chef Alan Grimm, Lilly’s Bistro
  • Chef Jeff Dailey and Chef Ryan Smith, Harvest
  • Chef Mike Wajda, Proof on Maine

March 23 – Boston, Massachusetts

April 13: Delray Beach 󈬐” East Farm and Wine Dinner

  • Benefiting: Little Smiles
  • Music by: Killbillies
  • Cocktails by: Sweetwater
  • Nick Morfogen, Pine Tree Country Club, Boynton Beach
  • Eric Morales, Saint Andrew’s School, Boca Raton
  • Jeremy Carrier, Sweetwater, Boynton Beach
  • Joe Anthony, Gabriel Kreuther, New York
  • Anthony Fiorini, Luff’s Fish House, Boca Raton
  • AJ Benaquisto, Vero Disney, Vero Beach
  • Ryan Brown, Personal Chef, Palm Beach
  • Nunzio Scordo, Driftwood Southern Kitchen, North Carolina
  • Lee Mazor, Lovleee Bakeshop, Fort Lauderdale
  • Jessie Steele, Death & Glory, Delray Beach
  • Dan Dore, Death & Glory, Delray Beach
  • Bill Ring, Harvest Seasonal Grill, Delray Beach
  • Bill Weiss, Island Creek Oyster Co., Boston
  • Eric Morales, Boca West Country Club, Boca Raton
  • Gary Wood, Gourmet International Pompano Beach
  • Travis Vaughn, Graft, Wisconsin
  • Justin Shreiber, Country Club of Florida, Boynton Beach
  • TJ Sanders, Atlanta Breakfast Club, Atlanta
  • Phil Lendoff, Atlanta Breakfast Club, Atlanta
  • Ana Rivera, H & F Bread Co., Atlanta
  • John Thomas, Sassafras, West Palm Beach
  • Alex Tubero, Union Square Cafe, New York
  • Ian Hamlett, Pine Tree Golf Club, Boynton Beach
  • Matt O’Connell – Nothingman Studios, Bartender

May 4 – Meat Market

  • Benefiting: Wellington Cares
  • Music by: Kat Riggins
  • Cocktails by: Sweetwater
  • Chef Sean Brasel, Meat Market Palm Beach & Miami Beach

SWANK FARMS BRUNCHES

November 18 – Southern Brunch

  • Chef Tara Abrams, Crazy Uncle Mike’s
  • Brewmaster, Corey Wilson
  • Music by: The Homegrown Sinners

February 24 – Eat, Drink, Brunch with the Hilton

April 21 – Easter Sunday

May 12 – Mother’s Day

ABOUT SWANK FARMS:

Swank Farm was launched in 1996 by husband/wife team Darrin and Jodi Swank. What started as a small lettuce operation has grown into a much larger endeavor producing more than 350 varieties of specialty produce on 20 acres in Loxahatchee Groves. They provide vegetables, edible flowers and microgreens for South Florida’s top restaurants and their products can be found at local farmers markets in season. Their 8500-sq-ft. pole barn is available for private events including weddings.

www.swankspecialtyproduce.com
Facebook | Instagram
Media Kit: http://bit.ly/2yKtFqg
Video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/235889033

Feeling inspired to cook your own farm to table meal check out my friend’s post: Easy Baked Caprese Stuffed Chicken


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Closer Look: Mignonette Uptown in North Miami Beach

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Chef de Cuisine's Departure Wounds Danny Serfer's New Place, Mignonette Uptown

"We've really had a nice reaction so far. People can perceive the value. You're getting four courses for under $40, with the same portions you would normally get on the protein end and on the dessert end."

One of the bonuses are the side dishes guests can choose to pair with the main course. Mignonette Uptown, like Serfer's other eateries &mdash Blue Collar and the original Mignonette &mdash offers about 20 sides prepared with the creativity for which Serfer is known. Choices include beets with blue cheese and hazelnuts, roasted carrots with amaretto and honey, and grilled peaches with a peanut vinaigrette, all of which put traditional choices like mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli to shame.

"Getting a really good meal while having to participate a little bit, that's actually pretty awesome!" Serfer says.

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Mignonette Gets Even Fucking Fancier with Practically an Entire New Menu and Location Uptown

A s if you needed any more reasons to get your slurp on at Mignonette (a dozen bivalves perpetually on rotation and the best lobster roll in town), the best friend chef/lawyer duo behind the New Orleans style oyster bar and seafood house — Daniel Serfer and Ryan Roman—have taken their restaurant love child and given it a sibling. Enter Mignonette Uptown, nestled in the former Hannah’s Gourmet Diner trailer, which Serfer frequented as a child. What’s best, the menu is (for the most part) completely different thanks to the deft hand of chef de cuisine Anthony Ciancio whose food you might be familiar with from places such at Michael’s Genuine, 27 Restaurant & Bar, and Alter. Oh, and he’s also honed his culinary skills with some James Beard award-winning chefs: Sean Brock at McCrady’s in Charleston and Jodi Adams at Trade in Boston.

While Mignonette Uptown is his baby, sort to speak, it’s the diners he’s coddling with tastefully distinctive yet similarly aligned type of fucking fancy fare that makes Mignonette Downtown (as it is now tongue-and-cheekly called) great, and worth the trek uptown. Rather than buttermilk biscuits with rotating jam and butter there’s Cast Iron Baked Rolls everything bagel style. Instead of seared scallops with Andouille, foie gras, and dirty polenta, the Buffalo Scallops have been doused in hot sauce and served alongside gorgonzola and crispy chicken skin for a bite that keeps on giving once it’s over. No, you can’t have lobster deviled eggs, but you won’t miss them thanks to a Smoked Fish Dip that’ll have everyone at your table eyeing (and politely fighting over) the last saltine cracker. Charred and smoky Octopus has gotten the BBQ and cold treatment, as it’s served alongside coleslaw for some complimenting cool and tangy crunch. Don’t be fooled by the equally and perfectly cooked Crab Cakes, which have foregone the worcestershire butter and scallions for heartier melted leeks and equivalently piquant mustard cream sauce. You can still get all the usual suspects you’d expect to find — Mussels (in red spicy tomato or white wine and garlic), Clams Casino, Shrimp Cocktail, stacked Seafood Towers with pristinely shucked oysters, Popcorn Shrimp, Caviar, and of course the drawn butter Maine Lobster Roll on a Portuguese roll that makes you warm inside. CBGB (chowder, bisque, or gumbo), Crudo, and Whole Fish are still on the daily agenda and in tandem with whatever the ocean and Ciancio have freshly available and up their sleeve. Plain proteins are the same in rendition and execution, though why opt for those when there’s a handful of fancy entrees to savor, like a deliciously sounding Cod with yucca, oysters, champagne and caviar that though we overlooked, but was the recommended choice by team members. (We’re already planning our next visit in order to undo our oversight.) If it measures up anything to the Swordfish we had whirling in a mushroom broth with beluga lentils, wild mushrooms, and tomatoes concasse, you’re in for a hell of a palate pleaser.

Since Blue Collar, Daniel Serfer has been lauded for his way with veggies, a food group that Ciancio is ensuring holds up to its precedent by grilling up Peaches and soaking them in peanut vinaigrette roasting Carrots in Amaretto and honey and charring Sweet Potatoes in chili and herb butter. And let’s not forget to mention what might possibly be the best Curly Fries we’ve ever had in a diner trailer, which go hand-in-hand with the buttermilk Fried Chicken oozing of honey and thyme. There’s also a dry aged bone-in NY Strip for the carnivores at the table, and for those with a sweet tooth, fret not — the Butterscotch Heath Bar Bread Pudding with cayenne whipped cream has gone uptown, too. Wash it all down with a Strawberry Milkshake since you are in a classic aluminum-sided diner with can’t-be-missed neon signage —even if there’s an oyster shucking station front-and-center, seafood towers on every table, and golden-clad lavatories— after all.


Required Eating: Our 100 Favorite Miami Restaurants of 2021

Danny Serfer’s Blue Collar takes its cues from the classic American diner. The tiny restaurant in the MiMo District offers daily specials and elevated comfort foods. Start with a gutsy New Orleans-style dish of shrimp and grits with bacon and Worcestershire-based barbecue sauce, or Chanukah latkes (served year-round). Don’t miss the veg chalkboard, filled with delightful options from which you can build your own customized plate. Order up a cheeseburger, a thermos of Panther coffee, and a “parm of the day” and make yourself as comfortable as you’d be in your mom’s kitchen. New Normal: Chef/owner Danny Serfer has set up an outdoor beer garden where patrons can dine al fresco and down a few cold ones.

Reserve Now

Nationally recognized barista Camila Ramos’ downtown coffee shop is a bright, tropical oasis nestled between downtown, Overtown, and the Miami Arts District. The centerpiece of the space is the massive La Marzocco espresso machine, among the largest in the nation, from which Ramos and her skilled team craft perfect cortados, espressos, and macchiatos. Pair one with a thoughtfully sourced lineup of eats, including some of the city’s best egg sandwiches. And don’t even think of missing All Day’s seasonal drink. Ramos the crew spend months creating special coffee-based beverages such as Our Sweetheart No. 4 (cold brew, rosemary syrup, and lime juice), Coffeewein (white oak-aged cold brew, roselle tea, and salted cacao bitters), and the Paloma (grapefruit, nitro coffee, and pink peppercorn syrup topped with tonic water and dried pineapple). New Normal: All Day accepts reservations via Resy.

The building that houses the Anderson has been a bar far longer than most of us have been alive. Restaurateur Ken Lyon has given the space new life with lush outdoor gardens, a tiki bar, and the taco joint El Toro Taco, decorated with wonderful black-and-white photos of people and places in Mexico — all shot by Lyon on his various trips to the country. Between the indoor lounge, the outdoor patios, and the eatery designed to look like a food truck, the Anderson seems more like its own little world than a simple bar and kitchen. New Normal: Lyon has enlarged the Anderson’s outdoor space and installed additional outdoor seating.

Anthony’s Runway 84, from the owner of the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza chain, is airport-themed, but it feels more like what you’d get if Epcot opened a restaurant based on the quaint Brooklyn of yesteryear. There’s a dining room, but if you really want your evening’s entertainment, eat dinner in the lounge. Faux cockpit windows have you coming in for a landing as you peruse the menu, which leans heavily toward red-sauce Italian fare. Women with teased hair wearing leopard-print dresses with fat diamonds on their red-lacquered fingers drink pink martinis while Sinatra croons in the background. Before dinner, a basket of warm, fresh bread arrives with a dish of olive oil spiked with garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re on a date, agree that you’ll both have garlic breath — it’s worth it. Meatballs arrive with a dollop of ricotta, Sicilian peppers are stuffed with more cheese and garlic, and clams oreganata, baked with breadcrumbs in a garlic and lemon sauce, are authentically Sheepshead Bay. The civolata sausage is presented with broccoli rabe and roasted peppers. The sausage is spicy, the peppers are sweet, and the combination is classic. New Normal: Anthony’s takes all the recommended COVID precautions and now offers takeout and delivery for those who prefer to enjoy their sausage and peppers at home.

It’s not necessarily the hot dogs themselves that are better at Arbetter’s. Rather, these all-beef or pork-and-beef franks are ideal blank canvases for the three garnish combinations that solidified Arbetter’s reputation when this family-run institution opened more than a half-century ago. The basic onion/relish dog is nicely tangy, and the sauerkraut/mustard dog, loaded with beautifully buttery, cooked-all-day-tender kraut, is even better. Along with the rich and flavorful but not overly hot all-meat chili topping from an old Arbetter family recipe, a garnish of diced raw onion adds that reassuring subliminal message that you’re consuming a healthful greenish vegetable that certainly counteracts the menu’s cholesterol count — so, hey, have another. For a taste of the 305, try a Miami dog, with mustard, onion, cheese, tomato, and potato sticks. New Normal: Arbetter’s offers outdoor seating. If you can’t make it out to the Bird Road mainstay, order for delivery via Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates.

Chef Michael Beltran’s Ariete adds an air of refinement to Coconut Grove not seen since the days when industrialist James Deering caroused its shores. Ariete serves dishes like foie gras with smoked plantains, but there’s something more than fancy amid the elegance offered by Beltran, who trained under chefs Norman Van Aken and Michael Schwartz. The Little Havana native twists bits of Cuba and France into every dish, just the way his grandparents taught him. A meal ends with tres leches, and you won’t stop thinking about the sweet treat until the next time you visit Ariete. New Normal: Ariete’s lush, outdoor patio is great for those who prefer not to dine indoors.

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In 2017, Katrina Iglesias, Adam Hughes, and chef and Barcelona native Deme Lomas opened Arson two doors down from their first venture, Niu Kitchen. The centerpiece of Arson is the Josper, a charcoal-burning grill/oven hybrid that influences Lomas’ gastronomy. Whiffs of Asia and South America rise off of the one-page menu, which includes about 20 dishes. Mainstays include charbroiled oyster with ponzu and rice vinegar mayo Argentine shrimp with smoked paprika, tequila, and quebracho charcoal and “Duck 2 Ways,” which comes charbroiled and smoked with apple textures and honey-mustard bread. New Normal: Arson and Niu Kitchen have combined in order to accommodate more outdoor seating. It’s a win-win for guests who can now order from both menus.

At Awash, owners Eka and Fouad Wassel want to take you to an authentic Ethiopian-style home kitchen called a gojo bait. Try the doro wot, a rich chicken dish with a depth of flavor similar to the moles of Mexico. The Awash River, from which this restaurant and many other Ethiopian eateries across the nation take their names, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley surrounding it was where researchers in 1974 found 52 fossilized bone fragments of the famed early hominid Lucy. Carbon dating put the partial skeleton’s age at more than 3 million years. It’s a fact almost every Ethiopian knows. But it’s also one that brings home the history of this part of the world and the fact that much of human culture was born here. You might be tempted to visit only at night, but be sure to pop in during the daylight hours for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, the same one that’s repeated up to three times a day in the Horn of Africa. Green coffee beans are pan-roasted, hand-ground, and then slowly brewed over hot coals. The point is to slow you to a stop in order to connect with the coffee and those with whom you’re sharing it. New Normal: Awash doesn’t have outdoor dining, so reservations are strongly recommended. In addition, Awash offers takeout and delivery.

When you’re strolling Calle Ocho beneath the sweltering sun, nothing cools off your afternoon like a frosty treat. Pop into Azucar, where you’ll find flavors that could only be dreamed up in Miami. Making ice cream is a tradition in owner Suzy Battle’s family. Her grandmother made ice cream in Cuba and many of the flavors pay tribute to the island nation — like plátanos maduros (sweet plantains) and “Abuela Maria” (vanilla ice cream laced with with ripe guava, chunks of cream cheese, and crushed Maria cookies). New Normal: Azucar is a scoop shop, so order your cone and carry on with your socially distanced walk down Calle Ocho.

The namesake of Puerto Rican pastry chef Antonio Bachour is an oasis of the Instagram-worthy creations that have made him a national sensation. Glass display cases proffer seductive rows of brightly colored cakes, macarons, croissants, and bonbons to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth. This 5,000-square-foot spot, tucked away in Coral Gables on a serene corner of Salzedo Street, offers not only melt-in-your-mouth pastries and desserts, but also workshops for culinary professionals and a daylong à la carte menu of salads, egg-based dishes, tarts, sandwiches, and hearty entrées such as churrasco and grilled salmon. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Bachour has become a hub for the community. New Normal: Cooking at home more often? Elevate your meal by ordering one of Antonio Bachour’s cakes.

When you spot the decorative cacti out front, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Bakan. This lovely Wynwood restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes far removed from the taco joints that proliferate throughout Miami. Here you’ll find Oaxacan mole dishes and whole grilled fish (and quesadillas and guacamole if that’s your jam). If you’re feeling adventurous, look for the “Los Exoticos” section of the menu. Try the gusanos de maguey, pan-fried agave worms served with blue-corn tortillas and a side of guacamole and the escamoles, a rare ant caviar sautéed with butter, serrano chilies, and epazote and then wrapped in a blue-corn tortilla and topped with a spoonful of guacamole and pickled vegetables. Wash down your incomparable meal with a selection from Bakan’s list of 200-plus tequilas and mezcals. New Normal: Bakan’s gorgeous outdoor terrace, accented with rock gardens and aloe plants, has been expanded onto the sidewalk for additional outdoor seating.

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This tapas and wine bar, located in Miami’s MiMo District, sits alongside a no-tell motel. The location makes BarMeli69 seem all the more like a hidden gem, a personal find, the kind of place you whisper about to your friends, as in, “I just found this great little joint.” Inside, the restaurant feels like one of those wonderful little bistros or tavernas you only see in movies. You really can’t pinpoint the exact country or town you just know it’s charming. Wines are predominantly from the Mediterranean, including off-the-grid selections from Sardinia and Israel. All the tapas are delicious, but the showstopper is the flaming saganaki the Greek cheese dish is doused with brandy and set aflame. A friendly, casual vibe, along with good food and drinks at reasonable prices, makes BarMeli69 a great neighborhood joint. New Normal: BarMeli now has a small outdoor patio behind the restaurant.

The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel on South Beach comes to us thanks to the genius of James Beard Award-winning restaurateur, cookbook author, and Made in Spain TV star José Andrés. The Bazaar’s menu offers adventurous takes on the flavors of the world: Spain, Singapore, and Japan, as well as Miami’s unique Latin American connection. Thus we get exciting plates like Japanese tacos: perfectly grilled eel, shiso, and wasabi, wrapped in slivered cucumber and topped with flakes of crisp chicharrones. More traditional Spanish tapas, including hams, cheeses, and croquetas, are also available. Can’t decide? Indulge in the $65-per-person “Clasicos” menu and treat yourself to a five-course menu of the chef’s favorites. New Normal: Indoor tables are marked for social distancing with whimsical stuffed monkeys. Alternatively, opt for an outdoor table courtesy of Bar Centro, another Andrés/SLS undertaking.

This hip Little Haiti spot run by chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer offers an ever-changing lineup of pastas designed to comfort and enchant. Look for pappardelle alla lepre, unctuous shreds of braised rabbit tangled with wide ribbons of pasta or green pea garganelli with a pop of smoked trout roe. It’s not all about noodles here, however. Boia De offers plenty of non-pasta delights, including meat and fish dishes and crisp potato skins filled with milky stracciatella cheese, caviar, and a hard-cooked egg. New Normal: For the time being, the tiny dining room has given way to a similarly small outdoor patio. The restaurant sells wine to-go and has installed a ventanita for easy pickup.

What began as a mom-and-pop 30-seater has grown into an Indian-food mainstay with two locations (Coconut Grove and Fort Lauderdale). Diners crunch on crisp papadum wafers while watching Bollywood movies on a large screen and perusing the menu. That list is lengthy, but at its heart are the tikkas, tandooris, and vindaloos that fans of Indian food crave. Bright vegetable samosas are a good start, as are some of the tandoor-baked breads — try the soft, fluffy onion-flecked kulcha naan. Most dishes can be made mild, medium, high medium, hot, or super-hot. (On that last note, the restaurant thoughtfully offers cold Kingfisher beers to cool you down from even the spiciest of culinary adventures.) New Normal: Both locations offer outdoor dining and contactless takeout and delivery options.

The crew at Bon Gout BBQ arrives shortly after dawn to begin preparing brisket, ribs, and chicken for the barbecue, along with a bounty of Caribbean and soul-food sides. Here the secret is the epis: a Hatian seasoning base of onions, scallions, bell peppers, garlic, parsley, and spices, pulverized into a coarse paste that’s applied liberally to nearly everything. After several hours in the smoker, the epis dehydrates into a smoky crust with a sharpness that slyly balances out the meat’s fat. Don’t miss the griot — fat-rippled knobs of pork shoulder that emerge from the deep fryer with a burnished crust and a juicy interior. If you like, the meat can be lovingly tucked into a tortilla and crowned with the spicy fermented cabbage known as pikliz. Scoville Scale zealots can order Bon Gout’s extra-spicy pikliz, which combines the addictive fermented condiment’s funk with the fiery heat of what one would expect in Southeast Asia or the blistering pepper sauces of Trinidad. New Normal: Bon Gout’s barbecue travels well, the better to be enjoyed at home.

Bourbon Steak is a contemporary American steak house — and one of South Florida’s finest. Tucked inside the swank JW Marriott Turnberry Isle Resort & Spa, it offers all-natural, organic, and hormone-free selections of beef, tempered in herb-infused butter and then grilled over wood, including the legendary, exquisitely marbled Japanese A5 Kobe (well worth the market price). The seafood, too, is topnotch, as are farm-fresh sides of truffle mac and cheese, roasted mushrooms, and crisp Brussels sprouts. In the mood for a casual meal? Request the Turnberry burger, an off-menu option made with your choice of beef, turkey, or falafel. To accompany your feast, Bourbon Steak’s wine cellar stocks more than 850 selections. New Normal: Party size limited to four guests who aren’t from the same household, six if they are. Tables are seated in a safe rotation, and restrooms are single occupancy.

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Bulla (pronounced boo-yah) is younger, cooler, and better than ever. Cocktails are delicious and fussy, infused with cardamom and currant syrup, lemongrass, and cucumber purée. Venture into the dining room, where chalkboards listing Spanish dishes adorn the blond-wood walls, to sample the small-plates cuisine. Doused in fried-tomato paste, albóndigas — veal-and-pork meatballs — swim in milky stracciatella. Croquetas de jamón — golden bits of pinguid beauty — gleam beneath a thin fig-jam glaze. On Saturday and Sunday, Bulla offers brunch. Try the decadent huevos Bulla — house-made potato chips topped with a jumbo organic egg, potato foam, thin slices of Serrano ham, and a prodigious drizzle of truffle oil. New Normal: Bulla offers private dining options for families or groups that desire their own safe space.

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Byblos, the Eastern Mediterranean eatery at the Royal Palm South Beach, is, to put it baldly, a good time. The focus here is on interpreting dishes from Levantine culture, found mostly in Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and parts of southern Turkey. The original Byblos is in Toronto, and as is often the case with Miami outposts, this one offers a more extensive seafood selection than its Canadian sibling. It’s also equipped with a wood-burning oven, used to bake pide (Turkish flatbread) and barbari bread (Persian flatbread) each morning. Pillowy and perfectly golden, the barbari bread is dusted with the kitchen’s personal za’atar spice mixture. Order it with a plate of roasted red beets and organic labneh — a thick, tangy, yogurtlike dip that’s cultured in-house. New Normal: Byblos has expanded its outdoor seating and offers QR code menus.

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Between Cuban cantinero Julio Cabrera’s daiquiris and chef Michelle Bernstein’s fare, there’s something uniquely Miami about Cafe La Trova. Bernstein’s comfort food is all-around tempting. She works to meet the foodie fantasies of her guests, whether they’re in search of elaborate dishes or a traditional tres leches dessert. When in doubt, order a round of specialty paella, jamón Serrano, and spinach and feta croquetas, or the chef’s rendition of arroz con pollo — the classic one-pot Cuban-style dish Bernstein puts together with bomba rice and chicken marinated in saffron and beer. But as with all things Magic City, this joint isn’t fueled solely by good food and drink: At any given time of the day, expect guayabera-clad musicians or jazz trumpet players to fill the air with their vibrant tunes, all set against a stage backdropped with the weathered façade of an Old Havana edifice. New Normal: Though Cafe La Trova is offering live music, guests are required to stay in their seats. Chair dancing is encouraged, however.

Steve Martorano is, bar none, Broward County’s most colorful restaurateur. For more than two decades, Cafe Martorano has been turning out Philadelphia-style Italian comfort food with a side of entertainment. Though its old-school menu of Italian classics — such as chicken cacciatore and pappardelle with sausage — are delicious, regulars flock to the restaurant for the people behind the food. No matter the time of day or night, Cafe Martorano attracts a lively mix of locals, snowbirds, and celebrities who come for the cook’s meatball salad and stay for Martorano’s DJ skills. New Normal: Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made via OpenTable.

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La Camaronera’s David Garcia now owns this iconic North Miami seafood joint, which originally opened in the 1990s. This heir to Miami seafood royalty kept the menu mostly unchanged, allowing the restaurant to do what it does best: Serve the freshest fish possible. Favorites include stone crab claws and a beautiful take on conch salad with meaty hunks of the mollusk tossed in a spicy tomato marinade and cubed red and green peppers. Fresh yellowtail snapper and hogfish can be ordered grilled, blackened, or fried. Regulars go for the Captain’s Combo: the catch of the day served with one side. New Normal: Captain Jim’s has expanded its outdoor seating.

Angelo and Denise Elia have run Casa D’Angelo for more than two decades. It’s often the first restaurant locals think of for birthdays or anniversaries, entertaining out-of-town guests, and Friday-night dates — and for good reason. The classic Tuscan menu includes gamberoni, giant prawns with cannellini beans, sage, and cherry tomatoes zucchini and squid dusted with semolina and lightly fried wood-roasted free-range chicken bistecca alla fiorentina and rigatoni topped with homemade sausage and winter mushrooms. A long list of specials changes nightly, and a wonderful list of more than 1,500 Italian wines makes dining here rival a trip to Tuscany. There are two locations: the original in Fort Lauderdale and a second restaurant in Aventura. New Normal: Casa D’Angelo does its own delivery.

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A mural depicting a desert beneath a floating pair of eyes is the only sign that beckons passersby into this Uzbek-style hideaway, accessible only from one side of NE 163rd Street. Chayhana Oasis offers fare not only from Uzbekistan but also the entire central Eurasian region. Translation: You can eat your way around several nations. To keep the proceedings simple and entertaining, the menu contains quirky descriptions of lesser-known dishes. Begin with the doma, tender stuffed Turkish-style grape leaves continue with cheburek, described as a deep-fried crèpe that’s folded and stuffed with moist and flavorful minced lamb and onion and finish with a kovurma lagman, a dish of fried house-made egg noodles flecked with chewy bits of beef and topped with an impossibly thin egg crèpe. For dessert, try gnezdo, fresh meringue topped with diced walnuts. And in standard European fashion, wash it all down with a shot of top-shelf vodka. Go ahead — there’s no shortage of fresh, chewy Uzbek-style bread to soak it up. New Normal: Diners can choose to eat on the open-air patio.

Cheeseburger Baby’s current owner, Stephanie Vitori, started as a delivery driver at the restaurant, before taking over almost two decades ago. The little burger joint, located on Washington Avenue in South Beach, gained worldwide fame after Jay-Z and Beyoncé were spotted enjoying a few sandwiches after hours. The restaurant’s motto is simple: Serve great burgers to people into the wee hours of the morning, at reasonable prices. There’s a curfew in effect, but the burgers are still fresh off the griddle, the beer is still cold, and the service is still friendly. New Normal: The dining room with its retro-diner seating is closed but outdoor seats are available. Better yet, take your burger to-go and enjoy it while gazing out to sea.

The mixed-use complex, which also offers shopping, entertainment, and office space, houses a food hall with concepts from a handful of Miami’s most popular chefs and restaurants, including Richard Hales’ Society BBQ and the owners of Stanzione 87, who are behind wood-fired Neapolitan pizza spot Ash! Pizza Parlor. Find one of Miami’s best burgers at USBS Craft burgers and great coffee at Vice City Bean. This means you can get the best of Miami’s local food without hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood. The Citadel also boasts a 5,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge that’s open Wednesday through Saturday. New Normal: Get some fresh air and a cocktail on the Citadel’s rooftop.

Clive’s makes its mark with great Jamaican favorites such as curry goat, oxtail, and jerk chicken. The original Wynwood location, which had been around for nearly four decades, closed, but Clive’s new home in Little Haiti is a colorful haven in which to eat some of the best Jamaican fare in Miami. The chicken is cooked to diner perfection and the curry is a smooth and subtle blend. The mood is laid-back, right down to the small radio pumping out reggae sounds. You just may catch Clive’s fan Lenny Kravitz taking in the scene. The place is great for takeout but just as nice for a midafternoon pit stop. New Normal: Space is limited for dine-in seating but takeout is always an option.

The minute you step into this North Miami Beach hideaway, your senses fall prey to the overwhelming perfume of rendered beef fat and chili oil. This Sichuan-style restaurant is the first U.S. project of chef Yang Xian Guang. Beef fat is the central ingredient of Yang’s hot pot — the rich, savory aroma is the yardstick by which most Chinese folks judge hot pot. The Chongqing native’s recipes include three or more kinds of chilies, a mountain of Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, garlic, ginger, star anise, fermented black beans, and a litany of secrets Yang refuses to share. A simple chicken broth, made by simmering carcasses with ginger and garlic for three hours, is poured on top just before the dish is sent out to the dining room. Bring a big group so you can order as many of the accouterments as possible. Also be sure to pace yourself: Among the most joyous moments of hot pot is the very end, when the broth and spices have reduced, along with everything that’s been cooked in them, into a rich, flavorful brew that makes the last few bites truly special. New Normal: Takeout and delivery are available.

If you think Americans have cornered the market on extreme food, you haven’t tried poutine. The French-Canadian dish, which became popular in Quebec in the 1950s consists of French fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds. The result: a salty, cheesy, addictive food that bathes the soul and clogs the arteries. Fortunately for South Floridians, Canadians flock to the region each winter. In 1998, Gilles and Ritane Grenier decided to open an ice-cream and fast-food stand. They put poutine on the menu and before they knew it, they were overrun by homesick Canadians and locals who got hooked on the dish. Dairy Belle recently moved to a strip mall, but the poutine remains the same. New Normal: Dairy Belle is only a mile from Dania Beach, so take your poutine to-go and head for the sand and surf.

Wynwood’s Dasher & Crank has changed Miami’s ice-cream scene. The light-pink shop, marked by a glowing neon sign in the shape of an ice-cream cone, offers a core lineup of ice creams, including raspberry wasabi sorbet and mint with activated charcoal ($5 for one scoop, $7.50 for a double, and $10 for a triple or a pint). The real fun, however, lies D&C’s collaborations with some of Miami’s best restaurants, breweries, and purveyors. Owner Daniel Levine joins forces with locals such as Zak the Baker, El Bagel, and Per’La coffee to create innovative flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Past favorites have included “Avocado Toast,” made with lightly toasted Zak the Baker sourdough and an avocado swirl, and “Maple Bacon,” made with cured meat from Miami Smokers. Always-available classics include Tahitian vanilla bean, “Chocolate Crank” (chocolate ice cream with a house-made fudge ripple and English toffee), and “Kush Chicken n Waffles,” which mixes buttermilk ice cream with crisp chicken skin and maple-soaked waffles from nearby restaurant Kush. The shop gets super-creative for special occasions — team-inspired flavors for Super Bowl Sunday, for example, and a CBD-infused ice cream to commemorate National CBD Day. New Normal: Order a scoop to-go and take it on your self-guided Wynwood mural tour.

Eating House opened as one of Miami-Dade’s first true pop-ups. Created by Chopped champ Giorgio Rapicavoli, the popular Coral Gables restaurant offers a whimsical menu that, in other hands, would read as novelty items. Cap’n Crunch pancakes, for instance. Or Hotlanta fried chicken, or Tater Tots with Coca-Cola ketchup, or, for dessert, a dirt cup. But Rapicavoli manages to turn kitsch into a culinary art form. His menu, which rotates frequently, is always inventive, always fun, and always top notch. Be sure to check out the chef’s pop-up menus and his annual 420 dinner series on April 20. The unofficial “holiday” menu has garnered a cult following through unique dishes that anyone with a major case of the munchies would crave. New Normal: Tables are equipped with social distancing “curtains” and diners are encouraged to make reservations via OpenTable. Seatings are limited to two hours during dinner and 90 minutes during brunch. The restaurant has expanded its outdoor seating.

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Matteson Koche’s hand-rolled bagels, free of the additives and preservatives found in many renditions, are the heart and soul of this Biscayne Boulevard “bageleria.” Sandwich options include a bacon, egg, and cheese version and the “Lox Supreme,” as well as funkier creations such as the “Avo Spesh” ($8.50), made with smashed avocado, English cucumber, cream cheese, olive oil, and sea salt. The “EB Original” ($8.50), with its salty-spicy-rich combination of cream cheese, charred jalapeños, and thick-cut bacon, is not to be missed. Purists can purchase an unadorned bagel for $2.50 half-dozens and dozens run $12 and $22, respectively. New Normal: If waiting in line makes you anxious, make a weekday bagel run instead and buy enough to freeze for Sunday breakfast in bed.

Family-owned Exquisito has a rich history in Little Havana. What began as a small, 16-seat cafeteria next to the Tower Theater is now a 75-seater serving lovingly prepared Cuban cuisine. Owner Heliodoro Coro bought the space in 1974 and runs it with his nephew Juan, who can sometimes be found in the restaurant’s kitchen. Menu items are reasonably priced and include a variety of meat, pork, poultry, and seafood dishes, along with a long list of sandwiches, sides (try the tamal), and daily specials that range from hearty soups to oxtail stew. With more than 30 years at the same location, two expansions, and a loyal fan base, Exquisito is doing a lot of things right. New Normal: Takeout and delivery available.

Sure, El Mago de las Fritas dispenses dinerlike fare from its old-school cafeteria-esque dining room (complete with vinyl booths and Formica countertops). But you’re not here for just any dish. You’re here for the Cuban hamburgers, AKA fritas. From the orange-hued beef chorizo patties to the almost-too-soft Cuban rolls and the topping of handmade potato sticks, El Mago’s frita is one of the best iterations in the Magic City. You can order a basic frita, but seriously consider a double with cheese. Whatever you do, don’t forget to add a fried egg on top. Most of the staff members don’t speak English, but if you’re uncomfortable ordering in Spanish, just point at what you want on the menu. New Normal: Outdoor seating is available.

The name translates to Juice Palace, and that’s exactly what this chain is: a topnotch spot for fresh, natural juices. That, and so much more. The open-air restaurant is composed of three main areas: a juice bar, a sandwich counter, and a large hot-food section that offers great Cuban food as individual meals or by the pound. Prices tend to be low, even for seafood. By far the most popular dish here is lechón asado, served with congri and yuca or maduros, but pescado de aguja with yellow rice has its own fanbase, as does pollo asado with yellow rice and boniato (fried sweet potato). El Palacio can get crowded, attracting as it does a mix of young couples to families with screaming toddlers in tow. Bear in mind that they’re there for the same reasons you are: because the food is fantastic and the prices can’t be beat. New Normal: The chain has implemented expanded disinfection and sanitation protocols. ($)

This simple sandwich shop at the confluence where Wynwood, Midtown Miami, and Edgewater meet remains a holdout in the race to turn Miami into a sea of condominiums and Lululemons. The restaurant is also one of the most democratic in the city, its clientele a steady stream of construction workers, galleristas, tourists, and dwellers of the aforementioned condos, all dropping by for their cafecito fixes and Cuban sandwiches — here with a bonus in the form of croquetas pressed into the bread along with the meat and cheese. New Normal: Place your order in advance to pick up at Enriqueta’s ventanita.

Siblings Eileen and Jonathan Andrade come from Miami dining royalty. Their grandparents founded Islas Canarias, the shrine of Cuban comfort food revered for its croquetas. Their parents carried on that tradition. It was on the sage advice of Mom and Dad that Eileen and Jonathan opened Finka — a funky spelling of finca, the Spanish word for “farm” — out in the far-western reaches of Miami-Dade. Gastropubs are a dime a dozen on the east side of the county, but Finka has a monopoly out west, and crowds line up nightly for Andrades’ Peruvian-Korean-Cuban fare: cast-iron cazuelas of pulled lamb and soft-cooked corn masa, Cuban bibimbap, and the famed croquetas from the old family recipe, available in ham, chicken, or fish. New Normal: Outdoor dining available.

Years ago, Derek Kaplan was a real-life Miami fireman who made pies with his dad on the weekends. The pies, baked in an industrial kitchen in Wynwood and sold from a food truck and a pizzeria in Coconut Grove, were a sensation. Now Kaplan is one of Miami’s most sought-after bakers, making pies for some of Miami’s best restaurants. Kaplan also sells his pies, freshly baked cookies, cakes, and ice cream sandwiches at shops in Wynwood and Coconut Grove. Kaplan’s fruit pies are massive affairs, with each one requiring several pounds of fruit. His pièce de résistance is the “Crack Pie,” which features a thick, sticky layer of salted caramel dusted with a generous blast of powdered sugar. The magic lies in the space where the crust and filling come together in a gooey, savory, otherworldly concoction that melts in your mouth and sticks to your teeth. New Normal: Order your pies whole or by the slice for takeout or delivery the latter is now available anywhere in the U.S. via Goldbelly.

A Fort Lauderdale mainstay for nearly a decade, restaurateur Eliott Wolf’s Foxy Brown serves up well-executed comfort food in an inviting setting. The patty melt is perfect, the beef-a-roni and mac-and-cheese expertly calibrated, the French onion soup exhibiting an ideally Instagrammable cheese pull. The Foxy shines during weekend brunch, when you can indulge your inner child with s’mores waffles, doughnut holes, and a banana-bread grilled cheese sandwich filled with ricotta and Nutella. (Yep, you read that right.) All that plus cocktails, bloody marys, mimosas, and, if you’ve got the stamina, milkshakes — including boozy varieties. New Normal: Until further notice, the Foxy Brown is open Thursday through Sunday only.

This indoor/outdoor restaurant overlooking the Miami River serves fresh fish dishes and family hospitality courtesy of father-son team Luis Garcia and Esteban Garcia Jr. Garcia’s has been an institution for more than 50 years in-the-know Miamians flock here for the freshest catch reeled in daily and available for purchase on the menu or by the pound at the fish market next door. If you choose to stay, you can dine amid dark-wood surroundings or enjoy the laid-back vibe and river view outdoors. Choose blackboard specials or house favorites such as fried grouper fingers or blackened or breaded preparations of your favorite fish. The famous fish dip or a fried shrimp sandwich make tasty starters. You can order your meal with a side of fries, coleslaw, grilled veggies, mashed potatoes, yellow rice, white rice, or salad. New Normal: Garcia’s has implemented all required protocols indoors and out, but we’ll take a seat on the upstairs deck any day. And before you leave, pick up some fresh seafood at the market to cook at home tomorrow!

In, of all places, Dadeland, chef Niven Patel and his crew have opened Miami’s eyes to the cuisine of western India, a palette that consists of infinitely more than tandoori chicken and lamb rogan josh. Here you’ll find the simple street snack of puffed rice called bhel, juiced up with sweet Florida avocado and meaty hunks of raw tuna. Though the restaurant offers chicken tikka masala for the unadventurous, do not miss the sizable vegetable section on the menu, many of the ingredients for which are culled from Patel’s own backyard garden. Instead of an à la carte lunch menu, Ghee serves a meal of daily offerings that change according to the harvest from the chef’s farm, Rancho Patel ($18). New Normal: The restaurant has expanded its outdoor dining area and established an outdoor waiting area staffed by a greeter who assists guests.

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Fort Lauderdale Beach isn’t Corfu by any stretch of the imagination, but this beach-adjacent Greek restaurant does a good job of making hungry patrons feel as if they’ve crossed a temporary bridge to all things Mediterranean. The ownership team of brothers Sam and George Kantzavelos offer the kinds of dishes any tourist, local, or Greek native can appreciate in a casual setting that channels New Jersey diner fare at its finest. As a result, Greek Islands Taverna remains a longtime favorite among the beachgoing crowd thanks to its wide-ranging menu of classic Greek dishes, reasonably priced. Go for classics such as roast leg of lamb, flaming saganaki, chicken shish kebab, and a killer avgolemono (lemon chicken soup). New Normal: The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but tables are spaced at least six feet apart.

Head to this beloved Cuban joint out west the next time you’re hungover or hungry and in need of caffeine. There are few better cures for either than Cuban coffee and hot croquetas. Opened in 1977 by Raul and Amelia Garcia, Islas Canarias has earned its spot as one of the best cafecitas — those adorable Cuban coffee shop/bakeries — in Miami-Dade County. That’s mostly thanks to the restaurant’s reputation for affordable croquetas and perfect, piping-hot cafecito. People crave the kitchen’s made-to-order beef or chicken empanadas, medianoche sandwiches, pan con bistec, and those famous ham croquetas. New Normal: Islas Canarias has a drive-thru if you’d rather pick up your cafecito-and-croquetas fix to enjoy elsewhere.

In 1946, Jessie and Demas Jackson opened Mama’s Cafe in Overtown. The restaurant saw Miami’s historic Black community rise, fall, and rise again. Generations later, the family business had become legendary for its traditional soul food. In addition to Overtown, there’s a Jackson Soul Food outpost in Opa-locka both locations offer traditional favorites, including fried catfish, smothered wings, oxtail, meatloaf, and ribs. A proper soul-food restaurant is known for its sides, and Jacksons delivers — from candied yams to fried okra, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese. New Normal: Jackson’s sells all its meats individually, so it’s easy to customize a family meal to take home.

The landmark Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant in Dania Beach, opened by Monroe Udell in 1956, still makes each of its 60-plus flavors of ice cream by hand. Today the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor boasts not only one of the largest — and best — ice-cream selections in the area, but also one of the nation’s largest collections of American memorabilia. Expect super-sized scoops, waffles and ice cream, frosted floats, giant shakes, parfaits, and banana splits. Be aware, that Jaxson’s is perhaps most famous for its “Kitchen Sink” sundae, available for parties of four or more: The restaurant’s professional soda jerks will unleash their imagination for a concoction that offers a bit of everything but, well, you know. If you’re hungry for more than ice cream, Jaxson’s menu offers dozens of dishes from its “country kitchen.” From wings to clam rolls, they’re all homemade and authentic despite drawing from all regions of the culinary map. Vegans can order an Impossible burger, but meat eaters will need all hands on deck for the “Titanic Burger,” which boasts three half-pound beef patties, each topped with a different kind of cheese. New Normal: Drive up, order your ice cream at the window, and tote your frozen treat to the beach, just a mile or so down the road.

Jimmy’s Eastside Diner has the casual, been-there-forever feel of a neighborhood hangout. The green-and-brown color scheme is oddly appealing, and the place looks bright and friendly — diner ambiance minus any dinginess. If Jimmy’s looks familiar, it’s probably because the diner was used as one of the filming locations in Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning 2016 film Moonlight. Ready your camera, because you’ll want to take a photo for the ’gram. Seating is all booths, and breakfast is served all day, including monster omelets and refreshing honesty from the waitstaff, as in: “Have the hash browns. The home fries have been sitting all morning.” Philly cheesesteak for Saturday lunch, tuna melts — the fare has all the authentic markings of a classic diner. New Normal: Look for hand sanitizer at the tables. The diner also now offers all condiments — from ketchup to maple syrup for your pancakes — in individual packaging.

You know Joe’s. The history, the gloriously sweet stone crabs, the notoriously long wait for a table. Often overlooked are the consistently good food, the truly professional service, the free parking, the surprising affordability (except the crabs), and the stately ambiance. Tuxedoed waiters whirl through the dining rooms with oval trays held high above their heads while the buzz of diners subtly occupies the air like the intangible gathering of ions before a thunderstorm, yet it’s difficult to imagine so large a space being any cozier. Stone crabs are, of course, the mainstay of Joe’s menu, and somehow they seem to taste a little fresher and sweeter here. The rest of the offerings, though, don’t disappoint. And nearly everybody orders Joe’s key-lime pie, renowned as the best in town, for dessert. If you show up on a Saturday evening, be prepared to cool your heels for hours. If you want to sit quickly, visit on a weekday, when the restaurant opens at 6 p.m. sharp (except Monday, when Joe’s is closed), and you might be eating those sweet claws before you know it. Or keep it simple and grab your claws at Joe’s Take Away, the casual baby brother of the iconic South Beach fixture. New Normal: Joe’s has converted a parking pot into a patio area for additional outdoor seating. And for the first time in its century-long history, the restaurant is accepting reservations.

There are New York delicatessens that don’t go as hard as Josh’s. It’s amazing to see thick cuts of house-cured pastrami gleaming with moisture and capped with ribbons of fat. The Angus brisket is cured for ten days, smoked, and then steamed it evokes a smoky flavor (with a hint of sweetness) that puts it on a peppery par with great barbecue. The corned beef is that same Angus brisket, cured, braised, and sliced thick and juicy — miles apart from the pallid strips of meat that pass for an original cut nowadays. All sandwiches come on thin-sliced, seed-flecked rye spread with dazzling yellow mustard — make, like everything else, on the premises. All meats and fish are cured and/or smoked in-house. Owner Josh Marcus makes the sour pickles too, alongside wild creations such as the “Jewban,” an unholy Jewish-Cuban alliance made with pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickles, and pork. Be sure to also get one of the rotating very un-kosher brunch sandwiches, such as a croissant stuffed with soft-shell crab, fried eggs, bacon, American cheese, and paprika-laced ketchup or an omelet filled with sweet lobster knuckle meat, leeks, mushrooms, and fontina cheese. New Normal: Until further notice, Josh’s is open Friday through Sunday only. Follow @joshsdeli on Instagram for special menus and pop-ups.

Knaus Berry Farm’s cinnamon rolls and strawberry milkshakes are the stuff of Dade County legend. Everyone under the South Florida sun has trekked down to Homestead and waited in a seemingly endless line for the pleasure of U-pick strawberries, homemade breads, and fresh-picked produce. Not much here has changed since 1956, when Ray and Russell Knaus started selling berries at a roadside stand. The brothers expanded their inventory to include pies, breads, and other baked goods after a fruit broker told Ray’s wife Barbara that her cookies were good enough to sell. The farm is still run by Ray and Barbara’s children and their families. Though the bakery now serves other items, including fruit shakes and local vegetables, Knaus Berry Farm still accepts only cash and is always closed Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Knaus is open from late October to mid-April annually. But the cinnamon rolls freeze remarkably well, so pick up a few dozen extra. Pop them in the oven on a Sunday morning, and they’ll instantly fill your home with the scent of cinnamon and vanilla. New Normal: Knaus’ head of operations Thomas Blocher suggests bringing an umbrella to protect you from the elements and double as an automatic social-distancing yardstick during the wait outside the bakery.

Matthew Kuscher (Lokal, Kush, the Spillover) purchased the last of Hialeah’s Jewish delis in 2017 with a mission to keep the tradition alive. He reopened Stephens with a restoration so admirable it makes you feel like you’re stepping back to 1954, when the restaurant was one of four delis on the block. Henderson "Junior" Biggers still slices the pastrami and corned beef to order. A pastrami and corned beef combo sandwich comes on rye, slathered with spicy deli mustard, accompanied by coleslaw and a whole sour pickle. Wash it down with an egg cream, served with a pretzel rod. To make sure the restaurant wasn’t stuck in a time warp, Kuscher revamped the menu, offering his now-famous burgers, alongside a whimsical cocktail menu. At Stephen's, Kuscher pays tribute to the Hialeah of yesteryear while firmly facing the future. Don’t forget to pay your respects to the late Walter Mercado in the ladies’ room, decorated with a giant mural of the beloved astrologer. New Normal: Old-fashioned booths lend themselves equally well to social distancing and date-night canoodling.

A sizable portion of the menu at Kyu in Wynwood is prepared on the restaurant’s wood-fired grill using a combination of Asian and American barbecue techniques. The meat is simply prepared with Japanese sea salt and black shichimi pepper and then smoked for 12 to 14 hours. It arrives divided into thick slices on a flat wood stump with a bevy of accouterments, such as fresh lettuce for wrapping, pickled cucumbers, red onions, and shiso. There are also three miniature beakers containing sweet/sour, spicy/smoky, and light/spicy barbecue sauces. At the entrance, take a look at the massive abstract mural of a woman’s face. It was created by 2Alas, a local street artist whose work can been throughout Wynwood and even around the world. Kyu worked with 2Alas to create a piece reflecting the neighborhood. You can also find the “Kyu lady” wrapped around the cans that hold the restaurant’s signature drink, the Wynwood Mule. New Normal: Kyu has converted to QR code menus and digital payment no cash accepted. Bathrooms have been upgraded to touchless. Diners must make reservations and wait in their car for their table to open. No waitlist, no bar seating.

Reserve Now

Everyone knows La Camaronera Fish Market as the iconic Little Havana seafood spot founded by a family of Cuban fishermen. For more than 40 years, the restaurant’s owners, the Garcia brothers, have been cooking up their famous favorites — including grouper soup, shrimp empanadas, conch fritters, and a fresh fish sandwich — along with dozens of other Cuban-inspired dishes. Most people flock to the dive for the house speciality: camarones fritos, a dish that has been featured on Michelle Bernstein’s PBS show Check, Please! and Guy Fieri’s popular Food Network series Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. New Normal: In times like these, a seafood-joint-and-fish-market combo is a bonus.

Beyond its croquetas and fritas, Hialeah isn’t lauded for culinary excellence. So you could almost hear the collective gasp when La Fresa Francesa opened near a canal that slices diagonally along the city’s southern edge. Inside, washed-out farm chairs seem to dance around doily-lined bistro tables to the intoxicating French crooning often reserved for tourists at Montmartre. The aptly named “Un Cubano in Paris” is a good place to start. A pork shoulder is soaked in milk and rubbed with garlic and paprika before a four-hour braise in white wine. Silky shreds of the meat are piled onto fluffy Sullivan Street Bakery rolls. Pickled red onions strike the eye with their brilliant magenta before hitting the palate paired with Dijon mustard’s piquant snap. It’s risky in this part of town to serve shredded pork with anything other than chopped onion, crisp skin, and mojo, but the couple behind La Fresa Francesa — Sandy Sanchez and Benoit Rablat — say the opportunity to set up shop in Hialeah was too good to pass up. Saturdays and Sundays, they offer brunch a brunch menu that features creations like bananas flambé French toast on medianoche bread, and soft-baked eggs with truffle butter and cheese. New Normal: Open Friday through Sunday only.

Peruvian culinary ambassador Gastón Acurio’s Miami outpost at the chic Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key merges the humble cevicherías of Lima with the elegance of fine dining and the bold flavors of Nikkei cuisine. Orchestrated by Acurio protégé Diego Oka, who has honed his career at restaurants around the globe, the menu elevates Peruvian classics — such as the cold casseroles known as causas and the grilled, skewered meats (anticuchos) — to heights of refinement that make even the most squeamish first-timers swoon. New Normal: The best tables are on the stunning waterfront patio. It’s open for breakfast and dinner, so you can feast under the sun, moon, and stars.

Since this French-owned eatery began selling sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and shakes in 1988, a crowd has lingered along the lengthy counter at the flagship location that extends up an alley off 14th Street between Washington and Collins Avenues in South Beach. The food is fine, but the funky alfresco charm accounts for a large part of the appeal. La Sandwicherie’s counter workers begin with fresh, crusty French bread, then ply it with the patron’s preference of meat, cheese, or a combination thereof, such as ham, turkey, roast beef, salami, and Swiss cheese, as well as more distinctive, Euro-friendly choices such as Camembert, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, saucisson sec, and pork/duck liver pâté. Next come crisp toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, hot pickled red peppers, black olives, red onion, cucumber, and cornichons. Garnishes are followed by a finishing splash of tart Dijon-based French vinaigrette. Voilà! A damn good sandwich. La Sandwicherie has expanded from its original Miami Beach counter to additional locations in North Beach, Brickell, Wynwood, and Coral Gables. New Normal: The North Beach location is closed for dine in, but take a sandwich to go and walk one block to the beach for a makeshift picnic.

Located in the Design District, Le Jardinier is the southern outpost of Alain Verzeroli’s first solo restaurant (also called Le Jardinier), which opened in 2019 in a luxury building in midtown Manhattan and has already earned a Michelin star. For two decades, Verzeroli worked alongside the great Joël Robuchon, helping the French chef assemble menus and a small galaxy of Michelin stars. Now on his own after Robuchon’s 2018 passing, Verzeroli runs his restaurant in partnership with the same company that operates L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, located upstairs from Le Jardinier and accessed via a spiral staircase. As its name suggests, Le Jardinier adheres to the increasingly fashionable “eat your vegetables” ethos. Dishes like farro risotto with a parsnip and mushroom ragout are soulful and satisfying enough that meat becomes an option rather than a necessity. That doesn’t mean the menu is stocked with only rabbit food. A bavette steak, resting in its own juices and served with roasted artichokes and royal trumpet mushrooms will grab any carnivore’s attention. Le Jardinier’s $40 prix-fixe lunch is the best deal in the Design District — perfect for when you and your Amex need a break from shopping at Dior and Vuitton. New Normal: The restaurant has instituted a six-step program to ensure guest and employee safety that includes increased sanitation, staff temperature checks, and training.

Karim Bryant and Nicole Gates own this charming little spot in Overtown that offers modern takes on classic soul-food dishes. Bryant, who oversees the kitchen, has a solid foundation built of stints at Capital Grille, Prime 112, and BLT Prime in Doral. With a background in radio, Gates has the task of spreading the word and making sure customers — from the neighbor on the corner to mega-celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King — stay happy. But who wouldn’t be happy when served a plate of barbecue smoked wings or a plate of chicken and waffles? Chase it with a selection from Lil Greenhouse’s wine and beer menu — and be sure to save room for banana pudding. New Normal: Lil Greenhouse’s wings and ribs travel well. Stock up.

Lokal is a brand with a mission: burgers and beer with a sustainable, healthful bent. This neighborhood haunt sources locally and prides itself on freshness, quality, and staying environmentally responsible — not the mantra of your average burger joint. And in the end, Lokal’s burgers are all the better for it, from the “Miami Heat” (spicy jack, jalapeños, and sriracha) to the doughnut-as-bun “Childhood Dream,” complete with candied bacon. Wash it down with a Florida-made Funky Buddha Floridian. New Normal: Lokal has a small outdoor area that’s perfect for dining with your dog. Fido, by the way, gets his own canine-friendly menu that includes homemade meatloaf and a nonalcoholic beer brewed in Tampa especially for man’s best friend.

At first sight, Lucali, the Miami outpost of Mark Iacono’s famed Brooklyn flagship, looks like a regular pizza joint. Furnishings are unassuming — mismatched tables and chairs, an open kitchen, a working bench manned by T-shirted pizzaiolos — but by candlelight, everything glows. Men in white shine with sweat as they use empty wine bottles to roll dough. Pizza-makers take their time prepping pies for the wood-burning oven. Crusts eventually emerge thin and blistered, their surfaces puffed by blackened bubbles of golden dough. Melted buffalo mozzarella and shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cocoon smooth tomato sauce (a secret recipe that can be ordered as a side dish). You can add toppings such as beef pepperoni, artichokes, onions, red peppers, shallots, porcini mushrooms, and hot peppers for an additional buck or more. Regardless of how you choose to mix it up, it’ll be a flawless pie — the best in town. New Normal: Lucali has set up an outdoor area on the sidewalk, complete with fairy lights and potted plants.

If you’re not used to the searing heat of Thai spice, ask for Yung Yai Thai Tapas’ larb — a chilled ground-pork salad spiked with hefty doses of cumin, chilies, and star anise. It’s one of a number of recipes chef/owner Bas Trisransi is reviving after learning at his grandfather’s side decades ago. Bas knows that the development of deep, complex flavors can’t be rushed, which is why dishes such as the palo moo and tom yum soup take hours to reach perfection. It’s quality Thai food that’s both affordable and casual, and the tapas style will rightly tempt diners to sample everything on the menu. A meal at Lung Yai Thai is a crash course for the palate come with a sense of culinary adventure and depart with a newfound appreciation for authentic Thai flavors (and a full belly). New Normal: Lung Yai Thai has a small outdoor patio and now offers takeout and delivery.

Chef Michael Pirolo spent years traveling and cooking at Michelin-starred temples in Piedmont, Lombardy, Bologna, and Campagne. When he returned to the United States, he linked up with Scott Conant and eventually led the opening of Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach before debuting his own Italian restaurant, Macchialina. Pirolo’s skills are many and precise, his menu focused and deceptively simple: a handful apiece of starters, pastas, and entrées. The flavors, though, are forward, thanks to expert deployment of fresh and fine ingredients, whether it be a salumi plate, a salad of heirloom tomatoes and locally made burrata cheese, a tagliatelle al funghi, or a whole braised fish. The wine list is similarly concise (and Italian). Consider ordering the five-course chef’s tasting menu rest assured you’re in good hands with Pirolo. New Normal: Diners are seated on Macchialina’s lovely covered patio, il giardino (the garden). One party per night can rent out the indoor dining room for a specially prepared menu served family-style.

It’s difficult to say which part of bakery life burrowed deepest into Naomi Harris’ soul. Harris was born in Miami and into the restaurant business: Her father Larry and his brother Stuart founded Miami’s beloved chicken chain Pollo Tropical in 1988. But Harris didn’t plan for a life in restaurants, never mind one of overnight baking shifts. Then one summer during college, she interned with the pastry chef at Coral Gables’ now-shuttered Cacao, and her career trajectory changed. At her Coral Gables bakery, Madruga, she turns out a variety of whole-grain country loaves, along with baguettes, scones, babkas, croissants, and muffins. Her work earned her a semifinalist nomination for the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. New Normal: Madruga is open for pickup and takeout only, with hours limited to Wednesday through Sunday. Same-day orders can be placed via the bakery’s website.

Niven Patel, named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 2020 Best New Chefs, has already earned the respect of Miami with his first restaurant, Ghee (also on this year’s list). With Mamey, he showcases the flavors of the tropics. Bahamian conch fritters, Trinidadian roti, and Puerto Rican tostones all find a place on the menu, which is highlighted by produce grown at Patel’s own Rancho Patel, a farm he started in 2014 that supplies his restaurants with freshly harvested produce, from eggplants to beets, avocados, mangos, and herbs. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, how about a drink? The folks at Miami’s Bar Lab created the cocktail menu to complement Patel’s dishes. New Normal: Reservations are required. ($)

Reserve Now

Teeny tiny Mandolin Aegean Bistro is located in a former 1940s bungalow in the Design District, adorned in blue and white. The quaintness that fills the air is as tangible as the extra-virgin Greek olive oil that fills the vials placed on each table. Mandolin’s straightforward cooking is evidenced by a sweet, tender curlicue of grilled octopus misted with the aforementioned Mediterranean lubricant. Even chicken kebab — usually relegated to fodder for timid eaters — is unexpectedly rousing: five huge, juicy hunks of grilled white meat kicked up with a quick dip in the dish of tzatziki served alongside. Don’t miss the Greek salad: large ripe wedges of tomato, cucumber, and green peppers mingled with smaller shots of red onion, capers, and Kalamata olives, the radiant medley sneakgin shade beneath a wide white plank of feta cheese. New Normal: You’d be hard pressed to find a dining venue more charming than Mandonlin’s garden patio, which seats about 40.


Best Eats During Art Basel Miami

Art Basel Miami means there’s a mad scramble to get into popular restaurants, so I’ve compiled some of the BEST eats that are more out of the way. You’ll get innovative food, value for your money and most are chef owned! Yes, I love supporting chef owned restaurants, I admire and respect what they’re doing! As a cooking teacher, I’m constantly asked which restaurants I eat at, so here’s a round up. I wanted to give just 10 but went way over because you can’t not mention ones close by that are so worth trying! Enjoy Art Basel. Stay calm cause it’s going to be crazy but fun. Remember, you can always use Uber Eats to deliver food to you but not same as experiencing in person!
I’ve chosen eats in different areas of Miami, all close to where it’s all happening…
Buena Vista
is just north of Design District but has three blocks of wonderful cozy restaurants.
Buena Vista Deli is good for breakfast, brunch and lunch or just a snack. Gets packed on Sundays.
Shokudo has a zen garden space for a Japanese bento box lunch.
Lemoni Cafe, clockwise: skirt steak, portobello mushroom, pizza. Lemoni Cafe and Pizzeria di Lemoni.
Uh, confusing but you can order food from 2 different menus cause the two restaurants have the same chefs/owners, Chefs Maria and Assia. We like to get our “dessert” at BV Chocolate and Wine store in the next block north, their handmade chocolates are exquisite. Curry chocolate anyone?
What’s atmosphere?
Cozy, ecclectic, artsy.
What kind of food?
Home cooking at its best! Many vegetarian options. Most dishes come with toast.
What’s good?
Stuffed Portobello (bottom right)
Fall off the bone tender Lamb Shank, starting with Greek salad and toast.
Check their menu.

Biscayne Corridor is really becoming a foodie haven…
Vagabond Kitchen & Bar, a mid century modern restaurant inside a hotel was taken over recently by French owners so the decor is very chic. The round cocktail lounge bar is extremely popular as is a bar outside by the pool, definitely get a drink there! Their Grilled Octopus, Cauliflower Steak and Branzino was outrageous.
Blue Collar, Chef Daniel Serfer has the best sense of humor EVER, just check the menu and you’ll see what I mean! His comfort food is seriously so good but it’s always packed, but so worth it. Sunday brunch has lines round the block.
Phuc Yea
NEW Vietnamese Bistro opened by a Vietnamese/American chef, Ani and Caesar! Fun place with small plates. Very busy so reservations are a MUST!
What’s atmosphere?
Modern hip Asian industrial decor
What kind of food?
Viet Cajun, it works!
What’s good?
Imperial rolls appetizer
Salt N’Peppa Fishies
Caramel Pork Riblets
Check their menu

Loba, clockwise: Jessica and moi. Patacon, a whopping dish with rib eye steak, durac pork belly, rice, guac, pico de galo, chimchurri crispy brussel sprouts a salad. All delicious home cooking.
LOBA
It’s a family affair, Jessica, her mom, Libia both cook and brother, Jon is in charge of operations. Check out Jessica’s recent Zagat show, she visited chefs all over the world and cooked with them. I love the one in Hawaii where her mom joined her.
What’s atmosphere?
Jessica calls it, “rustic, DIY”. I love all the wood tables and chairs, very earthy. Tiny restaurant so reservations a MUST.
What kind of food?
Columbian soul food.
What’s good?
Columbians know how to cook meat, so the Patacon is a perfect dish to get an all rounder.
Check their menu
Pinch Miami
Chefs John and Rene are the cutest, congrats, they just celebrated their 1st anniversary! They care about what they put out, love that!
What’s atmosphere?
I keep saying cozy, ecclectic but that’s what this is!
What kind of food?
“small bites, big impact” is their motto. Farm to table. Everything I’ve eaten there is perfectly executed, very tasty.
What’s good?
Roasted Organic Carrots appetizer
Pinch Burger (custom blend, they won’t share what’s in it!)
Frenched Organic Chicken with seasonal veggies, we had kale and mushrooms, so freakin’ tasty!
Check their menu
Bin 18
Chef Alfredo Patino is owner of this cute wine bar lounge and restaurant. Always fun to order a few dishes to share.
What’s atmosphere?
Contemporary Cosmopolitan casual chic with chandeliers and concrete slabs over wine barrels. Mismatched chairs.
What kind of food?
Chef calls it Riviera urban cuisine/Roadside European cuisine.
What’s good?
Duck and Truffle Pate with mango ginger chutney and ciabatta!
Pork Belly & Mango to die for.
Pulpo a la Mancha.
Check their menu

Downtown Miami
Niu Kitchen, Spanish tapas, downtown Miami, tiny cozy place, make reservation a MUST! Everything we’ve had there is EXCELLENT, say hi to chef Deme Lomas, he’s so sweet:

Bali Cafe, Indonesian food, kinda fun, sit in the window seats!

Midtown
Black Brick, started by a frustrated Filipino/American Chef Richard Hales who couldn’t find good Chinese dim sum or Asian food in Miami, yeah, I hear ya, so he opened this one and right opposite another one called Sakaya Kitchen! They are my go to restaurants. He put a modern spin on the dishes, so don’t expect anything traditional, I love his Crispy Cumin Lamb Chops appetizer, Salt and Pepper Calamari. In the Dim Sum department, shrimp and chive dumplings, pork cheek pan fried dumplings, Grandma’s red cooked pork belly, Asian eggplant (so good). End with his wife, Jenny’s delicious desserts.
Sakaya Kitchen , Richard calls this Funk Fusion! It’s a fast casual dining spot for good Korean inspired dishes. Order at the counter and sit down to eat, perfect for a grab and go eat, very popular during Art Basel! My favs are Dirty South Korean (pulled pork sliders with kimchi slaw, drooling thinking about this), Cracklin (duck sandwich), The Bulgogi, Angus beef Burger which come with his famous taters, this is a HUGE order so be prepared to hunker down or share (I have been known to finish this in one sitting!) and my absolute fav, Dae Ji (big bowl with spicy pork tenderloin, butter’d broccoli and coconut rice with peanuts, yummy).

Wynwood Arts District
GK Bistronomie, Peruvian tapas and amazing cocktails. G et award winning pork taquitos and veggie tempura (hm, think they don’t have it anymore but ask!), everything there is superbly executed, say hi to Chef Raphael. Always wonderful service and love this industrial, modern space.

Coyo Tacos is the best value for money if you’re in a hurry and need a quick bite. Got to have their freshly made guac and chips. If you’re hungry late at night, they are open till 3am!
Panther Coffee for a caffeine fix!
Dr. Smood, go visit this AMAZING cafe/health store!
Cafeina Lounge is a casual lounge bar with their own art gallery.
Visit Wynwood Walls and go deep into the back area, always happening place!
Also visit Plant the Future, beautiful terrariums in all white unique vessels.
South Beach
Taquiza, freshly handmade blue corn tortillas with superb fillings, Camaron, Asada, Al Pastor. An outdoor atrium, adorable and fun, do NOT miss this experience.

Barceloneta, Spanish tapas, always fun, excellent food and presentation. Fantastic ambience, they’ll always get you in, say hi to Chef Julianna.
Naiyara, Thai street food, get crispy chicken dumplings, best you’ll ever have! Also Chiang Rai curry, it’s a whole experience with a tray of goodies, very fun place, say hi to Chef Bee. Again, reservations a MUST.
DIRT, EAT CLEAN, healthy dishes after you’re exhausted from all that rushing around, say hi to Chef Nicole Votano.
1 Hotel, Chef Tom Colicchio’s BeachCraft is there on ground floor. Breeze through beautiful hotel, you’ll appreciate it, see if you can get to see the pool and bar area, amazing. All white and all the plants are amazing. Visit the store, Plant the Future in there, they also have a store in WYNWOOD.
Juvia, in the Lincoln Road parking garage, go to rooftop for cocktails and hang around a living wall of plants and amazing Miami Beach views, beautiful ambience! Tricky to find, so ask.


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Today is Christmas, which means you're celebrating one way or another.

If you're anything like me, you spent your childhood (and a good portion of your adult life) wondering whether your family Christmas was unconventional or just plain weird. In Spain, Christmas always consisted of pata negra ham, grilled langoustines, and tapioca soup to start. Then we moved on to lamb chops and some form of fish cooked in salt, ending the meal with almond cake or nougat. When we moved to Miami, our Christmas spread seemed atypical compared to the customary caja china, congri, and yuca that everyone seemed to be eating.

But that's just a couple of ways to commemorate the merry holiday. Everyone (including chefs) has different traditions, recipes, and rituals. Whether it's ordering Chinese food and eating it in their underwear or picking up some KFC, Miami's chef's dish on how they spend their xmas -- cooking or not.

Giorgio Rapicavoli, Eating House

My grandmother makes capelletti in brodi on Christmas Day. My whole family looks forward to it every year. She also makes all of us start eating tangerines in November to save all the skins so she can dry them and use the skins for a traditional Italian dessert called pitanchiusa.

Brad Kilgore, Alter

For Christmas I love to cook the traditional items like ham, sweet potatoes, and casseroles, but always put a nice twist on it. Instead of just a honey-glazed ham I enhance it with some chipotle peppers and anise seed. One thing I do like to pair with ham is a version of my grandfather's raisin-pineapple chutney. I add a touch of fresh ginger, ceylon cinnamon stick, and some orange zest to his family recipe. Or make the Classic Americana green bean casserole with fresh haricot verts and a parmesan-wild mushroom fondue (instead of canned cream of mushroom soup) with fried shallots to top it off.

Makoto Okuwa, Makoto

My go to Christmas dish is buttermilk fried chicken. I don't know why, but I guess these are cultural things. Since I was little my parents took me to KFC often on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day and you could see the long line from inside to outside. I guess Japan created some sort of marketing campaign with KFC. Also, roast beef. I know it's boring and topical, but you can't go wrong with nice piece of beautiful meat. I will be roasting a whole block of ribeye this Christmas, seasoning it with lots of sea salt, chopped herbs and garlic mixed with EVOO all over the meat. And for dessert, apple pie with vanilla ice cream!

I'm a big fat Jew, so Chinese food it is. I particularly like eating Peking duck and various take out at home while watching a Christmas Story. Or eating ham on Xmas morning in my underwear.

Fabio Viviani, Siena Tavern

Every Christmas Eve since I was very young, my grandmother and our family would roast about 40 whole chickens. We would cut up the chickens once they were cooked and deliver them to the local church for the homeless people. It's a tradition I looked forward to every year and one that brought the whole family together. One tradition I will never forget is every Christmas morning I would sit down with my grandpa and we would each eat a FULL pandoro cake- YES you heard that right, we each would have our very own cake. It's about 1 inches tall and 7 inches wide and we would eat every single bite while talking the whole morning.

Daniel Ramirez, Harry's Pizzeria

Whole roasted pig. Lechon!! We build a pit with cinder blocks and cover the pig with banana leaves. I put ginger, oregano, lots of salt and pepper, and sour orange juice in my mojo. Then we finish it with yuca, roasted veggies and congri.

Cindy Hutson, Ortanique on the Mile

This Christmas we will be having curry brined pheasant with mango cranberry chili chutney as one of our dishes. My partner Delius and I went hunting last week and we were quite surprised out our aim. We actually got enough birds to do a platter for Christmas. We also will have a Turkey as well for tradition sake served with a savory roasted chestnut brioche bread pudding. This served with a great glass of Rose from Provence will make this Christmas killer.

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Mingle among the Dog-n-Suds collection and other comfort food memorabilia, then sit down to a five-course meal that revisits long-gone restaurant dishes at the Burger Museum. Their first Night at the Burger Museum Dinner is Tues., Dec. 4 at 7pm with chef Phil Bryant,formerly of Yardbird, Swine and The Local.

Each seat at a table will include the 5-course meal along with refreshments for $49 plus tax. The 5th course is dessert by Cindy Lou's Cookies. Tickets here.


Watch the video: Grilled Barbecued Tuna by Frank Lee


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