At one time, Miami ’s restaurants were not well-regarded, with diners often unimpressed by the quality of cuisine, price or service on offer by the city’s establishments. However, in recent years Miami’s culinary reputation has undergone a welcome renaissance, and the city now features a wealth of internationally acclaimed restaurants, the finest of which Elite Traveler shares here.
I. Palme d’Or
Located in the architecturally impressive Biltmore Hotel, the Palme d’Or restaurant more than lives up to its surroundings.Chef Philippe Ruiz has created an excellent menu of French culinary delights, and guests can custom design their own dining experience around 20-plus offered tasting dishes.
II. Joe’s Stone Crab
Cuisine : Local Sea Food
Since its opening in 1913, Joe’s Stone Crab has remained a perennial favorite among locals in Miami. Joe’s specialises in the delicious local stone crab, as well as other regional seafood. Expect a lively time in Joe’s; there’s no reservation policy, but don’t let the idea of a packed house put you off, the atmosphere is always great. Celebrities such as Madonna, Billy Joel, Muhammad Ali and Presidents Bill Clinton, George W and George H W Bush have all attended this Miami Mecca, and all have left having enjoyed the finest stone crab in Miami.
Cuisine : Japanese
Nobu Miami is located in the ultra-trendy Shore Club, and considered as one of the places to be seen in Miami. The restaurant offers Japanese food prepared by acclaimed Chef Matsuhisa, who has blended the traditional fare of his native Tokyo with influences from Peru and Argentina. The ideal place for those looking to enjoy excellent food before heading to the white-curtained lounge area next door, where the city’s hottest scene-makers are often to be found.
Cuisine : Traditional American and French
Michelle Bernstein’s first restaurant, Michy’s, isn’t located in a trendy location, nor is it trying to be a particularly trendy restaurant. What it is, however, is a cozy place that delivers excellent food, without any attempt at being pretentious. The interior design is retro and may remind diners of a bygone era, while the food is an excellent, eclectic mix of contemporary American and French fare. Suited to families and couples, there is a simple reason that Michy’s has so many regulars; the food is outstanding and the service impeccable.
Cuisine : Mediterranean with Asian influences
It’s difficult to not be taken in by the spectacular views on offer from the floor to ceiling windows at the Azul, that is, until the food takes your eye from the picturesque views of the Bay outside. Chef Conley has created a menu that perfectly blends Mediterranean flavours with a subtle yet poignant Asian influence. With an award-winning wine list that includes some 700 different choices, from modern to classic vintages, and a simple décor designed by Tony Chi that elegantly complements the surroundings, it is obvious why the Azul is one of the top dining choices in Miami.
Cuisine : Spanish
Since its opening in 2008, Sra. Martinez has become one of the go-to places in Miami.Owner Chef Michelle Bernstein, known for her work at other Miami restaurant Michy’s, and her appearance as a guest judge on ‘Top Chef’, has created a Tapas restaurant that focuses on the qualities of Spain and its former colonies. Diners can expect many traditional Spanish dishes, as well as some unconventional fare that incorporates ideas from around the globe. The restaurant is attractively fitted, and has a large, open patio for those looking to dine al fresco. The meals are accompanied by a large selection of fine Spanish wines.
Cuisine : Chinese
Located in the newly renovated Fontainebleau Hotel, the Hakkasan was a landmark moment for Miami when it opened in 2009.Not only did it exemplify the standard and quality that Miami dining had finally reached, it created a restaurant that would continue to raise the bar even more. The Hakkasan doesn’t disappoint, and is a favorite with locals and visitors alike, who flock to sample the excellent Cantonese cuisine, the award-winning wine list and bask in the delightful, opulent ambiance.
Cuisine : Italian
Somewhat unusually in Miami, Spiga is a low-key restaurant with a high-class clientele. Many of South Beach’s socialites haven’t even heard of the place, yet it has been the port of call for top actors, including Julia Roberts. Offering simple but elegant Italian cuisine, Spiga is considered to be one of the finest places to savor food from Lo Stivale, and the staff provide expert advice on the best wines to complement the food. Intimately romantic, Spiga is a great place to go for those looking to avoid the Miami scene for an evening, and best of all, the food is completely local.
Cuisine : Italian
Participants at this Downtown Miami eatery often report a strange sensation; they feel as if they have been to Italy and back.
The food, furnishings and staff have managed to create an authentic Italian ambiance that has amazed and delighted customers. Coupled with a striking view over Biscayne Bay, it’s easy to see why this place has become a firm favorite with Miamians. Il Gabbiano features a selection of wines from across Europe and elegant yet generous portions. A romantic restaurant that captures the spirit of Italy and brings it to Miami.