Learn about 11 places you should eat and drink in Miami, the flavor bridge between the U.S. and Latin America and a hotbed for NYC imports, based on my visit from July 1-4, 2016. Featured selections appear in alphabetical order.
1. 180 Degrees at the DRB [CLOSED]
DRB stands for the Democratic Republic of Beer, if you’re looking to decode their focus. Chef Ryan Martin has bumped up the comfort food quotient at this gastropub below a downtown Metromover station. The space features a covered patio and reclaimed wood walls. Apparently Martin consolidated the craft beer program, but you’ll still find four rotating taps and over 100 bottles and cans. I visited after dinner, so my appetite was limited, but their Corn of the Day made a good impression.
MUST ORDER: Craft Beer, Corn of the Day
2. All Day
Camila Ramos, a former Panther Coffee barista champ, has run this coffee bar since late May in Park West, a haggard neighborhood north of downtown that is probably best known for late-night clubs at the moment, but is seeing signs of new life. A neon phoenix signals your arrival at an airy cafe with green and white tiles, high ceiling, and driftwood “chandelier.” Ramos houses a custom five-group La Marzocco Strada espresso machine and carried six different coffee roasters during my visit: Spyhouse, Perla, Counter Culture, Camber, Intelligentsia, and Ruby. All Day also creates compelling signature beverages like #4 ???, a rotating special drink which at this point included cold brew and rosemary lemonade. All Day’s phone number ends in “EGGS,” and their egg sandwiches are worthy investments. They also make pastries in-house, including a “Twix” bar.
MUST ORDER: One-Handed, Twix” Bar, #4 ???, Espresso Drinks
Less than one block from a Pitbull caricature in Little Havana, you’ll find Azucar Ice Cream Company, a shop with Latin flavors that Suzanne Batlle opened in summer 2011. A 3D ice cream cone sign greets your arrival. Inside, you’ll encounter limited bench seating and repeated pops of color. In all, a blackboard menu lists over 50 flavors, including rum cake, dulce de leche, mamey, and sweet corn. I’m partial to Abuela Maria in a house-made waffle cone.
MUST ORDER: Abuela Maria, Waffle Cone
Puerto Rico native Antonio Bachour (sweet) and Lima native Henry Hané (savory) partnered on Bachour Bakery + Bistro, which launched in March at the base of downtown’s Brickell World Plaza office tower. A patio with tan umbrellas gives way to a glass and steel frame, bamboo lanterns, high-top white tables and cushioned banquettes, all with tiny potted succulents, along with a moss-coated stone wall. I enjoyed a smoked salmon scramble with watercress just fine, but my focus was on the case that contained fancy tarts and chocolates and the counter of baked goods. Bachour impressed me with their oh-so-Miami guava cheese Danish, and rich, flaky dulce de leche croissant.
MUST ORDER: Chocolate Babka, Guava Cheese Danish, Dulce de Leche Croissant
5. Beachcraft [CLOSED]
Tom Colicchio and Crafted Hospitality have racked up culinary hits since first launching in 2001. The team’s successes now span both coasts, including restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Miami. Since 2015, Beachcraft has thrived inside 1 Hotel South Beach, a property with plenty of white furniture and driftwood, a central square bar, open kitchen, upstairs bar and lounge. I sat outside at a communal wood table under a white umbrella. The restaurant is just one block from the beach, so seafood gets prominent placement. Start with balanced crudos, possibly pairing yellowfin tuna with fennel, Serrano pepper, and red shiso; or perhaps scallop ceviche with gooseberries, sumac and pink peppercorns. Of course Colicchio nails pasta, which during my meal meant bucatini with Florida blue crab, tomato, scallion, and jalapeño. Steer toward sustainable fish. Dessert calls for donuts, raised donuts rooted in caramel and topped with Florida citrus and crispy bits.
MUST ORDER: Yellowfin Tuna, Scallop Ceviche, Bucatini, Queen Snapper, Florida Citrus Glazed Donuts
Doggi’s Arepa Bar started in 2010 as a hot dog (asquerocito) cart. Since then, Giovani Esteves, chef Carlos Esteves, and mother Yoleida Galiano have opened Venezuelan restaurants near Little Havana and Little Haiti that clearly open up the family’s cookbook. The Little Havana adjacent space features wood slats on walls with corrugated metal bases, sports projected on screens, and just nine wood tables inside, plus two outdoors. Arepas, grilled-and-filled cornmeal patties, are now the primary menu focus. My choice – arepa Criolla – crammed fried plantains, a thick slab of organic white cheese (queso de mano) and avocado into the belly. If you prefer something sweeter, I’d suggest cachapa, a supple, cheesy corn cake. If you’re carnivorous, consider marinated churrasco, grilled skirt steak served with sides like grilled vegetables and fried plantains, and if you’re smart, a container of chimichurri sauce.
MUST ORDER: Cachapa, Arepa Criolla, Marinated Churrasco