As Seen in Bon Appétit
Tourists still flock to South Beach to catch rays, relax at a spa, and shop. But culinary travelers are increasingly heading further afield. Miami's Design District—18 blocks of art galleries, furniture stores, and restaurants—has finally arrived, thanks to eateries helmed by chefs famed in the South Beach scene. The other new dining destination is "MiMo" (so-called for its Miami Modern architecture), a stretch of Biscayne Boulevard where two veteran toques, Michelle Bernstein and Kris Wessel, have both opened up hot spots.
1. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
The smashing success of chef Michael Schwartz's Design District restaurant provided the neighborhood with its long-sought credibility as a culinary destination. His menu, largely culled from local farms, features dishes that are both surprising and soulful. Who would have guessed that a chocolate reduction would so enhance crispy beef cheeks, or that soy-lime vinaigrette is the perfect foil for a salad of fried pork belly and watermelon?
130 NE 40th Street; 305-573-5550
2. Pacific Time
Chef Jonathan Eismann has revitalized his popular Pan-Asian cooking at this new home of the former Lincoln Road landmark. Ethnic horizons have widened to include dishes such as sweetbreads "Buffalo style" with celery, blue cheese dressing, and spicy sriracha aioli. Quench your thirst with the microbrew Monk in the Trunk from Jupiter, Florida, and top off the meal with Miami's original molten chocolate cake.
35 NE 40th Street; 305-722-7369
3. Fratelli Lyon
Chef Ken Lyon, who 15 years ago was the pioneering proprietor of an upscale South Beach food market, meticulously mines those things we love about dining in Italy: hearth-baked breads, handcrafted pastas, antipasto boards of salumi and formaggi, and distinctive regional fare (Venetian-style sole pan-seared with pickled onions, pine nuts, and raisins). Wines from fabulous, unfamiliar vintners are offered in sample-friendly 100-ml and 125-ml flasks.
4141 NE 2nd Avenue; 305-572-2901
4. Sra. Martinez
Thirty blocks south of her first restaurant, the inimitable Michy's, Michelle Bernstein has opened this new Spanish restaurant and tapas bar. Housed in a former post office, the cozy restaurant serves her creative take on Spanish small plates, with croquetas and dishes like stewed rabbit over fried chickpeas.
4000 NE 2nd Avenue; 305-573-5474
5. Red Light
The diner-like ambience of Miami's hottest newcomer—and its remarkably restrained prices (all plates under $20)—set it apart. Here you'll find locally sourced spins on regional American cuisine finessed with passion, be it Florida spiny lobster sous-vide or "regional BBQ shrimp" served with dip bread. On a nice night, the best place to sit is out back by a sultry stretch of the Little River.
7700 Biscayne Boulevard; 305-757-7773
6. Chef Allen's
A founding member of the Mango Gang (the chefs who put New World Cuisine on the map), Allen Susser isn't resting on his laurels. A recent refurbishment of his restaurant has been accompanied by a new "seafood bistro" menu of locally caught fish. Portions (and prices) have been downsized. But robust flavors still loom large in dishes such as swordfish with chanterelles, smoked almonds, and red grapes in Pinot Noir sauce.
19088 NE 29th Avenue, Aventura; 305-935-2900
7. El Palacio de los Jugos
Ramble from stand to stand in this marketplace-cum-food-court and pick up arepas dripping with melted white cheese, cleanly fried plantains, and succulent lechón asado (roast pork). Carry your goodies to an outdoor table and relish a quintessential taste of Miami's Cuban cuisine and culture (not much English spoken here). A new Palacio is set to premiere any moment in downtown Miami—yet another "up-and-coming" neighborhood.
5721 West Flagler Street; 305-264-4557
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
A billion-dollar (yes, billion-dollar) face-lift has brought the 21st century to this classic curvilinear hotel from the 1950s. The new splendor includes 22 acres of oceanfront with six pools, a huge spa, and 11 restaurants and lounges, including Gotham Steak from New Yorker Alfred Portale and the stateside debut of chef Alan Yau's Hakkasan (Britain's only Michelin-rated Chinese joint).
4441 Collins Avenue; 305-538-2000