HAWA'S FUSION SUSHI
Word is spreading so fast about Hawa Fusion—a small Lebanese-Japanese restaurant tucked away in a quiet Coral Gables corner—that owner Mahmoud Hawa is already planning an expansion. Regulars love his decadent golden tofu-based crepe pockets stuffed with tuna, avocado, rice and macadamia nuts, and keep coming back to taste how “the two Easts meet” in plates such as the mango-pineapple salad paired with a jasmine roll and kibbeh wraps. 30 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables; hawamiami.com

CHICKEN KITCHEN'S CUBAN AND CURRY
You’ve got to love any restaurant that will hand-deliver you “a small Cuban” or “a large Mexican.” In the ’90s, the Chicken Kitchen chain of fast-food eateries spawned some serious addictions with its magnificent mustard ’n curry sauce, best poured liberally over a variety of diced chicken-breast-based chop-chops—many of which take their names from proud Latin-American nations. While we relish the Cuban (with lettuce, tomato, black beans and yellow rice), a recently indulged craving reminded us of how luscious the creamy yellow concoction tastes atop CK’s gold standard, the Original—juicy chicken breast mixed with ripe tomatoes and crisp lettuce over sumptuous yellow rice, served with a steaming hot pita. chickenkitchen.com

JIMMY'Z MOFONGO
Here at Ocean Drive, we order a lot of healthful dishes from Jimmy’z Kitchen (the jerked chicken breast salad deserves a Michelin star!), but on Fridays and Saturdays they serve the best mofongo in Miami— that’s fried green plantains mashed together with garlic, olive oil and pork rinds for all you nonboricuas. 1542 Alton Road, Miami Beach; jimmyzkitchen.com

SCARPETTA'S SPAGHETTI
Lately I’ve been thinking there might be a lot of people late to the Scarpetta spaghetti party. The pasta is thick and weighty enough to stand up to the sauce, which is much heartier than you’d expect. Scott Conant tells me one of the keys to the luscious dish lies in the very limited time he cooks the tomatoes (“if fresh tomatoes cook too long, they’d lose their brightness and great pop of flavor”), and how beautifully they combine with the basil (“dried basil would never work”). Healthy doses of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and butter add a level of smooth richness that never fails to surprise me, and seals Scarpetta’s spot as one of my top-of-mind go-to restaurants. Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

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