From the most elaborate sushi dishes to the freshest homemade pasta in the city — here are a few of Miami's greatest hits you need to try when you're in town.
Spaghettini neri with king crab, artichoke, chardonnay and bottarga di muggine
Upon your arrival at Amare, you will be in awe of the decor— handpainted tiles, Mediterranean blue and bold coral are an instant nod to the Versace aesthetic. No surprise, considering owner Gino Iovino has a decadelong relationship with the Italian fashion house. The menu, a collaboration between Iovino and Michelin-star recipient Franco Ricatti, also draws from the Italian good life. Here you can get some of the city’s most exquisite pasta dishes from their award-winning pasta di gragnano menu. Standouts include the casarecce, featuring Tuscan kale pesto, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms with toasted almonds. The fusilli di Capri Genovese is for all the meat lovers with slow-cooked veal and pork ragu, onion cream, carrots, celery and baby leaf. Are you sold yet? The extensive menu will cater to all your desires with options ranging from tartares, risotto, carne and fabulous pesce— the Mediterranean sea bass is unmatchable. It goes without saying that this Miami Beach hot spot is without a doubt one of the city’s top restaurants for all things Italian.
The Azabu Sundae, topped with cotton candy and a Hershey’s Cookies ’n’ Creme bar
If you prefer not only the finest sushi but to dine in complete exclusivity, you know, like your own private sushi den, then this is your spot. Azabu Miami offers next-level Asian dining, from the infinite grades of toro laid out with artistic precision to the unparalleled selection of Japanese whisky. Choose to dine in the main area and you’ll get the izakaya (shareable) experience that features dishes like robata-grilled yakitori, king crab fried rice and nigiri sushi platters. Sake, anyone? The traditional Japanese bar serves shochus, umeshu cocktails (like the Bubu-San) and over 40 imported whiskies. For Miami’s most exclusive Japanese culinary experience, opt to sit in The Den, a posh yet intimate space that you enter through the kitchen doors. Here, you’ll experience the omakase way of dining, where there’s no menu and only Tokyo’s best-trained chefs call the shots. Wherever you choose to spend your evening at this Michelin-starred concept, expect an impeccable meal and exclusive night in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
Makoto’s shake ochazuke with grilled salmon, seasonal vegetables, nori and wasabi topped with a pour of green tea
Helmed by chef Makoto Okuwa, this Stephen Starr spot dishes out the finest sushi and Japanese-inspired fare. Adorned with palm trees and koi ponds, you can relax in Makoto’s sleek and elegant ambiance located, for your shopping convenience, in the Bal Harbour Shops. Consistently noted as one of Miami’s top restaurants, the menu certainly does not disappoint. The extensive dinner menu features countless Japanese classics from the cold and hot menu; however, its more unique dishes include the short rib yaki noodles, wagyu hot stone or any of the mouthwatering dishes from the Japanese robata grill. We’ll have the octopus, seared to perfection, please! In addition to a completely separate menu for lunch, Okuwa gives us another menu exclusively for sushi—legitimately the menu of your dreams, with any sashimi or sushi roll you can imagine. If you’ve come to revamp your wardrobe at the shops, you might just leave with a new favorite restaurant and some of the best post retail therapy you’ve ever had.
Fregola pasta from Scarpetta’s Sunday brunch menu
Cheflebrity Scott Conant cooks up award-winning Italian fare in one of the city’s famous restaurants, Scarpetta. Paired with breathtaking panoramic ocean views, guests can indulge in some of the most decadent Italian dishes around. With a reputation like Scarpetta’s, it’s no surprise that chef Conant and his team handmake their pasta daily to perfection, bringing you dishes like the spaghetti al Nero featuring seafood ragú, shaved asparagus and lobster bottarga. Or if you’re in the mood for fabulous seafood, must-tries are the roasted branzino or seared halibut. You truly can’t steer wrong on this menu. To top it off, Miami’s favorite is now redefining Sunday funday with its new impeccable brunch, featuring classic dishes like the Belgian waffle, lobster Benedict or the seafood tower of your dreams, obviously paired with your choice of bottomless bubbles. The food is so good, you may just want to stay for dinner.
Photography by: Courtesy of Restaurants