Miami’s resident foodie-in-chief highlights his top picks for where to eat before, between or after Art Week Festivities.
Bottoms up, it's Basel! Toast to the most wonderful time of the year with the Rhubarb + Soda from Coconut Grove dining destination, Tigertail + Mary.
There’s nothing quite like the Magic City during Art Basel, when its cup runneth over with interactive art and cultural installations to keep one’s senses on overload. In between the parties and exhibits that seem to outdo themselves every year, I like to keep my energy up with nourishment from a mix of both more refined and quick and casual fare. With activities buzzing all over town, you never know what neighborhood you might end up (or, cough, get traffic-trapped) in—so I’m happy to share my picks for each alongside some of my favorite dishes.
At Le Jardinier, the watermelon and heirloom tomato salad is dressed tableside.
The vegetable-forward restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Alain Verzeroli is an original concept from the protégé of famed chef Joël Robuchon. As sophisticated as the neighborhood in which it resides, dishes showcasing fresh herbs and the highest- quality ingredients are as artfully constructed as the restaurant itself. Burrata with kabocha squash, fig and pomegranate is a standout starter, followed by roasted lobster with cherry smoked potatoes and favas.
The coffee and cardamom-cured salmon plate at Ember
South Florida phenomenon chef Bradley Kilgore has nestled his new wood-fired concept inside the illustrious Paradise Plaza. Dishes not typically cooked over fire—like the roasted lasagna with Gruyere fondue or cornbread custard—are just as tantalizing as the smoked fried chicken and Scottish salmon. Don’t miss the artfully crafted cocktail menu, complete with modern twists on classic libations—like the Manhattan with coconut or daiquiri with carrot and cinnamon.
It comes as no surprise that chef Danny Serfer’s new casual spot in downtown Miami has been charming taste buds for lunch since opening over the summer. Laden with classic combos, Italian specialities and vegetarian offerings, this simple menu is brimming with thoughtfully sourced ingredients and Serfer’s carefully perfected dressing for the sandwiches. Like any great sub shop, the setup is designed so that you can customize your sandwich or choose from preselected arrangements like the namesake Vinaigrette Sub— which includes an array of Italian meats and truffled pecorino.
Boulud Sud’s octopus a la plancha
Renowned chef Daniel Boulud is known for his insatiable affinity for quality and attention to detail, and his chic concept situated within the JW Marriott Marquis is no exception. A vibrant and approachable spot for dinner, this coastal Mediterranean- inspired menu is filled with fresh mains from the land and sea amid brightly spiced vegetables and grains. Begin with the expertly prepared lamb flatbread before moving through the Moroccan chicken tagine and lemon saffron linguine with shrimp.
The colorful facade of Zak The Baker
Nab breakfast, lunch or an afternoon nosh to hold you over at perhaps the most buzzed-about bakery and cafe in South Florida. Exceptionally fresh and certified kosher, Zak Stern’s eponymous spot is not only supplying the best breads in town but also a selection of vegan soups—like lentil and tomato bisque—and unique sandwich twists like the salmon Reuben. While I’m partial to their roasted heirloom tomato and labane in the morning, you also can’t go wrong with any of the featured bagel platters.
Located mere steps away from the iconic Wynwood Walls, this is an ideal place to satiate the taste buds with their Asian-inspired menu for lunch or dinner. Mouthwatering Korean fried chicken and beef short ribs are a must, to be complemented by a plethora of snacks and sides. Crunchy kale, soft-shell crab steamed buns, pork and shiitake gyoza, and grilled baby bok choy are just a few of the delicious ways to step up your game at the table.
A lunch bowl at Time Out Market
Grab some of Miami’s tastiest bites under one roof at this newly opened culinary epicenter offering a smorgasbord of tacos, sushi, smoked meats, burgers, ice cream and more in the recently debuted space spanning more than 17,000 square feet. An ideal spot to snag a quick lunch, don’t skip the contemporary offerings from star chefs Jeremy Ford and Antonio Bachour.
In the trendy South of Fifth neighborhood is David Grutman’s latest concept, brought to life in partnership with David “Papi” Einhorn—a charismatic guest of Groot Hospitality’s nightlife outlets. Classic steakhouse elegance meets Hollywood glamour, and an over-the-top menu to match. Start with the PB&J uni toast and wagyu pastrami, before indulging in the Papi glatt kosher ribeye and side of Monop-Potato topped with caviar.
Celebrated chef Fabio Trabocchi’s flagship, Michelin- starred Fiola in Washington, D.C., has long been a spot for power players, and his first outpost of the concept in South Miami has proven to have the same stronghold on discerning palates. Alongside his wife and business partner Maria Trabocchi, the chef has given the area a luxurious platform to experience his delectable fare. Eye-catching raw bar and crudo offerings are just the brink of a menu bursting with soups, salads and wood-oven and simply grilled offerings. But you won’t want to skip over the pastas— especially the Roman shell cacio e pepe and lobster ravioli.
Tigertail + Mary in Coconut Grove offers the perfect escape.
Designed to be as lush and easygoing as the neighborhood in which it resides, acclaimed chef Michael Schwartz presents a series of dishes comprised of honestly treated ingredients for his latest culinary endeavor. The pizzas and pastas for which Schwartz is known are combined with delicacies like lamb neck, speck and sunchoke chips. Larger mains like meticulously prepared Berkshire pork chops with mustard jus and Open Blue cobia with braised fennel are enjoyed after succinct starters like yellowjack crudo with smoked trout roe and pink peppercorn or octopus with chorizo vinaigrette.
Photography by: Courtesy of restaurants