Look but don't eat? Not a chance! These works of culinary art are almost too pretty to devour. Almost.
Don’t be fooled by the sea urchin vessel it comes in; Pao’s Unicorn is tasty in spite of its prickly appearance.
UNDERCOVER MINIMALISM: ALTER “What you see with your eyes and what you taste are complete opposites,” says Bradley Kilgore, a Food & Wine “Best New Chef” for 2016, about his octopus (cloaked in aji panca and submerged beneath nori “ink” and vegetable chips), which looks like a sculpture you might find at the bottom of the ocean. 223 NW 23rd St., Miami, 305-573-5996
MODERN CLASSIC: BACHOUR BAKERY + BISTRO Chef Henry Hane’s mom always prepared him toad in the hole as a kid. While his version—with butter-seared house-baked brioche, two vibrant runny eggs in the center, dotted crème fraîche aioli, olive oil “snow,” and fennel fronds—is a bit more abstract, it still elicits pangs of nostalgia. 600 Brickell Ave., Miami, 305-330-6310
TAG TEAM: EATING HOUSE Since Eating House opened as a pop-up, culinary artist and Chopped winner Giorgio Rapicavoli’s philosophy has remained the same: “If cooking is an art, then we’re making graffiti.” Exhibit A: His heirloom tomatoes with peanut, ginger, nuoc cham vinaigrette, and frozen coconut milk are as vibrant as the Wynwood Walls. 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, 305-448-6524
FLOWER POWER: LA MAR BY GASTÓN ACURIO When Diego Oka came up with the Flor Causa, his goal was to create an edible flower arrangement. But don’t expect a vegetarian feast. Instead, the black causa is stuffed with Maine lobster tartare and speckled with avocado, salmon eggs, and flowers. 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami, 305-913-8358
INTO THE MYSTIC: PAO BY PAUL QUI The stuff of legend, Paul Qui’s Unicorn dish is aptly named. Grilled sweet corn pudding, kalamansi, chile de árbol, and sake aioli come together inside a sea urchin shell. Of course, there’s also uni, hence “unicorn.” 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-655-5630
POP PSYCHEDELIC: THE BAZAAR BY JOSÉ ANDRÉS While all of James Beard Award winner José Andrés’s creations are wonderfully whimsical, the dragon fruit tuna ceviche, with pecans, hibiscus, and dragon fruit foam, will have you seeing 50 shades of pink and tasting flavor combinations you never imagined existed. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-455-2999
MULTIPLE ART FORMS: 1111 PERUVIAN BISTRO Chocolate lovers can indulge in an assortment of textures and temperatures in the visually stunning and decadently sweet dessert called Chocolate Temperatures. Much like outstanding art, it will leave you thinking about it for days on end. 1111 SW First Ave., Miami, 786-615-9633