New York's Culinary Scene Is Making a Splash on the South Florida Dining Front

By Kathy Buccio | March 5, 2018 | Food & Drink

You know you live in a vastly eclectic culinary city when you start spotting some hit dining players from the ‘foodie capital of the world,’ making their mark in South Florida. That’s right. I’m talking about New York City, and they want a piece of the Miami action. Miami, brimming with more than just Latin flavors and sunny beaches, has become a popular outpost for some of the best NYC restaurants on the map. South Floridians are serious about their food, and the world is taking notice—especially New Yorkers (including me). You can now get a bite of the Big Apple right in your own backyard when you visit one of these hot spots on your next dining adventures.

Azabu

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This is not your traditional sushi restaurant. This is the Tribeca, Michelin-starred rated, Sushi Azabu, which has opened it’s long-awaited doors at the Marriott Stanton Beach Hotel. If what you are craving is an authentic Japanese dining experience, Azabu delivers ten fold, while always keeping to the tradition of Omotenashi—selfless service with a spirit of warmth and respect. However, there are two features only available at the Miami hotspot, and that’s a main dining room and a hidden sushi den, which boasts a sushi counter and a cocktail bar offering over 40 different whiskies, sake, and flavor-infused cocktails. Delicate simplicity, by way of the avo-uni, a simply grilled half avocado topped with Uni, soy sauce, and wasabi, is the restaurant’s most popular dish and it is packed with flavor and freshness. The hamachi jalapeño Azabu style (daikon and cucumber wrapped with hamachi, topped with jalapeno and ikura) is a must-get. Whether you’re missing a taste of one of NYC’s best sushi spots, or looking for one of Miami’s best new restaurants, make a rezzie at Azabu, where the fresh fish flies first class from Japan. 161 Ocean Dr., 786-276-0520

Root and Bone

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Good ol’ Southern Food has arrived from Root and Bone’s East Village in New York to a brand spankin’ new pop-up location at the Shelborne Hotel. Top Chef Alums Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are making waves in Miami’s culinary scene with the recent opening of Stiltsville; but, it’s their Root and Bone menu that has all the locals talking. Jeff and Janine’s award-winning fried chicken (sweet tea brined, dusted with lemon, and spiked with tabasco honey) is crispy goodness that explodes with a sweet and savory combination. You’ll also find their famous drunkin deviled eggs and the buckwheat cheddar waffles with bourbon maple syrup (flavor is perflectly balanced and not overpowered by the sharp cheddar taste). The marriage of unique Art Deco architecture with a modern-rustic finish gives way to an inviting dining experience that’s all about Southern Hospitality. If you see the chefs, say hello, the friendly vibe is just as laid-back and warm as the country cooking. 1801 Collins Ave., 305-341-1314

Roberta’s Pop-Up

Pizza-lovers, rejoice! Miamians can now grab a slice of the uber-trendy (but equally delicious) pizza from Bushwick’s own, Roberta’s. The Design District’s Jungle Plaza has the goods starting with the not-so-basic basic margherita (tomato, mozzarella, and basil) and the famous original (tomato, mozzarella, caciocavallo, parmigiano, oregano, and chili), or the bee sting (tomato, mozzarella, soppressata, chili flakes, and honey), now available to us So Flo foodies. City backdrops are swapped out for Tropical vibes, and the manufacturing plant interior at the Brooklyn locale is substituted by a chic mobile pizza stand surrounded by picnic tables and vibrant street art and murals. You may want to hurry, though. The pop-up will be closing it’s doors at the end of the month. 3801 NE 1st Ave., Design District, 212-920-4490

Lure Fishbar

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Step inside the yacht-themed restaurant at the Loews Miami Beach, and your taste buds are sure to sail back to it’s original outpost on Mercer Street, in NYC’s Soho neighborhood. Some can’t-miss dishes such as the grilled octopus with chickpeas, celery, lime, and Aleppo pepper vinaigrette, and the classic lobster roll, have made their way on to the Miami menu. However, there are some new dishes unique to Miami, including the tender hokkaido scallops (with English peas, citrus segments, carrot-orange purée, togarashi). If you get a chance to meet Chef Ronnie Jariyawiriya commend him on his impressive sushi and sashimi offerings and presentation (he’s also a chef with a contagious sense of humor). The crispy rice cake (spicy tuna tartare, crispy nori, wasabi aioli) is a fun and tasty appetizer that never goes out of style, and signature rolls such as the Lure house (shrimp tempura with spicy tuna) are great for sharing. You can’t miss some of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, including the anchor made with Titos vodka, meletti, raspberry, and fresh lemon. 1601 Collins Ave., 305-695-4550

Lucali

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Chances are, you’ll be seeing a lot of David Beckham at Lucali’s Sunset Harbour location in the coming months. The Brooklyn pizzeria, owned by Mark Iacono, is a favorite of the soccer giant, as well as other celebs including Beyonce and Jay-Z. Lucali has been pleasing pizza aficionados in South Florida for a few years now and the hype hasn't died down. Spice up your plain pie with toppings such as mushrooms, red peppers, shallots, hot peppers, and pepperoni. The Calzones are a must-try and no meal at Lucali is complete without their coveted Nutella pie. Get your pie, a bottle of wine, and grab a table outside while you take in some Miami Beach street style. 1930 Bay Rd., Sunset Harbour, 305-695-4441

Blue Ribbon Sushi

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Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Miami’s Blue Ribbon Sushi location at the Plymouth Hotel, where the famed Blue Ribbon fried chicken is still one of the most popular items on the menu whether you’re in the Big Apple or the Magic City. This New York City favorite has moved down the East Coast and has a found a second home amongst palm trees and sand. Besides an array of fresh sushi sashimi and rolls such as the spicy crab roll, or the ebi tempura, it’s worth a visit just to sample some of the other big plate dishes, including the grilled rib eye (tempura onions, black pepper, and miso sauce) or the bold-flavored oxtail fried rice (bone marrow, Shiitake mushroom, daikon radish). You’ll feel like you’re right back in New York…only warmer. 336 21st St., 305-800-0404

Il Mulino

Not one, but two Il Mulino locations have infiltrated the South Florida dining scene. For those South of Fifth, a bright, all white modern interior welcomes you at the high-end Italian eatery, which originally opened in downtown New York over thirty years ago. The other, a little further north in the posh neighborhood of Sunny Isles, oozes old money luxury while serving up classic Italian dishes inside the Acqualina Resort. Expect an exquisite dining experience and presentation when you order favorites such as the rigatoni alla bolognese (braised veal and beef in a rich tomato sauce), porcini risotti (wild mushrooms with black truffle), and the costoletta alla parmigiana (pounded breaded veal chop with topped with marinara and imported cheese). Il Mulino takes Italian fine dining to new levels with their exceptional execution and ambiance. 17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles, 305-466-9191

Upland

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Chef Justin Smillie ’s California, cuisine-driven restaurant, Upland, was a winning addition to the NYC dining map, and it’s now causing a positive stir amongst food lovers on Miami Beach and beyond. The seasonal rustic fare that made it so well-loved in New York is also evident at the Miami location. Expect health-centric ingredients that are organic and fresh when you dine at Upland. Start with the little gem salad, which is heavy on flavor without being overdone—think avocado, cucumber, ricotta salata, and walnut vinaigrette for sweet finish. The crispy Parisian gnocchi is very simply seasoned with sage and topped with parmesan for an easy and filling flavor, and if you’re still hungry for more, order the coal roasted short rib for two with castelvetrano olives, walnuts, celery, and horseradish. The meat literally falls apart in your mouth. Wash it down with one of the many California, French, or Italian wines Chef Smillie has on display at the ultra-sleek Miami Beach location. The open concept kitchen is also a nice touch. 49 Collins Ave., 305-602-9998

Luke’s Lobster

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The seafood shack, which made its debut almost 10 years ago in the East Village, has finally arrived at the Brickell City Centre in sunny Miami—and the no-frills locale is bringing fresh lobster and fish straight from the docks to the shack. Seafood-loving foodies that aren’t familiar with the NYC location, but who really care about the quality and sustainability of what they eat, will love Luke’s. Maine boy and third generation lobster man, Luke Holden, has consistently kept churning out good food, such as their famous lobster roll, which is 1/4lb of chilled wild caught lobster in a split top bun with melted lemon butter, mayo, and their secret seasoning. The lobster mac n’ cheese and the New England clam chowder are also a must-have. The sea-to-table concept just opened a second location at the new dining hall at Aventura Mall. There’s more lobster love to go around. 701 South Miami Ave., Brickell, 786-837-7683

The Halal Guys

To all those transplant New Yorkers who stood on line at the 53rd street and 6th Avenue Halal Guys food truck (the OG of food trucks), this is one is for you. The Halal Guys is now serving up their famous gyro and falafel at their first Florida location in Davie, and it’s worth the trip.Their famous platters, served with rice and your choice of chicken will also be on the menu. Hummus, falafel, fries, and Baba Ganouj round up the sides, and once you’re done feasting on the tasty Middle Eastern street food, make sure to order the baklava. Don’t forget their secret white sauce for the ultimate bonus. 2268 South University Dr., Davie, 954-947-1817

Scarpetta

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James Beard Award-winning chef, Scott Conant, hit a celebrity home run when he opened his famed Meatpacking restaurant at the iconic Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach. Locals and tourists flock to the luxe hot spot for Italian classics with breathtaking views. The creamy polenta with fricassee of truffled mushrooms will have your mouth watering before you even reach your main course. You came for the pasta, but why not go outside the box and order the lobster , tagliatelle with uni, saffron, panna fresca and parsley crumbs. Not only will Scarpetta deliver when it comes to an elevated dining experience, but the people-watching, stilettos, and hot shots, is also worth the price of dinner. Here’s something New York doesn’t have—a sunset social hour from 6-7 p.m. and $12 cocktails. 4441 Collins Ave., 305-674-4660

The Dutch

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Trendy Soho eatery, The Dutch, is bringing New York flavors with a Miami twist to South Florida, and you can taste it all for yourself at it’s chic location inside the W Hotel South Beach. The daily offering of East Coast and West Coast oysters from the Oyster Room is the perfect way to kick off the evening—make it even better when you pair it with a glass of champagne. Chef Andrew Carmellini keeps with the ‘if it aint broke don't fix it’ mantra, because the American cuisine menu is good all-around and then some. Start with the prime steak tartare, cognanc aioli, shitaki, and toasted rye before moving on to my personal favorite, the roasted jerk pork (Coca-Cola rice and pineapple chutney). For cocktails, we recommend the Jungle Bird #2 made with Blackstrap rum, Avua ‘Amburana’ cachaca, campari, lime, and organic pineapple. It’ll be even more refreshing if you sip in the restaurant’s outside garden. 2201 Collins Ave., 305-938-3111



Photography by: photography courtesy of Azabu; Root and Bone; Lure Fishbar; Lucali; Blue Ribbon Sushi; Upland; Luke's Lobster; Scarpetta; The Dutch