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Which are the 'Best of the Best' restaurants in Miami South Beach right now?

I was wondering which were the top 10 best restaurants in Miami South Beach right now? I'm putting together a list for a friend but as I haven't visited Miami South Beach in awhile, so I'm not sure which are the best restaurants right now. The list can cover the entire price spectrum, where I'm looking for places that have a combination of great food, design and atmosphere.

Can anyone help? Thanks!

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  1. Do you want this list limited to only South Beach? Design District/Downtown? Coral Gables? While this list will clearly be different across the spectrum of opinions and the areas you want included, for me throughout the city, I would say:

    Michael's Genuine
    Joe's
    Sra. Martinez
    Palme D'Or
    Osteria del Teatro
    Il Gabbiano
    Romeo's Cafe
    Azul
    Naoe
    Solea

    9 Replies
    1. re: mikek

      Thanks Mike! I'm trying to keep the list to around the South Beach & Design District/ Downtown areas

      1. re: wilconcres007

        In that case, knock off Palme D'Or, Naoe and Romeo's. Not sure what else I would add in their place other than Talula (which I completely forgot about the first time around). Many love Sardinia, though I was underwhelmed when I last went.

        1. re: mikek

          is romeo's good ? I never hear anything about it!

          1. re: HabaneroJane

            It is still on my list, but several foodie friends whose opinions I trust have said it is the absolute best dining experience they have had in Miami. Said everything from the food to service to the creation of the menu to the wine pairings are 100% spot on.

            1. re: mikek

              I have not been in a long time but my old review of romeos can be searched...

      2. re: mikek

        just went to solea and have to agree that it is a contender

        1. re: mikek

          Just went to Joe's and got previously frozen stone crab. Very disappointing. They claim that they never sell frozen product, but these were either frozen or left soaking in water much too long. I've had stone crab a hundred times or more and these were as bad as the worst I've ever had. Some comments on Chowhound suggest that they know what they have and they try to pass it off to unsuspecting customers. If indeed they are frozen, their cost is far below the cost of fresh crab and might make financial sense for them.

          1. re: Buzzy2

            Stone crabs are a local product, and presumably Joe's is buying their crabs off the boats. If they're frozen it's because Joe's is freezing the claws themselves, not because they're buying them frozen.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              Either way, they are not of the quality that would justify their cost and reputation.

        2. I'd add meat market to the sobe list, great steak and sides. I wouldnt rate it in my top 10 for all of miami, but as far as the design dist goes, ive had some yummy meals at buena vista bistro.

          1. I'm not big on making lists, but I'll give it a shot.

            SOUTH BEACH:
            - Talula
            - Indomania
            - Sardinia
            - Joe's Stone Crab

            MID-BEACH
            - Hakkasan
            - Scarpetta

            OFF-BEACH
            - Michael's Genuine
            - Sra. Martinez
            - Pacific Time
            - Sugarcane

            Also worthy of mention, but I've either not been yet or not been recently enough to give an opinion: Solea (SoBe), Meat Market (SoBe), Setai and Grill at the Setai (SoBe), Mandolin Aegean Bistro (nr Design District).

            Edited to add - my "Off-Beach" list is based on OP's limitation to Design District & downtown.

            www.foodforthoughtmiami.com

            8 Replies
            1. re: Frodnesor

              You forgot michy's. If you are already going over the bay you might as well...

              In south beach you forgot osteria del teatro and if you are going to include indomania, I would put creek 28 ahead of it...also alta mar -- alta mare is doing friends and family now btw. They will open very soon.

              1. re: tpigeon

                There are many restaurants I like that I excluded because they're not South Beach, Design District or Downtown. Not that it's really so far, but Michy's is about 30 blocks north of the Design District.

                I've not been to Osteria, Creek 28 or Alta Mar (I know - for shame).

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  speaking of Creek 28...anyone been there lately? Hearing it's really good. Under the radar kind of spot like Barolo.

                  1. re: HabaneroJane

                    Went to creek 28 last year for dinner, was romantic and delicious

                    1. re: morganeats

                      We are excited about trying many of these eateries during an upcoming visit to Miami. Can anyone weigh in on which of these places might be the most successful / hospitable for the one vegan in our party?

                      1. re: annadk

                        - Indomania does a vegetarian rijsttafel.
                        - Pacific Time has lots of vegetables on the menu and is good at responding to special diets.
                        - Interesting that from the online menu at Michy's, it's one of the few places in town to apparently offer a vegetarian entree (chick pea panisse w mushroom spinach ragout at bottom of menu) ->
                        http://michysmiami.com/menus/dinner/
                        - Sra. Martinez may have even more vegetable tapas to put together a meal and some of the best things there are the veggies - crispy artichokes; eggplant with honey; corn w chiles; padron peppers
                        http://www.sramartinez.com/menus/dinn...
                        - At Sugarcane could put together several vegetable tapas.
                        - Hakkasan has several tofu, vegetable, noodle & rice dishes that would likely work.

                        1. re: Frodnesor

                          On 20th Street right near Publix is Barbu, an organic tapas restaurant with vegetarian entrees. Very, very casual. I will not comment on the food as I know the owner so don't want to be biased. The menu is on the Web site.

                          http://marcandblue.com/aboutus.aspx

              2. re: Frodnesor

                note my comments about Joe's above. I have removed them from my list.

              3. Talula seems to really have the boards approval. Whats it like at night? Better for a relaxing last dinner on sunday, than a pre-bar warmup on saturday?

                -----
                Talula
                210 23rd St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                6 Replies
                1. re: alyssabrooke

                  I would say its better for a chill relaxing dinner. Its not much of a scene. But, its such good food and very close to the W, Gansevort, etc, so if you wanted to go there before going out it has a great location and is worth the meal

                  1. re: morganeats

                    it's the antithesis of scene, which is why bona fide foodies love the place. unlike most south beach restaurants, the food here is the focus!

                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                      Just made a reservation there for Saturday night. How are the desserts?

                      1. re: mikek

                        Im not a dessert guy but I will advise this - if there is any dish with tripe, get it. I've had 3 different tripe dishes there and all 3 were phenomenal. The shortrib main is also out of this world. I also like the grouper main there and the foie app.

                  2. re: alyssabrooke

                    I'm planning a trip to Miami too and after so many positive reviews about Talula found that their website says they've closed. Have they reopened????

                    -----
                    Talula's Cafe'
                    3045 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306

                  3. I've compiled a list of the best places in and around Miami:
                    http://bit.ly/dpbxzd

                    1. I'm somewhat surprised that no one mentioned Nemo's. Its obviously not as good as good as when Michael Schwartz was there, but still better than Sra. Martinez any day of the week. That place is seriously overrated.

                      Also, agree that Michy's should be on the list, that place is great. For some lunch only spots I would add books and book on lincoln road and joe allen on purdy (both more for scene than food, but both have pretty good food).

                      -----
                      Michy's
                      6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

                      Sra. Martinez
                      4000 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137

                      Nemo
                      100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bfgpollara

                        I have not been back to Nemo for at least a couple years at this point, but my last visit was disappointing. It was definitely one of my favorites back in the day, when Michael Schwartz was running the kitchen. That was quite some time ago. Yet on my last visit - which was years after Schwartz had left, and they had been through at least a couple more chef changes - the menu had basically changed not one bit, only the execution was nowhere near at the same level. Plus the place had become physically run down - holes in the cushions, etc. - and I'd always thought this was one of the most pleasant restaurant spaces on South Beach.

                        From a look at the current online menu, it appears as if they finally have updated the menu some. Though rather than adding much interesting and different, it seems they've mostly just added several "lowest common denominator" items - deviled eggs, "kobe" sliders, chopped salad, short rib, chicken breast, churrasco, "kobe" meatball w marinara, miso sea bass ... And the prices are eye-goggling: $25 for kobe slider app (I will bet you, by the way, that is not genuine Japanese Kobe beef); $21 for a tuna tartare; $38 for short ribs; $35 for a churrasco; $38 for sea bass; vegetable sides for $12? Wow.

                        I'd go back to Sra. Martinez a dozen times before going back to Nemo (and I'm sure I have).

                        -----
                        Sra. Martinez
                        4000 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137

                        Nemo
                        100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                      2. I would add Nobu to the list. Although their toro is not up to their old standards, they do a lot of things very well. Certainly their other sushi is equal to or better than anything else in SOBE.

                        Also, although 20 minutes west of SOBE, Tropical Chinese is one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants that I have experienced in Florida with very good dim sum and a variety of other excellent traditional dishes. It's in a strip mall and not gourmet or classy but it fits right in with many of the places you'd find in Chinatown (NY, SF, Boston.)

                        -----
                        Tropical Chinese Restaurant
                        7991 Bird Rd, Miami, FL 33155

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Buzzy2

                          "Certainly their other sushi is equal to or better than anything else in SOBE" = damning with faint praise.

                          The best things at Nobu are the cooked foods, though my last experience trying their sushi was better than I've had before (improved in part because they've finally actually put in a sushi bar, a puzzling omission from the original design of the place).

                          1. re: Frodnesor

                            I've eaten at Nobu's restaurants hundreds of times in the US and overseas and although this location is good, it isn't up to the standards of some others. I particularly have a problem with the toro, since Mediterranean farmed tuna is not my thing. I'm used to great North Atlantic bluefin. That being said, they do know how to prepare the rice, unlike most Florida sushi bars and they understand the key concept of balance when it comes to sushi. I only waffled a bit because I haven't tried all of the other sushi purveyors in the SOBE area. If a great one did open up, I'm pretty sure that my chef friends would let me know.

                            Sadly, I have found nothing like the better places in NY and L.A. in this area. Not that I expect another Matsuhisa or Masa, but I would welcome a close second.

                            1. re: Buzzy2

                              No need to waffle - there is no good sushi on South Beach. Curiously, I've heard it said that the SoBe Nobu is one of the best of the empire - I'm not vouching for that statement, just noting it.

                              For really good sushi, get off South Beach and go to Naoe (Sunny Isles), Sushi Deli a/k/a Japanese Market (North Bay Village); also, Matsuri (South Miami) has its fans.

                              I'll skip the speech about consuming bluefin, this is not the place for it.

                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                I've been to quite a few Nobu establishments and my favorite is the one at Atlantis in the Bahamas.