By: Kara Franker
Where to go out to eat in the Miami Design District
Top chefs have turned their attention to the Miami Design District, opening everything from namesake restaurants by James Beard Award-winning chefs, to casual, café-style diners and eateries. Whether you’re there for the shopping or the people-watching, stop into one of these Design District locales for breakfast, lunch, dinner or an afternoon respite that’s sure to leave you craving another visit.
The brainchild of Chef Dena Marina, MC Kitchen is the Design District’s spot for farm-to-table Italian fare. With a menu inspired by a childhood spent in her grandmother’s kitchen, Chef Dena’s MC Kitchen has become known for its house made pastas like white truffle cream Fiocchi, or purses of fresh pasta stuffed with roasted pear; spicy spaghetti sautéed with Florida shrimp; and hand-rolled, squiggled trofie noodles in a green pesto, to name a few. The restaurant’s modern, honest approach to Italian cooking has put it on the map as a “must-try” dining locale in Miami. Try a creative cocktail like the “Bunny Wigglesworth,” with Sombra mezcal, ruby red grapefruit, bitter orange and desert lime. 4141 NE 2nd Avenue, #101a Miami, FL 33137
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
Considered the game-changer of the Design District, the arrival of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink put this posh neighborhood on the map for something other than high-end fashion houses and luxury furniture boutiques. Led by world-renowned, James Beard Award-wining Chef Michael Schwartz, this farm-to-table American bistro boasts relaxed vibes and unparalleled snacks, small plates and entrées made with only the freshest ingredients, all marked by the chef’s signature unpretentious and inventive flair. For a meal you won’t forget, head here for everything from lamb sausage pizza and crispy, sweet-and-spicy pork belly with kimchi; to deviled egg snacks, crispy pig ears and brunch favorites like wood oven-roasted double yolk egg with sourdough crostini and breakfast pizza. 130 NE 40th Street Miami, FL 33137
Michael Schwartz keeps the hits coming, with another crowd favorite: Cypress Tavern. An American grill and chic cocktail bar, expect classic brasserie fare and an impressive weekend brunch. On select Saturdays, a jazz brunch draws the locals for a boozy but elegant affair. Try items like the lobster omelet and beet salad with pickled red onion, sherry vinaigrette and aged goat cheese. 3620 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33137
Just two blocks west of his flagship restaurant, Harry’s Pizzeria is another Michael Schwartz mainstay. Order gluten-free local craft beer and wood-oven pizza topped with locally sourced ingredients. This hotspot is a crowd favorite in the Design District and there's another locale in Coconut Grove. 3918 N. Miami Avenue Miami, FL 33127
Another Chef Michael Schwartz hotspot, ella serves deliciously-light fare from morning to early evening. Nothing more than a home-style counter in the heart of Palm Court, this casual lobby-style eatery boasts tasty dishes like avocado toast, parmesan-crusted grilled cheese, and the Power Breakfast: a mix of Greek yogurt, chia jelly, banana, blueberries, granola, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and dried mulberries. Stop by in the afternoon for a glass of chilled rosé, and if you’re smart, don’t leave without one of ella’s daily-changing menu of gourmet donuts, featuring everything from chocolate and toffee or white chocolate and macadamia donuts, to a “churros” donut and one steeped in double chocolate and honey bee pollen. 140 NE 39th Street, #136 Miami, FL 33137
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Sitting in an unassuming 1940’s-style home on the edge of the Design District, Mandolin Aegean Bistro combines a romantic, alfresco ambiance with the fresh flavors of authentic Greek and Turkish cuisine. Staying true to its ethnicity, this restaurant offers a menu of rustic childhood dishes made with simple Mediterranean ingredients; like locally caught fish, the highest quality vegetables, house made bread, feta cheese and rich yogurt. To start your meal, order the Turkish sampler “mezze” with hummus, tomato walnut dip and beet purée, or for something with a little more “kick,” try the shrimp ouzo with tomato and feta. When its time for a main meal, get the whole Mediterranean Sea bass or perfectly-grilled lamb chops over orzo pilaf. 4312 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33137
Crumb on Parchment
The latest eatery by world-renowned Chef Michelle Bernstein, Crumb on Parchment is a café-style locale with affordable breakfast, lunch, pastry, soup, sandwich, salad and snack options. Located in The Melin Building, stop by before work for a slice of house made banana bread. Or head there for lunch and order the popular roast beef sandwich with creamy horseradish, sweet onions, and greens. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t leave without one of this café’s delicious chocolate brownies – they’re made with butter, rich chocolate, and a whole lot of Chef Bernstein’s James Beard Award-winning love. 3930 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33137
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