Where To Find The Best Southern Cooking In Miami

Downtown Miami Skyline

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By Carolyn Keating

These hipster Southern eateries boast boutique bourbon bars, crispy chicken and waffles and other down home favorites.

While Miami cuisine is best known for international and Latin American specialties, a few notable spots serve up deliciously down-home Southern chow. Luckily for Southern fried aficionados, these eateries offer both style and substance. Southern restaurants in Miami please the palate with up-to-date spins on finger-licking favorites like chicken and waffles, shrimp 'n grits, fried green tomatoes, biscuits, cornbread and a whole lot more.

Bird & Bone

South Beach swank and country cookin' go hand in hand at Bird & Bone at the Confidante Miami Beach. Indoors, the airy main dining area boasts an elegant marble bar and a showstopper chandelier. Country primitive décor reigns throughout, with plenty of seating for large and small groups. The Confidante is an oceanfront hotel, so dining on a pillow strewn sofa on the restaurant’s lovely shaded patio is the perfect way to prepare for your carb coma. Take a selfie by the pool before nibbling on Mason jar appetizer dips and sipping craft cocktails with your friends. Indie music wafts through the air (along with ocean breezes), setting the tone at this Mid Beach bastion of Southern comfort.

Chef Richard Hales' menu’s crowd pleasers include his fried Hot Chicken, Sea Scallops atop “Hoppin John” (made with Heirloom Red Eye Peas and Carolina Gold Rice), Black Eyed Pea Soup and flavor-packed Cheddar and Chive Biscuits. The menu offers some decidedly non-Southern fare, too, including Chilled Lobster Salad, Tuna Poke Bowls, Angus steaks and Grilled Oysters. Sunday Brunch splits its focus between rib-sticking Southern fare, assorted salads and a taco menu. End things on a sweet note with Key lime pie or Chocolate Bourbon cake. While you may get a table on a weekday without any trouble, Bird & Bone is a favorite weekend brunch hangout, so be sure to make reservations.

    Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

    On South Beach, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar rules the roost (pun intended) when it comes to amazing fried chicken. This South Beach hot spot brines its birds for 27 hours, dips them in seasoned flour and fries up every delicious piece ‘o poultry to a perfect mahogany brown. The result is a bird that's moist on the inside, crispy and delicious on the outside. You can savor it solo, tucked in a biscuit or atop a waffle with bourbon maple syrup and hot sauce on the side.

    Of course, no one heads to a bonafide Southern joint with the word "lowfat" in mind. So please, toss those low carb diets to the wind while you allow yourself to indulge, yes really indulge, in Yardbird’s fluffy buttermilk biscuits served with butter and jam, delectable shrimp 'n grits seasoned with country ham or the fried green tomatoes layered with pork belly, pimiento cheese and frisée. Dessert faves include peach cobbler a la mode and Fried Oreos.

    Yardbird's decor is rustic chic, with leather banquettes, pendant lighting, wood floors and an open kitchen. A bourbon bar serves cocktails like Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade and the Yardbird Old Fashioned, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Angostura Orange Bitters and maple syrup. A well curated selection of wines stand up nicely to the restaurant's robustly flavored fare. Craft beers, too, are available. Yardbird is located in a quieter section of South Beach, but that doesn't mean you won't need reservations. You most certainly will. It's popular and busy, even during weekday lunch. The good news: Yardbird is open seven days a week and brunch is served on both Saturday and Sunday. So plan ahead and wear loose clothing. You won't leave hungry.

      Swine Southern Table & Bar

      The crisp aroma of hickory smoke hits your nostrils before you walk through the door at Swine Southern Table & Bar. Reclaimed barn wood, dark leather booths and a humorous pig theme keep the mood relaxed at this fun and funky two-story Southern joint in tony Coral Gables. Swine is the sister restaurant to Yardbird. While their menus share similarities, at Swine things are a lot more bacon-centric. And that’s putting it mildly. Case in point is their brunch favorite, The “King’s” Tall Stack: bacon buttermilk pancakes served with banana caramel, peanut butter mousse, and spiced apple pie jelly. Elvis is groaning somewhere…. The “B” word is also the star of the BLT Benedict and the oh-so-creamy Mac ‘n Cheese made with five cheeses, and topped with smoked bacon and breadcrumbs.

      At Swine, you can nosh on small plates, large plates and side dishes, while trying very hard to save room for dessert. Carnivores smack their lips to the likes of smoked brisket and ribs, a craft sausage board and the ever popular Swine Burger (a short rib, brisket and smoked pork blend). Vegetarians aren’t total outcasts here. You can literally make a meal out of Swine’s divine Deviled Eggs. There’s a nice kale salad too, along with veggie sides like Grilled Corn with Spiced Avocado Crema and Queso Fresco, creamy grits, and roasted Brussels sprouts. For dessert, try the warm banana bread or Swine's Sticky Buns, with candied pecans, salted caramel ice cream and toffee sauce.

      The bonhomie is infectious at Swine, whether you score a first floor table or a seat in the darker, cozier upstairs space. Cocktails and mocktails are creative and tasty, along with wine selections and craft beer. Service is unfailingly polite and valet parking is available in case you can’t find street parking in Downtown Coral Gables.

        COOP

        Coop offers gourmet grab-and-go Southern fare inside the St. Roch Market, an upscale food hall on the second floor of the Palm Court in Miami’s Design District. If you’re craving a chicken biscuit while perusing the latest styles at Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and other high fashion emporiums, stop by Coop and get your fix. In Miami, gourmet food halls proffering tasty fare from local chefs have become all the rage.

        Owned by three Cuban brothers, Coop keeps things simple by delivering tasty fried chicken atop cheddar and chive waffles or between crispy biscuits. There’s also Watermelon Salad, the “Ave Maria” (a pulled pork sandwich with guava barbecue sauce), stone ground Grits Your Way (add-ons include shrimp, chicken or pork) and Gorgonzola Mac ‘n Cheese. The chef owners serve standard Southern favorites while whipping up new dishes based on customers’ requests. Often, these new dishes (like Fried Chicken Tacos) become menu staples. Coop is clearly one of the most popular vendors among the dozen or so located inside St. Roch Market, and well worth a stop.

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