Local Miami Chefs Dish On The Best Eats In The City

bourbon stk fish

Delicious fish at Bourbon Steak

big easy app

Appetizer at Big Easy

dim sum

Dim Sum at Hakkasan

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Take it from those who know. According to Miami’s top chefs, these are the best restaurants in town.

When it comes to delicious, flavorful food and under-the-radar dining experiences, Miami’s chefs know what’s good. Read on for your guide to Miami’s best restaurants according to the city’s most beloved chefs. You’ll be salivating—and making reservations in no time!

Jose Mendin, Chef-Owner at Habitat at 1 Hotel South Beach

Habitat: 2395 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

“I love the chicken livers with chives at Yakko San. I am a fan of chicken livers in general, but these are crispy. The sauce is great and the bean sprouts add a bit of crunch dimension.

I think Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina at Turnberry Isle hotel is the perfect spot for a romantic date night. Great food and superior service is exactly what I want on a night out with my lady.

The fried chicken sandwich with dill pickles at The Anderson is awesome. I mean who doesn’t want a delicious fried chicken sandwich after a long night of service? Food and cooking can be so complicated. What makes this great is its simplicity.

My favorite local neighborhood spot is Pinch Kitchen. It’s cozy, near my home and never lets me down! For craft cocktails: Broken Shaker. Best Cuban spot: Enriquetas.”

Sean Brasel, Executive Chef-Partner at Meat Market

Meat Market: 915 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

“There’s nothing like good offal. My favorite is bone marrow, which I serve at my restaurant with short rib cherry marmalade. Next to mine, I’d say the best bone marrow in town is from Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill. They pair it with veal cheek marmalade, adding the perfect contrast to the rich flavor and fattiness of the marrow. I can eat bone marrow with just about anything – I’ve even used it as a spread on toast!

For a great Mediterranean place, I always go to Byblos in Miami Beach. The vibe of this restaurant transports you out of Miami and the food is phenomenal. I always order the lamb ribs and can’t leave without having one of the rices on the menus, which are packed with spices.

Lure Fishbar is my top pick for seafood. You can’t go wrong with anything there – the scrumptious platters, well-stocked raw bar, fresh sushi, and lots of variations on fish. I love Josh Capon’s take on seafood. The branzino is one of the best I’ve had.

I’m more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but I can appreciate good dessert. Zak the Baker is definitely the king of baked goods in Miami. Everything is delicious and baked fresh daily. Whether you order the almond pear danish, banana bread, croissant, or the fresh artisanal bread, you won’t be disappointed. I use Zak the Baker buns for burgers at my restaurant and they’re a total hit. The bakery is certified kosher and even has an in-house deli – what more can you ask for? If you’re ever in Miami, stop by and try the chocolate hazelnut croissant!”

Michael McLaurin, Chef at Big Easy Winebar and Grill at Brickell City Centre

Big Easy Winebar and Grill: 701 South Miami Avenue, Miami

“There are so many great restaurants in Miami. Stiltsville Fish Bar and Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach stand out the most for me. Stiltville Fish Bar has some of the best seafood in Miami, from the fish wings to the sweet corn spoon bread – they can’t miss. Not to mention the best fried chicken in Miami. Hakkasan is another favorite of mine because of my love for pan Asian food. The jasmine tea smoked ribs are my favorite, as well as the lobster fried rice.”

Raul A. Del Pozo, Executive Chef at Lightkeepers at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne

Lightkeepers: 455 Grand Bay Drive, Key Biscayne

Bazaar Mar by Jose Andres at SLS Brickell is one of my favorite restaurants for the playfulness and sense of theater in every bite. With gorgeous decor and an impressive wine selection, they transport your culinary palate to flavors beyond what you could have dreamed.

If you’re looking for downright solid Italian, Toscana Divino is my all-time favorite spot. From the classic décor and progressive wine list, you cannot go wrong with this place. The food is explosive and the pasta is to die for.”

Brian Nasajon, Executive Chef at Beaker & Gray

Beaker & Gray: 2637 North Miami Avenue, Miami

“One of the best things I've had in Miami is the pho at Hy Vong. This tiny whole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place is hidden on a corner right off Calle Ocho. When you walk in, the place feels like a family turned their humble home into a restaurant, putting out some of the most balanced, well-seasoned Vietnamese food I've ever tried. Walk by the kitchen and you'll see a petite lady, resembling pretty much everybody's favorite grandma, stirring a crockpot that's probably twice her size. The concoction is an amazing pork-based broth, doused with herbs and lime juice. The aromas have clearly been developing for hours and the braised pork ribs have soaked it all up. I swear I would bathe in that soup if given the opportunity.”

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