Miami Chefs Dish On The Best Eats In Town

Big Eye Tuna at Pubbelly Sushi

Big Eye Tuna at Pubbelly Sushi

bourbon stk fish

Bourbon Steak

Jaya at The Setai

Jaya at The Setai

Kaido

Kaido

  • Share
By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Miami’s dining scene is constantly evolving, and if you’re visiting, you may be overwhelmed by all the choices. The best resources? Our local chefs who know all the restaurants serving the best food in town. From what they’re craving to under-the-radar gems to the must-orders at their own restaurant, the city’s most beloved chefs dish on their favorite spots.

Camouflage Lasagne at Alter
Camouflage Lasagne at Alter

Brad Kilgore, Chef-Owner

Alter, 223 NW 23rd Street, Wynwood
Kaido, 151 NE 41st Street, Miami Design District
Ember, 151 NE 41st Street, Miami Design District

Currently craving: When I’m looking for the best pizza in town, I head to Lucali in Sunset Harbour on South Beach. For Italian in general, I will go to Macchialina. When I want a memorable sushi experience, my go-to spot is NAOE in Brickell; but for every-day sushi I enjoy Itamae in the Design District.

Under-the-radar restaurant: My favorite hidden gem is Sabor a Peru in Edgewater, it’s super fresh Peruvian food.

Must-try dish at your restaurants: All of my restaurants are super unique, and we have something for everyone depending on your preferences or the experience you want on a given evening. Alter in Wynwood was my first restaurant and is fine dining in a casual setting — the must-try dish is our famous soft egg. Kaido is a Tokyo-style drinking den with lite bites, so be sure to go for cocktails, but also the uni fondue is a really unique dish. My most recent spot, Ember, which is located below Kaido, is all about playing with fire, so my go-to suggestions are our fire-roasted, 30-layer lasagna and smoked fried chicken with caviar butter.

Chicken at Ariete
Chicken at Ariete

Michael Beltran, Executive Chef/Owner

Ariete, 3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove
Chug’s, A Cuban Diner, 3444 Main Highway, Suite 21, Miami

Currently craving: Every time I crave falafel I go to The Daily Bread in Coconut Grove and order the falafel platter. It comes with three sides and I always order the hummus, baba ganoush, house salad and Tabouli. Best falafel in town.

Where Miami chefs fuel up: Vice City Bean is where a lot of chefs go to get their daily fix of amazing coffee. If I sit there and drink my pour-over, I know for a fact I will run into plenty of people.

Under-the-radar restaurant: Definitely Jaguar Sun. It’s hidden inside this apartment building in Downtown and once you find it, you’ll just keep going back. Every time I go, I order the same things: nduja toast, corn agnolotti and ice cream sando.

Must-try dish at your restaurants: Our signatures and crowd favorites at Ariete are the Chug Burger and Pastrami Style Short Rib, but we constantly add new dishes to our menu. Right now, I recommend the majua (fried baby smelts). It’s something different, but surprisingly good. At Chug’s all of our pastelitos and croquetas are extremely popular. Can’t go wrong with our muffuletta-style Cuban sandwich and fritas.

Oysters at Stiltsville Fish Bar
Oysters at Stiltsville Fish Bar

Vijayudu Veena, Executive Chef

Jaya at The Setai, 2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

Currently craving: When I’m craving fresh, local seafood I head to Stiltsville Fish Bar in Sunset Harbour on Miami Beach. It’s a great neighborhood gem and I love the food that Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are putting on their menus. The grilled whole snapper is a must and all of the sides they serve, like the coconut fried rice, are a perfect complement to the fresh, simple seafood menu.

Where Miami chefs are dining now: There’s a lot of buzz around Le Jardinier and L’Atelier in the Design District – chefs are eager to experience these dining experiences that continue the legacy of the late, great Jöel Robuchon. There’s been a great deal of chef love for Boia De, a tiny new restaurant in Upper Buena Vista from co-executive Chefs Alex Meyer and Luciana Giangrandi. They have very much embraced the local community and chefs are supporting that, along with their great small plates menu.

Must-try dish at your restaurant: Guests at Jaya must try our new Macallan Peking duck, which is smoked with wood chips from the sherry oak Macallan casks which is served tableside in a smoking, glass case. I like the way the dish has kept its classic taste and preparation but adapted to The Setai style in terms of presentation. With the pancakes, scallions, plum sauce and the do-it-your-own-way approach, the dish really helps guests interact with one another.

Le Sirenuse
Le Sirenuse

Gabe Fenton, Executive Chef

Bourbon Steak, 19999 West Country Club Drive, Aventura

Go-to restaurants: Zaika in North Miami. It’s a great spot with some of the best Indian food in town. When I’m craving Italian, I want Fiola. It’s one of the best fine dining experiences I’ve had in Miami and I appreciate Fabio and Maria Trabocchi’s fresh, seasonal ingredients on their menu.

When you’re craving something sweet: Our Executive Pastry Chef at JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura, Julian Belon, is one of the most incredibly talented pastry people I’ve ever met. He has such a range — from molecular gastronomy to incredible chocolate and sugar sculptures.

Where to treat yourself: Le Sirenuse at the Four Seasons in Surfside is actually super low key and casual, but an elevated dining experience set in one of the most beautiful dining rooms. The bartenders make handcrafted cocktails and always remember your order. The attention to detail and service is unparalleled.

Must-try dish at your restaurant: Definitely, the seasonal foie gras. We’re currently serving it at Bourbon Steak with peaches, pickled blackberries and spiced pecans.

Burrata at Scarpetta by Scott Conant
Burrata at Scarpetta by Scott Conant

Christopher Li, Chef de Cuisine

Scarpetta by Scott Conant, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

Miami’s best: Stanzione 87 in Brickell has the best pizza I’ve had in Miami. While not traditional, Pubbelly Sushi on Miami Beach hits the spot when I’m craving sushi. And, when it comes to a Cuban sandwich, Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, because it’s the real deal.

When you’re craving something sweet: The snickerdoodle cookie at Stubborn Seed, because they are a comfort food technical masterpiece. The Thai doughnuts with condensed milk and peanuts at Bangkok in Coral Gables are somehow both decadent and restrained at the same time.

Under-the-radar restaurant: There’s a Cuban restaurant by Tamiami Airport, close to where I live, called El Floridita. It’s not innovative Cuban food; it’s straightforward Cuban staples and seafood like a whole snapper filet, black beans and rice that’s all very flavorful.

Must-try dish at your restaurant: Besides the spaghetti, try our specials at Scarpetta, because those are ideas that we are working on for the new menu each season. Also, order the truffle risotto when it’s available.

Read More:

Miami's James Beard Award-Winning Restaurants and Chefs
10 Restaurants In Miami You Should Definitely Try
The Best Places To Explore Miami’s One-Of-A-Kind Farm-To-Table Cuisine
Dining On A Budget In Miami

More About Miami Dining

{{item.title}}

{{item.title | limitTo: 55}}{{item.title.length > 55 ? '...' : ''}}

{{item.description | limitTo: 160}}{{item.description.length > 160 ? '...' : ''}}

{{ctrl.swiper.activeIndex + 1}} / {{ctrl.swiper.slides.length}}

Things To Do Nearby

Choose a category