Where To Eat In The Design District

Mediterranean salad

Mediterranean salad

Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine in his garden

Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine in his garden

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By: Shayne Benowitz

With unparalleled luxury shopping, a cutting edge contemporary art museum and a fascinating architectural pastiche, Miami’s Design District is also home to a bevy of fine restaurants spanning from chic cafés to a brand new food hall and landmark eateries by James Beard Award-winning chefs. Whether it’s a lunch stop during a shopping spree or a dinner date guaranteed to impress, here’s where to eat in the Design District.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

When Chef Michael Schwartz opened Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the chic Design District in 2007, he single-handedly ushered in the farm-to-table movement in Miami. Since then, the James Beard Award-winning chef has become one of Miami’s hometown heroes creating a hospitality group with a handful of beloved eateries, many of them also in the Design District. Menus at Michael’s Genuine change daily based on what’s fresh and available. Standout dishes include the signature wood oven roasted double yolk egg with cave-aged gruyère, chives and sourdough crostini, as well as the steamed mussels and slow-roasted short rib. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the restaurant offers one of the best brunches in Miami, so enjoy a sunny afternoon seated at the outdoor courtyard. 130 NE 40th Street Miami, FL 33137

MC Kitchen

With a menu of fresh Italian fare inspired by her grandmother’s kitchen, Chef Dena Marino’s MC Kitchen is known for its sumptuous house-made pastas, like white truffle cream fiocchi stuffed with roasted pear, spicy spaghetti sautéed with Florida shrimp and hand-rolled trofie noodles with pesto. The restaurant’s honest and modern approach to Italian cooking has put it on the map as one of the very best Italian restaurants in Miami. It makes for an excellent power lunch over the petite filet and lobster cobb salad or a luxurious brunch to sample a little bit of everything paired with a bottle of prosecco, for good measure. 4141 NE 2nd Avenue, #101a Miami, FL 33137

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Set in a sunny garden patio shaded by white umbrellas, Mandolin Aegean Bistro is a favorite with Miami’s fashion set, yet the vibe couldn’t be more relaxed. It serves outrageously fresh and bright Greek and Turkish dishes. It’s the perfect atmosphere to sip rosé and nibble on an appetizer of hummus, fava bean puree and tzatziki with soft, warm pita bread. The fresh fish of the day is always a smart option. Do peruse the wine and beer list for unique imports from Greece. Don’t skip a piece of the honey-drenched baklava with Turkish coffee or mint tea for dessert. 4312 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33137

Ghee

Helmed by Chef Niven Patel, an alum of Michael’s Genuine, Ghee is his homage to modern Indian fare and one of the best places in the city to indulge in this savory, aromatic cuisine. For first-time visitors, try the three-course, family-style tasting menu where you’ll sample a little bit of everything. Highlights include the lentil fritter with date chutney and yogurt, smoked duck confit samosas and chicken tikka masala. The menu changes daily with produce sourced from the restaurant’s own farm, dubbed Rancho Patel, ensuring the freshest and most creative dishes every day. Ghee’s original outpost is in South Miami near Dadeland Mall. 3620 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33127

St. Roch Market

With its original location in New Orleans, St. Roch Market opened in the Design District in early 2018 as a food hall boasting over ten distinct dining destinations, including a cocktail bar and coffee shop. Elysian Seafood hails from the original St. Roch specializing in delectable raw bar seafood towers with both east and west coast oysters shucked counter side, as well as crab claws, shrimp cocktail and seafood specialties like crab cakes. Other highlights include Dal Plin for handmade Italian pasta and Coop for inventive fried chicken dishes. For a sweet treat at the end of your meal, order a cupcake from Chef Chloe and the Vegan Café. 140 NE 39th Street, Suite 241, Miami, FL 33127

Harry’s Pizzeria

Two blocks west of his eponymous flagship restaurant, Harry’s Pizzeria is Michael Schwartz’s casual neighborhood pizzeria named for his son and serving seriously delicious pies. You’ll find traditional options like the margarita made with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil and the meatball with peppers and onions. Or try something more creative like the short rib with gruyère, caramelized onions and arugula or the rock shrimp with roasted lemon, manchego and scallions. This hotspot is a favorite in the Design District with a sister location in Coconut Grove. 3918 N. Miami Avenue Miami, FL 33127

Ella

Ella is another Michael Schwartz joint, named for his eldest daughter. Located in Palm Court, Ella’s counter serves casual café fare starting at breakfast and extending to the early evening. Think avocado toast, parmesan-crusted grilled cheese, and Greek yogurt with chia jelly, banana, blueberries, granola, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and dried mulberries. Stop by in the afternoon for a glass of chilled rosé or a cappuccino and don’t leave without one of Ella’s daily gourmet donuts or desserts, ranging from chocolate and toffee to white chocolate and macadamia nut. 140 NE 39th Street, #136 Miami, FL 33137

OTL

For a quick coffee break and a bite to eat, OTL is the perfect pick-me-up in the Design District. Whatever java you’re craving, they’ll whip it up for you and you can pair it with a wide range of light, healthy bites, whether it’s an egg, cheese and prosciutto sandwich, baby green and citrus salad or cauliflower hummus. If you need to catch up on work or do a little emailing, this is the perfect spot to open up your laptop for an hour or two in a relaxed, sun-filled atmosphere. 160 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137

Crumb on Parchment

James Beard Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein holds court at her casual Crumb on Parchment eatery offering a simple menu of breakfast, lunch and pastry options at affordable prices. Located in the airy lobby of the Melin Building, stop by before work for a slice of house-made banana bread or make it a working lunch over the delicious roast beef sandwich with creamy horseradish, sweet onions, and greens on pretzel bread. Whatever you do, don’t leave without one of the café’s delicious brownies. 3930 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33137

Mad Lab Creamery

The brainchild of Chef Soraya Caraccioli-Kilgore, Mad Lab Creamery is a sweet shop with a razor sharp focus, specializing in homemade soft serve ice cream, fluffy Japanese cheesecake and chocolates. Caraccioli-Kilgore is also the pastry chef at Wynwood’s revered Alter where her James Beard Award-nominated husband Bradley Kilgore is executive chef and owner. Exciting flavors at Mad Lab include matcha, cookies and cream and Ecuadorian chocolate ice cream topped with gold leaf, cotton candy, rice crispy treats and other wild combinations.140 NE 39th Street, Miami, FL 33127

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