Miami Dining: Dinner Edition
I have been going to Miami 1-3 times per year since I was born. But, for all the vacation days spent there, when it comes to dinner time, we have a pretty set regimine. Hopefully the next time we'll do more food-ventures, but in the meantime here are some must do dinners and an A+ bakery (which was a new-to-us find).
Joe's Stone Crab
What Peter Lugers is to NYC, Joe's is to Miami. It's an institution. They don't take reservations and open at 5 so either come for first seating or be ready to wait, hours. Men must have covered shoulders, the waiters will be bedecked in blazers and don't write anything down- it's old school but kept up with the times. If you are a stone crab guy/gal, I hear theirs are tops. I stick to their other seafood and it's always a solid meal. The breadbasket is one of the best anywhere (imo) and the desserts are big enough to share and excellent, i rec the key lime pie and brownie sundae. Right next door is Joe's to-go which has a pretty diff menu while still offering many of the classics. If you need a good takeout meal or just want to have Joe's without the wait, this is your ticket. joesstonecrab.com
Following its 2014 opening in NYC, Upland quickly became the It restaurant and with good reason. Their whole crispy hen of the woods mushroom takes your breath away (see below), their pastas are heavenly, and their shareable mains make chicken and salmon memorable. The Miami outpost opened a few weeks prior to our trip and though nearly full, hasn't seemed to reach the level of popularity that it's NYC older sibling did. Nevertheless, our meal was fantastic. The menu is slightly different at the southern locale, offering many more fish options as might be expected for a Florida restaurant. It also is a bit quieter (decibel-wise), which has always been my only complaint with the NYC Upland. uplandmiami.com
Osteria del Teatro
If you've been to South Beach, chances are you passed Osteria at its original location and didn't even notice. Until recently, it was next to a seedy club but, what it lacked in location, it more than made up for in delicious pasta and some of the best customer service I've ever experienced. Our very close family friends who are regulars there introduced us and we always go with them. The staff makes you feel like you're the most important people at the restaurant and no request can't be fulfilled. Their menu is a little bit overwhelming in size, but over the years I've never gotten the same hung twice and have also never had a bad meal. osteriadelteatro.miami
Southern comfort in a modern environment, at Yardbird you can dine on fried chicken and grits while sitting at a sleek, hightop wood table. After coming home, a foodie friend asked me what the best thing I ate was, my answer: the biscuits at Yardbird. Seriously, that little biscuit is a show stealer. If you're a vegetarian, your options will be limited but we were able to satisfy a veg, me who doesn't eat fried chicken (they have a great BBQ chicken), and a couple who keep kosher (but outside of the home they're pretty lax). I still can't believe Yardbird hasn't come to NYC; when they do, I will be first in line for a biscuit. runchickenrun.com (Is that not the best email address?!)
Zak the Baker
Before we went, I had been told to go to Zak the Baker. I didn't know quite where it was, jut that it was in Wynwood. Well, as per usual with me, I stumbled upon it as I do with bakeries/sweet spots everywhere I go (basically I'm a truffle pig for desserts). Upon walking in, my mom and I were met with the most delicious smells of challah, pie, cookies, and loaves being made on site. Everything looked stellar and physically it's a beautiful airy space, with some very funny murals and street quotes outside. zakthebaker.com
What are your favorite Miami (or anywhere) dinner spots? Bakery suggestions welcome too!