SunPost Best Of 2013-Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: Clubs, Bars, Restaurants.

Best Bar (Miami)
Wood Tavern
2531 NW 2nd. Ave., Miami
This laid-back pub has seen its popularity grow in conjunction with the burgeoning arts and culture community in Wynwood. Given this is the hottest creative class neighborhood in South Florida, it’s little wonder that the Wynwood incarnation of “Cheers” has become Miami’s best, and notably least pretentious, bar in the eyes of our Sun Post panel.

Best Bar (Miami Beach)
The Broken Shaker
2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach
Freehand Miami, the beautiful former Indian Creek Hotel, is home to The Broken Shaker, a deliciously sober and unpretentious bar. The Broken Shaker specialty handcrafted cocktails with elixirs, syrups, and infusions made from herbs and spices from an on-site garden, fresh-pressed produce and exotic ingredients from around the world. Terrific ingredients in the hands of skilled experts in a hip-not-not-scene-y atmosphere that is miles away from the hustle of much of the Beach.

Best Bartender
Danny Seigel
Sandbar Lounge
6752 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
In one of the toughest categories to evaluate and one in which new blood is constantly changing the landscape, SunPost’s panel looks north to Sandbar Lounge and the affable and talented Danny Seigel for this category. Easy-going and conversational, Siegel embodies the quintessential traits of the classic bartender with flourishes from the new era of celebrity mixologists.

Best Cocktails
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach
Yardbird is shaking things up on the local culinary scene with notable national and international accolades. But its bar earns this nod for its atmosphere and mixology. Yardbird conjures up the spirit and feel of an old-time Southern honky tonk – well, if honky tonks came complete with innovative, delicious custom craft cocktails that paid homage to country classics while elevating beverage to an art. OK, so most don’t. But they do at Yardbird, and it’s well worth a visit.

Best Dance Club
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Melding the allure of the historical Fontainebleau and contemporary entertainment, LIV has redefined nightlife on Miami Beach. The quintessential nightspot, fashioned by MMG Nightlife, fuses the appeal of an ultra exclusive lounge and a high-energy nightclub. With over 18,000 square feet of striking architectural design and lavish decor, LIV sets the stage for the ultimate nightlife experience. A voyeuristic design throughout the nightclub gives guests a bird’s eye view of the celebrities, VIPs and Miami’s most beautiful crowd. LIV features a variety of music formats during its four weekly nights, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, and offers VIP tables, private skyboxes, three full-service bars and a lavish main dance floor.

Best Gay Bar
1057 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Having just observed its 20thanniversary, Twist is the social center of the LGBT community of Miami Beach – as well as being a welcome beacon to LGBT visitors and friends from all over the globe. Seven distinctively different bars make up this spectacular gay entertainment mecca. But despite the diverse bars and crowd, international appeal and high-energy environment, Twist retains the qualities that made it a favorite when South Beach’s renaissance was still underway – that it is a friendly place for visitors of all stripes with affable owners and staff, no cover and solid bartending.

Best Latin Club
Hoy Como Ayer
2212 SW 8th St., Miami
Hoy Como Ayer evokes the class and style of old-time Latin music clubs and pairs that atmosphere with a diverse lineup of classic and contemporary performers, themed nights and events.

Best Live Music Venue (Miami)
Pax: Performing Arts Exchange
337 SW 8th St., Miami
PAX: Performing Arts Exchange is a progressive independent performing and cinema arts center in a sustainable format, with a local focus and a global reach that encourages the diversity of cultural expression and empathy .Fostering cultural diversity through the ARTS in hopes of human progress in a culture of peace. For the intellectually-curious, free-thinking seeking, individual who appreciates original music, art, and creative progressive talks, PAX is a welcoming, genuine, authentic space for artistic expression and communications, engaging in a wide range of innovative projects.

Best Historic Music Venue
Tobacco Road
626 S. Miami Ave., Miami
To conjure up the environment of classic Rock era venue and also the pre-glamour days of South Florida, there is no better site than Miami’s first and most famed venue, Tobacco Road. Despite all of the changes that South Florida has undergone, despite the arguable changes in the musical style that best defines the region and despite the huge expansion of live music venues over the past decade, Tobacco Road continues to reign as the ultimate hip concert site.

Best Pool Hall
Chalk Ping Pong & Billiards Lounge
1234 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Chalk elevates pedestrian pool to classy and stylish while at the same time maintaining the Paul Newman-esque cutting-edge cool evoked in pool halls for years. Sure, high-end service and top-notch maintenance and staff might not resemble your average American pool hall – but this isn’t your father’s pool hall either. Think, a fun and different place for a date or for friends to gather where gaming and conversation simultaneously is possible.

Best DJ
DJ Irie
In another very difficult category in which the landscape is constantly changing, SunPost’s panel selects DJ Irie. Yes, his upbeat high-energy musical stylings are infectious, but so is the DJs commitment to youth in the community. The Irie Foundation is committed to empowering youth to live productive lives through mentoring, cultural experiences and scholarship opportunities. And that makes us committed to Irie.

Best Live Music (Miami Beach)
1342 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
America’s most notable original contribution to world culture is jazz and for years, Jazid has been the ultimate jazz lover’s musical venue for all the right reasons: terrific performers both well-known and emerging, a classy, welcoming environment, and top-notch service. The range of music presented at Jazid is broad and eclectic to represent Miami Beach’s diverse interests but one thing is sure: When the lights are on at Jazid, something memorable is going on.

Best Club (Miami Beach)
Story Nightclub
136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Story Nightclub has emerged in recent years as the leading nightclub in the city. Driven by its spectacular environment, high-energy eclectic music mix, terrific events and popular staff, Story is the favored by locals and visitors alike and is one of the strongest nightlife draws in all of Miami Beach.

Best VIP Experience
320 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Set Miami takes Miami Beach nightlife to a new level of sophistication with clever, upscale theme nights, eclectic worldwide performers and impeccable service. Set knows how to handle VIPs and staff works together to ensure VIP needs are met from the moment they arrive at the Lincoln Road must-stop. For those wishing to be catered to as part of a distinct Miami Beach nightlife experience, there is no better destination.

Best Piano Bar
Magnum Lounge
709 NE 79th St., Miami
This retro nature of this dark little cave of a gem is so delicious that it might threaten the dining experience here, which is surprisingly good. Think classic piano bar with an emphasis on show tunes, taking suggestions from the audience, and even make-shift karaoke on occasion. Fun for friends or a relaxing get-a-away from the day’s stresses or the higher intensity nightlife on the Beach. Don’t let its location keep you away from this delightful throwback.

Best New Bar (Miami Beach)
Deco Bar
1436 Drexel Ave., Miami Beach
Deco Bar is a perfect fusion of the Brazilian and the Italian and is perfectly located on hip Espanola Way. Ingredients from around the world in the hands of expert mixologists results in innovative and flavorful cocktails in a sleek international environment. Although it’s hard to go wrong taking advice from the staff at Deco Bar, make sure to try one of their terrific classic caipirinhas.

Best Showcase for Orchids
Miami Beach Botanical Garden
2000 Convention Center Dr, Miami Beach
This 2.6-acre urban green space at the heart of South Beach was transformed in 2011 with a $1.2 million landscape renovation designed by South Florida landscape architect Raymond Jungles. Beautiful palm trees and tropical plants of Florida are an amazing backdrop enhancing the glorious plants and orchids at the Botanical Gardens.

Best Outdoor Entertainment
Miami Seaquarium
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne
Visitors can enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the most darling under water creates –  guests can swim with the Dolphins! This 30-acre park is a Key Biscayne landmark offering plenty of summer fun always featuring fantastic animal shows. Miami Seaquarium is a world leader in the study of medical treatments of the endangered Florida manatees, and works to rescue and rehabilitate sick and wounded animals.

Best Knowledge Center
Miami Science Museum
3280 S Miami Ave, Miami
Miami Science Museum and Planetarium was founded in the belief that curiosity, knowledge and appreciation of the sciences are essential to the health. At any age hungry for knowledge the SunPost’s team recommends that time spent at the Miami Science Museum can be very rewarding. Continuing the groundwork for the new state-of-the-art museum, exciting programs are being prepared for the move into their new building which hopefully should be ready for 2015.

Best Grand Gambling and Gaming Facility
Seminole Hard rock Hotel & Casino
1 Seminole Way, Hollywood
A favorite haunt of our regional guests and many out-of-townees, it’s not just a hotel and casino, it is a 24/7/365 rock-the-house venue for the performance of greatest hits. Slots, Blackjack, frequented by celebrities, musicians and fans from around the world, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is South Florida’s top destination to ante up and double down. Located between the miles of blue wave beaches of Greater Fort Lauderdale and the sexy cosmopolitan metropolis of Miami, the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll continually pulsates throughout the veins of this year-round vacation hotspot. Guests are invited to PLAYHARD at their 140,000-square-foot Hollywood casino that includes separate high-limit rooms for table games and slots, and a non-smoking room available for guests to enjoy. Nearly 100 tables offer Blackjack, Mini-Baccarat, Pai GowGow Poker, Three Card Poker, Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker, Casino War and Let it Ride on a nearly three-acre casino floor. Additionally, 2,500 slots include the Native-American Casino linked Multi-Area Progressive Jackpots and Mega Jackpots.

Best Bowling
Lucky Strike
1691 Michigan Avenue, Suite 115, Miami Beach
This South Beach venue of Lucky Strike is always packed with beach locals feasting on the delicious food while shooting the maples. Not a bowler? That’s fine, hang out at the bar. The girls are cute. New at Lucky Strike’s location at the Dolphin Mall is putt-putt golf. The course runs right through the bowling alley and is worth a drive or two. Fun, funky and the hippest bowling fun around.

Best Local: (Miami)
NI.DO. Caffe & Mozzarella Bar
7295 Biscayne Blvd.
Try their wonderful house-made mozzarellas, like burrata or affumicata (smoked), accompanied by beet, orange and endive. Also a must try as a starter is the pumpkin soup and for  a main do not miss the squid ink linguini with seafood. Legendary  The space is relaxed and comfortable with lounging couches. An excellent spot to have a coffee and torta del giorno.

Best Neighborhood Italian
Casa Mia Trattoria
1950 NE 123rd St.
North Miami
Local neighborhood vibe from this tiny Trattoria in North Miami. They serve traditional, basic Northern Italian fare. The service is exceptional, something hard to find in Miami. Favorites include fried calamari, Gnocchi with Pink sauce and the fagottini alle pere e formaggio in salsa di vodka.

Best Local: (Miami Beach)
Bernie’s LA Cafe
1570 Alton Rd.
Miami Beach
Bernard Matz, the executive chef from The Café at Books & Books, opened his own little spot a few years ago and it continues to be a must for lunch. Fresh and healthy organic ingredients help Chef Bernie serve delicious, fresh, meals with a Latin American twist. We can’t get enough of the tacos or the fricase de pollo or the Shredded Flank Steak or the Tropical salad….well, you get the picture.

Best Pizza (Miami)
5600 Biscayne Blvd.
This is the kind of pizza you dream of. Well…we do. Brick-oven? Check. Thin crust? Check. Fresh, delicious toppings? Check. Comfortable, plentiful seating? Check. Casual atmosphere? Check. Great service? Check. So go!

Biggest Slices
Pizza Bar
1627 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach
Enormous slices and a rock ‘n roll vibe are part of the Pizza Bar’s charm. Lots of New York ‘tude to go with the New York style ‘za. Located inside the Hotel. Saturday night DJ adds to the pizza party. Also try the Drunken Disaster” sandwich. It’ll blow you away!

Best Steak
Prime One Twelve
112 Ocean Dr.
Miami Beach
You might have to wait even with a reservation, but the wait is worth it. The Best steak hands down. The small touches make this place exceptional like the bustling bar that serves dried strips of bacon in lieu of nuts. And then there is the steak. Seared to perfection and the best quality beef served with an optional variety of sauces, truffle, garlic herb, foie gras, and chipotle. A gathering place for the local powerhouse crowd.

Best Mediterranean
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
4312 NE 2nd Ave; Miami.
This little restaurant makes you feel like you stepped into a bistro in Greece. Blue and white touches, white-washed walls and fresh delicious food. Owned by a husband and wife team, He is Greek and she is Turkish, and together they have combined flavors to create a terrific menu. Their meatballs are to die for as is their octopus which is tender and fresh. Ordering their legendary sangria with your meal is a must.

Best Artisan Bakery
Buena Vista Deli
4590 NE 2nd Ave, Miami 33137
French, Delis, Sandwiches, Bakeries, Cafes & Coffeehouses
Co-owners Claude Postel and Corentin Finot have created a small, simple French bakery right of the streets of Paris. They serve homed everything. Artisan crafted breads, homemade pate and a wonderful variety of homemade pastries. Merangue officiando’s try the coffee meringue. TDF!

Best Outdoor Scene
Jimmie z’s Kitchen
2700 N Miami Ave
Miami, FL 33137
Neighborhood: Wynwood
Besides the fantastic food, steak frites, Fajita Salad, mofongos and yucca fries. Yum…Jimmy Z’s has become the hippest place to hang in Wynwood on a weekend night. Live Latin music brings out the people in packs to fill the chairs and dance in the streets.

Best Outdoor
Casa Tua
1700 James Ave.
South Beach 33139
Look beyond the tall hedges on 17th and James St. and you will find an intimate, enchanting, quietly sophisticated, decadent sanctuary. An escape from the ordinary, mundane, the outside is covered in fairy lights, colorful lanterns and ivy hanging from the trees.  Soft music playing the background while Italian speaking waiters move to an orchestrated dance under the stars. And that is before the food comes. Highlight of the menu include a Passion Fruit puree drink, Burrata and organic tomato salad, Tagliatelle with mushrooms and truffles,and the Pappardelle with lamb argue. For dessert do not miss the Molten. Chocolate. Lava Cake. Yum!

Best Romantic Restaurant
Casa Tua
1700 James Ave.
South Beach 33139
Hidden behind tall hedges and tropical trees lies an Italian Villa so authentic you will feel as if you are on the Italian Riviera. Step through the gates and see the cloistered patio where hundreds of candles flicker on perfectly set tables and hang from the canopy of Banyan and other tropical trees. The patio is very romantic with the hanging lanterns and orchids, the cobblestone, and the vines that enclose the patio. You can hear the music from the club upstairs, which only adds to the atmosphere. Cue Italian waiters speaking in Italian accents as they serve you and Casa Tua turns into the perfect place to propose!

Best Sexiest Restaurant
Hakkasan, at the Fontainebleau
Miami Beach
The whole meal at Hakkasan is an experience It has a lush, authentic Asian vibe that is so sexy. From the custom silk light fixtures from Paris to the hand-carved decorative teak panels this place makes you feel sexy and sultry and very exotic. And that is before the food arrives.
The Dumpling platter – groan worthy. The Crispy Duck Salad- again very tasty as is the Grouper with black truffle. And then there are the Short ribs – fall-off-the-bone-good. We think this is the best restaurant to get that special some-one in the mood. Very, third-date worthy.

Best Bakery with a Cause
Lee & Marie’s Cakery
40 S. Pointe Dr
Miami Beach
Besides the tantalizing menu of croissants, cakes, pies and danishes and the fact that the ingredients are farm fresh, it’s the mission behind the bakery that wins Lee & Marie’s this award. The two people behind the bakery, Andy Travaglia and Yannis Janssens, have created a business where Autistic adults can work. Together with the University of Miami/Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, the bakery provides employment opportunities for autistic adults, that helps to guide them on a path to greater independence and an enhanced quality of life. Kudos.

Best Late Night Sandwich
La Sandwicherie
229 14th St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Simply the best sandwiches with a French flair. Fresh natural  ingredients on bread that is baked fresh daily. The French team behind La Sandwicherie has created a niche on South Beach, filling the menu with many different sandwich varieties to choose from. A SunPost  favorite is the Sausiccon sec on a french baguette with cornichon and Camembert cheese.  Delish. You can often find a SunPost staffer at La Sandwicherie at 4am on a Thursday morning after deadline chowing down on  a sandwich or two and hanging with the drag queens, club kids, bikers and the body artists who work in the tattoo parlor next door. La Sandwicherie’s French vinaigrette is so popular that they sell bottles of it for customers to take home.

Best Simple Sandwich
1627 Alton Rd.
Miami Beach
Panfiore serves Genuine French baguettes and tasty sandwiches like the Pulcinella (fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil, salt/pepper) or the Meneghino (Chicken breast, provolone cheese, mayonnaise, tomato & lettuce). The sandwiches are traditional panini sandwiches prepared for generations in the Italian ‘Osterias’, bringing the true ‘taste of Italy’.

Best Brunch
Soho Beach Club
Comfortable and unpretentious, this is the place where designers, artists and models in the South Beach fashion scene can be found on any given night. Even though this is a private membership club, their Italian restaurant Cecconi’s is open to everyone. Dinner is wonderful, but we love the Sunday Brunch. A Sunday Feast that takes over the drawing room and the intimate garden nestled on the ground floor. We love the roving Bloody Mary cart and the people watching. So grab a Mimosa and enjoy. $35.

Best French Fries
La Goulue
Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Ave.
Bal Harbour
These frees are to die for! Crispy and thick cut, served with mayo and ketchup. If you look in the kitchen you will see the fries laid out on baking trays waiting to be dipped in fresh oil. They taste like they are home-made. Divine and delicious. Of course there is so much more on the menu like their famous soufflé au fromage which has been La Goulue’s signature dish since 1973. A combination of parmesan, gruyère and white truffle oil.

Best Neighborhood Restaurant
Emilio’s Trattoria
1088 Kane Concourse
Bay Harbor Isles
The pasta is all homemade. The Spaghetti Bolognese is the best and the veal picatta is tender and perfectly seasoned. Their caprese salad is crisp with the freshest mozzarella ever. We love Emilio’s when we just want to hang out with friends and family and have casual, good, fresh Italian food.

Best Place to be seen
Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Ave.
Bal Harbour
Carpaccio is always packed with Bal Harbour locals, hob nobbing and table hopping.  Vibrant energetic atmosphere. The helpings are Italian-Mama-loves-you size, fresh burrata, ripe tomatoes, beef carpaccio with balsamic glaze. but the best part of this dining experience is the people watching.

Best Burger
Burger & Beer Joint
1766 Bay Rd.
The three words to describe the Burger & Beer Joint is simple, casual and rugged. Their burgers are hearty and can be had any way you like. Lots of fun combo’s all following an 80′s rock motif. Like the Hotel California, Thunder Road, Rock Lobster. For the gluttons out there they serve the 10 lb. “Mother Burger”. For a more traditional diner feel try their drunk milkshakes and their old-school soda fountain. Over 60 beers available.

Best Grilled Cheese
Ms. Cheezious
Food truck
So many cool combinations of grilled cheese sandwiches. If you are new to Ms. Cheezious then we suggest you start with the classic melt-in-your-mouth grilled cheese. But, if you’re feeling adventurous try the Crabby Cheese Melt – (Fresh made crab salad with sharp cheddar cheese on sourdough bread) or the Grilled Harvest – (Spiced apples and havarti cheese on multi-grain bread) or the goat cheese and prosciutto – (Goat cheese, prosciutto, tomato and arugula on marble rye) or the Sweet Meltdown – (Ricotta cheese and orange marmalade blend on Texas toast served with chocolate dipping sauce). Their sides like soups, chili, and fries are also killer.

Best place to Stalk Celebs
Mr. Chow
W Hotel
2201 Collins Ave;
Miami Beach
It’s pricey, posh and packed with celebs vacationing on South Beach. Lots of pretending you are not staring at Mark Wahlberg at the two-top by the window. Is that Beyonce and Jay Z? We suggest you stop the rubbernecking and concentrate on the amazing menu. Chow down on Fresh scallops on the shell, velvet chicken with fresh chili or the best prepared Beijing Duck in the world. Play it cool and maybe the server will get you that autograph.

Best BBQ
Bulldog BBQ
15400 Biscayne Blvd
305- 940-9655
Season 3 of Top Chef  took place in Miami and the winner was Howie “Bulldog” Kleinberg. Since then,  Kleinberg has opened Bulldog Barbecue and Burger. The space is simple, but the bbq is fantastic. Kleinberg has developed his own two signature red and yellow sauces that sit on the table ready to be added to pork, chicken or ribs. The red has a tangy sweet flavor and  the yellow is mustard-based with a good tang to it. But the hero of the menu is the ‘que. Moist pulled pork sliders, St. Louis-style meaty rack of ribs, tender and juicy brisket with a subtle smoked flavor that falls off the fork or a grilled chicken sandwich that is mouthwateringly delicious. The sides are equally phenom, mac n cheese, delicious beans and onions, a white chili that was to die for. The home-made cornbread is killer and then there  are the fries. Two kinds are served sweet fries or spicy. And then there are the burgers…try the Luther, Hawaii Five-O and Honky-Tonky Woman and see for yourself.

Best Fried Chicken
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
1600 Lenox Ave.
Southern style restaurant with family style entrees that can feed two. Hands down favorite is the Fried Chicken, Waffles, & Watermelon. Throw in a side of Mac n’ Cheese. Large spiral noodles, smothered in cheese and breadcrumbs. Heaven! If chicken is not your thing try the Cheddar Waffle. Sweet with melted cheddar cheese on top, green tomato relish and maple syrup.

Best Sushi
Pubbelly Sushi
1424 20th Street
Miami Beach, FL 33139
This is not your regular sushi bar. Best described as fusion sushi with exotic rolls like The Wagyu Beef Roll, The Crispy Rice Tuna Roll with truffle oil, the snow crab roll with a warm butter and soy dipping sauce, or the big eye tuna roll on crunchy rice. Their yellowtail roll wrapped in soy paper, with crab inside deserves a special mention. But if you are really feeling adventurous then try the porkbelly and clam roll. Yowza!

Best High-End Italian
Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
1014 Lincoln Rd.
Miami Beach
Upscale without being stuffy. Sit outside for good people watching. This place draws an elegant, gorgeous crowd of diners. And for the food, authentic Northern Italian.  The pasta is hand-made and delicious. The truffle buratta cheese melts in your mouth and the lobster and caviar risotto is unfairly delicious. The ricotta and truffle ravioli is decadent. But the real highlight of their menu is dessert. Try the mouth watering nutella crepe filled with thick layers of nutella

Best Haitian Restaurant
Tap Tap
819 5th St.
You know a place is good if locals pack the place and with Tap Tap that is the case. Sitting at the multicolored tables, you forget you are in Miami. The walls are covered with colorful murals and the vibe is laid back Haitian. The Shrimp in coconut sauce is outstanding, so is the stewed vegetable dish. Try the snapper in scotch bonnet sauce or the half grilled chicken, which is some of the best chicken we have ever had. It tasted like it had been marinated for days and was incredibly tender and full of flavor. It is served with green chutney for dipping. Top it all off with a Mojito, one-of the best mojito’s served on the island.

Best Indian
Bengal Indian Cuisine
2010 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137
(305) 403-1976
Fresh, home-cooked authentically Indian with all the typical favorites like samosas, mango lassi, naan, chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken and mulligatawny soup. The naan is delicious, both the classic and garlic. It was baked to perfection and was not the slightest bit greasy. Spicing is ideal as well. Ask for mild and you get mild. Ask for extra spicy and boy do they comply! Running-nose-red-cheeks-numb-lips-extra spicy!

Best Place to be Seen by the Chi Chi set
Cipriani Downtown Miami
465 Brickell Ave.
Miami, FL 33131
A fabulous couture backdrop to see and be seen in. Two show-stopping Murano glass chandeliers reside over two levels of deep navy, white leather, rosy wood, cool blue terrazzo and floor to ceiling glass that makes up the interior of Cipriani. Very unique, very Miami. Currently, the most talked about restaurant to see and be seen by the chi chi set. Our suggestion to take maximum advantage of being seen? Dress in the latest-fresh-off-the-runway-couture, make a grand sweeping entrance in dark glasses, flash a provocative smile, sweetly order a bellini and tip very, very generously. Result: The wait staff falls all over you, onlookers wonder who you are and can’t keep their eyes off you. Oh and while you are there, order something – the food is delicious.

Best Raw Bar
River Oyster Bar
650 S Miami Ave?
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 530-1915
Freshest available local, sustainable and organic cuisine. The oyster selection is worth the trip alone. The beer list is ever changing and you won’t find a bar stool past 4pm at the bar. Organic Irish Salmon and Bronzini; Sardines from Spain, Seafood Cioppino (extra spicy!) and Blue Crab & Gnocchi; All reasons to head there right now. We love the sleek, yet comfortable atmosphere. Great place to hang and down oysters with a cold beer chaser.

Best French
710 Washington Avenue,
Miami Beach, Fl, 33139
Otentic serves ridiculously good, authentic French food. The perfect place for an intimate date. We felt we were on a side-street in Paris with the delicious aroma’s, the French waiters and the sterling service. We actually forgot we were on South Beach. We started with the fantastic foie gras and the Goat Cheese Salad. Rich, creamy, divine. Then moved onto to Farmer’s Steak, and the Roasted Chicken. The porcini sauce was perfect. We can’t say enough how fabulous this place is. If you go we recommend the escargot, the Beef Stroganof with Gratin Dauphinois potatoes and the creme brûlée. Totally TDF!

Best Comfort Food
Blue Collar
6730 Biscayne Blvd;
This is not your traditional comfort food, but comfort food with a gourmet twist. Like Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Croquettes or their very popular Shrimp and Grits made with Trugole Cheese, Neuske Bacon and a New Orleans style spicy BBQ sauce. Make sure you leave room for the blissful Butterscotch Heath Bar Bread Pudding.

Most Unusual Restaurant Concept
Gold & Pepper
101 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach
Something new and unusual to open on South Beach. The menu is a contemporary takes on Italian classic food. Stand out dishes are the gold raviolo, the vegetable flan and the veal milanese. The freshly made pasta is delicate, light and delicious. We love that the food is sprinkled with 23k gold so we are calling this the Best, most  unusual restaurant concept.

Best Hip Restaurant
Haven Gastro Lounge
1237, Lincoln Road Miami Beach
305 987 8885
Haven has to be one of the coolest places on the beach; not only do they have some award winning mixologists that get to play with Liquid Nitrogen every day, they have one of the most influential people in Miami as their Executive Chef. Todd Erickson has probably the most eclectic and visually appealing menu on this list. His use of color, textures and flavors are far beyond a lot of other Miami Chefs. Mixed with the $$$$$ (that’s a dollar figure) A/V system as their back drop there is nothing artistically they can’t do. My favorites are the Day Boat slider (when its Mahi Mahi) the Waldorf Salad, the Duck Duck Quail Slider, the Maki Peru roll and the tater tots. Although I’ve never come across an item I haven’t liked on the menu.

Best Unconventional
Nemesis Urban Bistro
1035 N Miami Ave, Miami
What an unexpected treat. Nemesis is small and full of character. We adore the tuscan sushi, a maki-like concoction of prosciutto wrapped around mascarpone and gorgonzola topped with fig and accompanied by a drizzle of balsamic. But it is the the steak stack (prime rib) that almost brought us to tears it is so delicious. Topped with some kind of tomato chutney and marinated in balsamic. Every bite explodes with a juicy balsamic flavor.  Nemesis feels to us like a group of foodie friends got together and opened this small, funky joint. Chef Micah Edelstein is in a league of her own and her unconventional way personifies what Nemesis is all about.

Best Local People-Watching Institution
Puerto Sagua
700 Collins Ave;
Miami Beach
Puerto Sagua is a South Beach institution. Open 24/7 there menu is filled with all the traditional cuban dishes. We have spent many a night over the years, after deadline, chowing down on their steak sandwiches, their paella or their fantastic chicken and rice. But it is also the cast of South Beach characters that fill the tables that keep us coming back night after night.

Best Gourmet Cuban Restaurant
7305 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach
(305) 861-4727
Generous portions, great location and excellent service are a few reasons to head to Sazon. But for us, it is the food. The vaca frita, the maduros, the stuffed chicken, the oxtail, the snapper with almonds, the shrimp creole, the ropa vieja…get the picture? Delicious, fresh and superb.

Best Local gathering Place
David’s cafe
1058 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach
(305) 534-8736
Family owned and operated for 33 years, Davids Cafe is a beach institution. There old location on Lincoln was the meeting place for beach politico’s for years. In fact, the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club still meets at the Collins Ave location every Tuesday. For those of you who have not checked out there Collins Avenue branch, we suggest you do. It is modern, clean and has everything that Lincoln Road had and more. Plus, they still serve the best Cafe con Leche on the beach.

Best Grand Restaurant
The Forge
432 41st St.
Miami Beach
(305) 538-8533
We love the Forge and have been dining there for years and years. There is always impeccable service and Chef Dewey’s menu still continues to surprise us. Many old timers did not approve of Shareef’s redo of this Grand Dame, but every single one of them have come around. We consider the Forge, still, Miami’s Grandest Restaurant. Bathroom murals and all.

Best Organic Lunch
News Cafe Lounge
5580 NE 4th Ct.
(305) 758-9932
Quaint and cozy. Love the swinging chairs, chill atmosphere and foliage. But what we love the most is the new organic lunch that the News is serving from Chef Nuno Grullon. Try the Zucchini Souffle. Outstanding! We also loved the smoked salmon multigrain sandwich. Plan on a fresh, delicious meal with a cool vibe.

Best People-Watching
Kung Fu Sushi
1720 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach
Huge portions of delicious sushi. Give this place a try. We love waisting away the hours, munching on edamame, and checking out the chicks. Guys are not so bad either. The salmon & broccoli is divine as is the Seafood coconut curry and the Mongolian beef.

Best Breakfast
Maxine’s Bistro & Bar
1756 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach
A perfect breakfast spot, What more could you ask for than a pile of pancakes, the smell of the ocean and the sun on your face. A great way to spend a Saturday morning before heading off to Lincoln Road to window shop.

Best Pop-up Gone Permanent
Eating House
804 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables
This pop up by Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli is a ridiculous success, people wait hours to eat here and the ever changing menu makes them come back wanting more. We dig  the chill vibe and the excellent food.  Mainstays like the Homestead Tomatoes with frozen coconut and the chicken and waffles are divine. Other worth mentioning are the ox tail, the carbonara and the glorious Nutella waffles.

Best Late-Night Eats
Maxine’s Bistro & Bar
1756 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach
Hanging at Maxine’s late night is the best way to end an evening.  A good vibe with  music and excellent cocktails. We love the Mojito with Flor de Cana aged rum, it is insane! Cuban grilled chicken is fab, fresh and tasty. Served with rice and black beans. The chicken was covered in onions and well-spiced and the beans have large pieces of garlic and are delish.

Best Gourmet Japanese
661 Brickell Key Dr; Miami
This is a guilty pleasure, a very special occasion restaurant from a fabulous chef.  Chef Kevin Cory’s Naoe cuisine is considered one of the top Japanese creative restaurants in the country, providing an experience completely different to any other sushi restaurant in Miami. He crafts each piece of sushi specifically for the person it is going too. He never makes more than a few pieces at a time, to ensure that the rice stays warm to contrast the slightly chilled fish – which is exactly as sushi is intended to be served. The wasabi is also freshly grated for each course. The nigiri is heavenly as is his traditional Edo style sushi. But for us, the most memorable part of our meal was his secret ingredient ice cream – a truly delicious end to an over-the-top meal that will not easily be forgotten.

Best Quick Healthy Meal
Whole Foods Hot Food Bar
1020 Alton Rd.
Miami Beach
To score a quick lunch, head to the hot food bar at Whole Foods. It goes without saying that the offerings are healthy, but what Whole Foods does best is make healthy delicious. We love their stews and soups – both hearty and soul warming, as are the curries and the BBQ chicken. The salad bar is always fresh and organic and the sides are plentiful. If you have not indulged, then you are missing out.

Best Coffee
Panther Coffee
2390 NW 2nd Ave.
Wynwood – Miami
Love, Love, LOVE this coffee. I walked here twice so I could bring some home. They have some real specialty roast which they roast on site. The interior is very cool with music blasting in the background. The counter top is filled with all kinds of delish pastries, croissants, cookies, brownies, danishes, scones and cakes. The service is fast and friendly. What we love the most is sitting outside on the long benches people watching and basking in the cool, hip, vibe of Wynwood.

Best Gourmet Luncheon Spot
Crumb on Parchment
3930 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137
Philly cheesesteak heaven! Sandwiches on pretzel bread and so many desserts and  sandwich options. They also serve great flavored teas at Chef, Michelle Bernstein’s Bakery & Cafe. Our favorite is the breakfast with Crumb Granola filled with nuts and seeds, served with fresh fruit and greek yogurt. Also try the Steel-Cut Oatmeal with fruit and nuts, cream and brown sugar. Double Yum!

Best Local Food Shop
The Village Stand
216 NE 98th St.
Miami Shores
Husband and wife owners Alison Duran and Jorge Espinosa have successfully built a reputation as a cozy neighborhood jaunt where foodies can scope out the latest and greatest natural and organic culinary finds from local purveyors, as well as exclusive gourmet bites from across the map.  The Village Stand will be celebrating their two year anniversary this August.

Best New Sushi Hotspot
2000 Collins Ave?Miami Beach, FL 33139
This chic late-night sushi lounge has just opened on South Beach. We already love the vibe, not to mention the sushi. The Japanese/Latin fusion menu will be served until 5am. Try the honeymoon Roll. TDF! We also tried the light and fresh conch mango ceviche with citrus dressing, red onion, red pepper, and cilantro. The atmosphere is bright, colorful and fun. Plush chairs, bold couches, a wood-slat ceiling and a big brick bar. The guys who own the place have 18 locations in Mexico. Our hands down fave is the spicy caipiroska with Ketel One Citron and  lemon, sugar, and jalapenos. Lip smacking good.

Most Anxiously Awaited Re-opening
Hialeah Park
2200 E 4th Ave  Hialeah
The most highly anticipated opening this summer has to be Hialeah Park. The historic horse track is set to open its new  casino, with about 870 slot machines, 20 poker tables, three dominoes tables, three restaurants and two bars. The casino is the first step in a three-phase renovation plan that eventually may include a hotel, shops and offices at the park, which opened in 1925. All we can say is we can’t wait to go.

Best Entertainment Contest
Mardi Gras Casino Comedy Challenge
This contest, the largest of its kind, drew stand-up comics from all over to compete for $5000 and the chance to open with a 30 minute set for Caroline Rhea. A hilarious few weeks followed with comedians competing against each other until a grand final was whittled down to an ultra-hilarious winner. If you missed last years fun, don’t panic. It starts all over again with open auditions coming up in September.

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