What a year of exceptional culinary growth and panache for our feisty Magic City! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much enthusiasm by local diners, tourists, and the industry alike. I’m not saying it was a smooth ride, but even the heated discussions arrived fueled by passion and pride. Ahora si! Full steam ahead, Miami!
Before we kick off 2019 with tremendas ganas, I’d like to list my Top 12 Restaurants for 2018. I took a long pause and step back when composing this year’s list, more so than any other year. My website may be small and probably lost somewhere in the blogosphere, but I still take my decision very seriously. A new arrival impressed on a local and national level. Some of the 2017 newcomers continued to climb the ranks and prove their Miami staying power. Not an easy feat! Older South Florida staples didn’t sleep at the wheel. Instead, they worked tirelessly to deliver innovative and delicious dishes all the while gracefully welcoming their competition.
I whined about having a hard time when choosing my recently posted Top 30 Bites of the year. Not surprisingly, finalizing this list was even harder. I could easily name a top 20 without any hesitation. Too many good restaurants and not enough space on my list? Tough, pero fabuloso también. And I don’t mean the all-purpose cleaner. I’m talking about the real deal FA.BU.LOUS.
I greatly admire when restaurants successfully achieve the elusive art of service alongside great-tasting food. Each of these has it under control and is proof South Florida’s all grown up. They represent Miami appropriately in their very own unique way, sometimes even unexpectedly so. The common thread among them is their dedication to making the diner experience unforgettable from beginning to end.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, MY-YAM-MEE gave to me…
10. Phuc Yea
9. La Mar
6. Le Sirenuse
Before I get to my top two restaurants, I need to share the #foodporn photos of my last dinners at both. Even though I visited them plenty of times throughout the year, I decided to go all out and try their tasting menus back to back: the ultimate experience they had to offer. What a treat! There is a reason these two giants are taking Miami by storm and continue to attract so much nationwide fanfare.
This. Is. Why.
Congratulations to every restaurant on my list. We are so lucky to have you!
Get out there and make your reservations, Miami! They deserve your attention and support.