El Cielo Miami

Occupying the ground level of a Brickell high-rise, El Cielo is currently celebrating a three-year anniversary. Three. Years. In Miami? Bravo! Needless to say, it took me a while to visit this Colombian restaurant chain by chef Juan Manuel Barrientos Valencia.

Unless we are talking about Chicago’s Alinea (and the reason you won’t find me at Barton G. or Nusr-Et), I’m not really into overly gimmicky dinners. From all the advertising and social media posts (and there are many), I figured I’d have to navigate through smoke and fluff just to get to the food. By the time dinner ended, with a full-on smoke show, of course, I pondered just how many times I would want to relive that experience now that I knew what it entailed.

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Habitat by José Mendín

I waited for the dust to settle before visiting the new Habitat by José Mendín. The space, formerly occupied by Chef Tom Colicchio’s Beachcraft, seemed untouched. And that’s a good thing. The interiors, in sandy neutrals and beachy woods, remain as stunning as ever. Now, I”m hopeful this new venture by the Food Comma Hospitality Group (Pubbelly Noodle Bar, Pubbelly Sushi, Baja Bao, PB Ysla, and PB Burger) can survive our temperamental dining scene. This is Miami, after all, restaurant revolving-door capital. Offering a complete sea to table experience, Mendín’s new dishes aim to apply modern techniques to create new flavor profiles drawing from Spanish, Latin and Asian traditions.

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Órale, Tacology!

As if I needed another reason to love Miami’s newest star, Brickell Centre. Executive Chef Santiago Gomez (Cantina La Veinte, Nobu, and NYC’s Michelin-starred Daniel) is currently celebrating the one-year anniversary of his saucy hot spot. And let me tell you, when it comes to Mexican food, la fiesta no termina en Tacology. The larger than life space drew […]

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Shhh, it’s Hiden

Eight seats. Two daily seatings. One chef. The secret is out. Kind of. Hiding out in Wynwood and bringing an exceptional omakase experience to Miami diners, this underground restaurant has quietly arrived. Hiden, part of the Shōwa Hospitality Group, delivers authentic Japanese fine dining by blending top-notch domestic ingredients with imported delights straight from Japan. I […]

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Seaspice: Miami AF

It’s been four years since I first visited Seaspice (then Seasalt and Pepper) when they first opened in the winter of 2013. Given South Florida’s random culinary rules and often flighty patrons, it’s an impressive achievement for them to be still standing and enjoying great success. Cruising that long on the Miami dining horizon takes vision, […]

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La Petite Maison: La Grande Déception

When I look back at my dinner at La Petite Maison, my heart races just a little. Not because the memory of the food and experience excites me. Nah. Mostly because I can’t forget the exaggerated and dizzying sense of urgency the staff exhibited from beginning to end. Every single person distractingly hustled at 100 […]

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THREE WYNWOOD

Hidden within the Wynwood Arcade complex, and surrounded by an area saturated with art, inquisitive visitors, and a touch of free-spirited chaos, this new empire sits quietly. . . and regally. The restaurant, edgy rooftop outdoor-lounge, and upcoming cooking school make up an ambitious and exciting trilogy by one of our very own: Floridian, New World Cuisine founding father, author, and chef-in-the-know Norman Van Aken.

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