Miami Dining Guide: 7 Muy Caliente Miami Restaurants You Need to Eat at Now

Get ready for glitz, glamor, and gourmet eating galore. Sunny Miami’s restaurant scene is ablaze. There’s a world-class dining scene in the Magic City giving lucky locals endless options – and out-of-towners plenty of reasons to fly down to check it out. Whether you’re in the mood for farm fresh Floridian fare, stellar seafood, a taste of the South, or top-notch Japanese cuisine, you’ve got plenty of options. In this mini Miami dining guide, we present seven muy caliente restaurants you need to try now.

Area 31
Perched on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel, this high-flying blockbuster has spectacular views of Biscayne Bay and Miami River whether you choose to sit on the patio or inside. The name comes from the fishing zone – which runs from the mid-Atlantic through the Caribbean to the top of South America – where the restaurant’s catch is sustainably sourced. Executive chef Wolfgang Birk turns out dishes that span clean, lean preparations – you can’t go wrong with any of the crudos – to more decadent fare, such as a rich risotto dappled with generous chunks of lobster. Vegetable accompaniments get the star treatment. Think roasted Brussels sprouts amped up with pork belly and boozy raisins and duck confit sweet potatoes accompanied by tangy kimchi mayo. Make a reservation at Area 31.

Miami Dining Guide

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Say hello to comfort food central. The sunny, Southern-minded eatery wants you to forget about your diet and just tuck into some good old-fashioned cooking. There’s a whole section of the menu devoted to Mama’s Biscuits, honey-sweetened, golden-crusted diamonds that are split open and packed with your choice of smoked brisket, Virginia ham, or fried chicken. Or you can simply eat them with a hearty brushstroke of housemade jam. Chicken and waffles are a highlight here, featuring elevated Eggos enriched with cheddar cheese, crackly crusted poultry, spiced watermelon, and bourbon-boosted maple syrup. Don’t forget to save some space for shareable small plates, such as skillet cornbread, five-cheese amped mac, and roe-topped deviled eggs. You can go back to your diet tomorrow. Make a reservation at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar.

Miami Dining Guide

Wynwood Kitchen and Bar
You’re just as likely to Instagram your surroundings as you are your food at this trendsetting restaurant. Street artist Shepard Fairey – creator of the Obama “Hope” image – and other gifted graffitists created the eye-catching murals splashed across the walls. The Latin-ish menu is designed for sharing so be prepared to fill up your table with a sweeping selection of small plates. Top of mind should be the ropa vieja empanadas, queso frito dotted with paprika sausage, adobo-rubbed pork belly, and your choice of skewers. The cocktails are as colorful and creative as the artwork that decorates the indoor-outdoor eatery, so make sure to snap a pic of those, too, before you sip. Make a reservation at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar.

Miami Dining Guide

Beachcraft
Tom Colicchio has a lot on his plate. Not only is he the head judge on a little cooking competition show on Bravo that you may know, but he’s also a successful restaurateur with a packed portfolio. He added this sustainably minded stunner to his collection this summer. It is his first Miami restaurant – and his first seafood eatery. Executive chef Michael Fiorello oversees the operation – sorry, Top Chef fanboys and fangirls! – keeping the focus on the freshest catch and latest harvest. Kick off in baller style with the skyscraping seafood tower featuring an array of raw delicacies. Flatbreads are a more restrained opener, as are the masterfully composed salads that pop off the plate with bursts of color. Pastas are a pleasant surprise, especially the jalapeno-pepped bucatini, which is given a briny burst by sea urchin butter. We’re sure Padma would approve. Make a reservation at Beachcraft.

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Splitting the Check on Portlandia; 86ing Butter + Cream on Menus + More

The corn-eating porcupine sounds eerily like Gizmo from Gremlins.

Food and dining news from around the web and the world…

* The perils of group dining. Splitting the check isn’t always easy or equitable. Take a cue from Portlandia and call in an expert. [Slate]

* Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. A robot may one day take your restaurant order. [NBC News]

* It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. So the man behind Rouge Tomate isn’t trying to. He keeps his cuisine butter and cream free without artificial ingredients. [NY Times]

* Hot chef. Here is a picture of Tom Colicchio with hair. Is he more handsome now or then? It’s probably too close to call. [US Weekly]

* From the ‘Moment of Zen’ files: Here’s a mogwai porcupine in a party hat eating an ear of corn. [YouTube]

 

Ahoy, Foodies: Set Sail for ‘Top Chef: The Cruise’ in Spring 2013!

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to mix and mingle with a cast of Top Chef celebrities this April!

Don’t miss the launch of the first-ever Top Chef: The Cruise in April 2013. Brought to you by Bravo Media, Celebrity Cruises, Magical Elves, and Rose Tours, come aboard the modern, luxurious Celebrity Constellation to spend quality time with the show’s judges and chefs on this culinary voyage of a lifetime.

Hosted by Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, and featuring Top Chef Masters and past chef’testants, including Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys), Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro), Richard Blais (The Spence), Jennifer Carroll, Tiffany Derry (Private Social), Chris Hanmer, Angelo Sosa (Social Eatz), Yigit Pura, Paul Qui, Hosea Rosenberg, Casey Thompson (Shinsei Restaurant), Fabio Viviani (Cafe Firenze), among others, the April 11-15, 2013, cruise will sail round trip from Miami, Florida, with stops in Key West, Florida, and Cozumel, Mexico. During the voyage, guests will have the opportunity to savor events, such as interactive “Quickfire” cooking challenges, culinary demonstrations, question-and-answer sessions, Top Chef menus and Celebrity’s own award-winning cuisine.

Learn more and book your reservations now!

Michael Bauer Defines Fine Dining; Colicchio Recommends It; and More

This week in dining trends…

* A reader asks San Francisco Chronicle restaurant reviewer Michael Bauer talk about what “fine dining” means  — leading him to wonder if it means anything anymore. [SF Gate]

* Tom Colicchio (Colicchio & Sons) is (shocker!) a fan of fine dining, and he debunks some myths about the experience to CNN. [CNN]

* The stroller set has plenty of eating options in the Big Apple, as high-end restaurants embrace little foodies. [The New York Times]

* Speaking of kids, child and parenting behavior expert Priscilla J. Dunstan has her own tips for taking the little ones out to dinner. [KansasCity.com]

* The size of your server is directly related to the size of your order. [Slashfood]

* Your server’s tableside manner is directly related to your enjoyment of your order. [Seattle Times]