It’s been a banner year for new openings around Miami, with hot imports making their Magic City debuts and local chefs flexing their skills with novel concepts. From beachfront Japanese-Korean fusion to Pharrell’s latest debut, these are Miami’s best new restaurants to book right now.
Casa Isola (Sunset Harbour)
From James Beard Award-nominated chef Jose Mendin and chef Santo Agnello comes Casa Isola, an Italian American restaurant that opened in March and serves up traditional red-sauce favorites alongside creative new dishes that play on classics. There’s rigatoni alla vodka and fried calamari as well as braised rabbit pappardelle bolognese and veal chop parmigiana served with its deep-fried bone. The must-order here, though, is the signature bread with cubes of prosciutto baked in, parmesan honey butter, and caponata. Pair it all with Italian wines, beers, and low-proof cocktails in the airy, indoor-outdoor space.
COTE (Design District)
New York City’s Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse COTE made its highly anticipated Miami debut this February. The sleek fine-dining restaurant combines the flavors and tabletop grilling of traditional Korean barbecue with classic steakhouse elements such as dry-aged meat and martinis. To get a true taste of the experience, opt for the butcher’s feast, a $58-per-person meal that comes with four selected cuts of 45-day dry-aged meat served with an assortment of Korean accompaniments such as kimchi, egg soufflé, rice, and soft serve. Be sure to order from the award-winning wine list from renowned sommelier Victoria James.
Como Como (South Beach)
Flavors from different regions of Mexico — Puerto Escondido, Los Cabos, Acapulco, and more — come together at Como Como, a marisquería (seafood restaurant) and raw bar that opened in May inside the Moxy Hotel. Dishes include various ceviches, grilled seafood and meat, and roasted vegetables in the dramatic space that includes a “tequila tree” of hand-blown glass spheres and copper pipes that dispenses mezcal and tequila for cocktails. After dinner, sneak off to the dark and moody Mezcalista Lounge, where you can choose from more than 100 types of mezcal and tequila.
Strawberry Moon (Miami Beach)
Miami restaurant mogul David Grutman and musical icon Pharrell Williams have teamed up again for their latest debut, a Mediterranean oasis with an outdoor pool and lounge on the third floor of The Goodtime Hotel. The menu focuses on mezzes, small plates such as octopus salad, and larger plates like branzino with chickpea tabbouleh and Yeminite zhug and various kebabs, while the Ken Fulk-designed pastel decor lends everything a throwback, Art Deco-era feel. Don’t miss happy hour, when select cocktails, glasses of wine, and appetizers are $8.
When Doya opened in January 2020, the restaurant barely had time to shine before the pandemic hit. Now, the Aegean restaurant from Mandolin co-founder Erhan Kostepen has hit its stride of serving food prepared over a wood and coal fire, such as grilled Turkish meatballs, Turkish pastrami hummus, and chopped spiced lamb with house-made lavash bread. Grab a seat at the open kitchen where chefs interact with diners, or opt for the outdoor garden for a taste of that Wynwood magic.
MILA (South Beach)
This Mediterranean and Japanese restaurant fuses together a stunning rooftop lounge and cocktail bar that will have you feeling like you’re floating on water — a key focal point of the space. The tranquil design, inspired by the Cycladic islands and traditional Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetics, accompanies the izakaya-style sharing plates. Gyoza arrives filled with shawarma wagyu and drizzled with butter ponzu, while the bone marrow is dotted with shisho chimichurri and a unique mezcal-ikura. Weekends are made better with MILA’s new prix fixe brunch, a heaping sharing menu of 20 dishes or more for the table.
Sushi in Austin is synonymous with Uchi, and the longtime city favorite opened in Miami in February. This location features lots of wood and other natural elements plus murals from Austin-based artists, and it’s best enjoyed through the ten-course chef’s tasting menu that uses sushi and sashimi flown in daily from Japan’s famed Tsukiji fish market. For those who prefer hot entrees, options include wagyu short rib with smoked apple kimchi and candied garlic, while a happy hour brings half off all Champagne and sparkling wine and reduced-price sushi.
Takato (Fort Lauderdale)
This beachfront Japanese-Korean fusion restaurant at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel, opened during the pandemic, blends the cuisine of chef Taek “Taka” Lee’s ancestries. Lee, who has more than 20 years of experience under his belt, created a menu that runs from breakfast through dinner — think braised short ribs eggs benedict; miso butter wagyu striploin; and ultra-luxurious nigiri piled high with maguro foie gras, double king crab, and snow crab all in one bite. The interior is simple and sleek, with palm tree views on one side and sushi bar action on the other.
Tried them all? Check out other options here.