At Swan in Miami they call the menu, “modern European cuisine” but the menu darts around the globe. Nothing sounds appealing and, guess what? It doesn’t taste appealing either. I haven’t said this in a long time… not recommended.
Back by popular demand, my personal favourite list of Miami restaurants for 2018/2019 in no particular order, as well as new openings I want to try.
The Surf Club Restaurant in Surfside, Miami is a luxurious place that respects attention to detail, and will take care of your every need. Expect impeccable service, finesse, glamour, and impeccable execution.
Core aims to prepare creative, authentic dishes with seasonal ingredients. It’s a Canadian bistro with French influences that has finally brought a neighbourhood fine dining experience to the east end of Toronto.
You do not have to indulge in a fine dining experience to receive outstanding food. One of Toronto’s hottest new restaurants, Sara, has a kitchen bursting with ambition, inventive and creative food in a serene, yet casual environment.
There is an open kitchen at the Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Ontario where you see Chefs Daniel and Eric, work alongside their team to create a French and Canadian, inspired cuisine. All the ceramics and utensils are custom crafted by locals, and everything is hand washed by the chefs and staff.
Alma Restaurant in Toronto is unpretentious, approachable, and delicious, with an eclectic menu. Chef Anna Chen is producing a larger than life winning formula.
Not all my reviews are about the latest hotspot. Occasionally I like to write about a tried and true winner. One such place is the Spotted Pig in New York’s West Village. It just may be New York’s most famous gastropub.
Alo Bar Yorkville stands out from a pack of other new places, pushing out exciting food that will likely keep the restaurant popular for a long time. I really enjoyed the culinary and hospitality philosophy there. I predict this will be one of the hottest tables in town.
Voted one of the best new restaurants in America for 2018, Frenchette in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood, showcases its talent by bringing back some nostalgic comfort as well as a mix of modern French cuisine.
Gennaro Amitrano Restaurant in Capri is an elegant, intimate restaurant with professional service, sound pacing, and each dish a visual joy. Is this Capri? A resounding YES!
Mirabelle in Rome combines a great view with refined gastronomy. You know you are in excellent hands and are in for a special lunch or dinner.
I say be adventurous, and you will be treated to a super cool, bohemian, urban vibe. Pinky’s Ca Phe in Toronto is a hidden treasure that serves exciting food with unique, bold, healthy, and distinctive flavours.
All in all, Paris Paris in Toronto is an inviting vibe, with an original, innovative menu. It is a welcome refuge, to get together with friends or loved ones, over a glass or two of wine, and a few bites.
Bacchanal Restaurant in Toronto offers variations of delightful and contemporary bistro fare, in a pleasant, relaxed environment.
We found the shareable tapas plates to be more to our liking, I would recommend going heavier on a large variety of these and lighter on the mains. My favourite dish, however, is the tender, charred octopus à la plancha, with arugula, and Marcona almonds.
Sherwood’s Bistro and Bar in the Little River district of Miami is a uniquely charming place with reasonably priced, simple food.
Le Morocain in Marrakech’s La Mamounia Hotel will transport you to the heart of Moroccan hospitality. The food was diverse and exotic with a fusion of flavours and textures.
1-800-Lucky in Wynwood, Miami is a buzzing marketplace is already a hangout for locals and tourists alike. It has always been difficult to find good Asian food. Now you can find it under one roof. Just be prepared for crowding and lineups. But that makes it part of the fun.
I may be away from Toronto this winter, but I am still keeping tabs on new restaurants. Look forward to you letting me know what you think about these about these as well as anything I should try on my return!
La Mamounia in Morocco is iconic, opulent and you will be ensured a most luxurious stay. It is hard to tear yourself away to tour Marrakech – it’s an intoxicating haven.
Toronto’s Aloette is a neighbourhood bistro that’s been packed from day one, and for good reason. The food was reasonably priced for the exceptional quality.
Arzabal in Madrid, Spain is sophisticated and romantic, serving quality food that is modestly priced. The whole experience is all very easy to digest.
Hexagon Restaurant in Oakville strives for culinary excellence, and Chef Sean goes to great lengths to succeed. His new restaurant sets the stage for his creative talent.
Estia is Toronto’s new “it” restaurant of the moment. The emphasis is on fresh, simple, uncomplicated dishes, that are cooked well. And really, isn’t this just what people are looking for?
The restaurant is chic, and sophisticated with a hip vibe.
If you go to Gabriel Kreuther in New York be prepared to be wowed. The chef presents inspired tasting menus in an impressive setting.
Augustine restaurant in New York is stunning. You would never know it just opened in November of 2016. It looks like it is right out of Belle Époque Paris.
The views are wonderful and the music is chill – relax in a cabana or a day bed, and order bottle service. If you don’t travel or have a cottage, this is a nice little refuge from the maddening crowd, and it is right in the city.
Georgette Frakas has herself a great brassiere that serves French fare, and serves it to a well-heeled upper east side crowd. As the New York Post said, “it is something to cluck about”.
I am not exaggerating when I say that the lobster at Lobster Sea Grille in Miami is the best damn lobster I have had in eons. My table all raved about the quality and execution.
One of the reasons I think Lake Inez in Toronto is jam packed and so popular is the hands on approach of the owners, who constantly come by to see how everything is going.
Doug Penfold’s new Toronto restaurant, Atlas, features dishes inspired by the his travels to Morocco and the Atlas Mountains. The cuisine presents a rich tapestry of spices and herbs, textures and tastes.
Since returning to Toronto from Miami, one of my most anticipated new restaurant openings has been La Banane. In a few short months it has become Toronto’s “it” restaurant.
The Norman Hotel is elegant and sophisticated and the staff is courteous, respectful and well-trained. It offers 24-hour concierge service, high-end interiors, and great personalized customer service. A stunning new addition to central Tel Aviv.
The emphasis is on fresh, local, simply prepared food. The menu changes on a whim, so you may not find a favourite dish again but you will certainly be surprised and pleased at the offerings.
Chef Eyal is known for his flair at each of his restaurants but HaSalon epitomizes his philosophy of fresh food of the highest quality. The experience is a combination of texture, smell, taste and proper execution.
The selection is outstanding at Bakehouse Brasserie in Miami. Everything is made fresh each morning and tastes amazing. I couldn’t be happier, who doesn’t love brunch?
Everything about Popina in Tel Aviv is experience driven: from the ingredients to the immaculate plating and modernist methods. Choose a variety of dishes to taste all the flavours and cooking styles. It was definitely my best meal in Israel.
There’s a buzz to La Petite Maison in Miami. The place exudes luxury, charm and style. They’ve really gone to great lengths in terms of hospitality, bringing in staff from the Dubai and London locations to assist the opening. If they can just refine the food, the discriminating clientele will return in droves.
Miami’s Toscana Divino offers a selection of traditional Tuscan and “moderna” fare. The dishes are unexpected and sophisticated. The chef believes in providing quality, flavour and freshness in the artisanal approach of “Fatto in Casa”.
Phuc Yea was one of Miami’s first pop-ups. It’s since reopened in the trendy MiMo district. I would call the restaurant a mash-up of Vietnamese and bold Cajun flavours. The owners and staff were friendly and courteous and so it pains me to report I was not a big fan of the cuisine.
Anet Gesualdi Macarons in Toronto creates artisanal French macarons of the highest order. They are super fresh, with an amazing flavour profile and many unique rotating flavours.
People’s Eatery in Toronto is fun, trendy and delicious! A great place to come with a few people so you can order lots of dishes. They are doing a bang up job with their diverse eclectic menu by Dustin Gallagher (a former Top Chef contestant).
Upland Miami is an offshoot of the New York restaurant with the same name by restauranteur Stephen Starr and his Chef Justin Smillie of Il Buco. At Upland the food showcases Smillie’s rustic/comfort food and seasonally influenced fare.
Olla in Miami has only been open for two weeks as of writing this review and I think they are doing an excellent job here. The chef is Marcus Samuelsson. He was friendly and very welcoming, and let me tour his pristine kitchen. Boy, it’s hot back there.
With the opening of Nichi’s Sweet Confections, people in Bay Harbour, Bal Harbour, Surfside and North Miami can rejoice! There is finally a bakery serving delightful, made-from-scratch baked goods! It’s really filled a void in the area (and in my stomach …).
Leslieville is a really cute area of Toronto, reminiscent of the West Village in New York. Once a seedy part of town, now interesting restaurants and stores are popping up everywhere. Another new addition to this area is Greta Solomon’s.
At Nadege Patisserie all the pastry are like little jewels, beautifully crafted and showcased edible art. Toronto you will fall in love.
Chabrol Restaurant in Toronto really feels like you are in a small Parisian bistro or wine bar. I am so happy to have the addition of this new place in the Yorkville area. They are packing them in and reservations are hard to come by, so book early.
Ja Bistro in Toronto has good dishes with a modern twist, served up in a beautiful but simple unpretentious manner. The fish is fresh and of high quality.
Le Coq Rico New York’s poultry taste better than your average birds. They might just serve one of the best roast chickens this side of Paris.
Everything I tried at Roselle Desserts in Toronto was outstanding. They make delicious French-inspired desserts, and as their slogan says, “desserts make you happy”. Well their desserts certainly do!
Butter Avenue in Toronto brings sweet goodness to the neighbourhood. Brother/sister owners, Calvin and Tina are a passionate and dynamic duo.
The crowd is mostly young and hip, and there is a boisterous and energetic feel to it. The night I dined there, actress Jodie Foster was in the house too. I had been a couple of times when it first opened but I admit I hadn’t been back in quite a while. I have to say even though I enjoyed it then, I think the kitchen has improved even more.
The restaurant offers a classic French cuisine like onion soup, bouillabaisse, mussels, steak tartare, duck confit, coquilles Saint-Jacques and herb crusted lamb. We were pleasantly surprised to have such a nice neighborhood spot that was so deliciously satisfying.
For me, the restaurant was hit and miss, and more on the miss side of things. The rolls were beautiful looking, but not at all traditional.
L’Express in Montreal is charming, lively, and, I think, the closest I’ve found to a true Parisian-style bistro in North America. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, the cuisine is well-crafted – based on creating rich flavours using simple ingredients. It’s a great option for a bite after shopping on Rue Saint-Denis.
Montreal has a rich food culture which we have enjoyed exploring on our short trip there. One of the toughest reservations to snag was at the iconic restaurant Joe Beef at 2491 Notre-Dame West. We actually had to use connections to get in. It didn’t help that it was voted the #4 best restaurant in Canada in 2016.
Miami’s dining scene keeps getting better. Let me introduce you to last season’s favourites, new restaurants and my most anticipated for the Fall and Winter of 2016-2017 …
Planta in Toronto is a great option for vegetarians and healthy eaters, but it doesn’t cater to this group exclusively. I don’t fall in those categories and I enjoy eating there. It is just an amazing alternative with tasty food, in a pleasant setting in a great Yorkville-area location.
I was so wowed with my experience at Toque in Montreal that I had to go to the other establishment that is overseen by Chef Normand Laprise, Brasserie T, located next door to the Place des Arts.
The tasting menu is always a surprise. They won’t tell you what it is in advance. They only ask if you have any allergies or aversions.
The Grilled Nueske’s Bacon was a dream come true for bacon lovers. Inch thick slabs that Bartlow serves with a smear of crunchy peanut butter, jalapeño jelly and minced Granny Smith apples.
I was impressed with the level of technical precision, and the elaborate, complex dishes. But was I blown away? Was each dish brilliant? Unfortunately, neither was not the case for me. Of the 22 small bites, I would say 4-5 were standouts. The rest were merely good. There were was a lot of theatrical value, flavour explosions and original dishes.
Bar Reyna – the new project of the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of View the Vibe, Nicki Laborie – is located at 158 Cumberland St. in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville area. The best dish of the night was the falafel bowl. I liked the crispness of the falafel.
Archimallows appeal to kids as well as the sugar addicted adult in all of us. His flavours and designs are ever changing and come in a myriad of shapes and sizes.
We are lucky that he is Canada’s candy man.
The food at the bar at Alo in Toronto was quite impressive and creative, with a unique medley of flavours. I enjoyed being able to eat well, in a casual but tasteful interior.
This may be a Jewish inspired restaurant but you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it, as witnessed by the crowds lining up to get in on the weekend. Make sure you reserve well in advance as this is probably one of the hottest brunch tickets in New York right now. It has a trendy vibe, with a young handsome crowd and solid food offerings.
Bar Begonia is located at 252 Dupont in Toronto. The space was sitting empty for quite some time, and then I saw renovations taking place and a cute, smiley emoji sign going up, but with no name facing the street. Of course, this piqued my curiosity and I had to check it out. It’s a Parisian style restaurant with a special focus on cocktails, that serves lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
The Chef is Japanese but classically trained in French cooking. He worked with Jamie Kennedy as a sous chef at Crush Wine Bar, and you can tell when you eat the twice-fried French fries. This neighbourhood bistro is a French restaurant with a modern flair and some global influences.
Sourced from 8 different countries for their style, craftsmanship and quality – if you are a passionate chef, a skilled cook or just demand the best equipment in your kitchen then you owe it to yourself to check out Hacher and Krain knives in Toronto.
The chef has a passion for what he does and you can see and feel it in the attention to detail. How he can create such wonderful food in such a tiny kitchen is a wonder to me. This place lives up to its reputation with great quality food and service in a romantic setting.
Did you know Shanea is a contributor to SocialMiami.com? Click through to see some of her latest reviews.
A neighbourhood staple for many, this place is always packed. Their bagels – some of Miami’s best handmade, still rolled, boiled and baked in shop – are in available 17 varieties.
If you are looking for a real indulgent treat, look no further than the Rice Cream Shoppe in NYC. It’s a wonderful addition to the neighborhood and a great concept. The cookies and cream, the rocky road and the chocolate hazelnut are all recommend 😋. I found the texture thick and very creamy but not too sweet.
The space was quaint and homey, and bright and airy with a vintage feel to it. The pastry shop really is adorable and there are tables to eat in or you can take out. In their well-stocked display cases they offer things like, French macarons, the prettiest buttercream cupcakes, pastries, scones, cookies, tarts, and birthday cakes. You can wash these down with coffee, pressed espresso, teas and use their free wifi.
It is nearly impossible to get a reservation at Carbone in Manhattan, NYC. In fact, getting in is like winning the lottery. Now I see why – it was fantastic, why did I wait so long to come here?
This is Francis Mallmann’s first venture in the United States. One of Argentina’s best-known chefs for preparing Haute-French food, his new vision led him to cooking with wood fires the way he saw gauchos and Indians cook in Patagonia.
I was a little nervous to try Vaucluse because Pete Wells slammed it in his review in the New York Times. But, I am a Michael White fan. The menu was a mix of traditional and contemporary takes on French cuisine. There were dishes like chilled seafood, pates, beef tartare, foie gras, chicken, duck, pork and lobster dishes. He also has daily specials and things like quiche on his lunch menu.
A very sophisticated eatery featuring both steaks and seafood, the restaurant is very beautiful and dramatic. I wish the food would live up to the decor and service. It is not that the food is terrible it just did not wow us.
20 Most Delish Dishes in Miami – El Cielo, Beachcraft, Pubbelly, Myumi Food Truck, Pinch Kitchen, Le Zoo and More. I tried to do a top 10 list, but I just couldn’t narrow it down! The truth is, I have dined out every night for 3 ½ months … I’ve tried a lot of dishes, to say the least!! Here’s some of my favourites (including honourable mentions (I know, I’m bad …)).
Antonio Bachour, James Beard award nominee and one of the city’s most acclaimed pastry chefs (from Bal Harbour St. Regis) has teamed up with Henry Hare, the former chef of Eating House (a favourite restaurant of mine) to launch this delicious new spot. One of the perks of my job is having a little extra pull. Chef Antonio came outside to greet us and warmly invited us inside.
You know how sometimes you crave a simple meal, you don’t feel like getting dressed up and you just want something good but unfussy, well I would like to suggest Blue Collar on 6730 Biscayne.
Here’s my list of must-try’s for 2016. Comment with some of the spots you are dying to try!
Here is my list of restaurants that I want to try this year, or that I have already tried and enjoyed.
The meal started with toasted French bread and a divine creamy truffled cheese. I had the jumbo lump crab salad with avocado, mango jalapeno, and cashew, in a curry dressing with cilantro and toasted coconut. It was a glorious dish.The Maine lobster salad was equally good and it was set on a bed of organic quinoa tabouleh, with preserved lemon, citrus segments and fresh mint. The seafood ceviche was good but on the spicy side.
The menu is divided into four sections. Crudo, small plates, rice and large format dishes. There is also a section called Binchotan service, where they grill meats, fish and seafood table-side.
I am apologizing in advance to everyone who will be upset when I tell them I have never been a fan of the James Beard award-winning Chef, Michael Schwartz. I have never found his food that appealing to me. I have also never cared much for his two other restaurants in the Design District.
I have searched high and low to find a great bakery in Miami for years, but to no avail. Thankfully in 2013, True Loaf Bakery opened in the Sunset Harbour area at 1894 Bay Road a couple of doors down from Lucali Pizza. Yes for those of us on the beach it is a schlep to drive all the way there but let me tell you, it is worth it. I just load up on a large order and freeze a large portion of it.
This is not your parents deli, but Jewish comfort food with a twist. On a street full of lots of Kosher restaurants it is refreshing to see a restaurant that serves some traif.
Are you coming here to eat gourmet food, no. But, if you are looking for great family fun, where the kids can run around in a big open space and jump in blow up slides and dine alfresco, you can’t get much better than this. The parking is free and there is a DJ spinning tunes. You can pull up by boat as well.
We really enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Pinch Kitchen. You can tell they cook with passion as it shines through in all the well-cooked and flavorful dishes.
Bal Harbour, home to some of Miami’s most high end boutiques has now added the French luxury leather goods brand of Goyard to its roster. This store is only one of a handful of stores outside Paris. This is the first free standing boutique in the Southeastern United States.
The iconic French luxury house of Hermes has just open their permanent store in the Design District at 163 E. 39th St.; not far from where their temporary store was.
Best old favourites and new loves.
After three weeks of continuously eating Indian food while in India we desperately were ready to try a Western meal. We went to TheTable on our last night in India. It was the only time we dined outside of a hotel and we felt comfortable doing so. It is located in the Kalapesi Trust building, not too far from the Taj Hotel in Mumbai.
The beautiful new Baccarat Hotel opened in New York this year near the MOMA on 30 West 53rd.
I highly recommend you try the bar with its Baccarat crystal chandeliers, decanters and glassware. It is a good place to go for drinks before or after dinner.
Of course everyone wants to try The French Laundry at least once in your life. So go ahead, beg your concierge or use a connection to try and get you in. We have been twice and I wouldn’t go back again.
If someone was to ask what was my favorite restaurant while visiting Amsterdam this past summer, I would quickly answer Johannes. It is at Herengracht 413.
On the 23 rd floor of the Hotel Okura, is one of only 2 , two star Michelin restaurants in Amsterdam.
If you are looking for white glove service in an elegant restaurant, with gorgeous views of the city and haute cuisine, you won’t go wrong with this special occasion restaurant.
We were excited to try this new spot in Manning and Harbord formally the home of Ici Bistro. The restaurant is tiny with only 22 seats, and that includes the bar and high tops.
Dailo restaurant in the former “Grace” space on College Street. They call this new Asian cuisine and we were very impressed. The staff is very knowledgable and helpful.
Piripi is Merrick Park’s newest eatery. It reminded me of an upscale Bar Isabel from Toronto. But the decor, service and quality of food is better.