I had been anticipating the opening of ēst Restaurant in Toronto for months. The chef is from one of my most highly recommended restaurants in Canada. The menu is progressive and focused on locally-sourced ingredients.
At Miami’s L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon you will enjoy style, service and exceptional food, with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, along with an extensive wine list, with good choices of wines by the glass, and a creative cocktail list.
Miami’s new Ember Restaurant by culinary director Brad Kilgore serves rich delicious American comfort food cooked largely on the wood fire grill.
Shunoko Restaurant in Toronto offers fun, creative, inventive and affordable fusion rolls, in a clean, minimalist atmosphere. I think you will be very pleased.
There is lots of hype about newcomer Dreyfus Restaurant and we are happy to welcome this light and airy spot serving locally sourced French fare to Toronto.
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Lake Como in Italy was my experience dining at L~Aria restaurant at the newly opened Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the shores of the breathtaking lakeshore.
Due Camini in Puglia, Italy is perfect for a special celebration, a romantic meal or a gourmet treat to experience contemporary techniques and dishes that have a history of culinary traditions, re-created in a cutting-edge environment.
There is reason Langdon Hall Dining Room in Cambridge, Ontario has garnered much acclaim, there is thought behind every dish and dining is a major event here. Definitely a culinary destination experience.
It’s easy to see why Henrietta Red in Nashville was the most anticipated restaurant opening in 2017 and a semi-finalist for best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation in 2018.
Cru Restaurant in Toronto has potential, I was intrigued by Chef Jon Williams who previously worked at Richmond Station, and in London for Michelin Star restaurants including the famous Heston Blumenthal.
What surprised me about Après Wine Bar in Toronto was the quality of food this tiny kitchen puts out. The menu has a lot of interesting choices and I found it unexpected and inspiring.
For me, Fet Zun in Toronto is Anthony Rose’s best restaurant yet, and one of the cities top Middle Eastern establishments. I definitely want to go back and work my way through the menu.
I went to Yakashi Restaurant in Toronto with an open mind, and wallet, to try their “fine dining” omakase experience.
The most difficult dinner reservation to secure in Miami is surely the 8-seat omakase experience at Hiden Restaurant in Wynwood. Located through a hidden door at the back of a taco shop awaits a secret restaurant that is booked months in advance.
Our meal at Ad Lib Restaurant in Coral Gables conveyed an appreciation for perfect preparation and flavours. The restaurant has a cool, casual vibe, with sophisticated, yet approachable choices.
Maya’s Restaurant in St. Barths serves Creole style food made with fresh ingredients and cooked simply. It is always a highlight of our visit and continues to remain an institution.
Mandrake Restaurant in Miami Beach is a new Asian fusion inspired dining experience in a theatrical space.
Chef José Mendin, a five-time James Beard award nominee and the man behind the Pubbelly empire has created La Placita in Miami, a restaurant cooking food from his homeland.
Miami recently got a California import, Malibu Farm at the Eden Roc Hotel. A lovely whitewashed setting, with wooden tables and cozy banquets, a wooden deck, a retractable roof, and views overlooking the expansive beach, and blue waters.
Fiola in Coral Gables, Miami is the type of restaurant you would expect to find in a in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. Dinner was deeply satisfying and picture perfect. The cuisine is inspired by regional Italian classics, using local, seasonal ingredients.
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.
Situated close to fields and lush mountains is one of Peru’s loveliest properties, The Belmond Rio Sagrado in Cusco. It is a unique hideaway in the Sacred Valley, an exclusive enclave modeled on Andean Life, with 5-star service.
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.
Map Cafe was probably my favourite place for dinner in Cusco, Peru. It was also the one place in town that you could dress up, enjoy live harp music, and a candlelight dinner.
Last year I had the opportunity to eat at a gastronomic dinner in Miami, where the special guest was Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura, who cooked an exquisite Japanese-Peruvian fusion meal. He has been voted the 7th best restaurant in the world this year on the San Pellegrino’s list. So I had to return to his restaurant in Lima for another “Nikkei” experience at San Martin 399, in the Miraflores district.
Maido in Lima Peru serves “Nikkei”, a Peruvian cuisine with Japanese influences brought to Peru through Japanese immigrants. It’s voted the 7th best restaurant in the world on the San Pellegrino 2018 list.
Toronto’s Frilu Restaurant is a modern, casual eatery, serving fine dining, with warm, gracious hospitality and showcasing playful, creative and dramatic food.
Alma Restaurant in Toronto is unpretentious, approachable, and delicious, with an eclectic menu. Chef Anna Chen is producing a larger than life winning formula.
At Konjikin Ramen in Toronto you can taste the traditional methods used to provide their flavour packed broth and his delicious noodles. Every single step is painstakingly considered.
Toronto’s Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto offers a culinary expression of art, with meticulous preparation and beautiful presentations. From artistically carved vegetables, to the finest uni and freshest and best quality sashimi, it’s an evening of very fine and precious cuisine.
Momofuku Kōjin in Toronto is a new frontier for David Chang of Momofuku fame. He has given Chef Paula free reign to showcase her cooking skills, which are innovative and extremely satisfying.
At Obra Kitchen Table in Miami my meal was a gastronomic feast, that was creative, ambitious, innovative and yet unpretentious, approachable and casual. Considering the pedigree of the chef, the food was moderately priced.
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.
Olmsted offers sophisticated food at moderate prices. It really is worth the trip to Brooklyn for creative small plates, that are refreshing, whimsical and ambitious.
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.
The menu at IL Covo Restaurant in Toronto is more on the rustic side, with robust flavors. You will find tasty and creative dishes, that are reasonably priced.
The experience is fun at Pa’La Restaurant in Phoenix, AZ, and although the menu is minimal, everything is healthy and of the highest quality.
Every drink is designed to thrill the senses. From the unique glassware, fire, smoke, infused ingredients, flavoured ice, magic and whimsy. The bar snacks offered are also creative. No wonder, Grant Achatz of the three-star Michelin restaurant in Chicago is behind this project.
At Emily in New York the tough decision is agonizing over what to order, the fabulous burger or the sumptuous pizza. I say order one of each and split them.
New Toronto restaurant, Parallel is a fun place to try, with interesting twists on classic Middle Eastern dishes.
Bacchanal Restaurant in Toronto offers variations of delightful and contemporary bistro fare, in a pleasant, relaxed environment.
Constantine is on the main floor of a new boutique Toronto hotel, The Anndore House, at 15 Charles Street East, close to Yonge and Bloor Street. The food can best be described as Mediterranean, with Israeli/Middle Eastern influences. I liked the brunch menu and found the service to be better than the dinner service.
At Toronto’s Assembly Chef’s Hall you can eat out with friends without worry about someone’s dietary restrictions. It is fun, unfussy, and won’t break the bank.
Tanto Restaurant in Toronto serves dishes with Italian, Spanish and Argentinian flavours and influences. Almost every protein and vegetable spends time on the grill, reminiscent of Frances Mallmann. It was a nice change from the usual.
Palat Restaurant is an eye-catching spot, and made me do a double take as I was driving by. I hadn’t heard a thing about it, but decided to try it on a whim, for lunch. It was so good, I returned for dinner the next day.
Mendin and Friends Dinner Series at Habitat, Miami delivers inspiring, well executed and appealing dishes.
I was truly impressed with the culinary excellence, meal is opulent and rich tasting.
We were lucky to be invited to a private dinner at Fátima, Donnie Masterton’s new San Miguel spot in the Casablanca Hotel.
Miami’s newly open Skorpios’ elevated and reimagined menu includes a selection of daily catches, grilled whole, all simply garnished.
One of the owners of Bistro Mi Casa in San Miguel is world-renowned musician, Gil Gutierrez. He has performed at the Kennedy Center as well as Carnegie Hall, and on special nights, performs at the restaurant!
We had an enjoyable evening at Amara at Paraiso. I felt like I was in the tropics, or at a chic beach club. The menu focuses on clean balanced food, and simple cooking techniques enhanced by the flame.
Kiki bills itself as a fine dining establishment with modern Greek food in a waterfront setting. The restaurant opened last April 2017. It is frequented by high rollers, celebrities and wannabes. Situated right next door to a place with a similar concept is Sea Spice.
Finally, Miami has a worthy sushi counter with Tokyo trained chefs. Michelin starred in New York and with a location in Kuala Lumpur, the Azabu Miami offshoot has debuted, and it’s a sublime and memorable experience. The sushi is traditional, of the freshest quality and was superb.
Palmar is a welcome addition to Wynwood. It’s a fun, unfussy, and appealing place. The selections are creative, fashionable, and current, and the staff is friendly and helpful. Best when Chef Diaz is in the house!
I would have to say Nusr-Et Steakhouse is Miami’s newest “it” restaurant of the moment. It’s one of the best steaks I have ever had. Here the steak, a good quality cut of meat, is perfectly cooked, tender and juicy and full of flavour.
The 18,000 sqft. Casa Tua Cucina in Brickell City Centre, Miami includes 12 unique dining stations, such as pizza, fish, pasta, crudo, cheese, coffee, gelato, pastry, chocolates, rotisserie chicken, meat and even a flower shop.
Le Jardin in Morocco is a quiet and tranquil oasis of open-air greenery surrounded by a 16th-century building. They use fresh local produce and there are plenty of vegetarian options.
Toronto’s new Blueblood Steakhouse harkens back to a day when glamour and high-end dining was a mainstay. It’s a classic steakhouse that goes to great lengths to create a special evening.
With the opening of Etaru, people in Hallandale, Florida and surrounding areas can now dine at an upscale, Japanese, contemporary Robatayaki restaurant, with a beautiful waterfront setting.
Chef Norman Van Aken’s new restaurant, Three in Wynwood, Miami, is not only stunning, the dishes are infused with innovative flavours. They are hoping to become the first restaurant in Miami to receive a Michelin Star. They just may just get what they wish for.
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!
Bar Sybanne in Toronto surpassed all my expectations. The reasonably priced menu offers artfully-plated, creative dishes with a great interplay of textures and tastes.
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.
There has been much hype about the opening this fall of the new, slick Bisha Hotel and residential condominium at 80 Blue Jays Way in downtown Toronto. Charles Kabouth is one of the principles and he is known in Toronto as a restaurant entrepreneur.
At Kiin in Toronto each item is meticulously prepared and beautifully presented, with rich flavours that ripple across the taste buds.
Brothers Food and Wine in Toronto hosted the Visa Infinite Dining Series, serving an insanely good meal from beginning to end. The evening was perfection.
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.
When I find myself in Buffalo, New York, I always make sure to stop by Anderson’s Frozen Custard. Luckily there are now seven locations and a food truck.
Zen Restaurant in Toronto aims to preserve the culture of Japanese cuisine, providing excellent service and beautifully prepared dishes using fresh, unique ingredients. It exceeded our expectations and lit up my umami sensors.
Montgomery’s Restaurant has steadily become known by those “in the know”, featuring Canadian dishes with local ingredients, many sourced from the Mennonite community.
Dashi in Miami’s River Yacht Club serves beautifully presented dishes that tempt all the senses with equally beautiful views. I don’t think you will be disappointed!
Using the best ingredients and some serious skills, Skippa in Toronto is a success story about how hard work can pay off. Each course had a different layering of flavours.
Osteria Francescana in Modena, IT serves modern Italian cuisine in a sophisticated setting. It’s the ultimate stage for Chef Massimo to showcase his supreme talent.
I have never seen such a beautifully designed, chic restaurant in Italy before as Ristorante Berton in Milan.
Dry is a contemporary spot in Milan with a unique combination of pizza and mixology. It became so popular they added a second location.
Everything is extremely fresh at Sud Forno in Toronto. One fabulous treat is the bombolini, an Italian sugar donut with fillings of Nutella or crema.
Avra Madison Estiatorio in New York is a new “it” restaurant serving upscale traditional Greek cuisine, conveniently located across from Barney’s and the shops on Madison Avenue.
The meal was indulgence – a culinary adventure that was expertly served in a magnificent art deco setting. Everything that adorned the plates was thoughtfully conceived and gorgeously executed.
Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva offers refined tasting menus and a la carte dishes featuring carefully sourced ingredients, and bold flavours, some dishes using more than twenty varieties of chilies.
Located in the new Found:Re Boutique Hotel, Match Cuisine and Cocktails was on Phoenix Magazine list of promising Valley restaurants. But less than 6 months in, this attractive restaurant had already lost its chef, ouch!
Dining at Binkley’s in Phoenix was one of my most memorable experiences that I won’t soon forget. Without a doubt, it is the best restaurant in the city.
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.
One of the things I love about New York is that are no shortage of wonderful little neighborhood restaurants everywhere you look. One such gem, new to the scene is Gloria.
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”.
Chris Bianco, the James Beard award-winning chef, who has a national reputation for pizza has himself another winner, with his newest venture, Tratto in Phoenix, AZ.
Ocotillo in Phoenix is the quintessential modern Arizona eatery. They are a new gold standard, capturing the hearts of locals and tourists alike.
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.
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.
Toronto’s Grey Gardens is fresh, seasonal and creative. A neighbourhood place where you can drop by for a drink and snacks, or stay for dinner.
The Upper East Side crowd gets to feast on bold flavours and textures with unique interpretations of dishes. The plates are small, but inventive and elevated with a complexity that isn’t expected.
At Valentino Italian Cucina in Ft. Lauderdale Chef Giovanni creates expertly prepared Italian dishes with a modern twist using fresh, high-quality ingredients in all that he prepares.
At Forte dei Marmi in Miami they go to great lengths to bring you the flavours of the Amalfi coast, using high-quality ingredients, exceptional regional specialties and inventive Italian cooking in a beautifully presented in a relaxed and vibrant setting.
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.
Turkiz is a lovely restaurant with a creative menu of fabulous food. Of course, the highlights here are unquestionably fish and seafood creations. The name, “Turkiz” means, “turquoise”, which is perfect for the spot, and since opening in 1991 they’ve been really packing them in.
Now here’s the perfect combination – Miami’s Four Seasons Surf Club and iconic restaurant Le Sirenuse from famed Positano, Italy have partnered together.
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?
The vibrant menu showcases farm fresh, conscientiously-sourced, truly soul-nurturing dishes. This one is worth a visit. The chefs’ passion and creative expression is reflected in their cooking.
The pizza at Stanzione 87 in Miami cooks in an Italian wood burning oven in under 90 seconds. The pie is soft, elastic, tender and fragrant with a sauce that tastes perfect.
Loving Alan Richman’s 30 commandments for making restaurants—and any dining-out experience—better in GQ. Spot on! Check them out here.
Tanuki in Miami is lively, and colorful, with graffiti-covered walls, reclaimed wood and yellow leather banquets with blond wood tables and digital lights accenting a long wrap around bar. Samurai swords decorate the walls. The central focus of the room is a seven-foot statue of a Tanuki, a Japanese talisman said to bring good luck.
Miami has a new “secret garden” – a romantic, lush oasis that doesn’t feel like Miami but a little like Hawaii. Our evening was relaxed, intimate, and aesthetically appealing. They are open daily from 4pm till midnight and will soon be adding a Sunday brunch.
I am a big fan of the Pubbelly Group and in particular their sushi restaurant. I was happy to hear they were opening at the Brickell City Center at 701 South Miami Avenue. It is so refreshing to see malls like Bal Harbour and Brickell City Center opening quality restaurants.
At Artisan Beach House in Bal Harbour, Miami,say the food is rustic, but that’s being modest. The dishes may read like comfort food but they are ambitious and infused with dynamic, energizing flavours.
On a whim, I decided to try a new spot that I had heard nothing about. Located at 1099 NE 79th Street is a hidden gem you may not have heard of but you will be glad that you are now. Ferraro’s Kitchen and Wine Bar is sure to impress.
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.
J&J BBQ in Toronto is dishing up some pretty amazing barbecue. Because of them, I might become a convert to this style of cooking, or even an addict! Their meats have light rubs, minimal sauce and lots of wood smoke flavour.
What else does a Jew do on Christmas Day when everything else is closed? Go for Chinese food, natch! Tropical Chinese is the real deal. It’s authentic Chinese cooking, where everything is hand-crafted from scratch, since 1984.
Every dish at Chef Brad Kilgore’s Brava in Miami is like a work of art. The menu is unique and authentic with elevated presentations, and the design is elegant with a sophisticated ambiance.
We had dinner at the Bird and Bone, under the tutelage of Chef Richard Hales. He is the chef who also helms Blackbrick and Sakarya Kitchen. Hales’ interpretation of American cuisine takes it to another level. I prefer this restaurant to Yardbird.
Brooklyn’s Paulie Gee’s has come to Miami. The crust is thin, but not soggy, and nicely charred and tender, just the way I like it. Every month they collaborate with another restaurant to incorporate what they are known for into a pizza.
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.
Consider Barnsteiner’s in Toronto if you are in the mood for some home cooked food, but you don’t feel like cooking. People who are intimidated by trendy restaurants, or menus where they can’t find anything that they would dare try, this is your place.
Leña in Toronto is a recent venture by the O&B Group. Located in the new Saks 5th Ave, it’s quite striking and sophisticated for a restaurant within a department store. They have many restaurants from Canoe, Auberge de Pommier, Jump, Luma, to the O&B Canteen.
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.
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.
Toronto’s Noorden is the perfect spot for a light snack and drinks, or a full on dinner. The pop up will be closing when their lease comes up in mid 2018, but maybe we can convince them to move to another location.
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.
Miami’s Paradigm Kitchen serves “clean soul food”, and they serve it with a smile. It’s no wonder when I visited during lunchtime the place was doing brisk business – the food is really good and crowd pleasing.
Fi’lia in Brickell, Miami is a play on the Italian word, “figlia”, which means “daughter” – Chef Michael Schwartz two daughters. He has expanded his operations and opened this restaurant in partnership with the Related Group. It is located on the main floor of the SLS.
Diwan in the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto has an elegant interior with floor to ceiling windows that fill the restaurant with natural light and look out onto a lovely patio and garden. The place was full on a Saturday lunch, so I suggest reservations on a weekend.
St. Clair Ave West in Toronto is home to many neighborhood restaurants. A new one in the area is Nodo Hillcrest, located at 794 St. Clair Avenue West. This is Nodo’s second location.
STK in Toronto is a large, impressive, even sexy restaurant in the former Studio Cafe. This is a place to mingle, meet and greet.
Ji Restaurant in Toronto calls itself an Indian gastropub-style food. They are aiming for a more casual take on Indian food. The menu is divided into sharing plates, buns and bowls.
The food is never boring – it’s truly unforgettable. When people ask me, what is my favourite restaurant in Toronto, Buca Yorkville is always on the top of my list. I am seriously impressed with the level of food, the knowledgeable and friendly staff, the high-end crowd and the remarkable creativity of the menu. Rob’s food is a modern approach to dining without being gimmicky. Long live the king.
We experienced a warm welcome from the minute we walked through the doors. Cindy’s menu features a beautiful range of ethnically diverse and seasonally driven dishes that spotlight her culinary approach to global cuisine. Still, I could detect some of her signature Island flavours in many of the descriptions on the menu.
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.
Nota Bene is not only the best restaurant in the Entertainment district, it is one of Toronto’s best restaurants. It always exceeds my expectations and has stood the test of time.
Glass and Vine in Coconut Grove was created by Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, a James Beard Award nominee and winner of the Food Network’s show, Chopped, and Grove Bay Hospitality Group. The indoor/outdoor 200 seat restaurant is located in the heart of Peacock Park.
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.
I have my friend Fenwick to thank for recommending I try a new spot at 17070 West Dixie Highway in North Miami.
I am often asked for suggestions for not-so-fine dining, reasonably priced neighborhood restaurants that also serve great good.
I think the newly opened Lettuce and Tomato Gourmet Gastrobar fits the bill.
Bachour Bakery and Bistro in Miami is great for breakfast, lunch or brunch. Be sure to leave room for one of Bachour’s breathtaking creations. He was a 2016 James Beard Awards Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalist.
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 …
All the food is well-seasoned and they are not afraid to add some spice to some dishes, which I find refreshing. The staff was super friendly, engaging and helpful. The lines move quite fast, and the pacing of the buffet style service was pretty sound. I predict it will be a mainstay of the area and service hungry Torontonians.
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.
This is truly a foodie experience. Everything is well executed. Not only is it a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the food is adventurous and creative, and the servers are professional and attentive. They really catered to us and made us feel special.
Folks, we have a winner. Ardo is open for lunch during the week and dinner Monday to Saturday. Toronto needs more places like this. I am totally enamored with Ardo.
There really were no standouts except for the amazing Smashed Potatoes. I would rather come for a drink at the bar, but the food doesn’t seem to stop the people from coming. The place was packed and the crowd was beautiful.
Dandylion Restaurant in Toronto has consistently been on top lists of places to dine in Toronto. The approach to the contemporary, yet eclectic menu seems simple, but there is a complexity to each dish. The food is truly thoughtful and creative.
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.
There are a few good options of where to stay while in Barcelona. It may depend on if you want to include a beach vacation as well as a city vacation, or whether you want to be in the center of things, close to shopping and the historical sights.
JK has one of the largest pools on the island, with clean, comfy chairs and shade if needed. We are pampered at the pool by Michele, who looks after all our needs. The crowd is a great mix of young and older, from celebrities to jet setters to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
If you are seeking a unique and indulgent city experience in a superb location, the J.K. Place Roma is unsurpassed in Rome – it has an abundance of style and a staff that exudes warm hospitality.
It was cooking in its purest form and a dining experience I will never forget. The food was accessible and uncomplicated, yet cooked with precision, and a kiss of smoke. Truly a dining experience I will never forget.
Everything we tried was a home run at newly opened Ufficio Restaurant in Toronto. It was fresh, tasty, and seasonal. The cooking was quite sophisticated and well-executed. You have got to try their grilled homemade focaccia bread!
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.
It is Scott Conant’s pastas that remind you of why he became famous in the first place. His Pasta Pomodoro is a signature dish. Such simple ingredients but it is the best tomato pasta you might ever have.
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.
My last night in Arizona I saved Chef Branden Levine’s brand new restaurant Sel. Each plate we tasted was carefully executed and boasted sophisticated and bold flavours. This restaurant is a welcome change from the casual eateries in Arizona. The Chef’s mission is to change the way people dine here, and he is doing an excellent job of it.
Named one of Phoenix’s best new restaurants, The Gladly takes familiar fare and adds a playful and decadent twist. Great presentations and food pairings. Recommended!
When I return I want to try some wood fired pizza, but it did look a little too charred for my taste. Our neighbours seemed to be enjoying their veal parmesan. There is even a cheeseburger on the menu and I presume that it must be good as well.
Sip, taste and laugh the day or night away – Toronto needs more unique places like Bar Raval! The intimate space can hold about 40 persons. It’s tight, crowded and fun. You eat with your hands or toothpicks. The dishes are small so you can try a lot of things, and the menu is weighted heavily on seafood. We tried a lot of delicious dishes including the canned scallops, razor clams and serrano ham with manchego cheese. Things were fresh, flavourful and well seasoned.
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.
I would say the food is fusion with comfort food thrown in. I love you Susur and Drake, but for me the food fell short and didn’t live up to all my expectations. I decided to go on a Sunday night when things were more relaxed. But you know, the place got rather busy even on a Sunday night.
This is the Pubbelly boys first restaurant off the beach. Considering it has only been open a few weeks you would think they would be present to make sure things were running smoothly. I kept reading that this restaurant is like nothing you’ve seen before. Well, I hope not nor do I wish to see it again.
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?
Black Brick Midtown was one of our favourite new restaurants last year, so I thought it was worth returning again to see if the cooking and service still lived up to my expectations. I am happy to report that we had a delicious meal there.
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.
Set in a former auto body shop, they have kept the original garage doors – hence the name. The place looks cool and there was quite a buzz. That may die down once the excitement of a new place opens, especially when they are not delivering a good product.
I am a huge Mario Batali fan and I was very excited to try his new venture with his partner Joe Bastianich. I loved the menu.
There has been lots of buzz about this mighty duo, and for good reason. They are already packing them in here – I can’t wait to return.
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.
Last weekend Shanea took over Social Miami’s Twitter to share her food and fun adventures.
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.
When I first visited Drunken Dragon, after it opened, I was in love with this new concept of sharing plates and Asian fusion food. I looked forward to returning to see if it was still how I remembered it. If it is your first time visiting it make sure you take the address with you as the restaurant is signless and has blacked out windows. Located in a seedy strip plaza, the sign above it says, “Market”.
We opted for a chef’s tasting at $65 for five courses, two appetizers, two mains and a dessert, which is a relative bargain. It works out to $13 per course. Yes they are tiny portions but each dish is labour intensive and has good quality ingredients. I think for a first time here that is the way to go so you can sample some of Chefs Brad Kilgore’s cooking. But a la carte is also an option. The wine list was also quite reasonable. We enjoyed a bottle of Whispering Angel Rose that went well with our dinner. Please note the prices have not increased in the past year.
I liked my Insalata di Salmon, which was fresh tasting and perfectly grilled. They serve Lavazza coffee and it was prepared like espresso we get in Italy. In addition, they gave us a tiny glass of limoncello. I don’t think I would run back but it wasn’t a total disappointment. We also really enjoyed dining al fresco.
Alinea has been on my list for years. More than just a dinner, it’s performance art. Innovation at the highest level, and a science project all rolled into one. For me, personally, it was a phenomenal food experience. A well conceived and show-stopping menu, the dishes are beautiful, yet experimental, complex and labour intensive, each executed with precision.
The evening held lots of surprises. The organizers really outdid themselves, there was so much going on. It was a who’s who of celebrities, philanthropic icons, business leaders, fashionistas and exhibitionists. The people watching was off the charts. The evening was co-hosted by Gloria and Emilio Estefen, Tommy Lee Jones and his wife Dawn, and Christian Slater and his wife Brittany.
A cool concept has opened at 7610 NE 4th Ct., in the same courtyard as Ironside Pizza. At F27 they serve customized ice cream using liquid nitrogen to freeze the it to 27 degrees Fahrenheit. They operate specially designed machines to enable them to use liquid nitrogen, which is injected into the ice cream liquid base. This is a flash freezing process that causes water crystals to be the smallest, achieving a velvety, creamy and smooth texture.
Hidden in a dingy market where the staff is not so friendly and the place has lots of rules – no phones, no takeaway, no second orders – the Chef works sushi wonders.
The best rolls for me weren’t even on the menu but thanks to an insider I knew what to order. Now I can share this information with you …
The best part about Myumi, a charming food truck in Wynwood, Miami is the sushi, it’s so fresh tasting and the chef explains where each piece comes from. It could be Alaska, Japan, Boston, Florida , Scotland etc. The menu rotates based on availability. The meal is quite traditional, there are no gimmicky surprises.
We only went for lunch but I can’t wait to go back for dinner later next week to try the American Southern barbecue technique of slow cooking, and smoking. We saw the chef select some wood that was piled on the side so he can start smoking some meat – he said takes up to 14 hours.
I heard about a new place in the heart of South Beach, called Dirt at 232 5th St. (between Washington and Collins). It bills itself as a new “fine food” served fast, dining experience. They serve high-quality, nutritious food quickly and affordably.
Not every restaurant is trendy or a scene. A restaurant doesn’t have to be hot to be good.
The Traymore Restaurant at the Art Deco Metropolitan by Como hotel isn’t cool but it it is low key, warm and inviting.
To be fair I have only been here once and I couldn’t sample all the dishes I would have liked to.
The ambience is relaxed and sophisticated with a nautical beach chic look. There is lots of wood , stone floors, an open kitchen and a lovely outside bar area and patio that would be glorious on a nice day. It was closed for our dinner for some reason and it was an icebox inside the restaurant, strike one. They try to seat us at the worst table next to the kitchen entrance and by the waiters station, strike two.
I am embarrassed to admit I had never heard of El Cielo although it has been open for a year. A friend who lives in Florida told me I should give it a try. I have to say our dinner has far surpassed anything I have had in Miami this year.
Here is my list of restaurants that I want to try this year, or that I have already tried and enjoyed.
Located in a historical home from the 1930’s, at 2727 Indian Creek Road on the property of the Freehand Hotel, the 27 Restaurant and Bar is open for dinner daily, with brunch served on weekends.
This is a Mexican restaurant in case you couldn’t guess from the name. This is the third incarnation in the last few years at this spot, and it may not be the last.
The Miami Herald gave it 2.5 stars which is a pretty decent rating, so I was intrigued to try it.
Ni.Do. Caffé first opened about five years ago in the MiMo area of Miami to rave reviews. I loved the food and the casual ambience there. However when I ate there several months ago it wasn’t up to its typical high standards. So it was with trepidation that I tried the new location at 11052 Biscayne Blvd.
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.
There are very few restaurants left in Miami where you can put on a suit and a dress these days. The Matador Room in Ian Schrager’s Miami Beach Edition Hotel is an exception. Located at 2901 Collins Avenue, it’s a stunning, sunken circular space, to mimic the feel of a bull fighting arena, with high ceilings, and artwork of famous Matadors and their costumes. Inside is very elegant and refined. I also love dining outside on the terrace surrounding the beautiful pool. It has a romantic, tropical feel which is very sexy. The crowd is dressed to the nines.
Located at 423 Washington Avenue, between 4th and 5th St., Izzy’s Restaurant serves New England fare in a cool, hip South Beach setting.
Whenever I am visiting Miami I try and eat lunch or dinner at Mandolin Restaurant. The food is great, but even more so there is something about this historic 1940’s restored house that I find charming. Located at 4312 NE 2nd Ave, in the Buena Vista neighbourhood just north of the Design District.
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.
In the heart of the Wynwood district on a very interesting street at 218 Northwest 25th Street (it is worth checking out the stores and art warehouses in the area) is a industrial looking space with a wide open kitchen.
If you don’t mind going to a restaurant that is super casual, with simple decor, ugly art work, and a no frills kind of place but has really good food at reasonable prices then I recommend Proof Pizza and Pasta. It is located at 3328 N. Miami on the corner of 34th street, which is in Midtown and not too far from the Wynwood district. Don’t let me scare you, it is still an inviting space and clean.
I hate when a restaurant brings a number of dishes to share to the table but they bring no utensils.
We had the pleasure of eating at Via Verdi and we were impressed with the food as well as the warm welcome from the Carro brothers and their staff. A special shout out to Fabrizio who really made our dinner very special with his meal suggestions and conversation.
Sometimes you just don’t feel like getting dressed up or like spending a fortune on dinner, but you still want some delicious food. This is when we go to Burgers and Shakes at 7401 Collins Ave. You can’t miss the place it is located on the corner and it always has a lineup. This small joint is popular for a reason, The food is good and the prices are right.
Our FAVOURITE thing to do is rent a private boat and driver (through the concierge), he will take you around the entire island and drop you off for lunch at La Fontelina beach club if you do a half day, or if you do a full day try Recommone(near Narrano on the mainland) restaurant La Conca del Sogno -waiter Alfonso, and after return to Marina Grande…always the BEST day of the trip!
Cecconi’s has been packing them in since its opening around 5 or so years ago. It is located just before a curve on 4385 Collins Avenue just south of the Fountainbleau.
There have been many new restaurant openings in Miami since the summer. One of the new ones is The Continental on 2360 Collins Avenue at 23rd street.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at The Grill at Bal Harbour – situated on the second floor of the mall, just up the escalators and straight to the back. I suggest making reservations now that everyone has discovered the restaurant.
We started our meal with “Pisco Sours” a traditional Peruvian cocktail that is so goooood! I had the Ceviche Misto and David had the Grilled Ceviche, a dish that the Chef invented for his wife who doesn’t eat raw fish. Both were excellent choices.
Dined at Toronto’s Yasu restaurant on 81 Harbord st. It is a tiny place, minimalist, understated with clean modern lines, and relaxed ,holding about 13 people. It opened 15 months ago.
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.
We tried a new restaurant in the Yonge and Davisville area called Little Sister. It is an Indonesian/ Dutch inspired restaurant. I am no expert on Indonesian food but everything we ordered was delicious, the restaurant gets high marks for rich and complex flavours.
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.
Located in the former Corner House Restaurant on Davenport is Flor de Sal – a beautiful, attractive, bright and nicely decorated space.
We have been to the Good Son for dinner before, but now we wanted to try Sunday Brunch. I am happy to report that is was great.
Quality Meats from New York bring their steakhouse restaurant To South Beach. It has an Art Deco feel to the place with an outdoor patio.
1) Roscoli, great deli/restaurant near the Campo Fiori, amazing carbonara and burrata. The tomato soup is wonderful and so are all the cheeses. They have a […]
Zarafa Camp was nothing short of magical. Located in 320,000 acres with only 4 tents you can imagine the kind of personalized level of service you get.
We were overwhelmed with the beauty and detail of this fabulous city resort. Everything from the grounds, the art work, the pool and restaurants were first rate. Our room was unbelievable.