Restaurant listings for the BT Dining Guide are written by Andrew McLees (AM), Mandy Baca (MB), and the late Pamela Robin Brandt (PRB) (
). Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, but restaurants frequently change menus, chefs, and operating hours, so please call ahead to confirm information. Icons ($$$) represent estimates for a typical meal without wine, tax, or tip. Hyphenated icons ($-$$$) indicate a significant range in prices between lunch and dinner
$ = $10 and under
$$ = $20
$$$ = $30
$$$$ = $40
$$$$$ = $50 and over
5600 Biscayne Blvd.
With brick-oven pizzerias popping up all over town the past few years, it’s difficult to remember the dark days when this part of Mark Soyka’s 55th Street Station complex was mainland Miami’s sole source of open-flame-cooked pies. But the pizzas still hold up against the newbie pack, especially since exec chef Frank Crupi has upped the ante with unique-to-Miami offerings like a white (tomato-free) New Haven clam pie. Also available: salads, panini, and a tasty meatball appetizer with ricotta. There’s a respectable wine and beer list, too. $$ (PRB)
7999 NE Bayshore Ct.
If only all Italian restaurants were like this. Let’s start with the view. Located on Biscayne Bay, right before the first leg of the 79th Street Causeway, it offers some of the best views across the water to underrated North Beach. Sit outside if you have the chance. The expansive indoor dining room isn’t too shabby either, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The menu is a delicious trek through the Tuscan region of Italy, including the self-proclaimed “best octopus in the world” with arugula, perfectly sauced homemade pastas, and large secondis. Dessert is light, so there’s always room. $$$ (MB)
B & M Market
219 NE 79th St.
Don’t let the rustic look of this mom-and-pop Caribbean market/eatery, or its ungentrified location, scare you. Walk to the kitchen in the back of the market, order, and then either eat-in (at two tables) or take-out some of Miami’s tastiest, and cheapest, West Indian food. Celeb chef Michelle Bernstein is a longtime fan of the jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish, and pigeon peas and rice cooked in coconut milk. Rotis rule here; the flatbreads come plain or, better yet, in curry chicken, goat, or remarkably full-flavored vegetarian versions. $ (PRB)
6789 Biscayne Blvd.
It took longer than expected, but this Brit import's third Miami venue finally opened, and rather quietly -- which has an upside. It's easier to get a table here (and to park, thanks to the free lot on 68th Street) than at Lincoln Road or Brickell. This, along with the venue's relatively large, open-to-the-street outdoor area, contributes to a more relaxed, neighborhood-focused vibe. The fun menu of global comfort food is the same (ranging from a creamy-centered cheese soufflé through savory Asian potstickers and, at breakfast, fluffy pecan/maple-garnished pancakes) and prepared as reliably well. $$-$$$ (PRB)
725 NE 79th St.
Just east of Liza Meli’s defunct Ouzo’s Taverna, her similarly rustic-festive tapas and wine bar/market has an extensive, mostly small-plates menu including all of Ouzo’s Greatest Greek Hits (refreshingly light and lemony taramosalata carp roe spread, amazingly succulent grilled fresh sardines, her mom’s lemon cake, more), plus more broadly Mediterranean creations like an Italian-inspired grana padano flan, uniquely topped crostini and flatbreads, cheese/charcuterie boards. The boutique wine selection focuses on unusual (sometimes virtually unknown, and unavailable elsewhere in town) Mediterranean varietals from family-owned vineyards. $$ (PRB)
6730 Biscayne Blvd.
Like its predecessor in this space (Michael Bloise’s American Noodle Bar), this working-class-themed eatery is helmed by a former fine-dining chef, Daniel Serfer, a Chef Allen’s vet who now crafts casual, creative fare at prices all can afford. Dishes are eclectic. The roughly dozen veggie dishes alone range from curried cauliflower purée to maduros to bleu cheese roasted asparagus. Shrimp and grits compete with any in Charleston; pork and beans, topped with a perfectly runny fried egg, beats Boston’s best. $-$$ (PRB)
916 NE 79th St.
This strip of 79th Street is rapidly becoming a cool alt-culture enclave thanks to inviting hangouts like this rustic indoor/outdoor Brazilian restaurant and bar. Especially bustling on nights featuring live music, it’s even more fun on Sundays, when the fenced backyard hosts an informal fair and the menu includes Brazil’s national dish, feijoada, a savory stew of beans plus fresh and cured meats. But the everyday menu, ranging from unique, tapas-like pasteis to hefty Brazilian entrées, is also appealing – and budget-priced. $$ (PRB)
Cake Thai Kitchen
7919 Biscayne Blvd.
Helmed by a perfectionist young chef (formerly from Makoto) and his host/dessert-maker mom, this hip hole-in-the-wall serves typical Thai street food. Many dishes are astonishingly ambitious, like peanut/garlic chip/cilantro-sprinkled roast duck noodle with Chinese broccoli, and intense pork fat-enriched broth. Other unique specialties include spicy house-cured pork/crispy rice sausages, soy and whisky-marinated steak jerky, swoonfully sinful pork belly with basil sauce, and citrus/curry-tinged fried chicken wings. Arrive early to score the wings. Surprisingly scrumptious tofu and veggie preparations, too. $-$$ (PRB)
200 NW 54th St.
Sparkling fresh Creole-style food is the star at chef/owner Wilkinson Sejour’s two tiny but popular establishments. While some meatier Haitian classics like griot (fried pork chunks) and oxtail stew are also available – and a $3.99 roast chicken special – seafood is the specialty here: crevette en sauce (steamed shrimp with Creole butter sauce), lambi fri (perfectly tenderized fried conch), poisson gros sel (local snapper in a spicy butter sauce), garlic or Creole crabs. The Miami branch has outdoor tiki-hut dining. $-$$ (PRB)
Choices Vegan Café
646 NE 79th St.
Vegan fare (not just vegetarian, but dairy-free) can be a hard sell. But not Choices’ 100% plant-based breakfast/lunch/dinner dishes, even though, being also 95% organic, they’re relatively pricey. Especially recommended: hefty wraps (enclosed in varied grain tortillas or, more uniquely, in collard leaves), featuring a variety of flavorful mock-meat patties plus fresh veggies, enhanced with globally inspired sauces and add-ons like savory soy chorizo. Desserts like raw chocolate mousse cake taste satisfyingly sinful. To drink: smoothies, or go wild with organic beers and wines. $$$ (PRB)
7030 Biscayne Blvd.
Since Frankie and Priscilla Crupi took over this hot dog stand, the menu has changed significantly, with some items eliminated (any vegetarian hot dogs, salads, chichi toppings like avocado). But choices have expanded to include new dog choices (brats, Italian sausage, more) plus burgers and other classic eastern U.S. regional urban street foods: New England lobster rolls, New Orleans po’boys, Jersey shore cheese Taylors (pork roll), Baltimore crab cake sandwiches, and naturally, Phillys of all sorts -- cheese steak and beyond. $-$$ (PRB)
East Side Pizza
731 NE 79th St.
Minestrone, sure. But a pizzeria menu with carrot ginger soup? Similarly many Italian-American pizzerias offer entrées like spaghetti and meatballs, but East Side also has pumpkin ravioli in brown butter/sage sauce, wild mushroom ravioli, and other surprisingly upscale choices, including imported Peroni beer. As for the pizza, they are classic pies, available whole or by the slice, made with fresh plum tomato sauce and Grande mozzarella (considered the top American pizza cheese). Best seating for eating is at the sheltered outdoor picnic tables. $ (PRB)
5555 NE 2nd Ave.
While owners Max and Cristian Alvarez’s description of their eatery as “a little Argentinean shack” is as charming as the brothers themselves, it conveys neither the place’s cool warmth nor the food’s exciting elegance. Dishes are authentically Argentine, but far from standard steakhouse stuff. Chef Cristian’s background at popular pop-up The Dining Room becomes instantly understandable in dishes like orange and herb-scented lechon confit (with pumpkin mash, pickled cabbage salad, and Dijon mojo) or sopa de calabaza, derived from Argentina’s peasant stew locro, but here a refined, creamy soup. Many more surprises -- even steaks. $$-$$$ (PRB)
1071 NE 79th St.
Nestled between Tap 79 and Royal Bavarian Schnitzel House, this low-key taco shack features two sections -- one for eating and one for playing bocce. The menu is limited to ten overstuffed tacos (two per order), quesadillas, desserts like churros and paletas, and floor-to-ceiling fridges of ice-cold beer. The most popular tacos are the carne asada with tomato, onion, cheese, garlic chili aioli, and cilantro and the Tinga Club with chicken, avocado cream, bacon, tomato, queso, garlic chili aioli, and scallions. $$ (MB)
7283 Biscayne Blvd.
As Zabar’s reflects Manhattan’s Upper Westside neighborhood, this smaller specialty foods shop is geared toward Miami’s Upper Eastside lifestyle. The carefully curated stock ranges widely: upscale packaged foods; boutique wines/beers; artisanal cheeses and cured meats; cookbooks, kitchen utensils, more. But highlights are locally produced fare: Mimi’s famed raviolis; Roc Kat’s tropical ice creams; chef/restaurateur Ken Lyon’s prepared foods, including daily-changing dinners for two; Zak the Baker’s crusty sourdough breads, plus sandwiches on same. Best-kept secret: While there’s no official café component, comfie counter seats enable on-premises breakfasting, lunching, and coffee/pastry breaks. $-$$ (PRB)
Go To Sushi
5140 Biscayne Blvd.
This friendly, family-run Japanese fast-food eatery offers original surprises like the Caribbean roll (a festively green parsley-coated maki stuffed with crispy fried shrimp, avocado, sweet plantain, and spicy mayo), or a wonderfully healthful sesame-seasoned chicken soup with spinach, rice noodles, and sizable slices of poultry. Health ensured, you can the enjoy a guiltless pig-out on Fireballs: fried dumplings of chicken, cabbage, and egg, crusted with quills -- really a delectable crunchy noodle mix. $ (PRB)
7601 Biscayne Blvd.
Home-meal replacement, geared to workaholics with no time to cook, has been popular for years. But the Gourmet Station has outlasted most of the competition. Main reason: deceptive healthiness. These are meals that are good for you, yet taste good enough to be bad for you. Favorite items include precision-grilled salmon with lemon-dill yogurt sauce, and lean turkey meatloaf with homemade BBQ sauce – sin-free comfort food. Food is available à la carte or grouped in multimeal plans customized for individual diner’s nutritional needs. $$ (PRB)
7580 NE 4th Ct.
From the team behind Brickell’s upscale Toscana Divino, this casual indoor/outdoor pizzeria (hidden inside Little River’s artistic Ironside complex) retains the strengths of it predecessor, Ironside Pittzza -- an award-winning Neopolitan pizzoalo; mouthwatering wood-oven crusts; vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free toppings. But the expanded menu, including impeccable cured meat options, is a vast improvement. Especially recommended: housemade porchetta; nduja Calabrese (salami spread); the Regina pizza with prosciutto crudo, buffala mozzarella, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and arugula; involtini (stuffed pizza rolls); an unusual carciofi salad with pine nuts and mint slivers. $$ (PRB)
Jimmy’s East Side Diner
7201 Biscayne Blvd.
Open for more than 30 years and still regularly packed with locals, Jimmy’s respects the most important American diner tradition: breakfast at any hour the place is open -- though that’s only through mid-afternoon. Menu highlights include pecan waffles, biscuits with sausage gravy, and eggs any style, from old-school western omelets to trendy frittatas. Among sides, truly crispy hash browns are neighborhood legend, with creamy grits a satisfying second. For those who like lunchier fare, hot open-faced turkey sandwiches feature the real deal, not gelatinous deli-type turkey roll. $$ (PRB)$
La Tour Eiffel
7281 Biscayne Blvd.
This cute restaurant/crêperie serves three meals, from traditional French breakfasts of croissants/baguettes and jam, or heftier ones including pain perdu (real French toast), to dinners featuring a chef’s special $28.90 two-course meal of classics: country pâté, Provencal fish soup, bold boeuf bourgignon, creamy-rich poulet à la Normande, a moules/frites that even comes with a glass of muscadet, and many more starter/entrée choices. But definitely don’t miss the crêpes, served all day in both sweet and savory varieties -- the latter made correctly, for a change, with heftier buckwheat flour. $$-$$$$ (PRB)
7420 Biscayne Blvd.
As suggested by this comfie gastropub’s interactive literary ambiance (décor features shelves of paperbacks), the concept of young financial-analyst-turned-restaurateur Jessica Sanchez is to encourage creativity, including exploring Miami’s unique culture-agriculture through food created by a staff including experienced chefs, FIU culinary students, and her mom Libia, former owner of the traditional Colombian Patacón chain. Needless to say, the menu is eclectic, ranging from South American (the Patacón, a bandeja paisa-inspired sampler plate) to modernized Old South (MiMo Fried Chicken with crispy kale and local honey). Boredom? Impossible. $$-$$$ (PRB)
Lo De Lea
7001 Biscayne Blvd.
In Casa Toscana’s former space, this cute, contemporary parillada is proof that you can have an Argentinean meal and a cholesterol test in the same month. While traditional parillada dishes are tasty, they’re meat/fat-heavy, basically heaps of grilled beef. Here the grill is also used for vegetables (an unusually imaginative assortment, including bok choi, endive, and fennel), two of which are paired with your protein of choice. You can indulge in a mouthwateringly succulent vacio (flank steak), and walk out without feeling like you’re the cow. $$-$$$ (PRB)
749 NE 79th St.
Unlike most restaurants labeled “Mediterranean,” this one, decorated with restrained modern elegance, really does have dishes from countries surrounding all sides of the sea (though not necessarily from the countries’ seaside regions, as boeuf Bourguignon attests). Our favorites, like owner Yasmine Kotb, whose heritage is Egyptian-via-Texas, and her mom, the chef, are those featuring exotic Eastern/North African tastes -- with twists. Especially fun: Egypt’s besara, a light fava-based hummus; falafel “sliders” in warm pita with Israeli salad, slaw, and tahini; and an unusual side of grilled kale with yogurt dressing and hazelnuts. $$ (PRB)
7232 Biscayne Blvd.
This offspring of South Beach old-timer Moshi Moshi is a cross between a sushi bar and an izakaya (Japanese tapas bar). Even more striking than the hip décor is the food’s unusually upscale quality. Sushi ranges from pristine individual nigiri to over-the-top maki rolls. Tapas are intriguing, like arabiki sausage, a sweet-savory pork fingerling frank; rarely found in restaurants even in Japan, they’re popular Japanese home-cooking items. And rice-based plates like Japanese curry (richer/sweeter than Indian types) satisfy even the biggest appetites. $-$$$ (PRB)
7418 Biscayne Blvd.
This brick-and-mortar location of Miami’s most awarded food truck has an expanded menu, featuring favorites like mac ’n’ cheese, but what you’ll mostly want is just grilled cheese. Which is a misnomer. “Just grilled cheese” sandwiches are what your mom made. Here you’ll find cunning creations like Frito Pie Melts (the Southwestern classic corn chip/cheese/jalepeño/onion/chili combo, served on sourdough instead of in a Frito bag), or the Croqueta Monsieur (ham croquettes, tavern ham, Swiss cheese, béchamel). A welcome expansion: the spacious backyard, featuring lawn chairs and sizable shade trees, is definitely a more relaxed dining area than a hot sidewalk. $$ (PRB)
Ni.Do. Caffe & Mozzarella Bar
7295 Biscayne Blvd.
Don’t let this little café’s easily overlooked strip-mall location, or its informal interior, fool you. The warm welcome is authentically Italian, as are cleverly crafted antipasti, simple but full-flavored pastas, and homemade pastries (from rosemary breadsticks to fruit-topped dessert tortas) that will transport your taste buds to Tuscany. And the housemade mozzarella or burrata cheeses -- truly milk elevated to royalty -- will transport you to heaven. A small market area provides Italian staples, plus superb salumi and the magnificent mozz, to go. $$-$$$ (PRB)
7010 Biscayne Blvd.
Too often healthy eating is associated with deprivation, but not at this breakfast/lunch/dinner bistro. Co-owners Andres and Ana Reid’s concept focuses mainly on people-pleasing dishes that are 100% chemical/GMO-free, not on calorie-counting. The ingenious international comfort food menu of ex-José Andres Bazaar chef Goncalo Costa does include vegetarian/vegan dishes but ranges far beyond: deceptively decadent-tasting eggs Florentine (with tomato and avocado hollandaise); Portuguese bacalhau cakes with black-eyed pea salad; big juicy certified-organic burgers with smoked truffle mozzarella on onion brioche buns, with sweet potato fries. To accompany: fresh juices or organic wines. Ambiance is kid-friendly; prices, atypical of many organic eateries, are parent-friendly. $$ (PRB)
8601 Biscayne Blvd.
Small bites, big impact, hence the name, Pinch. Chef-partners Rene Reyes and John Gallo have fun with a freestyle menu incorporating the cuisines of Asia, Italy, and Spain for an eclectic mix that is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Seared Maine scallops with piquillo sauce, parsnip, and squid ink, and Pinch Salad with brassica greens, shaved veggies, ricotta salata, and cucumber-oregano vinaigrette are served on stoneware plates. Simple items like eight-ounce flat iron steak and organic half chicken are classic standards done right. A unique wine list takes a departure from the typical Chardonnays and Malbecs. There’s also a great brunch, including brisket sliders, stuffed French toast, and eggs Benedict. $$$ (MB)
Royal Bavarian Schnitzel Haus
1085 NE 79th St.
With Christmas lights perpetually twinkling and party noises emanating from a new outdoor biergarten, this German restaurant is owner Alex Richter’s one-man gentrification project, transforming a formerly uninviting stretch of 79th Street one pils at a time. The fare includes housemade sausages (mild veal bratwurst, hearty mixed beef/pork bauernwurst, spicy garlicwurst) with homemade mustard and catsup; savory yet near-greaseless potato pancakes; and, naturally, schnitzels, a choice of delicate pounded pork, chicken, or veal patties served with a half-dozen different sauces. $$-$$$ (PRB)
7941 Biscayne Blvd.
You’ll find all the familiar favorite Thai and Japanese items here, and prices for curries and noodle dishes (all customizable regarding choice of protein, preparation, and heat level) are especially good at lunch. But don’t overlook somewhat pricier specialties like a deep-fried yet near-greaseless boneless half duck with veggies in red curry sauce. There’s also an unusually extensive list of salads, some with inventive fusion touches, like a grilled shrimp/soba salad featuring traditional Thai flavors (sriracha chiles, fish sauce, lime) and Japanese green tea noodles. $-$$$ (PRB)
5556 NE 4th Ct.
Since opening in 1999, Soyka has often been credited with sparking the Upper Eastside’s revival. But the 2010 arrival of three Joe Allen veterans as executive chef, pastry chef, and sommelier signaled a culinary revival for the restolounge, always a neighborhood focal point, now more food-focused. The contemporary comfort food menu ranges from fun small plates (deviled eggs with smoked salmon and dill, crisp-fried fiocchi pockets with gorgonzola sauce, oysters Rockefeller) to heftier items like burgers and steak au poivre. And don’t miss the sticky date/toffee pudding. $$-$$$ (PRB)
5582 NE 4th Ct.
On the menu of sushi-bar specialties plus a small selection of Thai and Japanese cooked dishes, there are a few surprises, such as a unique lobster maki that’s admittedly huge in price ($25.95), but also in size: six ounces of crisp-fried lobster chunks, plus asparagus, avocado, lettuce, tobiko (flying fish), masago (smelt) roes, and special sauces. Thai dishes come with a choice of more than a dozen sauces, ranging from traditional red or green curries to the inventive, such as an unconventional honey sauce. $$$ (PRB)
1071 NE 79th St.
One-time fine-dining chef Alfredo Patino, whose still thriving wine/tapas bar Bin No. 18 was one of the first chef-owned restaurants to bring casual culinary sophistication to the downtown/midtown Biscayne Corridor, does the same for still-transitional 79th Street with this convivial gastropub, which has a similar sharable-plates menu, but built more around beer than wine pairings. Highlights range from carefully curated, imported charcuterie/cheese plates to fun chef-driven items: house-cured beef jerky, brown sugar/ginger-marinated salmon “Scooby Snacks,” hearty Coke-braised short ribs with sweet corn polenta and pungent Maytag blue cheese. $$-$$$ (PRB)
15180 Biscayne Blvd.
Meet the fugazzeta, a regional Argentinian specialty that is essentially a white pizza with mozzarella, onions, and oregano. And although simple, it’s hard to come by in town. FYI: You can find it here. An ample outdoor space is popular on the cooler days, and inside, the great red oven takes center stage. You can go traditional with your pizza or try the Nicanora, which has caramelized onions and bacon. The restaurant opens early enough to serve the breakfast of champions -- empanadas. $-$$ (MB)
7648 Biscayne Blvd.
Hailing from New Orleans, owner and operator Trish Robinson may just have some of the most decadent cakes, cupcakes, and cookies in town. The secret? She’s not afraid of using butter, lots of it. The most popular flavors are the Double Chocolate, Carrot Cake, and Red Velvet, but she also has fun with each new holiday, incorporating different flavors and whimsical designs appropriate for the season. $ (MB)
Vagabond Restaurant & Bar
7301 Biscayne Blvd.
It’s safe to say that Vagabond Kitchen & Bar’s rechristening is more substantial than a minor change in name. Since the departure of chef Alex Chang, there’s a new chef in town, new management, a reconceptualized menu, and perhaps most welcome is the slightly deflated price tag, making this MiMo hotspot’s latest incarnation a better value for the money. Under the direction of former Makoto and Juvia chef Roberto Dubois, the menu is principally American Nouveau with a French influence, most apparent in the sauces, thanks to operators Julien Geliot and Fabien Chalard. Highlights include the citric yet savory tuna poké toast, the slow roasted leg of lamb, the succulent poulet rouge, and the exquisitely zesty bread pudding. Despite big changes, the dining room’s idiosyncratic retrofuturist charm remains the same. $$$ (AM)
Via Verdi Cucina Rustica
6900 Biscayne Blvd.
After years of critical acclaim cooking the cuisine of their native Piedmont at ultra-upscale Quattro, on Lincoln Road, twin brother chefs Nicola and Fabrizio Carro decided to work for themselves, hands-on renovating the former space of MiMo District pioneer Uva 69. Cuisine here is similarly authentic, with creative twists. But there are important differences: emphasis on local, rather than mostly imported, ingredients; inspiration from all Italian regions; and best, astonishing affordability. Housemade spinach/ricotta gnudi baked in an ocean of burrata is a delight, but it’s hard to go wrong here. $$-$$$ (PRB)
7251 Biscayne Blvd.
Along the Upper Eastside’s Biscayne Corridor best known for its historic MiMo architecture, this darkly wooden and quirky neighborhood wine bar stands out. Although a lucky few will appreciate the tiny rustic dining area, the majority of guests will sit outdoors at the mercy of Miami’s grueling summer heat. The menu leans heavily upon Argentinean staples and Italian cuisine, echoes of Devita’s Restaurant and Che Soprano, which previously occupied this space. Entrées such as lomito, seafood tablas, and fresh pastas and stuffed raviolis are generously portioned and delicious. Exploring the wine menu will take patience as the list promotes a thoughtfully diverse terroir from regions all over the world. Those reeling from weekend withdrawal can opt for a glass of wine with a side of live entertainment beginning Tuesday through Saturday. $$-$$$ (AM)