Lee Brian Schrager, Founder and Director of the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival, features dishes on the best new places to dine during Art Basel.
Como Como | 919 Collins Court
Tucked inside Moxy South Beach, this moody Mesoamerican version on a traditional marisqueria (Seafood Restaurant) has a tangy menu from Scott Linquist that channels the flavors of Mexican beach destinations perfect for postcards. Highlights include a fresh, whole branzino locally caught, flavored with bitter orange, Habanero peppers and annatto, then grilled over the fire station. Mezcal and tequila lovers will also appreciate the ‘tequila tree,’ an eye-catching sculpture that channels alcohol through metallic branches before decanting it into one of Como Como’s tangy signature cocktails.
La Cañita | 401, boulevard Biscayne
Miami’s melting pot of flavors is on display at this Caribbean and Pan-Latin restaurant, which features an irresistible bite-size menu designed by Michelle Bernstein, with matching waterfront views. La Cañita’s cocktail list features nearly every tropical drink imaginable, which – paired with the industrial decor of the Caribbean Space Distillery (its name is Spanish for “little sugar cane”) – evokes the charm of a sun-drenched island getaway. Don’t dare skip the 305 Rum Cake, a triumphant celebration of rum culture in and of itself.
A collaboration between the head-impresario of Pubbelly José Mendín and the chef from Brooklyn Santo Agnello, this haven of Sunset Harbor – “casa isola“is Italian for” island home “- beautifully blends the modern flavors of Mendín with the coveted Sicilian family recipes of Agnello. The beach-accented space, blue and white (formerly occupied by the Pubbelly Noodle Bar longtime Mendín) has a menu based on antipasti and hand-made pasta, although the piece de resistance may very well be Agnello’s eight-hour Sunday sauce, anointed with deeply short rib dumplings tasty, pork chop and Italian sausage.
Ch’i | 701 S. Miami Ave.
A mixed restaurant, Marlet, garden and lounge inside downtown Brickell, Ch’i is a marvel both in its funky, stylish design and punchy “Chino-Latino” menu. The eclectic, more is more approach pays off here, especially when it comes to Chef Rafael Perez Cambana’s fusion cuisine, ranging from shrimp enchilada dumplings to Peking duck tacos. Creative cocktails and upbeat music complete the vibe, making it the kind of high-energy hangout that, like a great outfit, goes seamlessly from day to night.
If you’re looking for a burst of energy, head straight to David Grutman and Pharrell Williams’ hideaway inside their new Goodtime hotel. Designed by acclaimed designer Ken Fulk as a pastel-hued Beverly Hills hotel-style paradise, the expansive space sports a chic swim club and restaurant vibe. This turns out to be the perfect canvas for chefs Roel Alcudia and Ian Fleischmann’s Mediterranean menu of dips, Turkish-style pizzas and spicy kebabs. If brunch is more your speed, don’t miss the Pide Breakfast, their crazy and delicious riff on a traditional Turkish flatbread.
Of all the New York City restaurant transplants to migrate to Miami, Cote easily ranks among the best. The chic Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-nominated Korean steakhouse, run by Simon Kim and chef David Shim, offers a menu that stays true to its original concept, while infusing every dish with a Latin and South American twist. State-of-the-art smoke-free tabletop grills create a vibrant theatrical dining experience, where the highest quality dry-aged meats almost steal the show.
The sister restaurant of London sensation Richard Caring is now making waves in Miami. The Brickell Outpost highlights many of the dishes made famous by the original Sexy Fish and its talented chef, Bjoern Weissgerber – including his scrumptious duck salad – as well as a few additional flavors inspired by the seasons. But art is also on the menu here: a whopping ten works by Damien Hirst as well as an installation by Frank Gehry are on display in the lavish restaurant designed by Martin Brudnizki, which also has an elegant destination bar.
Casa Mariano | 8200 NW 27th St.; Doral
You’ll feel right at home in Chef Mariano Araya’s warm and welcoming restaurant, who skillfully blends daring Mediterranean ingredients with the flavors of his native Argentina. Showcasing inventive versions of age-old classics, Araya’s menu hits just the right notes to complete the lounge-like setting. (The Roman-style cacio e pepe flatbread is particularly excellent, as is the sumptuous seafood risotto in black ink.) General manager and sommelier Victor Tapia completes the menu with a satisfying selection of wine-based cocktails. , including a sparkling rosé-peach Sangria.
Adrianne Calvo – the formidable chef behind Redfish and Cracked – leans her beanie towards her Sicilian heritage with this rustic concept, featuring a mix of fine Italian comfort foods. The restaurant, which pays homage to her mother’s maiden name, is bursting with trattoria-style charm, offering a tough selection of burrata (three ways) that pairs well with its more decadent dishes, including a luxurious carbonara and a hearty Niman Ranch Denver steak served with guanciale and green onion salsa verde. Skip the nightcap and order Calvo’s succulent table tiramisu instead.