The Miami Hit List: Our Favorite New Restaurants In Miami guide image


The Miami Hit List: Our Favorite New Restaurants In Miami

The new spots we checked out—and loved.

The Hit List is our guide to the new restaurants you should be eating at in Miami. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While the Hit List is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places we have genuinely checked out (and loved). Our only requirement is that they're under a year old and making something delicious.


photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Maty's review image



3255 NE First Ave, Miami
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Maty’s is a restaurant from the team behind Itamae, a Nikkei spot that’s made us want to consult a lawyer about the possibility of being adopted by a restaurant. But the Peruvian dishes at Maty’s aren’t strictly Nikkei. They are adapted from the chef’s family recipes—the same family whose photos line the simple white walls of the spacious Midtown restaurant. There are a couple ceviche options (ordering both isn’t the worst idea). But the big protein dishes are where Maty’s really goes all out. The one non-negotiable plate from that section of the menu is the whole roasted dorade, an unbelievably tender fish served butterflied so it looks like it’s been flattened by a steamroller. Most dishes are meant to be shared, and they have tables great for big groups. Plus, the cocktail menu is already one of our favorites in town. So keep Maty’s on your shortlist for a fun dinner with friends. 

Yakko Bistro is the kind of casual, delicious Japanese restaurant you probably thought Miami didn’t have since Yakko San (the team’s old restaurant) closed. But that team is back together at Yakko Bistro in a smaller (but much cuter) dining room on a quiet street in North Miami Beach. The new spot has a square sushi counter, approximately seven cat figurines waving hello to guests, and a menu that reads like our own personal list of Japanese dishes we’ve been trying to manifest more of in this city. They have good sushi, but our favorite things here are the cooked dishes. They have a lot of kushiyaki options—including the best tsukune skewers we've had in Miami—as well as a big plate of omurice and okonomiyaki. 

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Tam Tam is a new Vietnamese restaurant. Or, it will be. Soon. For now, it’s a Little River pop-up taking place on Friday and Saturday from Low Key. But even though this concept is finding its footing and tweaking its menu, it’s still one of the most exciting dining experiences in Miami right now. The entire operation—even the kitchen—is outdoors, so keep it in mind for a nice night. Dishes include things like fire ant-topped steak tartare, clam curry, and salt and pepper frog legs. There’s also wine and cocktails—and they sometimes have a DJ playing under the string lights. They take reservations too.

Midorie is a casual Coconut Grove sushi spot by the Wabi Sabi folks, and the two menus are nearly identical. This simple sushi counter is hidden in the little courtyard on Main Highway. Inside, there’s white oak furniture, a school of tiny ceramic fish on the green wall, and a couple of tables outside. But what you really need to know about Midorie is that you can come here for high-quality sushi and not spend more than $25 on a filling donburi bowl. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, we love the $50 chirashi omakase that comes with twelve pieces of sashimi, salmon roe, seaweed salad, and sweet pickled mushrooms over sticky sushi rice. But the handrolls—each with a perfect ratio of rice, fish, and wasabi—are our favorite.

Even though Miami is about as south as you can get in this country, good Southern American food is tragically hard to find. That’s why we really like South Beach’s Joliet. They don't overcomplicate the classics. The simple cornmeal fried yellowtail comes with a side of hushpuppies and chow chow. You can get a plate of Johnny cakes with a side of pimento cheese and thick slices of ham. And there’s not a single truffle involved in the sweet cornbread. But we also liked Joliet before the food hit the table. Its crisp dining room is covered in art and plants. It’s busy, but organized in such a way that never feels claustrophobic. This is a handy spot to have in your South Beach rotation anytime you need a slightly more sophisticated option that’ll still deliver something delicious and fried.

One of Miami’s best bakeries has a second location in MiMo. This Caracas outpost feels more like a proper cafe, with an expanded menu, sleek dining room, and the same great cachitos. (Thank God.) The new stuff on Caracas’ menu includes sandwiches like an excellent BEC on a sweet potato bun, a crispy broccoli and cheese sandwich, jambon beurre, and mushroom toast. It works well for any and all laidback breakfasts, brunches, or lunch plans. You can also come here alone with a laptop to get some work done, and by “get some work done” we mean “eat several cachitos.” 

Some new restaurants feel like long-awaited albums from generational talents. And Walrus Rodeo, the sister restaurant of Boia De, is the equivalent of a collaborative Rihanna/Frank Ocean album with a surprise cameo by the original members of The Wiggles. Except it might actually be better, because it’s real. Even though it occupies the space (and inherited the pizza oven) of a former pizzeria, Walrus Rodeo isn’t quite Italian. The menu has some Italian-ish things—like massive potato gnocchi, an outstanding lasagna, and a white anchovy/maple brown butter pizza. But then there are completely unique dishes like a carrot tartare that’ll make you as excited about carrots as that kid on Tik Tok was about corn. The interior is a bright country western meets Italian disco aesthetic, with a silver ceiling, white brick walls, and two very fun bathrooms. If you’re going to spend time fighting for a reservation in Miami right now, make it this one. 

Next Door is a wine bar run by (and right next door to) Key Biscayne’s Flour & Weirdoughs. And it’s a perfect option for all occasions that call for a chill night out with a bottle of wine and some excellent dishes involving bread. The menu is tight, but as good as you’d expect from one of Miami’s best bakeries. They make a simple, outstanding choripan, eggplant escabeche served with sliced baguette and crispy baguette chips, and a few sourdough pizzas. Nothing on the menu costs more than $20 either. The space isn’t huge, but it’s perfect for small groups or couples. And if it’s nice out, they slide open the windows to take advantage of the ocean breeze. 

Our first experience with Oori involved a turmeric lemon poppy seed sourdough loaf in the parking lot of an apartment building. That’s how you used to pick up your order from the pandemic pop-up. Oori has since transitioned to a small brick and mortar in Little River, but one thing hasn’t changed: they’re still making some of the most delicious baked goods in Miami. Options here range from sweet to savory. The black sesame cinnamon rolls, adzuki and dark chocolate shoku-bun, and phenomenal black sesame shortbread cookies are all great choices if you’re in a dessert mood. If you’re not, go for the charcoal everything rolls and what has to be Miami’s best shokupan. There’s some counter seating and picnic benches outside if you want to eat there, but this is also a great spot to place a to-go order and fill your freezer with enough bread to last until next year. 

You’ll find Jholano’s in an apartment complex in Coral Gables, where the small Italian sandwich shop is operating behind a red door with a faded sign from the previous occupant. It doesn’t look like a restaurant, but override your hesitation against breaking and entering and you’ll find a small counter serving a dozen stellar Italian sandwiches. The tradizionale is a perfect cold Italian sub with crisp veggies and bread that has an ideal soft/crunchy balance. The 3am In Rome is a neatly organized combination of salami, capicola, hot honey, and thick slabs of mozzarella on focaccia that's pressed until it's crispy outside, but still fluffy inside. Jholano’s is mostly a to-go operation, but they have a couple picnic benches on the back patio if you don’t want to risk any passenger seat-induced sogginess. 

The menu at QP Tapas is an izakaya/Spanish tapas mashup. That may sound a little busy, but this is not a case of conflicting puzzle pieces being jammed against each other—this place is delicious. QP isn’t technically its own restaurant. The team takes over the casual Coral Gables lunch spot MKT Kitchen Fridays and Saturdays for dinner service. The menu is a mix of simple dishes that let great ingredients shine—like caviar-topped Don Bocarte anchovies—and complex plates that will act like a defibrillator to anyone stuck in a restaurant rut. If you’re one of those people, order the uni risotto, which is exactly what it sounds like (and exactly as good as it sounds), and the excellent okonomiyaki made with your choice of mushroom escabeche or chorizo. Alcohol options include wine and sake by the glass or bottle as well as a lovely frozen sangria.  

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

We have never had a more perfect slice of pizza than the ones served at Miami Slice, a small counter-seating spot on the northern edge of Downtown. The five or six New York-style slices you’ll find here have a crust that’s crispy edge-to-edge, yet still warm and fluffy when you bite into it. The toppings—like candied cherry tomatoes, garlic confit cream, and pesto swirls—are dispersed with the restraint of a famous Danish architect. The highlight of the still-developing menu, a pepperoni slice with red sauce, hot honey, and an optional (but non-negotiable) glob of additional stracciatella, made us briefly lose consciousness. There isn’t much to do here but grab a slice at the counter or take a whole pie to go. But that’s fine because this is a pizza that deserves one million percent of your undivided attention.

The Gibson Room (which used to be The Mighty) is a bar and restaurant on Coral Way. This spot comes from the Ariete team, which explains why the menu is a lot more creative (and tasty) than what’s at your average bar. They serve an impressively crispy chicken schnitzel, strozzapreti with diced ham, foie gras flan, and more dishes that range from uni butter popcorn to oxtail and shrimp ramen. Coming here hungry is certainly a good idea, but it’s a great place to hang out regardless. Sit at the perfectly dim bar with a martini, think of names for each of the animal heads lining the wall, and enjoy the live music and vinyl DJs they host every night.

Klaw makes you feel sophisticated. And that’s not just because they serve beautiful dry-aged steaks and deshell your king crab legs tableside with a fancy pair of scissors. No, even if this place served chicken nuggets and Easy Mac, we’d still put on nice clothes to come here. The restaurant is inside a gorgeous and historic Edgewater building with waterfront views, both in the indoor dining room and on the bar’s outdoor patio. The spacious dining room isn't so aesthetically busy that you can’t appreciate architecture like the huge arched windows that all point towards Biscayne Bay. Klaw isn’t cheap—you’re coming here for $100-plus steaks and fancy shellfish. It’s a business dinner/special occasion kind of restaurant. But the food is very good, the service is excellent, and the entire experience is worthy of the very dignified building it’s in. 

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