The NYC Restaurants In Miami, Ranked
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
The New York to Miami pipeline has been flowing for a long time. But these days, that pipeline is practically bursting. One consequence of this is a whole bunch of NYC restaurants opening locations in Miami within the last few years. The next logical question is: which ones are good, and which are the opposite of good? Lucky for you, it’s our job to go and find out. So here’s our ranking of every New York restaurant in Miami, from best to Times-Square-Elmo-bad.
We had high expectations for Cote because, by many reliable accounts, their New York location is excellent. And from the second we walked into this futuristic Korean steakhouse to the last bite of vanilla soft serve with soy sauce caramel, these expectations were not only met, but exceeded. Cote is the kind of exciting, blowout dinner that actually deserves the hype, and even though its roots are in New York, the restaurant feels right at home within the obnoxious luxury of the Design District. We also love that you can eat like a damn Rockefeller for just $68 per person via the Butcher’s Feast tasting menu.
Lucali has been holding it down in Miami way before this latest wave of NYC restaurants came to town. It’s still a marvelous pizza—thin, crispy, and easily one of Miami’s best. There is usually a wait here, but it’s nowhere near the wait times of the original New York location. It would actually probably be quicker to fly from New York to Miami to eat at the South Beach Lucali. We kind of love that we can brag to New Yorkers about that, and we still love this pizza.
While we miss Hometown Barbecue’s original Miami menu, which included phenomenal dishes like tamarind glazed chicken hearts and an excellent lamb bahn mi, this place is still great. Hometown is serving some of the best smoked meats in Miami. It’s also a fun spot to hang out: the cocktails are very good, they have wine, and occasionally host live music in the back patio. Plus, we never really have trouble finding an open table to inhale brisket, ribs, and the glorious smoked turkey BLT.
photo credit: Joshua Perez
Our first reaction to NYC institutions like Pastis moving to Miami is skepticism, because it’s a formula that goes so wrong, so often. But this French classic is exactly what we hoped it would be. A big, high-energy restaurant that’s a bit of a scene but doesn’t forget that they’re supposed to be a restaurant too. Nothing on the menu will blow your mind, but their steak frites is wonderful, and we will happily go back for a fun group dinner or a solo cheeseburger and martini at the bar. Pastis doesn’t particularly make much sense in Wynwood, but also, what does these days?
Dear New York City: send us more places like Joe’s. This simple slice shop is just what a drunken neighborhood like Wynwood needs. They make a solid, uncomplicated New York slice. It's big, foldable, and hangs off a paper plate like a teen who outgrew their bed. Joe’s is also efficient. You can stop in and be holding a slice in minutes. This is where you want to be after a night of Wynwood bar-hopping.
We've always liked Blue Ribbon, and it's still a good option for a fancy-ish dinner in South Beach. The restaurant is located inside a cute little art deco hotel, has an equally cute lobby bar, and a very charming poolside outdoor seating situation. Plus, the food is all solid. Come here to eat good sashimi, any roll involving fatty tuna, and don't skip the very good fried chicken that comes with wasabi honey for dipping.
photo credit: Tasty Planet
Jeepney’s arrival always felt like a good thing, because more Filipino options in Miami are always a good thing—and also because our New York coworkers told us that this place is great. Turns out, everyone was right. And in a bittersweet twist, Miami is now the only place you can find Jeepney since their NYC location has closed. That's all the more reason to support this 1-800-Lucky vendor and their delicious sisig.
Tacombi may not register on the taco Richter scale in cities with more dynamic Mexican food scenes. But in Miami—especially the City of Miami—it's above average. There are a few locations in Miami, and all of them have a colorful dining room that's casual, yet still energetic enough to come with friends and split a margarita pitcher. We’d return here for the carne asada and crispy fish tacos.
Smorgasburg is an outdoor food market that takes place Saturday and Sunday in Wynwood, and on Lincoln Road every Friday night. The Wynwood one has an impressive amount of vendors, a bar, and usually a DJ or live band. If you’re cool with crowds, a possible line, and whatever the weather is like that day, it can be fun. Vendors are always coming and going, so it’s hard to recommend a specific stand. But we like that Smorgasburg gives local chefs an opportunity to experiment, and at least one of its alumni have already gone on to launch a brick and mortar we like, Coney Burger.
We haven't been blown away by anything we've tried at Red Rooster, but we've also happily finished everything we've ordered. Plus, this place isn't just about the food. It's a fun, loud restaurant with a pretty dining room and a lovely outdoor patio. There's usually a DJ playing in the bar area, and occasionally live music during brunch. The fried yard bird is the best thing we've had here—a plate of crunchy dark meat with hot honey.
photo credit: Courtesy Rao's
Reservations at our Rao's aren’t as impossible as the New York location (but still pretty difficult). The dining room feels like a classic New York City Italian spot, with a Rat Pack-y soundtrack, autographed photos of celebrities, and more green and red velvet than a Christmas tree skirt. The restaurant serves Italian-American food that tastes like it was made in someone's kitchen—not a professional kitchen. And while a few dishes like the seafood salad and fiocchetti with pears and ricotta stand out, you may get an overcooked steak too. If you just want to enjoy the atmosphere, say you’ve been, and shove it in all of your New York friends’ faces, keep an eye out for reservations.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
You may know Kith as that brand nine out of your last ten Tinder dates were wearing. But they also, for some reason, have an ice cream shop in South Beach and the Design District. Perhaps more confusingly, it’s actually good? They feed the scoops into a machine that looks like a drill, which gives the ice cream a soft consistency and mixes in whichever cereal (or candy) you choose from the dozens of options on the menu. If you can tolerate the hypebeast atmosphere, you will be rewarded with a solid dessert moment.
A celebrity chef opening a restaurant in Wynwood—there are a lot of red flags in that sentence. But Momosan isn't awful, especially if you're in the mood for ramen. There are lots of other things on the menu here too—sushi, bao, rice bowls, and more. We've found the rest of the menu really inconsistent though. So ramen is what you should stick to, especially the gyukotsu, which comes with a huge braised beef rib.
photo credit: Courtesy Bondi Sushi
Bondi is a sushi spot that’s a step above casual (but not too fancy) with six locations in NYC, and now one in South Beach. Prices aren’t quite cheap enough to make Bondi feel like a bargain. Nigiri and handrolls average about $6 to $12 for an order of two. They also do a 12-piece omakase for $75 per person, which lasts for only a dizzying 30 minutes and will have you wondering what, exactly, you just paid for. The quality of fish isn’t awful, but the rice is—particularly the gummy crispy rice they claim to be known for.
We have arrived at the Major Food Group portion of the rankings, which is toward the very bottom for a reason: every restaurant from this group is wildly overpriced and just a general pain in the ass from a customer's perspective. People come to Sadelle's for brunch, and there are a few good things to eat here. The french toast has a light crisp on the outside and a sweet, custardy interior. The cheese blintzes are great too. But they also serve a $125 bagel tower that makes us want to call the Department of Justice alongside more brunch dishes there are simply no reason to be paying this much for.
photo credit: Kris Tamburello
Dirty French is pure aesthetic chaos. The Brickell steakhouse is a blur of animal print and mirrored surfaces that transports its guests to...we're not exactly sure? It feels like a place that people who couldn't get into Studio 54 would go. Regardless, it did not make us feel very glamorous. Service is slow unless you're a VIP, food is average (and very expensive), and the only thing we really enjoy about dinner here are the great martinis.
HaSalon is such a strange place. The South Beach Israeli clubstaurant has a bizarre and ferociously expensive menu that reads like a freshman creative writing major's poetry. The food actually isn’t bad, but the real reason people come here is to dance on tables and wave napkins around, which happens after the clock strikes 9pm. The only situation we’d approve of coming here is if you have a sugar parent who’ll be handling the tab and you just want to have a wild, weird, loud South Beach night.
Carbone was one of the first big dominoes to get the NYC to Miami restaurant pipeline of 2021 flowing. And it's still just about the worst. We’ve yet to see any proof that it’s worth making a reservation here for 5pm or 11pm on a weekday—pretty much the only option if you're a civilian. This has been one of Miami's toughest reservations since it opened, but for all the effort it takes to eat here, you will only be rewarded with way-too-expensive Italian-American food ranging from average to above average. Dessert is the only part of the meal we'd call great. But food aside, Carbone really feels like a bad influence on this city's restaurant industry, enabling its most vain, clout-obsessed characteristics. And it's only getting bigger.