The New NYC Restaurants That Are Actually Worth The Hype

Plus, the ones that aren’t.

Do you remember, towards the end of 2020, when it felt like Miami was becoming the next New York? Or, at least, that’s what we were being told on a weekly basis by an assembly line of trend pieces and an endless waterfall of restaurant opening announcements. Soon, it seemed, the Statue of Liberty herself would hop onto a jet ski and ride to her new nine-million-dollar condo in South of Fifth, where a table at Carbone would be waiting for her.

The dust has settled a bit since then. Some of those New Yorkers have retreated back up the east coast and Miami doesn’t quite feel like the Lower East Side yet. But there are a dozen New York restaurants (and counting) that moved to Miami over the last year - and didn’t immediately pack up and leave when the city began to feel like a sauna full of angry mosquitoes.

This isn’t a bad thing. But what was a bad thing was the wildly disproportionate attention these places seemed to receive in comparison to Miami’s local restaurants, that, I bet, could have used the press during what was, without question, the hardest year for restaurants. Ever.

And did these New York restaurants even deserve that attention?

That was the question on my mind as I slowly checked them all off my list over the last 12 months. What did I learn? Pretty much what I suspected all along. Some were really good, some were just OK, and some sucked bad. It turns out that simply existing in New York does not inherently make something great, as evidenced by the Jets or Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

This is not the end (or the beginning) of the alleged invasion of New York restaurants. And, to be clear, I’m not mad about out-of-town places wanting to open up in Miami. I’m immensely thankful to have access to spots like Uchi and Hometown Barbecue. I just think, moving forward, we should wait and see if these places are actually good before we throw them a parade. Because some of them, I can now say, are not.

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The Spots

Worth the hype? No.

I kept waiting to feel like a celebrity here, to experience the kind of celestial service I imagine only takes place inside Buckingham Palace or Ina Garten’s house. But that never happened. Instead, I waited nearly 30 minutes for a table on a Tuesday at 11pm, even though I had a reservation. And the rest of the meal was equally underwhelming, with Italian-American standards ranging from average to above average - but never great (except for dessert). When all was said and done, I left the crushed velvet fever dream that is Carbone’s dining room with a doggy bag full of bland rigatoni and a feeling that I’d been a little scammed by all the hype surrounding this place.

Worth the hype? Yes.

Cote was a place I had high expectations for, because, by many reliable accounts, their New York location is excellent. And, from the second I 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 in the Design District. I also love that you can eat like a damn Rockefeller for just $58 per person via the Butcher’s Feast tasting menu. It comes with portions of aged ribeye, American wagyu flatiron, hanger steak, and marinated short rib as well as banchan, some sides, and ends with that wonderful cup of soft serve.

Worth the hype? Pretty much.

Osteria Morini is an Italian restaurant located in a South Beach hotel on Alton Road. And like almost all restaurants located in South Beach hotels, this place is slightly touristy, and just a bit more expensive than it should be. But, those two faults aside, it’s a good restaurant. I focused on pasta, which seems to be the move here, and really liked the torcia nera, a squid ink pasta with shrimp ragù. The tagliatelle and cappelletti were also good - but the best part about this place might be the lovely outdoor seating that’s situated along a little canal. It feels more Venice than South Beach, and makes this place one of the area’s better outdoor dining options. I’m still prioritizing Macchialina for pasta in South Beach, but I can see Osteria Morini working for a business meal or dinner with out-of-town relatives staying nearby.

Worth the hype? Yes.

Jeepney’s arrival always felt like a good thing, because more Filipino options in Miami are always a good thing - and also because my New York coworkers told me that this place was great. Turns out, everyone was right. And even though Jeepney is one of the vendors inside 1-800-Lucky and doesn’t have its own brick and mortar, I’m thrilled that I don’t need a plane ticket to eat their sisig, lechon, and that outstanding Chori Burger, which comes with a longanisa patty and spicy banana ketchup.

Where to Eat Filipino Food in Miami guide image

MIA Guide

Where to Eat Filipino Food in Miami

Worth the hype? Yes.

Freehold confused the shit out of me when it first opened, because they marketed themselves as a hotel without the rooms, which is just...huh? But this place makes a lot more sense when you treat it as just a restaurant, which is what it is. They have a pretty outdoor space with a giant disco ball, DJ booth, and a little courtyard with blue astroturf. The service here is speedy, and the food is very good too. I like their thin-crust pizza, cocktails, and I think they’re making one of the best burgers in Miami. Freehold is a solid addition to Wynwood, and a great bet for dinner and drinks before a night out.

Worth the hype? No.

Prince Street Pizza is one of the vendors inside Wynwood’s Oasis, a new outdoor food hall/concert venue. It’s a place I haven’t been paying much attention to because their ownership has a deeply troubling history of racism, but also because there have been so many exciting local pizza spots popping up lately. But I did give them a try for the purposes of this guide, and now I have another reason to not pay much attention to them: The pizza isn’t that good. The spicy vodka was, in fact, not spicy. The pepperoni pie was better, but only because of the crispy, cupped pepperonis. Both pizzas came on the same uninspired dough that tasted a bit like the pre-made stuff you can buy from Publix. Also, a pizza here (which comes with eight slices) costs $6 per slice and $38 for an eight-slice pie (and more if you order via delivery app). That’s far too much for pizza this whatever.

Worth the hype? Yes.

You’ll also find Alidoro in Wynwood’s Oasis - and it’s a much better option. The New York Italian sandwich shop is operating out of a shipping container, and serving some very good (and very large) Italian sandwiches. Miami doesn’t have a ton of Italian subs, so I’m happy this place exists for the next time I’m craving some combination of bread, prosciutto, and cheese. Last time I was here I got the Gothamist, which comes with prosciutto, sun-dried tomato paste, lemon basil pesto, and a healthy amount of burrata. It was a little messy, but very satisfying. And there is an 86% chance I will eat it again in the next six months.

Worth the hype? Sort of.

My first impression of Shelter, a Williamsburg Argentinian spot that opened in Wynwood, wasn’t great. I tried to walk in on a Thursday, but the restaurant was fully booked. So I grabbed a seat at the long bar, where I was immediately hit in the head by a persistent drip of (what I sincerely hope was just) A/C condensation. I found the restaurant’s hunting lodge aesthetic a little strange, and nothing on the menu made me very excited. But things got better when the food arrived - specifically the very good empanadas and the surprisingly good pizza. I also liked the bacon-wrapped octopus hotdog, even though it was a bit overpriced and came with only a small portion of french fries. It wasn’t necessarily enough to make me want to hurry back here, but if, for some reason, I find myself at Shelter again - I won’t be mad. I’ll also double-check to make sure my seat is dry before I sit down.

Worth the hype? Yes.

A celebrity chef opening a restaurant in Wynwood - there are a lot of red flags in that sentence. However, Momosan is actually good, and serves some of the best ramen in Miami. There are lots of other things on the menu here too - like soft shell crab bao, A5 wagyu cooked tableside, and a handful of kushiyaki protein options. Ramen is still probably the best thing to get here - especially the gyukotsu, which comes with a huge braised beef rib - but it’s nice to have options in case you’re not very hungry or trying to keep things light and go out afterward.

Worth the hype? Yes.

Red Rooster had planned its Miami opening before the big pandemic wave of NYC imports. But they finally opened the doors to their Overtown restaurant in December 2020. I stopped by not too long afterwards and had a solid meal. The place has more of a clubstaurant atmosphere than I expected - there’s usually a DJ at the front bar, and a surprising amount of the menu is dedicated to bottle service, including a bottle of $295 E11even brand vodka. But, the fried yard bird was crunchy and juicy, and the menu was really interesting - with everything from conch tagliatelle to a massive roasted wagyu oxtail. It’s a good place to add to your brunch rotation, too.

Temakase is permanently closed

Temakase imageoverride image



Worth the hype? Not yet.

Temakase is a small sushi counter located in South Beach’s Sagamore hotel, and they specialize in hand rolls. They have some set menu options ranging from $22 for three handrolls to $48 for six. I visited in June and I think I caught this place too early, because they were out of a lot of ingredients, didn’t yet offer cocktails, and felt a bit disorganized. The handrolls themselves were good - though a bit pricey. The meal would have been better if the set menu came with some sort of appetizer or additional course. It’s a place to keep an eye on as they get their footing, but probably not a spot you need to rush over to right this second.

Zz’s Sushi Bar imageoverride image

Zz’s Sushi Bar


Worth the hype? Who knows.

This is the only restaurant on this guide that we haven’t been to, because ZZ’s - an offshoot of ZZ’s Clam Bar from the team behind Carbone - is a “members-only” restaurant. ZZ’s is pretty vague on what, exactly, this means (or costs) but after our experience at Carbone, we’re in no rush to find a paying member of ZZ’s to finagle an invitation. If you are interested in eating a spicy tuna roll while DJ Khaled screams into his dessert at the table next to you, you can inquire about a membership via their website.

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