The Most Consistent Restaurants In Miami guide image

MIAGuide

The Most Consistent Restaurants In Miami

What do these places have in common with ‘72 Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian? They almost never miss.

We have come to really appreciate a consistent restaurant. A restaurant where “off nights” don’t exist. You can just walk in, place an order without looking at the menu, and relax knowing your food will arrive quickly and deliciously. Consistency also happens to be one of the toughest things for a restaurant to achieve, which is why we made a guide to the Miami spots that never seem to let us down. These places vary in price point, cuisine, and formality. But you can go to all of them expecting the same thing: a great experience that does not crumble into chaos before dessert arrives. They have menus that rarely (if ever) change, efficient service, and are just generally well-oiled machines that also happen to make some of our favorite food in town. Use them next time you need a guaranteed hit.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Karli Evans

Blue Collar imageoverride image
8.6

Blue Collar

$$$$

6730 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
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You have a better chance of driving from South Beach to Brickell in less than 15 minutes at 6pm on the Friday of Art Basel than you do of having a bad meal at Blue Collar. Things just don’t go wrong at the MiMo comfort food staple. We always walk in the door with confidence knowing the burger is going to be one of Miami’s best, there will undoubtedly be a delicious daily parm special, and the Chanukah latkes will be on the menu even in July. The only thing you need to do to guarantee success here is make a reservation, because this place is tiny.

Just like it is hard to imagine a time when Edgewater was actually a somewhat affordable place to live, it’s hard to remember a time when Ghee wasn’t one of the best restaurants in Miami. It’s been that way since they opened, and eating dinner here is still one of the best ideas a Miamian can have. The menu isn’t set in stone, but it provides enough consistency that you can pretty much have your order in your head before you arrive (for us, that’s the yellowfin tuna bhel, turmeric marinated local fish, and all the naans that can fit on the table).

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Although it’s existed as a pop-up in various locations, one thing has always remained true about Rosie’s: it’s our favorite brunch in Miami. The Little River restaurant will make you fall madly in love with the meal again, even if you never even liked it that much to begin with. This is because the food here is always phenomenal, and the hospitality is on point too. The menu revolves around Southern food, and both the sweet and savory sides of the spectrum are well-represented. You can get a gorgeous stack of fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes or fried chicken and biscuits that look like they just came back from a photo shoot. There are also cocktails, mimosas, coffee, and an excellent seasonal lemonade that's just what you want to be sipping in Rosie's current home, a sunny outdoor lot in Little River.

If you’d asked us ten years ago, five years ago, and right this very moment what the best restaurant in South Beach is our answer would be the same: Macchialina. And even though they do switch up the menu a lot, there are enough regulars—the cavatelli with baby meatballs, veal parmigiana, and gnocchi fritto—to at least partially know your order before you sit down. Although you should always listen closely to the specials, because they are wonderful. More things you can expect here: excellent cocktails, a killer wine list, and desserts you should never not order.

You know that 70-year-old who trains daily at the boxing gym? That’s Pascal’s on Ponce in human form. This French spot in Coral Gables is over 20 years old and has the kind of strength that only comes with decades of repetition. It’ll surprise you with its cheese souffle the way that 70-year-old will with an uppercut. It’s fluffy, salty, airy, and the parmesan fondue adds a tanginess that makes you salivate like a rottweiler. But Pascal’s isn’t some kind of ragged Rocky-type—it’s refined. Service here is flawless, unobtrusive, and experienced. Every dish is plated with care, and the small dining room is impeccable. Despite its age, Pascal’s On Ponce can go toe-to-toe with some of the newer fine French restaurants in town and still win.

It's hard to commit to a $200 per person omakase. Because what if it stinks? While we do have an omakase guide to help you with that very situation, we also always recommend Sushi Yasu Tanaka when you need quality fish that won’t let you down. The sushi here is so much more impressive than what you might expect from a food hall in the Design District. The omakase platter options are all under $100 and consist of outrageously good nigiri and hand rolls. It’s not a cheap lunch, but it’s also upscale omakase quality sushi served in an environment where you can wear flip-flops, don’t need a reservation, and can feel confident that your money will result in salmon so fatty you barely have to chew it. 

Panya Thai is a consistent restaurant on one of the most consistently delicious streets in Miami, 163rd Street. And it also happens to be our favorite Thai spot in Miami. They have a very long menu that never really changes, and has range too. It’s got staples—papaya salad, pad thai, and various curries—that are all excellent. But they also have dishes like boat noodles soup and yen ta fo, a tart/sweet soup with a pink broth. The food comes quick, prices are reasonable, and everything tastes good enough to make you want to hug the building on your way out.

Silverlake Bistro is where we go when we need a nice-ish dinner, and we mean that as a sincere compliment. This place is cute enough to show someone you’re trying, but relaxed enough to not make you self-conscious about that stain you just noticed on your shirt. Food is why you’re coming here though, and you can always expect to find one of Miami’s best burgers on the menu, as well as gnocchi mac and cheese and some sort of crispy-skinned bird. Whether you’re trying to steer visiting friends away from Wynwood or need a reliable date night restaurant for that person you’re actually starting to like, Silverlake is the move.

Here’s what Jaguar Sun is more consistent at than just about anywhere else in Miami: fun. It’s always fun. Is it also delicious, one of the city’s best pasta choices, and home to the county’s greatest restaurant bread in the form of crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside Parker House rolls? Yes. But Jaguar is the dinner you need if you’re celebrating a birthday, sharing martinis with a best friend for the first time in way too long, or any other occasion where you won’t tolerate anything short of having an absolute blast.

If we’ve got time to spare and are in need of a lunch that’s 100% going to put us in a good mood for the rest of the day, we’re going to Sushi Erika. Yes, there will be a wait at the North Bay Village spot (unless you come 10 or 15 minutes before they open). But that’s part of Sushi Erika’s consistency too—the waiting. Anyway, it’s well worth it for some of Miami’s best casual sushi. This place nails straightforward, minimal nigiri as well as busier rolls with a small novela of ingredients

We don’t always make sweeping declarations about a place serving the absolute, number one best version of a certain dish. And yet we still feel comfortable saying that Sanguich De Miami makes the absolute, number one best Cuban sandwich in Miami. Because it tastes like that every single time we visit the narrow Calle Ocho restaurant. When we’re craving a classic version done at the highest level, we don’t even think about going anywhere else. Just be cool with waiting 30ish minutes for a table during tourist season (or try to come outside the lunch rush).

Brickell is one of the toughest eating neighborhoods in Miami, because it’s stuffed with terrible, overpriced restaurants that are not at all worth the stress of finding parking. However, the exception to this has always been River Oyster Bar. The seafood spot is a classic by Brickell standards, and is one of the incredibly stressful neighborhood’s only reliably great restaurants. Nothing gives us the emotional motivation to journey into Brickell quite like River Oyster’s pot of mussels in a coconut milk/lemongrass broth.

Adelita’s is located right across from the McArthur Dairy Plant in Little Haiti, which is kind of perfect since our favorite dishes at the classic Honduran spot are smothered in sour cream and cheese. There are a bunch of great traditional options here, like enchiladas and cheese-filled baked sweet plantains. However, the baleadas are what you want on nights when you just need something simple and great. The fluffy flour tortillas are stuffed with refried beans, mantequilla, sharp crumbled cheese, your choice of protein, and won't cost you more than $10. 

If you’re going to drop a lot of money on dinner, it needs to be good. And the Design District’s Le Jardinier is one of the few fancy tweezer restaurants that’s never done us wrong (a recent Friday lunch has confirmed this). The menu does change, but it stays more consistent than most upscale, seasonal restaurants. There will be various forms of delicious vegetable dishes to start. There will probably be a steak entree option, and if it’s the wagyu bavette, you should absolutely order it. Another thing that’s never changed about this place: they have one of the very best cocktail programs in town.

Yes, it’s a chain. But boy is it consistent. Hillstone in Coral Gables is an upscale restaurant that’s as busy as the day it opened over twenty years ago—and with good reason. It reliably hits the mark with delicious food and ice-cold cocktails every damn time. We love the crispy chicken sandwich with spicy slaw and swiss cheese. It’s crunchy, buttery, and the meat-to-slaw-to-bun-ratio was probably determined with a graphing calculator. This place is perfect for lunch with clients or dinner with picky friends. There’s something for everyone: sushi rolls, a rotisserie chicken, a seared ahi tuna salad, or Hawaiian ribeye with pineapple soy marmalade.

Michael’s Genuine was the first restaurant that made people want to eat in the Design District when it opened in 2006, and it’s still one of the neighborhood’s more reliable spots for a solid meal with a menu everyone can pretty much agree on. Come for a lunch that involves crowd-pleasing sandwiches, salads, and pizza. For dinner, there's usually a stracciatella situation we thoroughly enjoy, roasted octopus, rigatoni in meat sauce, and a whole roasted snapper. It’s a safe bet for family meals, dinner with clients, and really any other occasion when you need a restaurant that is nice but not overwhelmingly upscale.

Speaking of overwhelmingly upscale, The Surf Club. Is this old-money, old-school American fine-dining restaurant so nice we stress out about getting judged for using the wrong fork? Kind of. But the experience here is also never short of phenomenal, and even though it’s very expensive and one of Miami’s only restaurants actually deserving of the word “exquisite”, service is friendly and warm, not robotic and suffocating. You’re coming here for perfectly executed classic dishes like oysters Rockefeller, a gorgeous tableside caesar, and a $150 beef short rib Wellington that'll make you feel like The Great Gatsby himself (at least before the story takes a depressing turn).

El Rey is the home of our favorite version of one of our favorite Miami foods: the frita. And this place still makes our favorite in the city, and truly hasn’t changed since our first visit many years ago. The patty is a blend of beef and pork served with onions and papitas on Cuban bread. The fritas aren’t huge and only about $4 each, so you can easily order so many that you can no longer see the table you're sitting at. The Little Havana location is as unpretentious and efficient as a fast food joint, but it’s got way better food and the charm of a classic neighborhood diner.

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