Where To Cope With The Fact That Sunny’s Still Isn’t OpenAs Blink-182 would say, "Where are you?"
If we could all get in a time machine and ask the collective us of two years ago, “Where do you see yourself in the summer of 2023?” We’d say, “Spending a little too much money on steak and martinis at Sunny’s—if the aliens allow, of course.” Well, past us, bad news. The aliens have yet to arrive, and also, Sunny’s is still temporarily closed. The pandemic steakhouse pop-up that turned into one of Miami’s most stupidly fun blowout dinners officially closed for renovations on May 8, 2022. That was 403 days ago (or 580,320 minutes, or 34,819,200 seconds). But who’s counting? While we all eagerly wait for Sunny’s return and light a candle to the gods of construction, here are some places to satisfy the itch we all now have for a fun dinner involving meat, alcohol, and perhaps an impressive tree.
The team from Gramps revived this classic German spot on 79th Street with a wonderfully ‘80s Miami design, sausages, and big slabs of delicious fried meat. This is a great choice for a fun group dinner, and they also have an equally fun outdoor bar situation you can hit up before or after your meal. There’s a tree out there too. It’s not as big as the Sunny’s banyan tree, but maybe we can all whisper compliments to it and help it grow.
Sunny’s, as you may know, was run by the wonderful Jaguar Sun team. And Jaguar Sun is still very much open in Downtown. So you can come here and see some of the same faces who poured martini number five for you at Sunny’s without the slightest whiff of judgment. The martinis at Jaguar Sun are some of the best in Miami. Maybe don’t have five, but do order the Parker house rolls and at least two pastas.
At this Downtown Vietnamese spot, there are no martinis or outdoor seating beyond a few stout sidewalk stools to squat on while you wait for a table. But Tam Tam is (so far) the year’s absolute best new restaurant, and if you are craving an of-the-moment place to eat delicious things, this is it. Tam Tam delivers in the form of tamarind glazed ribs, whole steamed fish heads, the best wings in town, and a betel-wrapped lamb dish we think about twice a day. Plus, they’ve ended the best bathroom in Miami debate. It’s over. Tam Tam wins.
Tripping Animals is a great Doral brewery serving some of the best beer in Miami. They have a spacious outdoor patio situation but the reason they’re on this guide is that Meat N’ Bone is currently handling their kitchen. This means you can come here for that Sunny’s-esque combination of red meat and alcohol—and enjoy both outside if the air isn’t soaking wet. Options include a ribeye with a pile of potato chips or a very good roast beef sandwich. Pair it with Tripping’s rosada, a refreshing sour we could fill a CamelBak with and drink all day.
If you really just miss Sunny’s tree, then you should visit Magic 13. This Little Haiti brewery’s biggest strength is its outdoor space, which is huge and organized around two big, hunky trees we want to hug (give us enough beer and we might). Other good things about Magic 13 include fairly regular live music programming, beer (obviously), and a small meat-centric food situation also run by Meat N’ Bone, who really seem to be cornering the brewery kitchen market.
If you want dangerously spillable martinis, expensive steaks, and a room full of people who’re all peacocking for folks to look at their outfit, head to Prime 112. If Sunny’s is the cool young kid on the steakhouse scene, then Prime 112 is the uncle who makes you a little uncomfortable at Thanksgiving, but also drives a vintage car and slips a cigar into your pocket as he says goodbye. This is one of the last holdouts of classic South Beach sceney-ness. Plus, there’s a 73% chance you run into an NBA player here.
Unless Argentina is playing an important football game, there’s not much of a party atmosphere at Fiorito, a laidback Argentinian restaurant in Little Haiti. But there are some good steak options at reasonable prices, as well as a cute back patio where you can eat them outside. Wine is plentiful and also pretty affordable. This is just a lovely walk-in dinner option if you woke up at 3am the night before with flashbacks of eating steak outside and need to scratch that itch.
Spiritually, Cote and Sunny’s don’t feel too aligned. Sunny’s was about embracing chaos. Cote is about exuding perfection. But we’re getting unnecessarily existential here. The fact is Cote is also a good place to buy expensive, delicious steak and drink really stellar martinis. You can dress up to come here, or take a date if you want to convince them you’re rich. So it deserves a spot on this guide, even if the two have very different Spotify algorithms.
They don’t serve steak or martinis at this Grove seafood spot, but this is such a lovely place to get all sweaty, have a few beers, and eat some excellent fried seafood. Shore To Door only functions as a restaurant on the weekends during the day. And the term restaurant feels generous. It’s more of a fun backyard fish fry—occasionally with live music and always with a cooler full of cold beer you can help yourself to. Just keep count of how many you’ve had. You will have to pay for them on the way out.