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La Traila Barbecue
Photograph: Andrea Grieco

The best new restaurants in Miami to try this month

Our picks of Miami's best new restaurants are going to make the youthful adults very happy—think hot dogs, cake and more

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil
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September 2021: Goodbye, summer, and hello, fall. Well, sort of. While the weather may not change much for us this time of year, we are ready to usher in a change of season, and with that comes a fresh slate of Miami’s best new restaurants. Whether or not it’s back-to-school time for you, this month’s openings are giving us all the reasons to be a kid again. There’s game-centric Oche with its digital darts and gastropub menu and Dallas Wynne’s new bakery, Toothfairy. Plus, we threw in a great wine bar making killer pizza and a rooftop bar serving up caviar-topped hot dogs. It's great to be a grown-up this month.

You rule the city’s food scene: You’ve wined and dined at the best restaurants in Miami, and if someone wants to know where to get brunch in Miami, you’re their go-to egg master (and pancake master… and mimosa master!). The coffee shops in Miami? They know your name, they know your order and they know you mean business. But there’s always something new to discover, and new to learn—that’s part of the reason you love the Magic City. Stay up to date—and stay reigning supreme—with our guide to the best new restaurants Miami is welcoming to town right now.

Best new restaurants in Miami

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • North Miami
  • price 1 of 4

If a wine bar, a sourdough bakery pop-up and your favorite alt bookstore combined forces, the best-case scenario would be Paradis. The delightful all-in-one destination in North Miami is a wonderful respite from your crowded coffee shop should you want to get some work done. It's also a great place to buy bottles of natural wine. Better yet, it's where you should go sit for hours sampling vino by the glass, cranking open a couple of fish tins and eating more slices of sourdough pizza than you think you should.

We've been waiting with bated breath for Dallas Wynne's next move following her departure from Stubborn Seed. Now the immeasurably talented pastry chef has partnered with Groot Hospitality to open a bakery all her own: Toothfairy. The vibrant, candy-colored dessert emporium doles out soft-serve ice cream, oversize cookies, artful cakes and freshly made pies. Wynne, who's a sucker for classic baked goods, added a throwback section to the modern menu where she features her old-timey favorites like oatmeal cream pies. 

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There are so many firsts we can already credit to Cebada Rooftop in its very short lifespan. It's downtown Coral Gables' first rooftop, which has singlehandedly changed the post-work drink for this happy-hour-obsessed neighborhood. It's also the only place serving Spanish butifarra in a medianoche roll and topped with caviar. It's their take on a hot dog, and it's a very good one if we do say. Cebada offers a small indoor dining room and a sprawling terrace, where you can snack on Cuban-inspired bites and sip on Miami-themed drinks. It also boasts a full-service kitchen that doles out so much more than hot dogs. Think short ribs, chicharrones de pato and baby back ribs.

Texas-style barbecue is a thing in Hialeah, and you have La Traila to thank for that miracle. Founded by Austin native and pitmaster Mel Rodriguez and Miami native/Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, the restaurant beckons BBQ lovers with its bounty of smoked meats coming straight out of its 20-foot smoker. Expect your usual Texas favorites, like brisket and pulled pork, plus a few Miami-fied dishes, including the visually arresting brisket sundae that layers meat, mac and cheese, baked beans and creamed corn, among other toppings.

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Oche pairs darts with elevated bar food, offering a more entertaining way to hit the bar than just sidle up for drinks. This is the first U.S. outpost for the self-proclaimed gastro-gaming facility, which has locations in Oslo, Amsterdam, Brisbane and Gothenburg. Eating and gaming take place in the same area: Oche has 13 booths equipped with techy dart boards to make the whole experience easier. While you can enjoy its craft cocktails all throughout.

 

Margot Natural Wine Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Margot Natural Wine Bar/Donna Irene

6. Margot Natural Wine Bar

Bar Lab’s long-awaited natural wine bar (it popped up at Nikki Beach last summer) is now open for business in its intended downtown Miami location. Margot serves a wide variety of low-intervention wines, some made with organic grapes while others are sourced from small producers. There is no single criterium for how the wines are chosen but trust that the in-house sommeliers have done the work, now it’s up to you to sip and enjoy. Chef Jimmy Lebron of 27 Restaurant & Bar created a special menu of small bites (think crudos and cheese plates) to complement the more than 75 natural wine labels available, including bubbles, whites, reds, roses and skin-contact varietals.

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Chef Adrianne Calvo is always on the lookout for maximum flavor, and that’s exactly what you’re in for at her new Sicilian restaurant in Coral Gables. Forte is her mother’s maiden name and not only does she pay homage to her family’s lineage but also her favorite Italian ingredients and dishes. Calvo’s given herself room to play, putting her touch on the crudos (the oysters arrive perfectly dressed), handmade pastas (the carbonara is loaded with cheese and chunks of crispy guanciale) and desserts. For instance, at $28, the house-made gelato is served as a massive shareable spire of ice cream. There’s no explicit reference made to the Tower of Pisa but the visual connection is there. Eat it before it tips over.

Chinese food and supper clubs aren’t two concepts you’d necessarily pair together but somehow it works at Ch’i. The Chino-Latino spot from the Grove Bay Hospitality Group (Red Rooster, Stubborn Seed, Stiltsville) is sprawling and many things at once—a restaurant, a market, a lounge and an outdoor garden. You’ll enter through the Asian mercado, where grab-and-go items are sold, and make your way past a large nondescript door into the multisensory dining room—it’s vibrant, it’s loud and very much gives the impression of a nightclub, which doesn’t actualize till late. Arrive early for more eating and less tableside dancing, and do order up some of Ch’i’s signature bites, such as the shrimp enchilada dumplings, the ropa vieja spring roll and the Peking roasted duck tacos. For a quick drink and conversation, opt for the outdoor garden.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Benh Mi was one of the best home pop-ups to come out of lockdown and we couldn’t be happier about it sticking around. Chef Benjamin Murray’s Instagram business is now a brick-and-mortar shop on Española Way, where he’s doling out Vietnamese bites and inventive banh mi sandwiches filled with mushrooms, lemongrass meatballs and even fried chicken. Take it from us, the extra crunchy chicken will be the reason you quit Publix’s culty chicken tender sub for good.

The Instagram sensation finally has a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Coral Gables, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Now in a larger kitchen, chef Pablo Zitzmann has more room to play, expanding his modern Chinese menu to include a fresh crudo and satisfying entrees that go beyond his signature dim sum. The dumplings, though, are still at the heart of the menu and just as delicious as when he hand-rolled them from home.

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This Little River restaurant hides in plain sight amid its more well-known neighbors, La Santa Taqueria and Tran An, but it merits all the visibility. Its owner, who hails from Naples, Italy, decided to open his very own pasta shop after making the rounds at some of Miami's most well-known Italian restaurants. His experience and love of simple, fresh food shows. You'll find classic Neopolitan dishes on the authentic menu, including spaghetti alle vongole made with fresh pasta. The prices are more akin to Italy than Miami, too, with most dishes coming in under 20 bucks.

Mediterranean and Asian cuisines merge in a beautifully appointed space in the heart of Brickell. The sleek, modern restaurant resembles something you’d expect to find in South Beach, yet it’s right at home inside the SLS LUX Brickell. Kaori is the first of Umai Group’s restaurants, and perhaps that’s the reason part of it feels like an experiment. The short rib dumplings with manchego foam, furikake chicharrón and sushi-style baklava are some of the tastiest outcomes.

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Kura is Little River ramen spot Hachidori’s new speakeasy. Kojin is the pop-up restaurant that’s currently occupying the space. Got all that? Chef Pedro Mederos and partner/pastry chef Katherine Randolph helm the sake bar and washoku experience, quite literally from start to finish as the only two people behind the intimate counter. Kojin serves Japanese food and dishes made with Japanese ingredients (the essence of washoku) and everything is small, involved and carefully plated. An á-la-carte menu is available but you’ll want to spring for the tasting option, which includes six chef selections, plus an optional sake pairing that’s also highly encouraged. 

From the team that brought you Carbone, ZZ’s Sushi Bar is as exclusive as they come. In fact, you’ll need to be a member or know one to get a reservation. But it’s Miami, which means you’re probably one degree of separation away from sitting down to some of the best modern Japanese food of your life. It doesn’t get more decadent than the tuna carpaccio topped with foie and scallops or the signature wagyu sando with a truffle emulsion. Both offer up small bites with big flavor energy. From the uni toast and crispy rice to the dumplings, it’s all tasty, really. Now, the question remains, how will you finagle your way in?

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Scott Linquist’s newest Mexican spot is a marisquería, serving a bevy of seafood dishes and reinterpretations of the classics now starring fresh fish. For instance, the pulled pork carnitas are subbed with salmon, hamachi or octopus that’s flash-fried and served with tortillas and salsa. You’ll want in on this unexpected version. Como Como translates to ’how you eat’ and that journey is all up to you—whether you’re there to feast on Caesar salad prepared tableside and lamb shank cooked before you on a wood-burning grill, or stopping in for fresh oysters and one of many mezcal cocktails served before a night out. 

It’s been a while since the city had a secret restaurant to whisper about, and we’re glad that’s changed. This one is hidden behind Koa Poke in South Beach, an assuming fast-casual spot by day that offers a thrilling omakase experience at night. Make it past the curtain, and you’ll be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind 16- to 18-course menu with lots of interactive elements to keep you engaged between dishes—from smoke and sushi set aflame to lavish tableside garnishes that take top-end ingredients like caviar, truffle and uni to new levels.

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