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Osteria Morini
Photograph: Courtesy Osteria Morini/Liz Clayman

The best new restaurants in Miami to try this month

Bring on the pasta—and Korean, Meditteranean and more cuisines at the best new restaurants in Miami

By Virginia Gil

May 2021: If you’ve been keeping up with us—which we hope you have—you’ll know we’ve neglected to update our picks of the best new restaurants in Miami. Forgive us? We’re ready to make it up to you with a thorough list of all the top openings in the city. From the buzzy pasta places (you know what we’re talking about) and the New York City expansions to the rest of the fresh and wonderful eateries to try right now. Below, the best new restaurants in Miami for all of your spring dining. 

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.

The best of the city under one roof

Arepitas Bar - black background
Photograph: Courtesy Arepitas Bar

Arepitas Bar - Time Out Market

Restaurants Colombian South Beach

Look out, abuela! There’s a new Colombian favorite in town, serving Miami-style arepas for the next generation of cornmeal-cake lovers. Pho Mo’s Cesar Zapata is behind the highly creative menu of toothsome arepas, which are loaded with only-in-Miami ingredient combos like buffalo chicken and smoked salmon with cream cheese. Chef’s also doing his favorite homestyle snacks for sharing, such as the patacon with avocado. It’s the gluten-free take on avo toast you didn’t know you needed.

Best new restaurants in Miami

Cerveceria La Tro
Photograph: Courtesy Cerveceria La Tro

1. Cerveceria La Tropical

The end of Ortanique on the Mile was one of the worst things to happen during lockdown. One of the best? Learning its chefs had found their way to a new venture: Cerveceria Tropical. Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley are the culinary talents behind the Wynwood brewery. Besides beer, the Cuban cerveceria serves an array of Latin- and Caribbean-inspired small plates, burgers and sandwiches. You’ll get hints of Ortanique in the Jamaican jerk chicken and fish escabeche, among other dishes. The massive space is dog-friendly too should Fido need a night out as well.

Uni crab tostada at Serena
Photograph: Deyson Rodriguez

2. Serena

Scott Linquist of Coyo Taco fame introduces us to a different side of Mexican cooking, one that’s simpler, designed to be shared and made significantly better by a garden-inspired rooftop. Serena, set on the second floor of the Moxy South Beach, is a laid-back bar and restaurant like the kind you’d expect to find in Mexico City. Linquist keeps the food pretty authentic with dishes like a squash blossom quesadilla and a stunning uni tostada you’ve probably seen all over Instagram. Be warned: the tequila-based cocktails are dangerously easy to sip. 

Carbone Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Carbone/Douglas Friedman

3. Carbone Miami

The restaurant opening heard round the city, Carbone became a sensation practically overnight. Since opening in late winter, the Italian restaurant from New York City’s famed Major Food Group has remained the most impossible reservation in town. What’s drawing crowds? For starters, the signature spicy rigatoni vodka with sauce so good you’ll want to drink it. Then there are the baked clams, the veal parm and the tableside caesar salad. Combine that with an over-the-top design and tons of celebrity-sighting potential, and you’ve got yourself a SoBe hit.

Layla Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Layla

4. Layla

Layla is a bright spot for people tired of the pasta takeover happening in Miami. It’s Middle Eastern so most of your carb intake will be from warm, pillowy pita bread served alongside the incredibly delicious spreads. Layla shines in the mezze department, featuring a grand assortment of roasted veggie (the carrots are phenomenal), grilled octopus, toasts and more. Whether you finish off your meal with a serving of lamb or the flavorful shawarma grilled chicken, make sure to save room for dessert. Sweets are made by Zaytouna Bakery, a local business that exclusively employs Syrian refugee women. 

Tigre Miami
Photograph: Virginia Gil

5. Tigre Miami

Dreamy and designed within an inch of its life, Tigre is a charming Argentine spot in Little River. One of two restaurants in the neighborhood located on the water (the other being Cafe Kush), it immediately feels special with views of the canal and an expansive outdoor terrace. In contrast, the menu is more compact and comprises a handful of starters and protein-centered mains, like the breaded pork chops and swordfish steak. A list of Argentine wines and craft cocktails round out the experience.

Luca Osteria
Photograph: Courtesy Luca Osteria

6. Luca Osteria

We all knew Giorgio Rapicavoli had it in him, but it took Luca for the chef to really show off his chops beyond the whimsical, over-the-top food he pioneered at Eating House. At Luca, the chef focuses on ingredient-driven, contemporary Italian food. Blood orange olive oil, Sullivan Street bread, black truffle salt and super high-quality Parmigiano Reggiano are just some of the many heroes elevating the fresh house-made pastas, shareable plates and bold main dishes. For being an Italian restaurant, Luca really excels in the cocktail department with a long list of classic aperitivi and new creations Rapicavoli came up with himself. For instance, the Portofino, an impossibly sophisticated take on a martini mixed with Grey Goose vodka, green olive vermouth and Sicilian olive oil.  

Osteria Morini
Photograph: Courtesy Osteria Morini/Liz Clayman

7. Osteria Morini Miami

Osteria Morini is the place to make your red-sauce dreams come true. Focusing on cuisine from northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, a prolific area for comfort-food classics, this gem from the Altarea Group (of NYC’s Michelin-starred Marea) lives up to its pedigree. The pastas are fresh, the sauces made from scratch and the cocktails every bit as inspired as the menu. An ideal journey at Osteria begins with battilardo, a starter of cured meats, cheeses and spreads served with warm tigelle— a traditional Modenese bread that’s somewhat of a cross between an English muffin and a flattened dinner roll. There’s no wrong choice for your next move but the tagliatelle bolognese is a must-try, and best paired with a white negroni.

Zitz Sum
Photograph: Fuji Film Girl

8. Zitz Sum

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.

Strawberry Moon
Photograph: Matthew Taylor-Gross

9. Strawberry Moon

Lilly Pulitzer herself couldn’t design a more tripped-out, Palm Beach aesthetic but we’re glad someone did. The pink dream of a restaurant is bright, inviting and touches on all the notes of a South Beach spot with its poolside terrace and tough reservations. For all its pageantry, Strawberry Moon serves a pretty tasty Mediterranean menu with lots of delectable dips and spreads, plus a sheftalia that’s better than any carb-wrapped weiner you’ve ever tried. Lest you think good food and a strong mixology program are mutually exclusive, the cocktails are excellent and very potent. 

Cote Miami
Photograph: Felipe Cuevas

10. Cote Miami

Restaurants Korean Design District

The Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse from New York City lands in the Design District, a neighborhood that doesn’t shy away from multiple dollar signs. Cote is many things—upscale, well-appointed, expensive—but its most deserving adjective is delicious. Its dry-aged beef is of the utmost quality, and the service here is always on par with the meal. First time? We recommend the Butcher’s Feast tasting experience for a generous and somehow affordable sampling of what Cote has to offer. 

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