Where Miami chefs eat in Miami. 

By Clarissa Buch
Updated: March 12, 2019

When James Beard Award-winner Michelle Bernstein isn’t rolling empanadas and preparing croquettes at her recently opened Café La Trova in Miami’s Little Havana, you can find her at Niu Kitchen, a Spanish-inspired restaurant in the city’s downtown.

Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth of Root & Bone, the Southern-inspired restaurant with locations in New York and Miami, don’t always find time for date night. But when they do, their go-to spot is Amara at Paraiso, chef Michael Schwartz's picturesque waterfront restaurant.

Read on for the restaurants that nine local chefs swear by.

Niu Kitchen

“Definitely Niu Kitchen. It’s seriously delicious. I love Catalan and Spanish cuisine in general. Chef Deme Lomas is incredibly talented, and the way he incorporates his creativity into the food is soul touching.” – Michelle Bernstein, chef and owner of Café La Trova, cookbook author, and television personality

Joe's Stone Crab

“The best is no doubt Joe’s Stone Crab. It’s an institution in this city. There’s something about the ambiance that just makes the food taste better. Plus, the service is top notch and the quality of the seafood is second to none. We don’t have a classic steakhouse in Miami, but Joe’s gives you that old school feeling in just the same way.” – Giorgio Rapicavoli, chef and owner of Glass & Vine and Eating House

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Blackbrick

“Blackbrick in Midtown all the way. It’s authentic Chinese. You can’t beat the lamb chops or dan dan noodles.” – Suzy Batlle, owner of Azucar Ice Cream Company

KYU, Kaido, and Pubbelly

“I have so many favorites that it’s honestly hard to single out one. What I can say is I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to. That’s why you might see me at places like Michael Lewis’ KYU, Brad Kilgore’s Kaido, and Jose Mendin’s Pubbelly.” – Jeremy Ford, chef and partner of Stubborn Seed and the forthcoming Afishonado

Juan Fernando Ayora

Ariete

“This is, of course, one of those impossible questions to answer. I write a radio show, A Word On Food, for the local NPR radio station, WLRN. Through that, I am forever visiting the hundreds of mostly mom-and-pop places we often find incredible dishes in. I also seek out places that I feel really have a reverence for Miami and all of South Florida. One of the very best that has that ethos is Ariete helmed by chef Michael Beltran.” – Norman Van Aken, chef, cookbook author, restaurateur, and owner of Norman’s and Three

Amara at Paraiso

“Amara at Paraiso by Michael Schwartz hits all of the marks…from amazing cocktails, an awesome wood grilled-inspired menu, beautiful décor, and its location, which is right on the Biscayne Bay with an incredible view. Try the Brazilian cheese bread, all of the empanadas (sweet corn and short rib), and the wood-grilled and seafood plates.” – Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis, chefs and partners of Root & Bone and Stiltsville Fish Bar

Yakko-San

“Hiro’s Yakko-San because they are open late, it’s easy to get to, and the crispy pork salad is everything.” – Adrienne Grenier, executive chef of 3030 Ocean

Ghee Indian Kitchen

“Ghee Indian Kitchen in the Design District. I’ve always been in love with Indian cuisine. Certain flavors can clash and become complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. But in the hands of chefs Niven Patel and Pushkar Marathe, you can taste the authenticity in their modern approach.” – Paula DaSilva, executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

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