5 of the Best Restaurants in Miami & Southeast Florida

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Miami isn’t the only city in southeast Florida with an amazing culinary scene. Venture out a little further and you’ll find some of the best-kept secrets in the Keys. With Miami’s star chefs looking to conquer new turf, Magic City’s chefs are branching out eastward, joining family establishments that have been in business for decades. Here are our picks for some of the best locally-loved spots in the area.

Photo: Santorini Greek Restaurant

Santorini by Georgios

Located inside the Hilton Bentley Hotel in the coveted “Sofi” enclave of South Beach, Santorini is a refined, elegant dining spot reminiscent of its namesake Grecian town. On the menu you’ll find classic Greek dishes like souvlaki, pastitzio (Greek lasagna), and gyros, and well as plenty of fresh grilled seafood. Feeling indecisive? Go for the Santorini Sampler, which includes meze (small appetizers), saganaki (flaming cheese with lemon), salad, a variety of meats served in sizzling skillet with linguine, and several dessert samplings. Bonus: Santorini is also an elegant beach club with exclusive beach access, cabanas, valet parking, beach butlers, and other VIP perks. Come hungry; then lounge all day.

101 Ocean Drive, Pool – Beach Side, Miami

Versailles

This may be the world’s best-known Cuban spot, and not just because of the food. Versailles is much more than a restaurant, it is a gathering place an unofficial town square for Miami’s Cuban exiles. Don’t be surprised if you see politicians, and media in the parking lot—Versailles if often the first place that locals gather to garner support for their cause, as it is located in the heart of Miami’s Cuban community. The business has been serving up authentic cuisine since 1971, including a staple menu of both American and Cuban-style sandwiches and salads. But there are two stars on the menu: the sampler platters, and the daily specials, which include classic Cuban dishes such as “pulpeta,” a meatloaf made with moros rice and sweet plantains and “ajiaco,” a tropical soup with vegetables and various kinds of meat.

3555 SW 8TH St., Miami

Elegance is learned at Pierre’s in Islamorada. Photo: Pierre’s Restaurant

Pierre’s

Just two hours from Miami, the island of Islamorada is becoming a popular outpost for Magic City’s best chefs. Pierre’s however, has been on the scene for nearly two decades. When fine dining is in order, this spot doesn’t disappoint. Tucked inside a two-story plantation home on a palm-lined beach overlooking Florida Bay, the dining room features lavish touches such as dark planked wood floors, natural textured walls, an eighteenth century Indian arcade, kilm rugs, teak tables, and a museum-worthy collection of Moroccan, Indian, and African artifacts. There’s also a spectacular veranda where you can enjoy tropical views and those famous island sunsets. Featuring French Fusion cuisine with World influences, you’ll find classic dishes like steak au poivre and french onion soup gratineé alongside creative global twists like the Peruvian-style ceviche, Russian caviar served with crepes, Spanish style pata negra.

81600 Overseas Hwy., Islamorada

Stonecrab claws at Key Largo Fisheries. Photo: Key Largo Fisheries

Key Largo Fisheries

Part marina, part seafood processing facility, and part restaurant, Key Largo Fisheries is a must-visit on the island. Located smack dab in the middle of Key Largo, the fishery sits on five acres of land surrounded by emerald green waters. You can’t get food much fresher than this: the family-owned business is well-known and respected for its fresh-caught seafood and bait products that are packaged and shipped internationally. They’re also a large bait supplier for the sport fishing industry. The “cafe” is a walk-up window with a spacious deck overlooking the marina. The menu is amazing: don’t leave without trying matriarch Dottie’s smoked fish dip and conch salad, and when in season, the stonecrab claws.

1313 Ocean Bay Dr. Suite A, Key Largo

Whole grilled fish at El Saboney. Photo: El Saboney

El Siboney

Named for a town in Cuba, this sweet little spot located in a house in a residential neighborhood is the hangout of those in the know about Key West’s Cuban cuisine. The unassuming brick ranch-style home is off the beaten path from the boisterous establishments on Duval – this is more of a local crowd. Knosh on ropa vieja, whole fried fish, milanesa and more. And of course, don’t forget the conch chowder.

900 Catherine St, Key West

BY Davina van Buren