In December 2020, Miamians sent out a collective wish to the universe that the ensuing year would be better. With a vaccine promised, many of us thought 2021 simply had to improve and we would go from our “new normal” to just plain-old “normal.”
One year later, despite new coronavirus variants, new Miami restaurants continue to open. Some arrive via New York, London, and other major cities, while others come courtesy of locals who’ve persevered with their dreams. The result is a diverse roster of modest, intimate establishments and high-end buzzworthy destinations. Together, they create the fabric of our restaurant scene.
Listed alphabetically below are the ten best restaurants to open in Miami in 2021.
Find the many flavors of Tel Aviv at chef Sam Gorenstein’s Abbalé.
Photo courtesy of Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen/Sam Gorenstein
Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen
864 Commerce St., Miami Beach
A partnership between chef Samuel “Sam” Gorenstein and Omer Horev, founder of Pura Vida Miami, Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen might win points (and hearts) simply for being the most charming restaurant in Miami Beach. The eatery, inside a small house complete with a porch lined with flowing plants and cozy cushions, offers a plethora of bright fare. Start with a few salatim ($6 each) such as baba ghanouj, smashed avocado, roasted beets, and the “holy grail” of black and white tahini with grated tomato and green harissa (all served with fire-baked pita) before moving on to grilled lamb chops ($45), a whole branzino ($36), or baby cauliflower ($21) — all oven-baked. Gorenstein got his inspiration from the cafés of Tel Aviv, which the chef says is similar to Miami in style and climate. Perhaps that’s why the fare seems so at home in South Beach.
Chicken-fried alligator from Barbakoa by Finka at the Doral Yard
Photo courtesy of Barbakoa by Finka
Barbakoa by Finka
8455 NW 53rd St., Doral
Eileen Andrade’s newest restaurant, Barbakoa by Finka, is the Doral Yard’s sit-down dining establishment. Here Andrade continues her love affair with Asian flavors melded with the Latino dishes of her youth. Andrade has the hospitality industry in her blood (her family owns the iconic Islas Las Canarias), and it shows. The restaurant, which skews to casual, shared plates, offers something for everyone, whether it be a light ceviche, alligator bites, a wood-fired pizza, or a hearty mac ‘n’ cheese topped with short rib. Whatever you do, don’t forget to order the wok-fired okra, braised with a kimchee lime sauce — it just might turn anyone into a diehard okra fan. Wash your meal down with one of the restaurant’s cocktails with punny names like “Justin Fever,” “Tequili’ Me Smalls,” and the “Britney Libre.”
Chef Mario Carbone says his namesake restaurant’s rigatoni has become a sort of social-media calling card.
Photo by World Red Eye/Seth Browarnik/Courtesy of Carbone
49 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Yes, you’ve seen the rigatoni …….