It’s safe to say that when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2019, most of us — save for a few with crystal balls — would not have predicted that a global pandemic would throw the world into a financial and health crisis.
Though restaurants were ordered closed for months, many Miami chefs persevered. Some restaurateurs opened shortly before the pandemic hit, while other entrepreneurial spirits opened during the COVID-19 crisis.
Here, listed in alphabetical order, are the best restaurants that have opened in 2020 — so far.
Shrimp mofongo at 100 x 35 Cocina con Raíces
Photo courtesy of 100 x 35 Cocina con Raíces
The restaurant’s name is a tribute to the island of Puerto Rico, which measures 100 miles east to west and 35 miles north to south. Chefs Emmanuel Jimenez and Luis Vazquez tap into their roots to present a menu that& speaks to Puerto Rico’s cuisine, which has foundations in European, African, and native Taíno cooking styles, mixed with elements of the seas that surround it. Look for the traditional dish& mofongo, offered in many styles. Diners may add fried pork with onions, chicken, shrimp, or skirt steak to any of the mofongo dishes.
Barbarella’s Leslie Ames and Sebastian Fernandez
Photo courtesy of Barbarella
Sebastian Fernandez and Leslie Ames,& the husband-and-wife duo best known in Miami for the much-missed Coconut Grove establishment 33 Kitchen, leased a small bistro space in Dadeland Mall back in January and set to work on their new Mediterranean concept. They were set to open in mid-March, then restaurants were ordered closed. When May came around and the mall reopened, they opened their outdoor terrace.& Menu items include pan con tomate topped with white anchovies ($9), roasted beets prepared with Greek yogurt, zaatar, glazed pecans, and mint ($14), and a spicy pancetta pizza topped with mozzarella, calabrese peppers, pomodoro sauce, and honey ($14).
Matteson Koche’s beloved bagels have a permanent home.
Photo courtesy of El Bagel
Matteson Koche’s long-awaited bagel shop opened in early March to long lines of fans already acquainted with his& six-ingredient bagels, free of conditioners and preservatives. Bagels cost& $2.50; dozens and half-dozens run $12 and $22. Sandwiches include a& bacon, egg, and cheese ($9); and the lox supreme ($12/$14 open-faced).
Croquetas at Leku
Photo by David Sanchez
Thirty-year-old Mikel Goikolea helms the kitchen at the gorgeous new restaurant located on the ground floor of the museum.& Since its opening in early July, Leku, which opens onto a courtyard garden,& is operating as a pop-up, offering a limited summer menu of items such as beet tartare topped with olive-oil caviar ($11), traditional octopus served Galician-style ($18), and Cinco Jotas Iberico ham croquetas ($15).& The full slate of offerings, ranging in price from $18 to 40, will roll out in September.
Old Greg’s Pizza pops up in the Design District.
Photo by Ruben Cabrera Photography
Old Greg’s Pizza, the sourdough-pizza Instagram sensation that has garnered a cultlike following amid the pandemic, has partnered with Kilgore Culinary Group to pop up in the Design District. Old Greg’s offers five pizzas: Original Cheese, the O.G. Roni, Veg Supreme, ‘Shroomz, and the Tomato Pie. The O.G. Roni is topped with fresh, hand-pulled mozzarella, Ezzo Sausage pepperoni cups, and local hot honey; the Veg Supreme comes with handpicked vegetables, mushrooms, oil-cured olives, red pearl onions, and three kinds of peppers; and the ‘Shroomz pie brings mushrooms, mushroom crema, and wild-ramp salsa verde. Pair your pizza with spiked slushes with Ilegal mezcal or a local beer from J. Wakefield Brewery. Order far in advance for pickup — these pizzas sell out immediately. On average, items are priced between $9 and $30.
Spaghetti with meatballs at Perricone’s
Photo by Lynn Parks
For a quarter of a century, Perricone’s was a popular presence in Miami’s Brickell area. Last year, owner Steven J. Perricone announced the restaurant and market would close its iconic space in Brickell and move to a new location in the Roads. The new 2,600-square-foot market and 150-seat dining room opened in June with many of the same touches people loved in the old location, right down to the wood beams repurposed from a Vermont farmhouse. Though dining rooms remain closed, Perricone’s market offers prepared foods and provisions to take home.
Photo courtesy of Redfish by Chef Adrianne
Redfish by Chef Adrianne
9610 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables
Red Fish Grill in Matheson Hammock Park was known far and wide as a gorgeous location for date nights, anniversaries, and birthdays. The waterfront restaurant sustained extensive damage to its coral structure during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and remained shuttered until recently. Chef Adrianne Calvo is at the helm of the resurrected Redfish, offering creative dishes such as a Beaujolais poached pear salad made with arugula, goat cheese, crisped prosciutto, and pistachios ($16); and ahi tuna sashimi with crisped shaved Brussels sprouts and pear, topped with ponzu aioli, soy, and truffle ($17). Other dishes include cobia ceviche ($18) and herb-stuffed branzino flavored with lemon and garlic ($40). Don’t wait until your anniversary to check out this stunner of a restaurant.
Enjoy barbecue for delivery or takeout.
Photo courtesy of Society BBQ
At Society BBQ, chef Richard Hales departs from his Asian-inspired cuisines at Sakaya Kitchen and Backbrick Chinese and taps into his barbecue cravings. This restaurant, located at the Citadel food hall, offers brisket burnt ends ($15), pulled chicken ($9), and ribs. The lovingly& smoked& meats are& available as platters or in sandwiches. (Hales even offers vegan burnt ends for non-carnivores.) In the event your aunt in Topeka would prefer brisket to flowers on her birthday, bear in mind that Society BBQ will ship meats nationwide.
Pork tenderloin at Tur Kitchen
Chef Nelson J. Fernandez and his wife Ivanna opened Tur Kitchen in January. The 4,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space includes an outdoor patio with seating for 50, and the pan-Mediterranean menu offers dishes prepared with fresh fish and seasonal fruits and vegetables. There’s an extensive array of tartines, simple French open-faced sandwiches, and flatbreads baked in a stone oven and filled with braised lamb, cremini mushrooms, goat cheese, and curry oil ($15).
1395 E. 11th Ave., Hialeah
This 32,000-square-foot space has the distinction of being Hialeah’s first brewery. Located in the Leah Arts District, Unbranded features a 30-barrel brewing system that yields the brewery’s flagship beers. These include Golden, a golden ale; Guava, a guava wheat beer; a hazy IPA series; and a selection of beers aged in stainless steel tanks with staves. Owner Zachary Swanson chose to employ a modified wood-aging system that allows him to experiment with woods such as pecan, mesquite, and hickory, instead of the traditional oak used in wine and bourbon barrels. Aging the beers in stainless-steel tanks also accelerates the aging process and prevents airborne contaminants. Beers are available for pickup or can be enjoyed on the premises in an outdoor area.