Restaurant listings for the BT Dining Guide are written by Andrew McLees (AM), Mandy Baca (MB), and the late Pamela Robin Brandt (PRB) (
). Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, but restaurants frequently change menus, chefs, and operating hours, so please call ahead to confirm information. Icons ($$$) represent estimates for a typical meal without wine, tax, or tip. Hyphenated icons ($-$$$) indicate a significant range in prices between lunch and dinner
$ = $10 and under
$$ = $20
$$$ = $30
$$$$ = $40
$$$$$ = $50 and over
16501 Collins Ave.
For a beach resort town, Miami has surprisingly little waterfront dining, ocean or bay. But it doesn’t get anymore waterfront than this indoor/outdoor restobar; in fact, part of it is actually several feet over the Atlantic, on Newport Pier. Fare includes the oysters and other raw bar selections beach-minded diners crave, but gets more ambitious with two veteran chefs and a two-pronged menu: Mike Jin’s sushi/sashimi/Asian small plates, and modernized retro-American dishes (ranging from cracked conch po’boys to surf and turf (featuring a Ritz cracker crumb-stuffed lobster tail) from Joseph Whitmore. Big cocktail fun, too. $$$-$$$$ (PRB)
18090 Collins Ave.
At this family-owned (and kid-friendly), white-tablecloth Indian restaurant, prices are more upscale than average, but so is the food’s elegant presentation -- plus features like a full bar, live Bollywood/belly dancing on weekends, and, among familiar North Indian fare, dishes blending contemporary touches with traditional tastes. Especially enjoyable: starters inspired by street snacks, like bikaneri chaat (fried gram flour crisps, chickpeas, and yogurt) served with two chutneys; anything featuring paneer cheese, from classic spinach/cheese palak paneer to creative khazazs-e-lazzat (sundried tomato-stuffed paneer/potato dumplings in smooth cream sauce). $$$ (PRB)
Epicure Gourmet Market & Café
17190 Collins Ave.
Who even knew that the late Rascal House had an ocean view? Diners may have to eat standing up to glimpse water over the dunes from the panoramic café windows of the gourmet market that replaced the Rascal, but you know you’re on a tropical beach, not Brighton Beach. The big, bright café’s menu, more global diner than Jewish deli, includes daily specials ranging from spa-grilled chicken to homemade Italian sausage and peppers. But it’s worth seeking out items that made South Beach’s original Epicure famous: sandwiches featuring housemade rare roast beef; shrimp or chunky smoked whitefish salads; fresh baked goods. $$$ (PRB)
Fresh American Bistro
17315 Collins Ave.
This stylish French nouvelle restaurant in the swanky Solé on the Ocean Resort and Spa bears the earmarks of excellence, particularly when it comes to Chef Phillip Ruiz, formerly of the sublimely posh Palme d’Or. Presentation is everything here: from the décor to the sultry lighting to the plated dinners, everything appears thoroughly well considered. The food, which includes surf and turf, burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, and more, leans heavily on “comfort” rather than “gastronomic sophistication,” which is surprising considering Chef Ruiz’s Michelin star-studded pedigree. After moving to Solé, a slice of paradise replete with some truly breathtaking waterfront vistas, who can blame Chef Ruiz for introducing a little comfort into his repertoire? $$$$ (AM)·
Il Mulino New York
17875 Collins Ave.
If too much is not enough for you, this majorly upscale Italian-American place, an offshoot of the famed NYC original, is your restaurant. For starters, diners receive enough freebie food -- fried zucchini coins, salami, bruschetta with varying toppings, a wedge of quality parmigiano, garlic bread -- that ordering off the menu seems superfluous. But mushroom raviolis in truffle cream sauce are irresistible, and perfectly tenderized veal parmesan, the size of a large pizza, makes a great take-out dinner…for the next week. $$$$-$$$$$ (PRB)
16701 Collins Ave.
Offering eclectic American fare, this resort restaurant room, despite its contemporary open kitchen, has the retro-glam look of a renovated discotheque -- which is what it was. In fact, it’s still as much lounge as eatery, so it’s best to arrive early if you want a relatively DJ-free eating experience. A seductive mango-papaya BBQ sauce makes ribs a tasty choice any night, but most local diners in the know come on nights when the restaurant features irresistibly priced seasonal seafood specials (all-you-can-eat stone crabs one night, lobster on another). A spacious dining counter overlooking the cooks makes the Kitchen a comfortable spot for singles. $$$ (PRB)
18110 Collins Ave.
This eatery (which serves breakfast as well as lunch and dinner) is a kosher dairy restaurant, but not the familiar Old World type that used to proliferate all over New York’s Lower Eastside Jewish community. Décor isn’t deli but modern-artsy, and the food is not blintzes, noodle kugel, etc., but a wide range of non-meat items from pizzas to sushi. Our favorite dishes, though, are Middle Eastern-influenced, specifically Yemenite malawach (paratha-type flatbread sandwiches, savory or sweet), and shaksuka (nicknamed “eggs in purgatory”; the spicy eggplant version will explain all). $$-$$$ (PRB)
17875 Collins Ave.
You can’t help feeling optimistic about a tourist town’s food scene when its resort restaurants, which generally walk the middle of the road, get creative. And it doesn’t get much more creative than this stylish restaurant and Italian market, which bills itself as a trip to an Italian-inspired “little market square,” but which, along with artisanal salumi plus pizzas and pastas, serves sushi. Particularly tasty: the native Neapolitan pizza chef’s truffled taleggio and mushroom pies; meltingly tender braised short ribs; an impeccable market-driven meat and cheese platter. $$$ (PRB)
St. Petersburg Deli
17080 Collins Ave.
Don’t expect fancified stuff like menus, or the English language, at this informal market/cafe. If there’s signage identifying the prepared foods behind the counters, it’s in Russian, and daily dishes are pretty much what the cooks feel like making. So look and point. We’d suggest pointing at cold yogurt-based soups like tangy okroshka (with cukes, egg, scallions, potatoes, and dill) or holodnik (similar, with beets added); eggplant roulades, stuffed with spiced shredded carrots, are also a refreshing summer dish. Hot choices include meatballs in rich cream sauce and chicken Kiev. $$ (PRB)
Sumo Sushi Bar & Grill
17630 Collins Ave.
Sushi may well have been served in Sunny Isles before this longtime neighborhood favorite opened, but Sumo was the neighborhood’s first sushi bar to double as a popular lounge/hangout as well as restaurant. Ladies’ nights are legend. While Thai and Chinese dishes are available, as well as purist nigiri, few can resist the truly sumo-wrestler-size maki rolls, the more over-the-top, the better. Our bet for biggest crowd pleaser: the spicy Pink Lady (shrimp tempura, avocado, masago, cilantro, and spicy mayo, topped with rich scallop-studded “dynamite” sauce. $$-$$$ (PRB)·
17624 Collins Ave.
Since opening in 2003, the inventive yet clean and unfussy Italian/Mediterranean-inspired seasonal food at this hot spot, created by chef/owner Tim Andriola (at the time best known for his stints at Chef Allen’s and Mark’s South Beach), has been garnering local and national raves. Don’t bother reading them. Andriola’s dishes speak for themselves: a salad of crisp oysters atop frisée, cannelloni bean, and pancetta; foie gras crostini with a subtle caramelized orange sauce; a blue crab raviolo with toasted pignolias and brown butter; or a wood-oven three-cheese "white" pizza. $$$-$$$$ (PRB)
Werner Staub’s Peppermill
350 Bayview Dr.
It’ll likely be years until diners stop instinctively heading for the tropic-alpine chalet that formerly housed the Peppermill at the Waterways in Aventura. But this new indoor/outdoor space’s bay views are much more spectacular. And the food is the same unique old-school stuff. Seafood is featured, and while there are contemporary preparations, you can’t resist hard-to-find retro dishes like imported Dover sole almondine, Swiss-style poached trout with champagne-shallot sauce, an elaborate steak tartar, and for dessert, peach Melba or strawberries Romanoff. $$$ (PRB)