Editors Note: I started MIAbites about 4 years ago, as a celebration of the creative chefs, bartenders, farmers and the emerging food scene here in Miami. With a passionate team of local contributors, we offer original content and beautiful images. So much has changed and grown since that time, and the below article from Frodnesors Food For Thought blog caught my eye as it is not just a predictable end of year listicle but a celebration of how far we have grown in a short ten years. Thank you, David Rosendorf for the time and thoughtful way you took to highlight these amazing restaurants in Miami and for allowing MIAbites to share for our readers. Happy New Year!
Miami's restaurants that defined the Decade
It's nearly the end of the year the end of a decade on top of that which means it's a time for taking stock, for somber reflection ... and for posting lists. Yes, everyone hates lists, but here's the thing: everyone actually loves lists. A good list, anyway. Not the clickbait-y ones posted by uninformed bozos of places they haven't even visited and only read about on Yelp. But one that gathers a year, or a decade, of actual personal experience and tries to put it all in some kind of context? That could be a good list. And personally, anyway, I find these end of year rituals give me an opportunity to think about and say some things that I never found the time for over the past year.
This one, in particular, was inspired by a twitter post from Paolo Lucchesi, currently editorial director at Resy and before that the Food and Wine Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, which in turn was inspired by one from Jeff Gordiner (Food and Drinks Editor at Esquire):
So: what about Miami? (hat tip to Charlie Crespo, who asked that exact question).
When I started considering the answer to that question, one of the first things I realized was what an incredibly fruitful time the years immediately before 2010 were for the Miami restaurant world. Michelle Bernstein won a Beard Award in 2008 for her work at Michy's, which had opened two years earlier in the Upper East Side / MiMo District back when it was still a hotbed for motels-by-the-hour and those who patronize them. She also opened Sra. Martinez in 2008, providing a showcase for cocktail maestro Julio Cabrera as well as a bunch of dishes I still miss (R.I.P. uni panini, crispy artichokes, eggplant and honey, white bean and butifarra stew). Michael Schwartz opened Michael's Genuine in 2007 in the then very sleepy Design District, and picked up his own Beard Award two years after Michelle. Kris Wessel opened the wonderful, quirky Red Light back in 2008, where my family spent countless evenings at the counter (R.I.P. barbecue shrimp, oyster pie, roast quail). Kevin Cory opened the original Sunny Isles location of NAOE in 2009 and blew my mind open with a bento box that was like a kaiseki dinner in miniature for $26, followed by the best sushi Miami had ever seen. Richard Hales opened Sakaya Kitchen in 2009, an early harbinger of the recent trend of chefs with high-end backgrounds doing the fast-casual thing. Add Bourbon Steak (2008), Scarpetta (2008) and Hakkasan (2009) to that list, among others I'm surely forgetting, and the end of the last decade was a pretty good era for Miami dining.
The next thing I realized was that I was going to need a bigger list. While I instinctively had some thoughts as to which restaurants "defined the decade" of dining in Miami, I needed to reconstruct the timeline to figure out which of those opened 2010 or after, and also see if there were others that I'd overlooked. After consulting the archives, there was a long list of more than forty potential candidates, from which I chose the dozen that to my mind best fit the bill. That selection process is pretty arbitrary but includes consideration of how much that restaurant reflected or predicted local and national dining trends, as well as popularity and staying power.
So, in chronological order below is my list of the twelve restaurants that opened since 2010 that defined Miami dining over the past decade, with brief explanations. I've also included other notable openings year by year, for the sake of posterity and context, with some occasional additional notes as well.[2
To read the complete list beginning with 2010, go to Food for Thought article on link here: It is worth the read!