Foodable Labs Ranks South Florida's Top 10 Restaurants for 2017

Foodable Labs Ranks South Florida's Top 10 Restaurants for 2017

South Florida has an evolving, ever-growing culinary scene, which makes it THAT much exciting to keep up with. This Top 10 list features some of Miami’s Top 25 veterans, but here we are taking a closer look to learn more about the top five restaurants. Read below to learn overall scores for all ten restaurants!

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Stadiums Are Amping-Up their #FoodGame

Stadiums Are Amping-Up their #FoodGame

In some ways, once football season begins, the stadium becomes the second home of a dedicated football fan. Traditionally, it’s a place where family and friends gather together to cheer on their favorite team to victory, but some would argue that good food and beverage make up a big component of a positive game-day experience as it is watching the home team win.

As consumers become increasingly immersed into food culture they are demanding better quality food and diverse choices throughout the restaurant industry— football concession stands are no different and feel the same pressures from fans.

At the Hard Rock Stadium, choices beyond hot dogs, burgers, and fries are available in multiple floor levels with local restaurants and recognized chefs flocking over to Miami Gardens to showcase their selections.

However, because Miami is so diverse, it only makes sense that transplant concepts, like Fuku— a fast-casual concept featuring spicy fried chicken from New York’s popular Momofuku Group — would also be featured at the stadium.


Fuku at Hard Rock Stadium is celebrity chef David Chang’s first venture into South Florida, but it’s the third time he opens one of his fast casual concepts inside an establishment that features sporting events (Fuku can also be found inside Citi Field stadium and Madison Square Gardens arena in New York).

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Miami Spice is Back and Here Are the Restaurants on the Foodable Top 25 List That Are Participating

It’s summertime and the livin' is easy in South Florida, except for the fact that it’s blazingly hot and humid. Fortunately, August isn’t only one of the hottest months of the year in terms of the weather. It also happens to be one of the hottest months for the restaurant scene.

Why is that? It’s because Miami Spice begins August 1st!

This is a two month-long restaurant promotion, where the best restaurants in the city offer three-course meals at significantly reduced prices. Lunch or brunch is about $23 and dinner is $39.

It’s definitely a great time to try those pricier restaurants that you have never been to and have been dying to try.

Not to mention, restaurants in downtown Miami’s city aren’t the only ones participating. Many restaurants in different Dade county cities, including north Miami, Aventura, Doral, Coral Gables, and much more are serving Miami Spice menus.

Not sure which restaurants to visit? Well, we are here to help! 

Foodable’s Miami Top 25 Restaurants ranking, pulled from Foodable Labs social data, highlights the local gems that local foodies can’t get enough of. Through Social Restaurant Visits, we are able to track which restaurants are getting the most social traction and foot traffic. 

For example, Yardbird saw the highest daily average of SRVs at 25.6 and had 793.6 SRVs total for the month of July. We will be measuring how the SRVs fluctuate during the Miami Spice months. 

Several others Miami Top 25 restaurants that continue to land on our list are participating in Miami Spice! Check out the map below to see the many restaurants that have made it on our coveted Top 25 ranking.

We also decided to revisit the restaurants that we have delicious footage from and to take a look at some of the best restaurants heating things up and getting (Miami) spicy during August and September.

La Mar by Gaston Acurio 

This waterfront restaurant known for its Peruvian fare with Andean and Asian flavors landed at No. 1 on our last Miami Top 25 Restaurant ranking. Located at the chic Mandarin Oriental in Brickell, the restaurant will be serving a Miami Spice lunch menu from Monday to Saturday and a Miami Spice dinner menu from Monday to Thursday.

Some of the lunch menu items include the Tiradito Bachiche, an appetizer featuring scallops in 22-month aged parmesan cheese with leche de tigre, basil oil, garlic chips and fake fish skin and the Cachetes de Ternera, an entrée with veal cheeks, aji panca, chicha morada sauce, lima beans, mushrooms, and roasted cippolini onions. The dessert is the Paleta de Lucuma, which is ice cream made with “Peruvian’s favorite fruit.”

As for the dinner menu, it has the same items as the lunch items mentioned, but diners also have two options not on the lunch time menu.

There’s the Paiche Charapa an appetizer with amazon anticuchera, banana tacacho (traditional banana garnish from the Peruvian amazon), smoked bacon, sachaculantro chutney and the Picante de Mariscos entrée, which is a sea food stew with creamy spicy aji amarillo, golden potatoes, botija olives, and quail egg. The dinner Miami Spice menu also has a different dessert option, the La Pina, which is coconut ice cream with dulce de leche foam, ginger jelly and orange sauce.

27 Restaurant & Bar

If you are looking to indulge in some elevated American fare, the No. 2 Top 25 Miami eatery, 27 Restaurant & Bar is also participating in the Miami Spice program.

Located at the hip Freehand, this eatery is only serving a Miami Spice dinner menu that is available from Monday to Thursday and also on Sunday.

The current posted Miami Spice menu gives you a choice of one of the three appetizer options, one of the three entrée options, and one of the three dessert options.

To give you a taste of the menu, you can pick the Lamb Ribs appetizer, which is a Denver Co Lamb, with pomegranate molasses, and pickled cauliflower. For an entrée, you can get the Daily Catch of the day with coconut-curry broth, ancient grains, and avocado. Then to finish the meal off, there is a delicious warm brownie as a dessert option.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Arguably one of the best Miami restaurants in town, this Top 25 Miami Restaurant list veteran, is another American eatery serving a Miami Spice Menu through September 30.

Chef, owner and James Beard Award winner Michael Schwartz has created a menu made up of locally sourced comfort food and unforgettable desserts. The menu also changes daily and the restaurant hasn’t announced its Miami Spice menu, probably because it will likely change several times.

So if you are looking to be surprised and to get some drool-worthy food porn pics, Michael’s Genuine is the place. Also, there is an impressive Happy Hour menu available from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Bar with bar snacks, oysters, cocktails and wine.

The Forge

Another Top 25 Miami Restaurant veteran, The Forge is a swanky restaurant serving upscale New American farm-to-table fare. Its executive chef Julia Doyne has created a 65-item menu and some of the items have made its way on the Miami Spice menu.

The Forge has only a Miami Spice dinner menu, but it’s available every day of the week. Some of the options include the Wild Mushroom Ravioli, an appetizer with goat cheese and green asparagus. Diners can also pick from entrees like the Canadian Salmon with lemon potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, topped with a smoked paprika vinaigrette, or the Petite Filet Mignon with bbq rub, collard greens, smashed red bliss potatoes, and smoky jus, or the King Crab Risotto with summer corn and black garlic.

For chocolate lovers, there’s a Grasshopper Chocolate Lava Cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream and cocoa nib soil.

Check out some of the other restaurants participating in Miami Spice below!

Want more? Since we have the inside scoop in the Miami food scene, we will be releasing more data following the Miami Spice program. Stay tuned for details about which Miami Spice restaurants got the most social traction during August and September. 

Izzy's Fish and Oyster Dives into Fort Myers

Izzy’s Fish and Oyster, a Miami Beach staple, is packing up its clams and digging into the west coast.  

Named after Chef and Partner Jamie DeRosa’s daughter, Izzy’s is a little piece of New England right here in the sunshine state. The menu features New England Clam Chowder, Lobster Rolls and handmade Whoopie pies– all of which transport you to the Cape and remind you of when times were more simple. The opening of Izzy’s second location was celebrated with fanfare, but as DeRosa says opening isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

Using his experience from his past restaurant openings, DeRosa has been able to successfully navigate the waters of opening a new location. “Having the concept similar here to Miami is important, but we also have embraced the local market here with the farms and the seafood and the local Gulf shrimp that we’re bringing in and the local Gulf crab meat,” said Chef DeRosa. Knowing the difference between the Miami market and Ft. Meyers market played a big role in how they opened. For example in Miami, restaurants often keep things under wraps until the great unveiling but in Fort Myers the Izzy’s team invited neighbors and friends into see and be a part of the process.

interior of the new Izzy's Fish and Oyster
opening day food prep
opening day smiles

On opening day, it was clear to anyone watching the team work how much love went into settling into the new Ft. Meyer’s restaurant.

DeRosa's advice for anyone trying to open their own space? “Make sure you have the right space, the right location, the right team and you know, financially you’ve got to be very well prepared for delays, for construction, for permitting, and for carrying costs. But most importantly you just have to make sure you love what you do.”

Learn more about both Izzy’s Miami and Izzy’s Fort Myers and all the delicious bites they’re serving up!

Is Home-Cooked Food Better For Dogs? Dishes For Dogs Thinks So!

Did you know there is a kitchen tucked inside Miami's Wynwood neighborhood that is solely dedicated to making food for your furry friends? It’s called Dishes For Dogs, or DFD, for short. But don’t get it twisted! This is not a dog restaurant.

“We’re a kitchen that, you know, cooks and manufactures...dog food using USDA certified human-grade ingredients,” says Mason Fox, co-owner of DFD. “We are just making food so that people can come in and buy it and increase the quality of their dog’s food.”

The idea for DFD was inspired by a toy-sized, playful Pomeranian named Ripley, who had a few health issues. After some research by Michael O’Rourke, founder of Dishes For Dogs and Ripley’s owner, he knew that home-cooked meals would be the best option for his canine friend. O'Rourke turned out to be right and Ripley is currently healthy and happy as DFD's mascot.

Consequently, after identifying this specific need in the dog food market for home-cooked meals, he decided to build a business around this concept and partnered up with Dr. Shmalberg, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to perfect the recipes.

“Regarding the creation of the menu, ...the nutrition guided everything,” Fox adds. “We gave Dr. Shmalberg full freedom to create just the most appropriate and balanced meal that he could make, using different proteins.”

Dishes For Dogs currently offers six balanced meal varieties made with only USDA certified ingredients, avoiding all preservatives and fillers. The recipes include different vegetables mixed with one of the following proteins: beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, salmon, and wild venison. The recipes are formulated to provide specific benefits, such as: supporting a healthy immune system, digestion, and maintaining current health, which includes brain function, skin/coat health. There are gluten-free and grain-free options available, as well. Finally, they also provide two meals formulated for dogs with skin problems made with braised buffalo and coconut cod.

The food is sold in individual frozen packages that can be thawed at home and portioned according to your dog’s size.

DFD is also the first dog food company in the country to partner up with UberEATS to provide fresh home-cooked, ready-to-eat meals for dogs. And if a customer wants to stock up on meals for the week or month, they can order the frozen packages and have them delivered through the app.

"We're hoping to convince people that we are capable of helping, because we really do believe that," Fox affirms.

Miamians Line Up for Artisanal Desserts at The Salty Donut in Wynwood

The Salty Donut began as a mission to bring handcrafted, artisanal doughnuts to Miami. Owners Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizarro traveled across the country for these desserts and wondered why Miami didn’t have them.

“We realized that Miami is usually at the tail end of a lot of gastronomic trends and we just really wanted to do something that was for our city. Bring a little bit of culture that we didn’t have from other places around the country to our city...because I feel like Wynwood is part of the town, part of Miami that’s most accepting to kind of different things,” Rodriguez said.

Prior to having their storefront, “Salty,” as it is affectionately known, was trying to keep up with their customers' insatiable demands from a pop-up truck. Even now that they have been able to move into their storefront, The Salty Donut regularly has lines stretching down the street and often sells out of doughnuts before the business day is done — not surprising, due to its widely varied consumer base.

“I think we’ve got kids [who] are super trendy and kinda fashion-forward. I think we’ve got, you know, grandmas and grandpas that are 80 years old that come in and get our doughnuts,” Rodriguez added.

With quirky items like the pancetta, cheddar, and cornbread cake doughnuts and classics like the traditional glazed buttermilk, Salty offers a treat for every flavor profile. The menu is thanks in part to veteran pastry chef and The Salty Donut Executive Pastry Chef Max Santiago. With his 20 years of experience, Chef Santiago can change his menu regularly.

“Whenever anyone asks me, ‘You do just doughnuts?’ I don’t do just doughnuts, I do desserts,” he said.

And those desserts are just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the stomach. As customers walk in to satisfy their doughnut craving, many can’t help but stop to snap a shot for Instagram or Facebook.

Watch this episode of REACH Miami to see what all the fuss is about at The Salty Donut.

Coyo Taco Doesn't Cut Corners When It Comes to High-Quality, Modern Mexican Food

Coyo Taco resides inside Miami’s revitalized neighborhood of Wynwood, a district that was transformed through graffiti art by visionaries Tony Goldman and Jeffrey Deitch.

Coyo, as locals call it, is one of the most popular fast-casual modern-Mexican cuisine concepts in the area. It features outdoor seating with four royal blue, communal-style picnic tables that sit eight people comfortably, along with large umbrellas for a sun-and-rainproof experience. The simple industrial style that reigns the interior of Coyo allows its open kitchen to take center stage, where guests can watch the hard-working staff prepare their food from the comfort of their high-top table or booth seating.

Executive Chef Scott Linquist, a Los Angeles native who spent most of his professional career cooking Mexican food, has based the Coyo Taco menu on authentic Mexican flavors and cooking techniques, but has modernized it to fit everyone — from the casual foodie to the health-conscious or vegetarian guest. 

Their corn grain tortillas are hand-pressed and cooked on-site every hour throughout the day. It’s no surprise Coyo’s philosophy, which is "todo fresco," means “everything fresh.” They incorporate this philosophy to everything they do inside the restaurant/bar and out in their commissary kitchen by using fresh and local ingredients.

“We are not cutting corners in the processes… our duck carnitas [Carnitas De Pato], is a process of doing a confit with a duck leg for hours at a really low temperature. Whenever we do our Cochinita Pibil, Yucatan-style pork, it’s for 12-hours, we cook it overnight wrapped in banana leaves. We do barbacoa with short rib with a similar process. So, we’re not cutting any corners,” Linquist said, who just opened his own restaurant in partnership with entrepreneur Aaron McKown, called Olla.

Coyo is also home to a “secret” bar past a light blue door located at the far end of the restaurant. It serves specialty, crafted drinks with fresh ingredients — specializing in margaritas— and is open every day of the week except on Sundays.

Linquest assures that the margs and the tacos are not the only items that make an impression on Coyo’s guests, but also the sound quality to their not-so-secret back room.

“In this small 12,000 square-foot space, we have some really powerhouse equipment to really put out great sound, so that attracts a lot of DJs that can come back and play in the bar for an intimate audience,” Linquist added.

To learn more about Coyo Taco, check out our first REACH Miami video episode above!

Christmas Menu Ideas From a Few of Our Favorite Chefs

In this “On Foodable Side Dish,” we visit three popular Miami restaurants to learn about what chefs are cooking up this holiday season down in sunny South Florida.

Pastel De Choclo at La Mar by Gastón Acurio

Executive Chef Diego Oka brings us the Pastel De Choclo, or corn and beef pie, from Peru, his native country. This dish is one of Oka’s personal holiday favorites. What makes this dish so special is its main ingredient — Choclo, or Peruvian corn. Grown in the Andean Mountains, this type of corn comes with extra large kernels, a creamy chewy texture, and a starchy flavor that sets them apart from the North American sweet corn kernels that we are used to eating in the United States.

To prepare this dish, yellow chili peppers paste, white onion, olive oil, salt, butter, white sugar, choclo, yellow corn, whole milk, eggs, and beef stew ingredients are needed.

Oka suggests to begin preparing the filling of the pie first and to really concentrate on making the dressing the best it can be since it will impact the overall taste of the dish.

First, blend the choclo and the yellow corns together with milk and reserve. Then cook the chopped onions with olive oil and salt for 30 minutes. Later, add aji amarillo (yellow chili peppers), sugar, and butter to the cooked onions until mixture is homogeneous. Afterward, put the corn pure on a bowl and add the cooked mix. Finally, add eight eggs one at a time and mix well.

For the beef stew, sauté the tenderloin and add chopped red onions to the same pot. Let it cook slowly. Then add panca paste (Peruvian red pepper paste) to the pot and cook. To complete the stew, add salt to taste, raisins, peanuts, olives, and finish with cilantro.

To create the pie, place the beef stew on the bottom of cooking tray or bowls to later top it off with the choclo mixture. Put the cooking container in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. After it’s taken out of the oven, the corn and beef pie needs to be chilled so the flavors can be better extracted. To serve, heat the dish again and serve with a Peruvian-inspired salad.

“In the kitchen, nothing is risky. You have to do what you like and put your heart in the preparation and the flavors...,” says Oka.

“On The Rocks” (Rhode Island Scallops Crudo) at Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Germany native and Executive Chef William Crandall tends to go for the lighter dishes when the holidays roll around. His advice when it comes to planning a Christmas menu like the one at Izzy’s Fish & Oyster, The Feast of Seven Fishes, is “No. 1, make it fun for yourself to do, and, no. 2, make sure there is a nice variety...”

Crandall’s “On The Rocks” is a refreshing dish that uses Rhode Island scallops, Florida vegetables, and citrus topped off with international spices.

To begin, scallops must be thinly sliced. Texture is added to the plate by rolling the scallops over and stacking them next to each other to add height to the dish. Then add sauce to the dish — in this case, Crandall uses a sauce made in-house at Izzy’s called Florida Orange Ponzu sauce. Its ingredients are yuzu, shiro shoyu or white soy sauce, and kosho, or Japanese pepper corn.

For flavor and color, evenly distribute thinly sliced radish in between the scallops and add edible Florida plants. To add more texture to the dish, include dollops of whipped Florida avocado blended with oils, salt and lime juice. The final touch includes a dash of togarashi seasoning, a Japanese finishing spice made with chilis, sesame seeds, and nori, or edible seaweed.

To keep the fish dish fresh and cool, this plate is served over crushed ice, hence its name.

Noche Buena Cuban Lasagna at Finka Table & Tap

You cannot experience everything Miami’s cuisine has to offer for the holidays, or year-round for that matter, without checking out Finka Table and Tap’s menus, which feature a Cuban-Asian fusion cuisine.

For Noche Buena or Christmas Eve, Finka Chef and Owner Eileen Andrade acquired her inspiration from her Latin roots and demonstrated a dish that compiles the best flavors of a Cuban Christmas dinner.

For this dish, fried sweet plantains, Cuban-style pulled pork, yuca or cassava, mojo sauce, Swiss cheese, garlic and onion mojo, and parsley are needed.

To begin, set the first layer of the lasagna, which is the chopped fried sweet plantains over a buttered pan. Next, lay the pulled pork, which has been marinated for 24 hours, complete with seasoning, bay leaves, cumin, and lots of garlic. Then lay on the yuca mash, which will give your dish the Latin touch. The final step before putting the pan in the oven in 350 degrees for 20 minutes is to place the Swiss cheese evenly on top of the yuca layer.

To serve, top it off with onions bathed in mojo sauce and chopped fresh parsley to give the Noche Buena Cuban Lasagna some color.

This lasagna is a dish that Andrade likes to make at home with her close ones.
“I think it’s always fun to incorporate your family when making a dish…,” she says.