After hundreds of meals and many stains down the front of white shirts we inexplicably decided to wear to dinner, we’ve got it: our list of Miami’s Best New Dishes Of 2021. These are the plates of food that came into our lives for the very first time over the past year. They range from meatloaf to caviar and have almost nothing in common other than the fact that we think about them as often as that one time we accidentally called our 7th grade teacher “mom”. If you haven’t been lucky enough to meet them all yet, make it your goal to change that in 2022.
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We now measure time two ways: before we ate Luca Osteria’s Patate Fritte (B.P.F) and after we ate Luca Osteria’s Patate Fritte (A.P.F.). We live in A.P.F. now, which means that we have experienced the joy that is this bowl of fried potato balls covered in a layer of parmigiano fonduta, black truffle, and a single egg yolk. Our life has changed, and undoubtedly for the better. How do the potatoes stay so crispy, even after being mixed with all that luxurious yolk, truffle, and creamy goodness? These are the questions you’ll grapple with in the A.P.F. too. Don’t fear this new reality, friend. Join us. We’ll be waiting with napkins.
Korean Style Handroll
The Korean handroll is something we plan on ordering every single time we visit this Coral Gables restaurant. The bowl consists of layers of steak tartare, short grain rice, Japanese egg salad, and scattered piles of tobiko. It comes with strips of nori, so you can make your own handrolls. And when you inevitably make a mess (because making a handroll is harder than it looks) the result will still be delicious. Even if you just have to throw in the towel and start eating it with a spoon.
If we spent the day climbing a rather challenging mountain, Rosie’s pastrami hash is what we’d want for breakfast the next morning. It’s a big pile of smoked pastrami, cubed potatoes, sweet potato sformato, roasted scallion vinaigrette, and a heavy snowfall of parmesan shaved over the whole thing. It is, like every brunch dish at Rosie’s, phenomenal. But what’s really special about this dish is that, despite being full of enough rich things to satisfy a hungry mountaineer, it’s balanced and surprisingly light thanks to the sweet potato sformato.
The Cuban diner is never afraid to riff on classic recipes, as evidenced by their medianoche pierogies and unbelievably good PB&J pastelitos. But maybe the most surprising thing about Chug’s meatloaf is that they play it pretty straight: it’s served rather simply with glazed peas and carrots, mashed potatoes, and a few supersized bacon bits that cover the meatloaf like a little beret. But the star of the plate is the meatloaf. It’s incredibly tender and served atop a pool of tamarind ketchup. Like everything about Chug’s, it’s somehow nostalgic and exciting all at once.
Fried Chicken Sandwich
The entire country is oversaturated with fried chicken sandwiches. They were a delivery and takeout hit during the early days of the pandemic, and, look, we’re not complaining. Fried chicken sandwiches are very good. But the version at Off Site, a new nano-brewery in Little River, is much better than “very good”. It’s magnificent, with a gorgeous slab of fried chicken that is almost (but not quite) too big for its toasted, buttery bun. There’s nothing fancy or gimmicky going on here—just perfection at every level, from the pickle ratio to the crisp shredded lettuce that adds a refreshing crispness. It’s a fried chicken sandwich that’ll make you fall in love with fried chicken sandwiches even if you’ve eaten approximately 75 over the last 12 months.
We know “pizza” is a bit vague, but the pizza options at Paradis change so often that we can’t recommend anything specific. But also, every single pizza we’ve tried here is amazing, so we don’t need to recommend anything specific. The latest slice we’ve fallen in love with is the “pppppp4u”—a heavy square slice topped with pesto, thinly-sliced potatoes, pickled peppers, and a blizzard of shaved ricotta salata. The dough they use is unlike any other we’ve tried in Miami—it creates a light brown crust that tastes like a sourdough that got into a fight with a whole wheat loaf.
Nearly every dish at Coconut Grove’s Los Felix utilizes the house specialty: fresh masa. And that masa is deployed perfectly in the tetela, one of the best dishes here. The little triangular is stuffed with seasonally rotating ingredients like sweet potatoes, black beans, and mushrooms. The tetela’s exterior has just the slightest crisp, but remains tender and soft inside. We’ve had it twice now—each time with different fillings—and on both occasions, we nearly ordered another before we’d even finished.
Chicken And Eggs
Mimi’s can kind of make you feel like a six-year-old billionaire—especially if you get the chicken and eggs. The platter comes with a few chicken tenders, crème fraîche, chives, diced onions, and a tin of Ossetra caviar. You are meant to plop piles of caviar onto the fried chicken with your preferred ratio of accompaniments. It’s an absolutely ridiculous—but undeniably tasty—dish. This is mostly thanks to Mimi’s crunchy fried chicken, but the caviar does add a nice brininess to each bite. And if you follow this up with Mimi’s classic ice cream sundae, you will indeed feel like a child burning through their trust fund.