These Are Andrew Zimmern's Top Picks For Dining Out In Miami - Exclusive

Andrew Zimmern wearing sunglasses
Andrew Zimmern wearing sunglasses - Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Finding the best local restaurants while traveling is an art form. There's only so much time to explore the culinary scene in a foreign destination, and no one wants to waste their time eating at subpar spots. Online reviews will guide you in the right direction, but mixed reports may leave you torn. And friends and family, however well-intentioned, can let you down with some seriously dated selections. From sad crab shacks to pricey tourist traps, nearly every traveler has endured dismal dining experiences while on vacation.

But if you're searching for restaurants in Miami, Florida, there's one culinary authority whose word you can trust: Andrew Zimmern. The celebrity chef has dined in and around Miami for decades, and he's a fixture of the popular South Beach Wine and Food Festival. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Zimmern shared his expert tips for finding the best restaurants in South Beach. "It's just an incredible, spirited community. I think the food there reflects that, whether it's Brad Kilgore's food, or Michael Schwartz's food, or grabbing some cushaw at the Palacio de Los Jugos, or stone crab at Joe's," he tells Tasting Table. Whether you're looking for a casual lunch plate or a sophisticated sit-down meal, Zimmern has you covered with endless suggestions to whet your appetite.

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Joe's Stone Crab claws
Joe's Stone Crab claws - Joe's Stone Crab/Facebook

If there's one restaurant to visit on Zimmern's list first, it's Joe's Stone Crab. "I'll never go to Miami and not stop at Joe's," he tells Tasting Table. The iconic Miami, Florida eatery has been serving up seafood since 1913 and Zimmern's a long-time fan. "My family's been going there for four generations. I'm 62, and my first trip to Joe's Stone Crab was when I was in single digits with my dad," he says. That said, its delicious dinners draw huge crowds. At the time of writing, Joe's offered limited reservations via Resy, though you'll have to score them 21 days in advance. It's also worth timing your visit if you're keen on stone crab -- the tasty crustaceans are only in season from October 15 through May 1. "Joe's has the best stone crab in the world. They have their own boats. The stuff literally is under their control from the time that the traps are set, which I think is why the quality is so good," Zimmern explains.

Aside from stone crab claws, the chef is partial to another classic entrée at Joe's. "They've always served fried chicken — it was just off the menu. And that was before it was cool to have things that were off the menu," he tells Tasting Table. From there, he digs the restaurant's garlicky creamed spinach and chopped Italian salad, replete with honey-roasted peanuts, feta cheese, and beets.

Andrew Zimmern's Other MIami Favorites

Lechón with sweet potato and lime
Lechón with sweet potato and lime - Michael's Genuine/Instagram

"There are some really great restaurants that have popped up in Miami in the last five years that have really set a tone for the food in that town," Zimmern tells Tasting Table. Motek Downtown in Miami, a Mediterranean hideaway, he says, "has such great food — I love grabbing lunch there." For sophisticated sushi and Japanese, he recommends Makoto inside the Bal Harbour shops. Other globally-inspired favorites include Cote, a Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse, or Macchialina, for fans of Italian.

Another must-visit American eatery in Miami is Michael's Genuine. "Have you been to Miami if you haven't been to Michael's Genuine on the regular? I don't think so," Zimmern says. For a taste of mid-century Floridian flair and fare, the chef recommends Thomas Kepler's Surf Club. And "Top Chef" fans won't want to miss Jeremy Ford's Stubborn Seed, another Zimmern-approved establishment.

If you're in the mood for a Cuban sandwich in South Beach, look no further than Sanguich. "There wound up being all these places that were famous for them that, quite honestly, had a mediocre Cuban sandwich," he says. "And Sanguich has several variations on it that are absolutely stunning." To order like Zimmern, try the Pan con Bistec, sous-vide steak pressed with crispy potato sticks. And per his suggestion, it's crucial to grab a batido, or tropical fruit milkshake, on the side.

Catch Andrew Zimmern at the 2024 Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival from February 22-25. There, you can enjoy live cooking demonstrations, exclusive dinners, and dozens of tempting tastings.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.