And, like Miami, the restaurants on this list are an eclectic bunch ranging from a weekly outdoor gathering of independently run stands serving some of the city's more interesting offerings to an Israeli restaurant that serves up bright meals laced with spices and citrus (and a side order of belly dancing).
From high-end restaurants to family-run places, here are the ten best restaurants to open in Miami in 2022 (so far).
Chèvre1295 Coral Way, Miami
Miami has an abundance of restaurants, breweries, and specialty coffee and chocolate shops but has been seriously lacking in the specialty cheese shop area for a long time — until now. Chèvre's owners tapped the expertise of cheese connoisseur Carlos Yescas to help find delicious cheeses for everyday snacking and rare finds for special occasions. Overwhelmed like a mouse in a maze? The in-house cheesemonger and sommelier (Chèvre also offers a good selection of wines) can assist.
Jaffa701 N. Federal Hwy., Ste. 101, Hallandale Beach
Miami's "spice detective" Yaniv Cohen has long been Miami's purveyor of flavor, first with spices, then with Israeli dishes at his Jaffa food stand at the Design District's MIA Market. Cohen's Hallandale restaurant of the same name hits all the senses. The restaurant is decorated in so many colors that it would rival the biblical Joseph's coat. Still, it's no match for the brightness of the food. A deconstructed baba ganoush ($16), served as a whole roasted eggplant filled with tahini, chickpeas, and pomegranate seeds, is a must. Served with piping hot pita, it's a social dish best served with friends. Mains include whole fish, kebobs, and fragrant tagines. Bellydancers on the weekend and a Sunday brunch buffet add to the fun.
The Katherine723 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Timon Balloo has a knack for making food that tells the story of his life. At his eponymous Miami restaurant, Balloo, the chef, shared dishes from his Chinese-Indian-Trinidadian roots. At the Katherine, Balloo tells his love story with his wife Marissa (Katherine is her middle name). The small restaurant is incredibly personal, with Marissa at the front of house and Timon behind the burner most evenings. The menu is filled with influences from their lives and travels from the excellent clam chowder fries to jerk chicken wings to a rich duck orecchiette. Though the dishes may seem a bit eclectic, they all come together when you realize they all have one ingredient in common: love.
Lion & the Rambler804 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables
Chef-owner Michael Bolen's Lion & the Rambler started as an upscale tasting menu restaurant. Then, the Californian did the unspeakable: He listened to his customer base, who wanted more of a neighborhood restaurant in the lines of Eating House, which had occupied the space for years. So Bolen went back to the kitchen and reworked the format of the restaurant, still offering creative items, but serving them as à la carte offerings such as spiced lamb ribs, golden tilefish with white asparagus, and foie gras torchon with oats and pickled peach. The meals are served in a beautiful room with a modern aesthetic. Now, Lion & the Rambler is truly a great Coral Gables restaurant whether you're visiting or live next door.
Rosie's7127 NW Second Ave., Miami
When the husband and wife team of Akino and Jamila West opened their little pop-up amid a pandemic, they were floored by the accolades their little soul food restaurant received. The couple has finally moved into a permanent spot in Little River. Rosie's Backyard offers seating under a banyan tree while the couple renovates the property that will eventually become their indoor dining room. For now, enjoy an extended weekend brunch menu of favorites like deviled eggs, a smoked salmon benedict, and a cacio e Pepe omelet.
Sadelle's3321 Mary St., Miami
Major Food Group's New York City brunch palace is worth all the hype. Sit outside in the extra large patio that — even in a Miami summer — manages to feel cool and breezy and enjoy the pleasant Coconut Grove day as you sip on a bloody mary made with horseradish-infused vodka or an Aperol spritz while listening to a mellow soundtrack of '70s soft disco anthems. The menu is just as nostalgic as the music: a medley of tuna melts, triple-decker sandwiches, pigs-in-a-blanket, and bagels that are as comfortable as your childhood Care Bears sweatshirt. If you're in a group, the bagel tower is a must-try — a seafood tower packed with bagels, smoked fish, cream cheese, and vegetables ($125) is a showstopper and cost-efficient when shared by six or more people.
Sexy Fish1001 S. Miami Ave, Miami
This London import is a psychedelic mermaid fantasy come to life. Everything about Sexy Fish screams excess — from the velvet rope outside (for a restaurant) to the seafoam-metallic uniforms of the servers to the giant seafood towers, caviar service, and dessert board served inside a giant seashell. Thankfully, chef Björn Weissgerber is at the helm to ensure the food is on par — turning what could be a circus sideshow into a legit experience. The presentations may be showy, but the food itself is pristine, making this the restaurant you should suggest when your trust-fund-baby bestie asks, "Where do you want to go on your birthday?" Don't you dare miss a trip to the bathroom, where you'll find a lifelike mermaid in the women's room and 007 taking a whiz in the men's room.
Smith & Webster486 NE 167th St., Miami
This collaboration between Hungry Black Man Starex Smith and former NFL defensive back Kayvon Webster is what happens when people obsessed with food open a restaurant. The American Southern-inspired menu includes a touch of everything you could want — St. Louis ribs, oxtail lasagna, smothered jerk chicken, and fried lobster. The food is decadent and abundant. The cocktails also rely on Southern and Caribbean influences with specialties like a rum punch, a Pimm's Cup, and a Southern Blueberry comfort.
Smorgasburg2600 NW Second Ave., Miami
Sure, Smorgasburg is only open on Saturdays, and yes, it is another New York transplant, but it's still one of the best places to try all manner of food in one place in Miami. The vendors at Smorgasburg are making some of the most creative fare in the city — we're talking everything from giant lobster rolls to freshly shucked oysters to chicken heart skewers. That's not to say Smorgasburg doesn't have food for the less adventurous — here you'll find cinnamon rolls, vegan treats, barbecue, and freshly made dumplings as well. Smorgasburg also has a bar offering local beers and wine, so plan to spend your Saturday grazing this outdoor food market.
Vinya Table266 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
The people behind Key Biscayne wine shop Vinya opened a full-service restaurant in Coral Gables. Vinya Table serves many interesting dishes (including charcuterie boards), but the reason to go is its wine selection — and expertise. Since Vinya Table is also a wine shop, you'll be able to choose a wine from a selection of hundreds, including dozens of good, drinkable wines under twenty bucks. Instead of the usual 50 to 75 percent markup at other restaurants, you'll pay a small corkage fee to enjoy your wine with your dinner. Need advice on all the choices? Friendly somms will match you with the perfect wine. And when you fall in love with the bottle of your dreams, you can take a few home with you to keep the magic going.