The best restaurants in Downtown

Covering delicious pastas, a Japanese Omakase, and the best wine bar in Miami

Aug
02
2022

Keep this guide handy when you’re in the area and are looking for the best restaurants in Downtown.

If you know Miami, you know that our Downtown is unlike any other major city. We wouldn’t say it’s hustling and bustling, overcrowded, or overwhelming and we mean that in a good way. Tourists are a rare sighting, and it’s truly a Downtown for locals. We wish it could stay like this forever but chances are, it won’t.

Lately, we’ve been spending some time in the Downtown area, and although parking is miserable we love it just the way it is, grimy, yet charming and laidback. This guide covers the best restaurants in Downtown for a business lunch as well as dinner spots that are truly special and serve some of Miami’s most badass food.

JAGUAR SUN


Address: 230 NE 4th St
Cuisine: American, pasta

Jaguar Sun is probably our favorite place in Miami. Some may say it’s a cocktail bar, others, a restaurant with an awesome pasta selection. We’d like to think of it as a combination of both. Where we can always count on fun, original and balanced cocktails. And where the food is delicious and consistent. Not an easy find in our city, especially in an obscure lobby of a residential building.

It’s the sort of bar/restaurant you wish was in your neighborhood. Come enough times and you’ll make friends with the team that has a deep understanding of great hospitality. Our favorite dishes include the Hokkaido Scallop, the Wagyu Beef Tartare, Agnolotti with blue crab, and the Spicy Rigatoni. Leave room for a Wolf Whistle, their version of a tequila espresso martini paired with dessert.

Jaguar Sun is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 5 PM to 1 AM, kitchen closes at 11 PM on weekdays, and midnight on weekends. Happy Hour is available from 5 PM to 7 PM with $1 oysters, and $10 classic cocktails.

NIU WINE


Address: 134 NE 2nd Ave
Cuisine: Wine bar, Mediterranean

The former NIU Kitchen which became Wine Medium during the pandemic is now NIU Wine and it deserves a spot on this list. It’s a true wine bar where Karina Iglesias will open up any bottle and serve you by the glass. “Less is more” is the vibe at the new NIU Wine. The wine selections are beautiful, the food is spectacular and the playlist is weirdly perfect. Come here with your dearest friends. The ones that love good food and wine.

Chef July Salazar has created a small menu of dishes that change often and are presented on a chalkboard. Karina and Chef July have put their heart and soul into every dish and glass of wine poured. They are an example to follow and we hope for more restaurants like this in 2022.

Dishes we loved include the tomato salad with anchovies, a NY strip carpaccio with saffron, aioli, green olives, and crispy shallots. The aesida ras el hanout, an almond and garlic-based dip with grapes is as rich in history as it is in flavor. Oh and don’t miss the morels shroom risotto if it’s available. We recently went back and loved the shrimp aguachile.

MR. OMAKASE


Address: 163 SE 1st St
Cuisine: Japanese

Mr. Omakase is the sushi counter that you need to know about in Miami’s downtown. We love that it’s casual and unpretentious, yet you’re getting an elevated and intimate sushi experience. The owners of Poke OG, Andrew Mayer and Ryan Leto partnered with master sushi chef Ryo Nato of the former Myumi which previously had one of the first sushi food trucks in Miami and a sushi bar at 1-800-Lucky. Currently, they are offering three different omakase experiences. Their entry-level menu offers 10 courses priced at $79 per person, 14 courses at $109 per person, and 18 courses at $139 per person. The 18-course menu also features uni, chu-toro, A5 wagyu, and more. Our favorite dish was the wagyu with uni. Sake, wine, and beer are also available. You can even choose among four different cups to sip your sake. 

Mr. Omakase is open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday from 5:30 PM – 10 PM. Reservations are required so click HERE to book your seat. 

 

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RISTORANTE FRATELLI MILANO


Address: 213 SE 1st St
Cuisine: Italian

We’ve been going to Fratelli Milano since we were teens and every time we go, were transported to a European cafe. 

Twin Chefs Roberto & Emanuele Bearzi opened Fratelli Milano’s doors in 2006 and since then they’ve captivated the downtown neighborhood with their charisma and regional Italian cooking. The all-day menu includes homemade pasta made fresh daily. Our favorites include the pappardelle Milano with Filet mignon, porcini mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, Chianti wine, goat cheese, truffle oil, tomato sauce; the ravioli di aragosta with jumbo lobster ravioli, grape tomatoes, pink vodka sauce; and the gnocchetti with your choice of tomato, pink or Alfredo sauce.

Sit inside or outside, either way, you’ll feel like you’re in Milano

NIU KITCHEN


Address: 104 NE 2nd Ave
Cuisine: Spanish, Catalan

NIU Kitchen in Downtown Miami is serving Catalan food. Chef Deme Lomas is pushing the boundaries with his creativity and bold flavors in this tiny space. The food speaks for itself and you’re unbothered by the typical chairs of your middle school classroom. The menu is constantly evolving so a reoccurring dinner on the calendar is a smart move. Dishes that might be there when you go are the pa amb tomaquetoctopus carpacciocharbroiled calmar; and the ous (poached eggs truffled potato foam, black truffle, and bits of jamon iberico sprinkled on top). Lovers of biodynamic wine will also thrive at NIU Kitchen. When looking through the menu you will find a message that says, “Have you tried ordering [dinner] without thinking close your eyes? Point to an item on the menu with your [right] index finger.” We say, go for it. 

MOTEK CAFE


Address: 36 NE 1st St Suite 132
Cuisine: Israeli

Motek is a family-owned, kosher-style Israeli Mediterranean restaurant offering all-day brunch, dinner, and baked goods. Motek boosts “fast-casual food culture” by focusing on freshness and thoughtful, delicious Israeli food. The original location is in Downtown and great for a quick bite during work hours. They also recently opened a new outpost in Aventura, with another opening in Miami Beach soon! We love their selection of bowls, served with your choice of majadra rice, nana rice, or cauliflower couscous, and all bowls are topped with Israeli salad, hummus, and sumac onions.

Try the Faroe Island Salmon Bowl with harissa honey and shawarma spiced or grilled salmon. If you’re looking for an entrée, check out the “plates” section of the menu, which includes hummus, pita, and mixed greens. We also recommend the Arayes Burger, winner of SOBEWFF’s Burger Bash 2022. It’s a must-try with kosher grass-feed beef stuffed in grilled pita with tahini for dipping.

 

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SOYA E POMODORO


Address: 120 NE 1st St #2502
Cuisine: Italian

Soya e Pomodoro is a classic Downtown restaurant serving simple Italian dishes. It’s rustic with unmatched vintage furniture, family photos, and even a snowman providing a cozy and quirky experience for diners. During the day, we’d bring a client and during the night, we’d bring a date. Both will fall in love with Soya e Pomodoro’s authentic ways. Order the fusillo fresco affumicato with homemade fusilli w/ sauteed arugula, mushrooms & smoked mozzarella in fresh tomato sauce.

ELEVENTH STREET PIZZA


Address: 1035 N Miami Ave
Cuisine: Pizza

Branding? They’ve got it. A good Sicilian slice? That too. Ingredients from all over the world? Yup! This pizza shop is giving Miami its long-awaited New York slice, even offering pizza by the slice. With Carmine cheeseWild shroom, and hot honey slices, there’s something for everyone. Located in Downtown, Eleventh Street Pizza can be a casual outing on the way to the FTX arena or a cute date night with some wine and a shareable pie. You can take your pizza to go, order for delivery, or dine in. If you’re eating at Eleventh Street, we also recommend Chicken Parm alla Spicy Vodka made with sourdough breadcrumbs, a housemade spicy vodka sauce, mozzarella, topped with Parmigiano and fresh basil (only available for dine-in).

THE HUNGRY POST
THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN DOWNTOWN
PHOTO CREDIT JAGUAR SUN