The best restaurants in the Design District

Covering a Korean steakhouse and some of the best pizza, and sushi in Miami

Jul
09
2024

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

Have you been to the Design District lately? There’s a lot happening. It might even be the 5th Avenue of Miami. That means it’s a lot of show, with tourists doing the shopping and locals trying to avoid the heat or rain while searching for something good to eat. And yes, the locals might also be indulging in a bit of people-watching because the characters you’ll see are quite entertaining.

Ultimately, locals just want to know where to eat that’s worth it. Our guide to the best restaurants in the Design District features an Italian spot that keeps it simple and lets the ingredients shine, Greek and Turkish flavors, and a tiny new sushi spot that has one of the best katsu bowls we’ve had in Miami.

YOSO SUSHI


Address5040 NE 2nd Ave
CuisineJapanese, sushi

From locally-loved food truck to their very first brick-and-mortar, Yoso Sushi’s new restaurant in Upper Buena Vista is where you’re going next for sushi and poke bowls.

Chefs Deniz Aktuğ and Khristian Lara have modernized the traditional sushi bar, creating an innovative space featuring silver high chairs, mirrored walls, and glass brick tiles in collaboration with Galleria Miami. This blend of vintage and modern 20th-century designs is giving Tokyo during the 1980s with a Miami Art Deco twist. This is a spot you’ll want to check out when you’re in the neighborhood with a close friend, for a solo bite or a first date night.

Some of our favorite dishes are the hamachi with homemade yuzu kosho, torched salmon belly with ikura, the homemade dumplings which are made daily and inspired by Chef Deniz’s Turkish roots, our new favorite Katsu Chicken Bowl, and the creamiest & most balanced matcha cheesecake.

LA MÀRTOLA


Address4702 NE 2nd Ave
CuisineItalian, French, Spanish, Mediterranean

If summer on the Amalfi coast is your thing La Màrtola will be right up your alley. Inspired by the Riviera in Italy, this spot is the ideal coastal Italian getaway in Miami. It’s casual but elegant, familiar, and elevated, in the way that coastal Europe tends to be.

Here, it’s all in the details – white linen, candles, and soap straight from Italy, flaky sea salt and olive oil for your enjoyment, and even Mozzarella flown in directly from Italy.

Everyone says they use the freshest ingredients, but at La Màrtola, it’s obvious. Nothing is overly seasoned, and they really allow the ingredients to shine through. Some of our favorite dishes include the Paleta Iberico with chips, the Carne Cruda Albese (tastes lemony in a way that takes you straight to the Mediterranean), the Bucatini Guanciale, and the Carbonara pizza.

Pair your meal with a glass from their hand-picked wine selection, and leave room for some gelato, a special collab with Simone Bonini’s Gelato, straight from Florence.

EL TURCO


Address: 184 NE 50th Terrace Upper
Cuisine: Turkish

El Turco is a cozy café offering traditional Turkish breakfast, Aegean, and Anatolian cuisine. Emphasizing high-quality ingredients and olive oil, their menu includes all-day breakfast, Simit (Turkish bagels), soups, main dishes, salads, mezes, bakery items, and desserts.

Try the El Turco Salad with steak tomatoes, Persian cucumber, white onion, and extra virgin olive oil. We also recommend the Simit Avocado Toast, a Turkish twist on a classic favorite with mashed Hass avocado and fried egg. If you’re stopping by for dinner, don’t skip the Manti, homemade beef stuffed dumplings with brown butter, garlic yogurt; and the Roasted Eggplant Salad with charred eggplants, and peppers and finished off with olive oil and parsley.

MICHAEL’S GENUINE


Address: 130 NE 40th St
Cuisine: Contemporary American

A staple in the Design District since 2007, Michael’s Genuine was one of the first restaurants to put Miami’s culinary scene on the map, earning Chef Michael Schwartz his first James Beard Award. This spot remains timeless and never gets old, thanks to its constantly evolving menu.

The renovated outdoor terrace is larger and bustling with guests. Stop by for lunch, brunch, or dinner to enjoy lively vibes all day long. We’d choose Michael’s if you’re looking for a place to try a little bit of everything and get more than one dessert. While the menu changes often, we always go for the Homemade pasta, like the mafaldine with house-smoked bacon, crushed tomato, Calabrian chile pecorino roman. We also love the Crispy Pork Belly with kimchi, crushed peanuts, and cilantro. For dessert, the Cookies & Confections are a must-try, accompanied by a scoop or two of their housemade seasonal sorbets and ice creams.

COTE


Address: 16 W 22nd St
Cuisine: Korean Steakhouse

Coming from New York to Miami it is no surprise that Cote delivers its exceptional service and flawless wine program here in the 305. Being awarded not only a one-star in the Michelin Guide but also the Florida Sommelier Award; it’s clear Cote is here to make waves in Miami’s Design District. When entering Cote you will be met with seamless service from start to finish. And if you are craving exceptionally cooked meat that melts in your mouth, then look no further.

We recommend getting the Butcher’s Feast, featuring a selection of Chef’s favorite cuts and a feast of USDA Prime & American Wagyu beef for $68. Additionally, if you come with a big group, we’d also get the Korean Bacon, the Kimchi Wagyu Paella, and the Chicken Nuggets only available off the bar menu. Soft serve ice cream topped with soy sauce caramel is included with the Butcher’s Feast.

MANDOLIN AEGEAN BISTRO


Address: 4312 NE 2nd Ave
Cuisine: Greek

Mandolin is a classic Mediterranean restaurant founded by a husband and wife team back in 2009. The restaurant is in a 1940’s home that was restored and transformed into the Mandolin that we love today, with gardens and a quaint outdoor patio space. The dishes are inspired by Greek and Turkish coastal food, using local ingredients and Aegean techniques. The menu includes Mezes, Salads, Sandwiches, Mains, and Sides. Start your meal with the Greek Sampler: a trio of tzatziki, olive tapenade, and tirokafteri. We also love the Mussels with white wine, garlic, lemon, and oregano; and the Baked Feta with tomatoes, smoked greek chili flakes, and spicy pickled Turkish peppers.

SUSHI YASU TANAKA BY MASUMURA AT MIA MARKET


Address: 140 NE 39th St STE 241
Cuisine: Japanese

At the MIA Market food hall, Chef Yasu Tanaka serves sushi with Japanese hospitality. Partnering with his lovely wife Michelle, they bring the culture and charisma of Japan right to your feet. In paying homage to his family business the name Masumura was only fitting to carry on the legacy right here in his new home of Miami.

Chef Yasu makes two types of sushi rice fresh every two hours and sources the best quality fish and dinnerware directly from Japan. The menu features signature nigiri, nigiri à la carte, and hand rolls. The 10-piece Nigiri Omakase will fulfill the classic vibes, but for a little extra, throw in some additional O-toro Aburi nigiri as well as their Uni and Wagyu hand roll. Because when we say these are drool-worthy add-ons, we mean it.

Stop by Sushi Yasu Tanaka for an informal nigiri experience with indoor and outdoor seating available. It’s great for dining solo or when you want sushi but your friend wants something else.

OLD GREG’S PIZZA


Address: 3620 NE 2nd Ave
Cuisine: Pizza shop

Greg Tetzner and his girlfriend, Jackie Richie, began selling sourdough pizzas in 2020 out of their house during the pandemic. After a few months of getting the word out on social media, everyone and their mothers wanted Old Greg’s square pies. With limited pies being baked at their pop-up location in the Design District, scoring Old Greg’s was harder than securing Coachella tickets. The pop-up was a wild success and luckily for us, they found a brick-and-mortar space in the Design District.

Our favorites are the Shroomz pizza with mushroom crema, mozzarella, maitake + oyster shroomz, and wild ramp salsa verde; and the O.G. Roni with tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni, and hot honey. It’s not only about pizza at Old Greg’s, they also have the most delicious Polenta-Crusted Chicken Wings served with pickled celery, and buffalo + blue cheese sauce. And for dessert, GR3G’S Leches a more savory than sweet take on a tres leches with an olive oil cake, stracciatella, Sicilian pistachio, and fennel pollen.

BY: SARAH DUNN
THE HUNGRY POST
PHOTO CREDIT Craig Denis Photography
Best restaurants in the Design District
Best restaurants in the Design District