Don’t miss the best new restaurants South of Fifth
South of Fifth is home to some of the best restaurants in Miami and really some of the city’s most formidable culinary institutions. To give you an idea, granddaddy of them all, Joe’s Stone Crab at 11 Washington Avenue was here before Miami Beach was even incorporated as a city. Today, it is going strong and is actually the second most profitable private restaurant in America. Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis serves up the most elegant Grecian Mediterranean Island fare in a beautiful room on 1st Street. Myles Chefetz’s, ubiquitous Prime restaurants, Prime 112, neighbors Prime Italian and Prime Fish are always packed and consistently delicious.
South of Fifth, in fact, has more of the best steakhouses per its few square miles than anywhere in Miami. Besides celebrity laden and wildly successful Prime 112, Smith & Wollensky, the Miami Beach outpost of the famous New York chain, came to South Pointe in 1997 and its southernmost bar is the best place to watch the sunset over cocktails. Texas de Brazil is an all you can eat churrascaria eatery atop the Miami marina. Fogo do Chao is its satellite Brazilian counterpart just down the street. Red the Steakhouse on Washington at 1st has a 700 bottle wine cellar to accompany its fare. Suffice it to say, you are not going to starve with the wide variety of restaurants South of Fifth from which to choose.
But rents are high for restaurants South of Fifth, something in the neighborhood of $80psf and up and that doesn’t include “key money” which is an unusually large lump of cash paid upfront to the previous tenant or the landlord for the “keys”. In order to survive South of Fifth, purveyors better have something special to offer clientele, or they will be washed away with the next high tide. Meet the newcomers who have boldly opened their doors in this highly competitive and discerning neighborhood and are making it happen.
Recently reviewed by the Miami Herald, Stubborn Seed at Washington and 1st Street, was given the highest marks as one of Miami’s top new South of Fifth restaurants. Conceived and owned by Top Chef winner, Jeremy Ford, Stubborn Seed blurs the lines between art and food. With a small house of only 72 seats, Ford offers just 15 dishes which have been honed and crafted to perfection. Super fresh ingredients combined with Ford’s creativity, aesthetic, discipline and passion for excellence learned, or at least engendered, by working with the likes of Jean Georges Vongerichten, Dean Max and Ludo Lefebvre all pay off in the most delicious new hotspot South of Fifth restaurant. Stubborn Seed is stubbornly excellent and a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Straight from Manhattan, Chef Justin Smillie and restauranteur Stephen Starr have opened their second location of their popular New York eatery, the California inspired, Upland at 49 Collins Avenue at the base of the One Ocean condominium. A welcome addition to the South of Fifth restaurant scene, Upland offers wood fired pizza, fresh, hearty and delicate salads, luscious pasta, meat and fish offerings. Everything feels healthy, light and delicious. The atmosphere is sophisticated, but warm and inviting.
You are in great hands at Forte Dei Marmi. Chef Antonio Mellino’s two Michelin stars means he doesn’t feel he needs to try too hard with overcomplicated dishes with too many ingredients and the results are sublime simplicity. He says he draws his inspiration from the unfussy organic cooking of his homeland on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Locally sourced, organic when possible, try the signature fresh linguine with zucchini and parmesan he is famous for. The pasta is made a la minute! Also keep an eye out for their special events at the FDM Arts Club housed just above the restaurant, “a space for discovering and consuming surprising and thought-provoking art, design, music, and food experiences.”
Hospitality entrepreneur (LIV, Story, OTL) and part time vegan, David Grutman, has opened the Miami satellite of the popular Toronto plant based restaurant, Planta. Located at 850 Commerce Street, just behind Marea condominium and across from Murano at Portofino , Planta is well on its way to being one of the hottest South of Fifth restaurants. Grutman says, “It’s the way the world is moving now. People really care where their ingredients come from.” Coconut Ceviche, Korean fried cauliflower lettuce wraps, truffle burger, hearts of palm ‘crab’ cakes all topped with fresh herbs from its rooftop garden make no sacrifice to flavor. Expect celebrity sightings, as this hot new South of Fifth restaurant caters to the stars.
Straight from New York, via Tokyo comes the second location of the Michelin starred Sushi Azabu tucked away at the Marriott Stanton, 161 Ocean Drive, just up the street from Ocean House. With a 6 foot bonsai tree, the owners wanted to bring to Miami the true omakase Tokyo experience. More than just the sushi, some of which is imported from Japan, the restaurant brings a true experience of Japan straight to South of Fifth. Offering shared plates, izakaya style, cooked in their robata charcoal oven as well as exotic cocktails with international whiskeys and sakes, take a vacation South of Fifth as the check will surely be less than your next flight to Japan.
On the more casual side of things, there’s Call Me Gaby at 22 Washington Avenue, just across the street from Portofino Tower. The owner wanted to create something that wasn’t yet there South of Fifth, a laid back neighborhood meeting place. Call me Gaby offers delicious homemade pizza and pasta with ingredients imported from Italy, fresh salads and fresher cocktails. Unpretentious, relaxed, al fresco, a great South of Fifth neighborhood restaurant.