Little Black Book

Chef Paula DaSilva's Favorite Miami Restaurants

by Paula DaSilva
Photo: Courtesy of Barceloneta.

Miami is so much bigger than tiny, attention-hogging South Beach. To get a feel for the breadth of the city's great food offerings, we asked award-winning chef Paula Da Silva for her favorite spots. She was recently named executive chef at 3030 Ocean at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, the restaurant where she began her career in 2000. (So sweet!) Before this, she won raves for her farm-to-table cooking as executive chef at 1500º at Eden Rock Miami Beach Hotel. If anyone knows the food scene in Miami and Broward, it's Paula. Follow her taste buds: Great ceviche, bone marrow, chicken and waffles, and powerful cocktails await.


Area 31
270 Biscayne Blvd. Way; +1-305-424-5234
A restaurant with a spectacular view of downtown Miami and the bay. Grab a seat outside, order some ceviche, and take in the view. I love the fresh seafood and the great spin on tropical ingredients that they use on the menu.

1400 20th St., Miami Beach; +1-305-538-9299
5850 Sunset Dr., South Miami; +1-305-665-0020
There aren't too many things I love more than sitting outside enjoying perfect Miami winter weather, drinking delicious wine, and eating tapas. After a recent trip to Spain, I can say hands-down that the food at Barceloneta is just as impressive as my meals in Barcelona.

3252 NE 1st Ave., Miami; +1-786-369-0353
The neighborhood restaurant where you are bound to find local foodies and people in the biz hanging out. They serve a great variety of small plates from the robata grill, the sushi bar, and the bustling kitchen. My favorite is roasted bone marrow. So tasty.

The Dutch
2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; +1-305-938-3111
It's sleek, it's cool, and it's so comfortable. There's a great outdoor patio covered with grape vines. I love the homemade pastas, like pappardelle with lamb ragu.

1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach; +1-305-538-5220
One word: CHICKEN! Everything involving chicken at this Southern restaurant is a home run. Chicken and waffles, chicken biscuits, chicken under a brick, and, obviously, the famous Llewellyn's fried chicken. It's all deliciously Southern and unlike anything else in Miami.

Yardbird Miami
It's all delicious at Yardbird. Photo courtesy of Yardbird.

Su Shin Izakaya
159 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; +1-305-445-2584
I like coming here for excellent ramen noodles. Spicy pork is my favorite, but they also have great sushi. This place is awesome and definitely fits the bill of hole-in-the-wall.

La Sandwicherie
229 14th St., Miami Beach; +1-305-532-8934
34 SW 8th St., Miami; +1-305-374-9852
The French salami and camembert sandwich is my absolute favorite. Everything is super fresh and inexpensive. You can even walk over from the beach to eat. And don't forget the vinaigrette.

El Taquito
1380 SW 8th St., Miami; +1-305-854-6279
3410 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; +1-305-854-6279
I love any of the tacos at this place, especially the carnitas. I always order mandarin-flavored Jarritos, Mexican soda loaded with sugar.

Broken Shaker
Freehand Miami Hostel, 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; +1-305-531-2727
I like this place for drinks. They use fresh juices in their very creative cocktails. It's relaxed and casual with very friendly, non-pretentious service. It's sort of the place for adventurous drinkers.

Oak Tavern
35 NE 40th St., Miami; +1-786-391-1818
I love this place: They make their own charcuterie. It's hard to find anyone in Miami that takes the time to go through the whole process, but they do it well. They also serve great, crispy, thin pizzas and fresh crudo.

Paula pays homage to her prized ingredients. Photo courtesy of Paula DaSilva.


Café La Buca
451 S Cypress Rd., Pompano Beach; +1-954-786-0673
If you can manage to get a reservation, you won't be disappointed. There's no menu at this mom-and-son Italian restaurant. You'll get a daily list of dinner options based on what's fresh that day. If it's one of your lucky nights, you may even be offered their special Nutella dessert. It's a guaranteed food coma for a diabetic.

4437 Lyons Rd., Coconut Creek; +1-754-999-0050
Fresh and really innovative Greek cuisine. A new entry to Promenade in Coconut Creek, I have been impressed with everything I have sampled from their menu. My favorites are octopus, which is perfectly cooked and tender, and branzino. The service staff is wonderful and will help pick a Greek wine to pair with dinner.

Palate Party Food Truck
Various locations, Miami; +1-954-495-8385
When I get the rare chance to head to a food truck roundup, the Palate Party truck is one I always hit. Their crab cake sliders are out of this world, loaded with crab meat and smothered with red chili tomato jam.

The Rustic Inn

4331 Ravenswood Rd., Fort Lauderdale; +1-954-584-1637
This is not the place to come wearing a brand new shirt. Prepare to get messy: You'll spend the afternoon on the water smashing buttery, garlicky crabs and drinking nice cold beer.

Khana Kazana
10345 W Sample Rd., Coral Springs; +1-954-227-9344
Hands-down my favorite Indian restaurant in South Florida. Located in North Fort Lauderdale, it's as family-run business and it's not about the décor. But the food has been consistently great every time I go, especially chicken vindaloo and channa masala.


See the locations in this story. (Google Maps)


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