Best Eats During Art Basel Miami

Art Basel Miami means there’s a mad scramble to get into popular restaurants, so I’ve compiled some of the BEST eats that are more out of the way.  You’ll get innovative food, value for your money and most are chef owned! Yes, I love supporting chef owned restaurants, I admire and respect what they’re doing! As a cooking teacher, I’m constantly asked which restaurants I eat at, so here’s a round up. I wanted to give just 10 but went way over because you can’t not mention ones close by that are so worth trying! Enjoy Art Basel.  Stay calm cause it’s going to be crazy but fun. Remember, you can always use Uber Eats to deliver food to you but not same as experiencing in person!

I’ve chosen eats in different areas of Miami, all close to where it’s all happening…

Buena Vista

is just north of Design District but has three blocks of wonderful cozy restaurants.

Buena Vista Deli is good for breakfast, brunch and lunch or just a snack. Gets packed on Sundays.

Shokudo has a zen garden space for a Japanese bento box lunch.


Lemoni Cafe, clockwise: skirt steak, portobello mushroom, pizza.

Lemoni Cafe and Pizzeria di Lemoni. 

Uh, confusing but you can order food from 2 different menus cause the two restaurants have the same chefs/owners, Chefs Maria and Assia. We like to get our “dessert” at BV Chocolate and Wine store in the next block north, their handmade chocolates are exquisite. Curry chocolate anyone?

What’s atmosphere?

Cozy, ecclectic, artsy.

What kind of food?

Home cooking at its best! Many vegetarian options. Most dishes come with toast.

What’s good?

Stuffed Portobello (bottom right)

Fall off the bone tender Lamb Shank, starting with Greek salad and toast.

Check their menu.


Biscayne Corridor is really becoming a foodie haven…

Vagabond Kitchen & Bar, a mid century modern restaurant inside a hotel was taken over recently by French owners so the decor is very chic. The round cocktail lounge bar is extremely popular as is a bar outside by the pool, definitely get a drink there! Their Grilled Octopus, Cauliflower Steak and Branzino was outrageous.

Blue Collar, Chef Daniel Serfer has the best sense of humor EVER, just check the menu and you’ll see what I mean! His comfort food is seriously so good but it’s always packed, but so worth it.  Sunday brunch has lines round the block.

Phuc Yea-collagePhuc Yea

NEW Vietnamese Bistro opened by a Vietnamese/American chef, Ani and Caesar!  Fun place with small plates. Very busy so reservations are a MUST!

What’s atmosphere?

Modern hip Asian industrial decor

What kind of food?

Viet Cajun, it works!

What’s good?

Imperial rolls appetizer

Salt N’Peppa Fishies

Caramel Pork Riblets

Check their menu

Loba, clockwise: Jessica and moi. Patacon, a whopping dish with rib eye steak, durac pork belly, rice, guac, pico de galo, chimchurri; crispy brussel sprouts; a salad. All delicious home cooking.

Loba, clockwise: Jessica and moi. Patacon, a whopping dish with rib eye steak, durac pork belly, rice, guac, pico de galo, chimchurri; crispy brussel sprouts; a salad. All delicious home cooking.


It’s a family affair, Jessica, her mom, Libia both cook and brother, Jon is in charge of operations. Check out Jessica’s recent Zagat show, she visited chefs all over the world and cooked with them. I love the one in Hawaii where her mom joined her.

What’s atmosphere?

Jessica calls it, “rustic, DIY”. I love all the wood tables and chairs, very earthy. Tiny restaurant so reservations a MUST.

What kind of food?

Columbian soul food.

What’s good?

Columbians know how to cook meat, so the Patacon is a perfect dish to get an all rounder.

Check their menu

Pinch Miami

Chefs John and Rene are the cutest, congrats, they just celebrated their 1st anniversary! They care about what they put out, love that!

What’s atmosphere?

I keep saying cozy, ecclectic but that’s what this is!

What kind of food?

“small bites, big impact” is their motto. Farm to table.  Everything I’ve eaten there is perfectly executed, very tasty.

What’s good?

Roasted Organic Carrots appetizer

Pinch Burger (custom blend, they won’t share what’s in it!)

Frenched Organic Chicken with seasonal veggies, we had kale and mushrooms, so freakin’ tasty!

Check their menu

Bin 18

Chef Alfredo Patino is owner of this cute wine bar lounge and restaurant. Always fun to order a few dishes to share.

What’s atmosphere?

Contemporary Cosmopolitan casual chic with chandeliers and concrete slabs over wine barrels. Mismatched chairs.

What kind of food?

Chef calls it Riviera urban cuisine/Roadside European cuisine.

What’s good?

Duck and Truffle Pate with mango ginger chutney and ciabatta!

Pork Belly & Mango to die for.

Pulpo a la Mancha.

Check their menu


Downtown Miami

Niu Kitchen, Spanish tapas, downtown Miami, tiny cozy place, make reservation a MUST! Everything we’ve had there is EXCELLENT, say hi to chef Deme Lomas, he’s so sweet:

Bali Cafe, Indonesian food, kinda fun, sit in the window seats!



Black Brick, started by a frustrated Filipino/American Chef Richard Hales who couldn’t find good Chinese dim sum or Asian food in Miami, yeah, I hear ya, so he opened this one and right opposite another one called Sakaya Kitchen! They are my go to restaurants.  He put a modern spin on the dishes, so don’t expect anything traditional, I love his Crispy Cumin Lamb Chops appetizer, Salt and Pepper Calamari.  In the Dim Sum department, shrimp and chive dumplings, pork cheek pan fried dumplings, Grandma’s red cooked pork belly, Asian eggplant (so good). End with his wife, Jenny’s delicious desserts.

Sakaya Kitchen, Richard calls this Funk Fusion! It’s a fast casual dining spot for good Korean inspired dishes. Order at the counter and sit down to eat, perfect for a grab and go eat, very popular during Art Basel! My favs are Dirty South Korean (pulled pork sliders with kimchi slaw, drooling thinking about this), Cracklin (duck sandwich), The Bulgogi, Angus beef Burger which come with his famous taters, this is a HUGE order so be prepared to hunker down or share (I have been known to finish this in one sitting!) and my absolute fav, Dae Ji (big bowl with spicy pork tenderloin, butter’d broccoli and coconut rice with peanuts, yummy).


Wynwood Arts District

GK Bistronomie, Peruvian tapas and amazing cocktails. Get award winning pork taquitos and veggie tempura (hm, think they don’t have it anymore but ask!), everything there is superbly executed, say hi to Chef Raphael. Always wonderful service and love this industrial, modern space.

Coyo Tacos is the best value for money if you’re in a hurry and need a quick bite. Got to have their freshly made guac and chips. If you’re hungry late at night, they are open till 3am!

Panther Coffee for a caffeine fix!

Dr. Smood, go visit this AMAZING cafe/health store!

Cafeina Lounge is a casual lounge bar with their own art gallery.

Visit Wynwood Walls and go deep into the back area, always happening place!

Also visit Plant the Future, beautiful terrariums in all white unique vessels.

South Beach
Taquiza,  freshly handmade blue corn tortillas with superb fillings, Camaron, Asada, Al Pastor.  An outdoor atrium, adorable and fun, do NOT miss this experience.

Barceloneta, Spanish tapas, always fun, excellent food and presentation. Fantastic ambience, they’ll always get you in, say hi to Chef Julianna.

Naiyara, Thai street food, get crispy chicken dumplings, best you’ll ever have!  Also Chiang Rai curry, it’s a whole experience with a tray of goodies, very fun place, say hi to Chef Bee. Again, reservations a MUST.

DIRT, EAT CLEAN, healthy dishes after you’re exhausted from all that rushing around, say hi to Chef Nicole Votano.

1 Hotel, Chef Tom Colicchio’s BeachCraft is there on ground floor. Breeze through beautiful hotel, you’ll appreciate it, see if you can get to see the pool and bar area, amazing. All white and all the plants are amazing. Visit the store, Plant the Future in there, they also have a store in WYNWOOD.

Juvia, in the Lincoln Road parking garage, go to rooftop for cocktails and hang around a living wall of plants and amazing Miami Beach views, beautiful ambience! Tricky to find, so ask.




Hakkasan, Only At Fall Menu


Visualize an angled crispy noodle nest spilling out with Crispy Beef Tenderloin that’s battered and so tender, you only need to pop it in your mouth without even chewing. This enchanting dish was a crowd pleaser and part of a collection of 8 small bites, main dishes and dessert with cocktail pairings from the Only…

Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts from Chris Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine

Tada, the yummiest wok charred brussels sprouts!

Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts will turn Brussels Sprouts haters into LOVING them and vegetable eaters into die hard Brussels Sprout addicts!  They have 3 qualities I always talk about: flavor, texture, color in that order. Wok Charring is a fail proof technique that’s quick and easy and will get you perfect results every time. Wok…

GrowFest Chefs Cook Off


Redlands GrowFest held annually at Fruit & Spice Park encourages you to grow, can and preserve your produce and vegetables!  The most popular event there is the Chefs Cookoff and I was honored to be invited again this year to judge with Christine Najac, publisher, author, sommelier and food and wine blogger of South Florida…

Wok Star Supper Club, huge success at Drunken Dragon

Crack Ribs was my fav dish, made with sambal, tender, fall off the bone!

Thank you everyone who came out to celebrate my Wok Star Supper Club at Drunken Dragon this past Sunday. Everyone raved about the exotic flavors of each dish, what a successful dinner gathering to conquer the summer blues and celebrate what would have been my mom’s birthday, my mom would have approved! Chef Xavier Torres…

Healthy, Delicious, Easy Lunch Ideas


Scratching your head wondering what to bring for your lunch to work? I got you covered.  These lunch ideas will keep it simple and fast plus give you variety so you’re not bored with the same ingredients for a week.   I see meal preps on social media and think, well, that’s good but so boring,…