South Florida’s farm-to-table scene has improved immensely in the past five years, when chefs began to pay more attention to the bounty of local ingredients that the region has to offer. Here we’d like to draw attention to some Miami restaurants that are especially local-minded, starting with one that’s proudly bringing Southern food back to South Florida.
Where: Down in Miami Beach, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (1600 Lenox Ave., map) has quickly made a name for itself since opening in 2011, reaching semifinalist status for two James Beard Awards in 2012 (Best New Restaurant and Best Chef, South, for Florida-born chef Jeff McInnis). We’re less concerned with the press and even the farmhouse-chic environs than with the fact we left this place very full and very happy.
It respects and reimagines classic Southern cooking all at once, starting with the building blocks: fresh, high-quality ingredients, sourced locally when possible, and a from-scratch cooking philosophy. Bonus: The bar’s a veritable temple to bourbon, encompassing 50-plus bottles plus moonshine, house-infused bourbons, and delicious bourbon cocktails.
When: Mon-Thurs, 11:30am-11pm; Fri, 11:30am-midnight; Sat, 9:30am-midnight; Sun, 9:30am-11pm
Order: Pictured is our favorite dish of the many we sampled here: a fried green tomato BLT, built with local tomatoes, tomato jam, local pork belly, greens, and housemade pimento cheese ($14). Every bite, a winning combination of crispy, creamy, meaty, and zingy, elicited a wow from our group. It’s an ideal starter. At the time of our visit, we also loved the short-rib meat loaf and salad of local heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, and seared farm cheese. Favorite mains included the perfectly cooked free-range fried chicken and waffles, the slow-braised cochon, and the Florida shrimp and (SC) grits, served with Virginia ham. Local collard greens on the side were absolutely perfect.
Please note the menu changes frequently here, so these particular dishes may not be available during your visit—but trust that whatever is on that day will be terrific. To drink? It’s gotta be bourbon—or at least a fresh sweet tea.
Alternatively: Widely credited with kick-starting the locavore trend in Miami when it opened in 2007, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 Northeast 40th St., map) maintains its strong commitment to local ingredients on its seasonal, daily-changing menu. Decidedly more chichi is Edge Steak & Bar (1435 Brickell Ave., map), located inside the Four Seasons Hotel and making a good effort to source local meat, seafood, and produce, including herbs and peppers from its own poolside garden.