South Miami - Kendall
Akashi Japanese Restaurant
5830 S Dixie Hwy. (305) 665-6261
Come for the artistically prepared sushi selections presented on fabulous sushi boats. Their cooked fare is as tasty and thoughtfully prepared as their sushi. The perfect ending to either: deep-fried amaretto cheesecake. $$$

12669 S Dixie Hwy. (305) 232-8001
This Italian marketplace boasts an impressive selection of imported cheeses, foods and wines. The quaint restaurant offers eggplant rolatini and pasta e fagioli soup for starters and a wonderful selection of pastas in sauces to die for. The veal’s great, especially saltimbocca and seafood and fish are favorites. $$

7201 SW 59th Ave. (305) 666-9285
Italian, fine-dining pizzeria
Pizzaioli (pizza men) from Naples make what may be the best pizza in South Florida. Wood-oven, thin, crispy-crusted pizzas (39 selections of white and tomato-based pizzas, calzoni, focaccia, and more) are topped with fresh ingredients like artichoke hearts, spinach, ham, plus fontina and gorgonzola cheeses. Blú also makes great salads and interesting appetizers. Having difficulty deciding what to order? No problem. Your second visit won’t be far behind. $$

7382 SW 56 Ave. (305) 665-8550
This friendly, neighborhood trattoria will transport you to Italy and do it with attentive service. Outstanding risotto (13 choices) and homemade pasta (20 choices) as well as classic veal dishes keep the locals coming back. People come for the cioppino and lamb shank specials, in a non-smoking environment. $$

Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern

7221 SW 58 Ave, (305) 669-8577
Old Key West
This quaint café, located just off busy Sunset Drive in South Miami, offers fine wines, cognacs, and ports, in addition to light fare, a full bar and a wide variety of beers, national and imported. Nightly live performances of jazz and blues. $

Captain's Tavern
9621 S Dixie Hwy (305) 666-5979
For a nautical night on the town, bring the family here. Start out with Cape Cod oysters, conch salad, great stews or chowders. Pasta and meat entrées compete with delicious seafood and fish dishes. Broiled or grilled fresh snapper, grouper, dolphin and lobster are always good choices. Don’t miss their homemade desserts. $$

Cafe Pastis
7310 Red Rd, (305) 665-3322
Small, friendly neighborhood bistro with informal but attentive service. For starters, the fabulous salads, salmon ceviche, homemade duck pâté, or ravioli filled with goat cheese are marvelous and satisfying. Bouillabaisse, roasted rack of lamb, rabbit in white sauce, or a New York steak are exquisitely prepared to perfection. Don’t forget to leave room for their desserts. $$

El Manara
5811 Sunset Dr. (305) 665-3374
Middle Eastern
Excellent Middle Eastern dishes like tasty hummus, falafel and grape leaves. But save some room for the delicious kebabs and the phyllo dough desserts. $$

12313 S. Dixie Hwy. (305) 256-0056
Italian and Continental
Chef/owner Domingus Gonzalves will treat you to a
great bread basket before pampering you with homemade pastas and Italian specialties. Good wine list. Neighborhood prices. $$

Gardner's Market

7301 SW 57 Ave. (305) 667-9953
Gourmet Market
Looking for lemon grass, mascarpone cheese, poblano peppers, prime meats, unusual wines or a very special gift basket? Gardner’s has these and thousands of other specialty items. If they don’t have it, they’ll try to locate it for you at one of their four locations; South Miami, Pinecrest, Brickell Key, and Ocean Reef.

5837 Sunset Dr. (305) 668-9119
The mark of a good Italian restaurant is the pastas and Grappa doesn’t disappoint with its homemade and reasonably-priced offerings, but start with one of the interesting antipasti like mousse di carciofi. Classic veal and lamb dishes, plus beef and fish entrees round out the menu. Incredibly good zabaglione is a pleasing farewell. $$

Grazie Café
11523 S Dixie Hwy. (305) 232-5533
An intimate, elegant gem with service fit for a queen. An extensive menu featuring antipastis, homemade pasta dishes, pesce and carne, along with superb specials. An experience you’ll never forget. $$

5887 SW 73rd St. (305) 662-7707
Middle Eastern
Family-owned and run, this modest restaurant draws a steady list of loyals who come for their famous tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, kibbi and kebabs. Desserts are very sweet and very good. $$

La Belle Vie
13611 S. Dixie Hwy. (305) 232-1751
A new indoor-outdoor restaurant, in the former Fiddles location, offers a vast menu of salads, sandwiches, burgers, light entrees and breakfast items. Traditional French dinner offerings include soupe a l’oignon gratinéed, escargots Bourguignonne, filet de bouef au poivre, and desserts such as crêpe Suzette. $$

5748 Sunset Dr. (305) 663-1179
The owners of the recently closed Bread Gallery have turned their hot location into a cool sidewalk café featuring a distinctly Mediterranean menu that includes baguette sandwiches, fritatta of the day, innovative salads and appetizers as well as seafood, pasta, beef, veal and pork entrees. $$

New Chinatown
5958 S Dixie Hwy. (305) 662-5649
Classic Chinese done with the freshest ingredients. Giant portions. A perennial favorite: shredded beef in garlic sauce. $$

O'Casey's Restaurant & Irish Pub
11415 South Dixie Hwy (305) 256-2667
Traditional Irish pub atmosphere serves Irish specialties like shepherd’s pie, beer battered fish & chips with remoulade sauce and malt vinegar and Irish bangers and mash with a wonderful selection of soups, starters, salads and sandwiches. $$

Parrilla Argentina
9225 SW 40th St. (305) 225-0008
5916 W 16th Ave. (Hialeah). (305) 819-7461
Delicious grilled meats, pastas, fresh salads and great selection of South American wines in this homey Argentine steak house. $$

Trattoria Luna
9477 S. Dixie Hwy. #44 (305) 669-9448
Italian At this neighborhood gem, delightful appetizers and pastas such as beef carpaccio, shrimp cocktail, Capesante, polenta and homemade pastas run the gamut. Wonderful chalkboard entrees list daily specials such as salmon a la Julienne, veal Saltimbocca, filet mignon, double breast of duck, and three twin rack of lamb. Leave room for dessert, you don’t want to miss it. $$

Trattoria Sole
5894 Sunset Dr. (305) 666-9392
Don’t be put off by the trendy look. The prices are reasonable, and everything on the menu excellent. Among the most popular choices are the paper-thin beef carpaccio and the mushroom-encrusted snapper. Pastas are heavenly and service professional. $$

Tropical Chinese Restaurant
7991 Bird Rd. (305) 262-7576
A standout among Miami-Dade’s Chinese restaurants. On the must-try list: black bean chicken, steak sake or any one of the Tropical’s exotic clay-pot specialties. $

Two Chefs Restaurant
8287 S Dixie Hwy. (305) 663-2100
Contemporary European
Soren Bredahl and Jan Jorgensen (both of whom have a substantial following from previous ventures) team up to produce some of the most interesting dishes around, like their South Florida cassoulet of lobster and asparagus and braised ox tails. $$$

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