Chefs and food personalities flock to Miami this week to take part in the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which starts this Thursday. We asked some of the out-of-town chefs which Miami restaurants they want to check out while they are here:
I hate to disappoint people by recommending the same places I showed in the Miami episode of "Bizarre Foods," but I produce my show, so those are my favorite places. I had Michelle Bernstein take me Palacio de los Jugos, which was great. I still think she's the best chef in South Florida. She can taste food in a way few people can. I also love the Nicaraguan restaurant Fritanga Montelimar.
I never come to Miami without eating at Joe's Stone Crab. It's a classic for a reason. I also love Michael's Genuine and what the team is doing at Azul at Mandarin Oriental. What else? La Camaronera on Eighth Street--David [Garcia, the owner]'s dad and the other fisherman bring the fish right in and gets cooked right there. They really do keep house-made bottarga under the counter.
-Andrew Zimmern (Chef, food and travel writer, Food Network TV personality)
There are two places I must visit every time I am in South Beach. Both are run by Italians, of course. One is Scarpetta; whenever I need the best Italian food in town I go there. The chef, Scott Conant, is a good friend of mine and I am always blown away by his food. The other is Casa Tua. Fantastic stuff. All the guys there are Italian, so they do it right. And if you get a little too excited about the drinks and the wine, they have a hotel upstairs. If you are among the few VIPs that can get a room, you can just sleep there!
-Fabio Vivani (chef/owner of Siena Tavern in Chicago and former Top Chef contestant)
I always hit Michael’s Genuine and Michy’s when I’m in Miami. Michael Schwartz and Michelle Bernstein are two of my favorite chefs in America.
-Michael Symon (executive chef of Lola and Lolita restaurants in Cleveland, personality on "Iron Chef America" and "The Chew")
I want to go to Macchialina. The chef, Michael Pirolo, was the chef at my restaurant [Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau] for seven years. His food is honest and soulful. Now he's doing his own thing--that's awesome.
-Scott Conant (Restaurateur, executive chef of Scarpetta restaurants)
Last night, we went to Michael's Genuine and really loved it. I cooked last year with Hedy Goldsmith, [pastry chef at Michael's Genuine] so it was fun to see her desserts in their actual, natural habitat. We're going to Yardbird--looking forward to that. My Ceviche has been recommended to us, as well as El Palacio de los Jugos and El Mago de las Fritas.
-Jenn Louis (Chef/owner of Lincoln, Sunshine Tavern and Culinary Artistry restaurants in Portland, Oregon)
I'm hoping to eat at Michy's. End of story. She's a lovely person. I've eaten at her restaurant several times. I go every chance I get.
-John Besh (New Orleans chef and restaurateur, PBS and BRAVO TV personality)
I'd like to return to Salumeria 104, because [chef] Angelo Masarin is so passionate about his food. I feel like I am in Italy in his place. He uses such simple quality Italian ingredients. Also, D. Rodriguez Cuba-- Douglas Rodriguez's food was the first non-Italian food that I ever tried and I fell in love with. I have never been to his restaurant in Miami and I am so happy to try it.
-Cesare Casella (executive chef at Salumeria Rosi in New York City, cookbook author)
I'm most excited about visiting other barbecue-influenced restaurants like Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill and Sparky's Roadside Barbecue. While they are not new, I always like to see how Miami’s local chefs are reinterpreting and putting their signature touch on Southern fare."
-John Rivers (chef-owner of 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Orlando)