Best restaurants in Miami? Head to Wynwood, awards say

KYU has been named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation.Handout

Wynwood is officially the hottest place for the best in Miami dining.

Three of five Miami names nominated for the most prestigious awards in fine dining are in the hipster art enclave, including in the most-coveted category.

KYU, the high-end Asian-style barbecue restaurant in Wynwood whose brisket has renowned grill masters singing its praises, was named a semifinalist today for the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best New Restaurant in the country.

In May, KYU, headed by chef/partner Micheal Lewis, earned a 3 1/2-star (Excellent) review by the Miami Herald. It is one of 27 nominees in its category. Finalists will be announced March 15, and the winners will be revealed at a Chicago gala on May 1.

KYU chef/partner Michael LewisHandout

Just blocks away, chef Brad Kilgore, chef/partner at Alter, returned to the list as a nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year. He was a semifinalist in that category last year when his restaurant also was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.

Brad Kilgore has been nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation.Brett Hufizger

And Zak Stern, who has made his kosher Zak the Baker bakery and new glatt kosher deli a name brand in Wynwood, has been named a semifinalist as Outstanding Baker.

Zak Stern, better known as Zak the Baker, has been named a semifinalist for Outstanding Baker.

And chef/owner Deme Lomas, of the nearby downtown restaurant Niu Kitchen, has been nominated for the second year in a row for Best Chef: South.

“It’s exciting because it’s not SoBe, it’s not a hotel restaurant. It’s all ground-up approach restaurants,” Kilgore said.

Up I-95, chef Clay Conley, the one-time chef at Azul, has been named a semifinalist for Best Chef: South, as well, for his role as chef/partner at his restaurants Buccan and Grato.

Philadelphia-based restaurateur Stephen Starr, who has several Miami restaurants, including the new off-shoot of New York City’s Upland, is a nominee for Outstanding Restaurateur.