New restaurants opened in Miami and Miami Beach at a breakneck pace in recent weeks, while established eateries have fine-tuned their food and service in anticipation of Art Basel crowds. Here are several restaurants in each category — plus the details on some on-site pop-ups — worth checking out during art breaks.
27 Restaurant & Bar: Hip hostel/hangout Freehand Miami Beach, home to top cocktail bar Broken Shaker, has opened its much-anticipated restaurant with a menu that leans toward the Mediterranean and Latin America. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach. 305-531-2727.
Midtown Oyster Bar: The group behind Salumeria 104, Spris and Segafredo has opened its latest, a New England-style oyster bar, in midtown Miami. Fill your belly with raw, broiled or fried bivalves in this cozy nook. 3301 NE First Ave., Miami. 786-220-2070.
Stripsteak: San Francisco-based über-chef Michael Mina set up shop in the former Gotham Steak at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. It’s his second restaurant at the resort; he opened Michael Mina 74 right before last year’s Basel. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 877-326-7412.
Blackbrick Chinese: Chef-owner Richard Hales’ ode to authentic Chinese food earned a three-star review from the Miami Herald in February and a nod this summer from Bon Appétit magazine as one of the best restaurants of the year. You haven’t gone yet? Fix that this week. 3451 NE First Ave., Miami. 305-573-8886.
The Forge: Michelin-starred chef Christopher Lee has breathed new life into the venerable Miami Beach steakhouse. Don’t miss his pastrami-spiced duck breast with rye gnocchi. 432 W. 41st St., Miami Beach. 305-538-8533.
Mandolin: As the Design District goes upscale, Mandolin (pictured) remains refreshingly casual, comfortable and consistent. The vibe is international chic, with an affordable Mediterranean menu that never fails to please. 4312 NE Second Ave., Miami. 305-749-9140.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Café: Chef Michael Schwartz returns to Design Miami, located outside the Convention Center, with his pop-up MGFD Café, offering hot and cold dishes, coffee, wine and beer, and sweets from Hedy Goldsmith. Open Tuesday for Preview Day noon-6 p.m. and Vernissage 6-8 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday noon-8 p.m. and Sunday noon-6 p.m.
Michy’s Pop Up: Chef Michelle Bernstein is renovating her flagship Michy’s on Biscayne Boulevard, but that doesn’t mean she won’t have a presence at Art Basel. Her new Seagrape restaurant opened last month in the new Thompson Miami Beach, and she has two pop-ups cooking at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. The dinner-only Michy’s Pop Up requires reservations. Open Wednesday-Saturday 6-11 p.m. michyspopup.com; 877-222-1742.
Michy’s Garden Cafe: The more-casual Basel offering from Bernstein serves sandwiches, salads and other small bites. Open 1-6 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. michyspopup.com; 305-213-2512.
OTHER NEW AND NOTABLES
NIU Kitchen: The most authentic and well-executed Catalan food in Miami. 134 NE Second Ave., Miami. 786-542-5070.
Proof Pizza & Pasta: A Michael Mina protege branched off in October to open this outstanding Neapolitan pizza shop. 3328 N. Miami Ave., Miami. 786-536-9562.
Verde: Forget what you think you know about museum restaurants. Philly restaurateur Stephen Starr’s Verde serves seriously good food that doesn’t weigh you down in an idyllic bayfront setting. 1103 Biscayne Blvd. (PAMM), Miami. 305-375-8282.
Mignonette: Among Miami’s new wave of raw bars, this one has the best selection of fresh oysters and the most addictive popcorn clams in town. 210 NE 18th St., Miami. 305-374-4635.
Bin 18: Diverse yet affordable, chef Alfredo Patino’s bistro fare and his list of New and Old World wines are favorites of regulars in the know. 1800 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.786-235-7575.
MC Kitchen: The modern Italian food from chef Dena Marino is hearty and robust; so is her restaurant’s beer selection — more Dogfish Head choices than anywhere in Florida. 4141 NE Second Ave., Miami. 305-456-9948.
Morimoto: The Iron Chef’s long-awaited sushi den is now open in the newly renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand. 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-341-1500.
My Ceviche: Don’t be turned off by its hole-in-the-wall, next-to-a-hostel setting. My Ceviche’s superfresh, superfast eats win over locals and visitors. 235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. 305-397-8710.
Oolite: In years past, Basel-goers may have fallen for chef Kris Wessel’s BBQ shrimp at his much-mourned Red Light or at South Beach’s Florida Cookery. The dish is back — along with a whole bunch of new Wessel classics — at his spectacular Oolite, just off Lincoln Road. 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., Miami Beach. 305-907-5535.
Evan S. Benn is Miami Herald food editor and Miami.com restaurants editor. Follow him on Twitter: @EvanBenn.