By Tom Austin
July 28, 2015
Courtesy Ella

The culinary circuit in mainland Miami is forever offering new terrain. In downtown Miami, the brand spanking new Golden Fig—a farmhouse cuisine operation helmed by Tomas Prado—has just opened in the former OTC space. Menu highlights include a Florida Keys black grouper brochette, Virginia ham croquettes, and housemade charctuerie like lardo and duck prosciutto.

Just to the north, the upcoming Wynwood Diner is billing itself as an evolved “Diner 2.0 for the 21st Century.” Due to open before the summer is out, it will offer modern takes on classic diner fare, in an appropriately playful space. The northern stretches of Wynwood are the new stomping ground for breaking-trend types, and one of the more sophisticated operations is L’epicerie at Wynwood, with such occasional thematic lunches as the food of Bardot-era St. Tropez.

Related: T+L’s Guide to Restaurants in Miami

In the Design District, Ella—a new pop-up café by Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink—offers light lunches like rock shrimp summer roll and vegetable tacos, but we’ve got our eye on breakfast (pictured), especially the beat-cured wild salmon served on an everything bagel with heirloom tomatoes, capers, onions and cream cheese. Starting this Thursday, July 30, Schwartz launches a series of prix fixe dinners with four courses and pairings, so guests have a reason to visit at night, too.

Lest you worry all of this culinary innovation is getting overlooked on a national level, Phil Bryant, of the Local Craft Food & Drink in Coral Gables, is one of six national competitors hailing from all over the United States in the Robb Report’s 2016 Culinary Masters Competition happening August 8. Bryant was nominated by master Florida chef Norman Van Aken. Mainland Miami is in the house, and representing big time.

Tom Austin is based in Miami and covers the Florida beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @TomAustin.