Friends of Eater Weigh in on Their Favorite Meal of 2018

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Which cuisine reigned supreme?

As we put a cap on 2018, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from top standbys to top newcomers, from best meals to restaurants they’ve broken up with. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2018. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Responses do not necessarily reflect the views of Eater and Eater Miami.

Amber Love Bond (Eater Miami contributor): Being in the biz I’ve had access to some really incredible once in a life time meals. In July I did a sneak peek tasting of the menu at CVLTVRA and there was a short rib over pureed butternut squash that I still think about often. The restaurant opened last month and I haven’t made it in yet, but I’m hoping it’s still everything I remember it to be.

Evan Benn (Indulge Miami): Best restaurant meal: The Surf Club Restaurant; chef Manuel Echeverri is a beast in the kitchen. Thomas Keller could just let someone replicate his recipes, but Manny is elevating the dishes with his own soul and background.

Best restaurant dishes (three-way tie): 1. Pushkar Marathe’s Goan-style Pork Sorpotel at Ghee in the Design District is smoky and spicy and tender; I got emotional eating this, twice this year. 1. Val, Nando and Fernando Chang’s Pulpo al Olivo Roll is everything I love about Itamae; contrasting flavors, textures and temperatures, incredible balance, deeply satisfying. 1. Manny Echeverri’s Prime Beef Short-Rib Wellington with a black truffle sauce at The Surf Club Restaurant; a strong contender for what I’d want to eat for my last meal.

Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami photographer): The newly opened La Cime in Osaka was absolutely flawless. The French dishes w/ Japanese influence were extraordinary with a wine pairing like no other. Worthy of its Michelin and placement on the worlds 50 best list.

Becky Randel (PEOPLE Magazine, The Daily Meal, South Florida Luxury Guide): I was fortunate enough to go to Italy this summer, and stayed at a dreamy hotel called Locanda Dell’Amarosa. Our dinner at the hotel was unforgettable. The chef was a young, wunderkind (28), and he served us the most balanced, flavorful, creative, and beautifully plated dishes. Each dish was perfectly paired with a wine or cocktail. These were the best seven courses of my year, potentially my life.

Upon our return, we dined at Sette Osteria in Wynwood and felt a touch of that true Italian vibe. They offer a really friendly, warm atmosphere; super cool decor, and food that is based in the classics, yet still memorable.

David Rosendorf (Food For Thought): Anywhere? Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington in August. This was our third visit, and the best yet. Just a perfect combination of local, fresh, creative, soulful, and flavorful.

Locally? The tasting menu at Alter in October. It had probably been close to a year since I’d last eaten there, and it was a reminder that this is still, for my money, the best meal you can get in Miami. Honorable mention to a few great Cobaya experiences over the past year: a dinner in March with Justin Smillie at Upland; another in September with one of my culinary heroes, Norman Van Aken, at Three; and a collaboration last month between two Stephen Starr spots, Julian Baker of Le Zoo and Anthony Micari of Makoto, right in the middle of Bal Harbour Shops.

Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): The aged five diamond reserve, center cut filet mignon at Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant—try it and you’ll understand why.

Virginia Gil (Time Out Miami): The best and most recent meal I had in 2018 was at the Jim and Neesie at Generator Hostel. The octopus over chili romesco, the oysters with cucumber mint mignonette and the tableside margarita with clarified lime juice are what I want my last meal of the year to be—hands down. Another dinner worth mentioning, though, was at Upland, where I nearly devoured the half roasted chicken for two plus polished off a bowl of their Norwich Meadows carrots.

Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): Hmmmm… prob go with Novikov (where I can also pretend I am wealthy and thin)

Dara Lynn Smith (Eater Miami Contributor): Probably stubborn seed brunch. I ordered everything off the menu and loved every single thing.

Sara Liss (Miami.com): Brunch at RH Rooftop Restaurant at Restoration Hardware West Palm Beach. Everything about the experience was perfect, from the space itself which is a glass-enclosed atrium atop the four-story showroom to the impeccable furniture (obviously!) to the menu which is very straightforward but executed so well that everything is delicious without going overboard. I need more of that crudité platter, followed by the truffle grilled cheese and warm chocolate chip cookies topped with sea salt in my life.

What are your headline predictions for 2019? Dining outlets inside of stores will save retail.

Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): Three-way tie between Hiden, The Jim & Neesie and The Surf Club Restaurant.