Curious where Miami's in-the-know crowd is eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to discover which local businesses have been getting extra notice this month.
To find out who made the list, we first looked at Miami businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.
Read on to see which spots are riding a trend, right now.
Open since November 2019, this Caribbean and Asian fusion spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Asian Fusion" on Yelp.
Citywide, Asian fusion spots saw a median 1.8% increase in new reviews over the past month. Balloo Restaurant only recently appeared on Yelp, but while many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, it has seen strong initial popularity.
What's the business known for? "Modern home cooking by award-winning celebrity chef, Timon Balloo with a focus on his Chinese Indian Trinidadian heritage." — that's courtesy of its page on Yelp.
It's not the only trending outlier in the Asian fusion category: Ichimi MIA has seen a 70.4% increase in reviews.
Located at 19 S.E. Second Ave., Suite 4 in downtown Miami, Balloo Restaurant offers a rotating menu based on season and chef preferences; try notable spicy dishes like the Trini spiced oxtail with pigeon peas, rice and a tomato avocado salad and the roasted curry calabaza (pumpkin) with labne (yogurt cheese) and fried curry leaves.
Balloo Restaurant is open from 6 p.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and 6 p.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.)
Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen, the cocktail bar and Caribbean spot, which offers seafood and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Seafood" on Yelp saw a median 1.8% increase in new reviews over the past month, Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen bagged a 43.6% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating.
Interested in more about this business? We found this in its Yelp history section: "Grand Opening October 2019"
What does this business focus on? "Dukunoo is an eclectic Jamaican restaurant that combines the best of fine dining, specialty cocktails and casual scenery. Let the good times roll!" — that's according to its page on Yelp.
Open at 316 N.W. 24th St. since October 2019, Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen's seafood offerings include green plantains topped with escovitch snapper, salt fish fritters and a house salad with fever grass shrimp, avocado, smoked pineapple, guava emulsion and croutons.
Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen is open from 11 a.m.–1 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m.–3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. (It's closed on Monday.)
The Deck at Island Gardens
Watson Island's The Deck at Island Gardens is also making waves. Open at 888 MacArthur Cswy, the popular bar and Mediterranean spot, which offers pizza and more, has seen a 7.7% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2.7% for all businesses tagged "Bars" on Yelp. According to SafeGraph foot traffic data, The Deck at Island Gardens saw visits double over the past month.
Want more about the business and its specialties? "Island Gardens is a premier mega yacht destination and offers unique waterfront venues for weddings and events." — that's according to its Yelp page.
The Deck at Island Gardens offers a charcuterie and cheese board, table side plates and an impressive cocktail list. Libations range from St. Barths with Love (made with Coconut Cartel Rum, Grand Marnier, mango purée, Orgeat, lime juice and tropical bitters) to the Destination Mykonos (made with Greek Lighting Honey Liqueur, diluted honey, lime juice and fava water). Over the past month, it's maintained a solid four-star rating among Yelpers.
The Deck at Island Gardens is open from 6 p.m.–midnight on Thursday-Saturday and noon–midnight on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday-Wednesday.) According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, with a slowdown on Thursdays.
Brickell's Fi'lia is the city's buzziest Italian spot by the numbers.
The well-established Italian and breakfast and brunch spot, which opened at 1300 S. Miami Ave., increased its new review count by 5.7% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 2.4% for the Yelp category "Italian." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 5.7 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.
Fi'lia offers calamari, pizzas, pastas and more. (View the menu here).
Fi'lia is open from 7 a.m.–10:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 7 a.m.–midnight on Friday and Saturday.
The well-established Wynwood Diner is currently on the upswing in the cocktail bar category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Cocktail Bars" on Yelp saw a median 2.6% increase in new reviews over the past month, this diner and cocktail bar increased its new reviews by 1.1% — and kept its rating consistent at three stars. Visits to Wynwood Diner increased by 44% over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.
Curious to know more? "Wynwood Diner is a sleek yet comforting escape that provides a multifunctional space for today's modern urbanite to dine, work and play. With three distinct yet harmonious spaces, from the diner to the cafe to the outdoor patio, each area flows into the next, inviting guests to wake up with a coffee, host a lunch meeting, or end the day with dinner and cocktails with friends." — that's according to its page on Yelp.
Open for business at 2601 N.W. Second Ave. since August 2015, Wynwood Diner offers unique handcrafted cocktails, craft beer and a variety of wine and spirits. Try the peach old-fashioned, Wynwood Vesper (made with Beefeater gin, Absolut vodka and Lillet Blanc) and the Land Down Under (made Bulleit Bourbon, Cembier, Orgeat, watermelon, lime, hibiscus syrup and Elemakule Tiki bitters.
Wynwood Diner is open from 10 a.m.–11 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.–1 a.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.–1 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.–11 p.m. on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and people visit Wynwood Diner most on Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Tuesdays.