We have a lot of love for Miami; after all, in the depths of the coldest New York winters, it has often provided a perfect sunny respite, a mere few hours away. And in the kitchen of DiLido at one of South Beach’s most posh addresses (The Ritz Carlton, which is a restoration of the 1953 Morris Lapidus-designed landmark DiLido Hotel) is where California-bred chef Andres Meraz holds court. Meraz, whose familial roots are in the restaurant biz, spent years learning about Basque cuisine firsthand in San Sebastian, before moving to Miami. On the menu at DiLido you will find the Asian and Mexican flavors of his upbringing, including his take on his grandfather’s posole. But his favorite new dish on the menu for spring is a grilled tuna crudo with an avocado puree, pickled daikon salad, jalapeno and crispy nori. So, where does Meraz like to refuel when he’s not, ahem, puttin’ on the ritz? Here are five of his local go-tos, and the dishes he always orders.
1) Lippi (600 Brickell Ave; lippirestaurants.com) – Octopus carpaccio
2) DB Bistro (255 Biscayne Blvd; dbbistro.com/miami) – Duck duo
3) Hakkasan (4441 Collins Ave; hakkasan.com/miami) – Dim sum
4) Ceviche 105 (105 NE 3rd Ave; ceviche105.com) – Ceviche mixto
5) Pubbelly (1418 20th St; pubbelly.com) – Chorizo-stuffed dates