Restaurants, Chef, Michelle Bernstein, Florida, Miami, Southern Florida, Michy's, Sra. Martinez, Omphoy, Latin, Seafood, Bravo, Food Network, Check Please!, Cookbook, Cuisine a Latina, World Flavors, Home Cooking,Ingredient Driven Food, Design District, Latin and Spanish Tapas, Fish Head Curry, Argentina, Minnesota, Delta Airlines, Common Threads, Art Smith


Michy’s, Sra. Martinez, and Michelle Bernstein's at the Omphoy - Miami, FL


Michelle Bernstein is becoming a branded name. She is the executive chef for three South Florida restaurants, hosts a weekly Miami television show called Check Please!, just came out with her first Latin inspired cookbook, and designs first and business class on-board meals for Delta Airlines. She is also a much sought after guest on many national television shows and earned the bragging rights for beating out chef Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America.

Most recently, Bernstein launched the Miami chapter of Common Threads, an after-school program dedicated to teaching underprivileged kids ages 8-11 to cook, socialize, and eat healthy one recipe at a time.

We asked one of the busiest chefs in America if she would answer a few questions about herself.


Q. This fall, you opened your newest restaurant, Michelle Bernstein Restaurant at the Omphoy Ocean Resort.  What were some of the surprises of launching another restaurant?

A. Opening in a new city, like Palm Beach, is such a new experience for me. I have always felt I know the likes and dislikes and palates of the folks here in South Florida. In Palm Beach, however, it’s a whole new world with new likes and dislikes, totally different taste buds and rules I need to follow.

Q. For newbies to Miami, can you describe the difference between all of your restaurants?

A.- Michy’s: (located in Miami’s Upper East Side) is truly home cooking, very homey, relaxing and ingredient driven food.

- Sra Martinez: (in a former 1920’s Post Office in Miami's Design District) is bustling! Latin and Spanish tapas, great prohibition cocktails and recipes that can be a little more... funky!

- MB at the Omphoy: is a little more upscale that Michys, a lot of attention on fish. 

Q. Your mother is from Argentina and your father Minnesota - how has your background and past influenced your cooking?

A. All over the place, I go from making knishes to Parrilla Argentina! My mother totally influenced my palate, using only the best and freshest ingredients. She is the best home cook I know! Big bold flavors, creative combinations. 

Q. Is there one dish you never tire of making?

A. Fish Head Curry that I learned in Malaysia.

Q. You studied ballet quite seriously, how does that discipline influence you as a chef?

A. It’s exactly the same. Long hard physical hours on my feet, creativity and choreography running through my head 24/7.

Q. Can you tell us about your involvement with Common Threads?

A. I fell in love with Art Smith's Foundation from Chicago and decided we had to bring it to Miami.

Q. As a Miami insider where are the best places to eat that we’ve never heard of?

A.- Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish: on the Miami River - best whole grilled fish and stone crabs that rival Joe’s Stone Crab.

- Fifi's Place: for the most delicious fried fish, black beans and rice, and plantains ever.

- La Camaronera: best fried shrimp hands down.

Q. There are so many incredible ethnic restaurants in Miami, can you suggest any that we should go out of our way to visit? 

A.- Hy Vong: for Vietnamese.

- La Camaronera: for Cuban seafood.

- Cote Gourmet: for Provencal French. it’s super homey and funky.

- Hiro’s Yakko-San: for Japanese tapas.

- Ceviche 105: for amazing Peruvian.

Q. What other city, country or region is the most exciting to you to travel to for eating and drinking?

A. Chicago is my favorite food town. Publican, Blackbird, Spring, Salpicon, Kuma's Burgers, and Hot Doug’s.

Q. What is your least favorite new culinary trend and why?

A. I just think we have more steak houses than we could ever withstand. I love steak houses, but my goodness, enough is enough.

Q. What are the least “chefy” and most “chefy” things you like to eat?

A. Least: iceberg lettuce, breakfast sausage, fried chicken, biscuits, Cheetos. I don’t eat all this stuff, but I love it!

Most: foie gras, black and white truffles, caviar, fried chicken. I can’t afford to eat this stuff, but I love it! Except for the fried chicken, of course!

Q. You’ve appeared on Food Network, Bravo, and now have your own show called Check Please! - how do you think the increase in exposure of chefs and food in general on television has affected the restaurant business?

A. I think it makes people hungry to go out and eat more. They also believe that by watching the shows they have become "foodies" which is fine by me. It makes me and my staff work harder. 

Q. If you could have the chance to cook for someone famous (dead or alive), who would be it be? What would be on the menu? 

A. I wish I could have gotten to know my grandparents (on both sides). I would cook what I cook best for all of them. Some Argentine for mom's side, some French/American for my dad's side... let them gloat a little!

Q. You consult for Delta Airlines, what are the constraints of planning a menu that’s 35,000 feet above ground and reheated?

A. Interesting, did you know you lose about 20% of your taste buds when up in the air? I have to make food spicier, all around much more flavorful for Delta Airlines. Also, I try to keep things in juice. For example, short ribs in their braising liquid, when they heat them up they just soak up more liquid and stay juicy. That’s probably the best dish yet.

Q. Is there a recipe from your cookbook that’s really special to you?

A. My favorite is mom’s braised chicken thighs in pizza spices.


Details of chef Michelle Bernstein’s restaurant recommendations in Miami and Chicago.

City Guides

- Miami / Homestead: Download

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Upper East Side


6927 Biscayne Boulevard

Miami, Florida 33138

T: 305.759.2001 (make a reservation)



Tues - Thu: 6pm - 10:30pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 11:30pm

Sun: 5:30pm - 9:30pm

Mon: closed


Design District

Tapas, Small Plates

4000 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33137
T: 305.573.5474 (make a reservation)



Mon - Fri: 12pm - 3 pm

Mon - Thu: 6pm - 11pm

Fri - Sat: 6pm - 1am


Palm Beach


2842 South Ocean Boulevard

Palm Beach, FL 33480

T: 561.540.6444 (make a reservation)



Mon - Sun: 12pm - 2:30pm; 6pm - 10pm


Cuisine a Latina

Purchase at: Amazon




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