Okay so what you want is an Iconic list. This one is mine, everyone is welcome to flame me on it its my personal list. If I had to pick a handful of places I would choose:
Versailles (Cuban Food)- why? Because its in every Miami travel guide, its Cuban food. But quite frankly the local chains La Carreta and Latin America offer more or less the same fare about $10 per person at all locations. Also if there isn't a man whose sole job is to refill your water and bread at your resturant then its not a true Cuban place.
Gracia's or Casablanca (seafood)- why? Because seafood IS Miami. Don't you dare order a chicken or steak, it will suck. These are seafood places, both places are on the Miami River, if you go early you can catch the fisherman unloading the days catch...it doesn't get fresher than that. Figure $15pp
Joe's Stone Crab (self explanatory)- why? Again, its in every travel guide. Again you can stone crab cheaper elsewhere (all stone crab are the same [PERIOD] but they get the nod for outstanding if not offstandish table service. Figure $30pp
Filling Station Garage Bar (burgers)- why? Its a pain to find, harder to park, and its ugly inside. BUT some of the tastiest burgers ever and tater tots to die for. Anyplace willing to offer a peanut butter burger (and make it delish) gets a nod from me. They have a knack for having the best micro brews you never heard of; but will.
Must have a drink at - Rusty Pelican. I hate the food, but this place owns the best view in town.
News Cafe (continental)- why? Again...you just have to, and even though I find the food to be good at best, its so iconic, everyone in town has eaten here once. Great place for breakfast.
Casola's (pizza)- why? There is something gratifying about ordering a large pizza that is big enough to sleep under. Slices are enormous. In Miami you either think the best pizza is Frankie's or Casola's. Another ugly place, but hey when you need pizza at 4am, you don't care about decor.
El Palacio De Los Jugos (Cuban) - why? simply the best deal on Cuban food in town, make sure to bring your high school Spanish skills because nobody here speaks English except maybe a patron or two.
The Knife Steakhouse - why? Because the beef and salad is unlimited, and if I am going to die of a heart attack, I would like to be here, preferably on the balcony of the Coconut Grove location, I might get lucky and fall on a peacock.
Bond Street Sushi - why? There is just something cool about having sushi in the basement of a hotel with rocking trans music, and then going to the rooftop to keep partying.
Balans (continental) - Okay this isn't the best of the list, but the bathrooms still make me giggle
Big Pink (American) - why? Order the TV dinner and reminisce about watching Howdy Doody back when you actually had to get up and change the channel.
Micheal's Genuine Food and drink. why? just order up and thank me later.
River Oyster Bar - why? C'mon now, usually 12 different kind of oysters. If slimy snot things are your thing, this is the place to go.
Michy's - why? Michele Bernstein is a local if not national legend. She has a thing for finding the freshest stuff at the market and making a menu around it. Hint- they don't serve booze here (just beer and wine) but if you smile a lot and talk to the bartender and tip well he'll let you have some of the Gin he stashes for me.
Tobacco Road - Okay I hate this one. It is though the oldest bar in Miami (Fox's in South Miami makes the same claim). And I don't care what anyone says they don't have a license numbered 000, licenses weren't serialized back then. Then again, you probably would have been a railroad worker back then and not allowed to drink here anyway.