With celebrity chefs executing the latest techniques and plating, Miami is a global culinary crossroads where different cultures, cooking styles and ingredients meet deliciously on local menus.
Asia and Peru fuse at La Mar by Gastón Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key, featuring upscale nuvo-Andean fare and Asian-Peru fusion cuisine along with pre-Columbian meat dishes and speciality cocktails.
A seductive vintage atmosphere and delicious Italian specialities keep people streaming to Cecconi’s in the courtyard of Miami Beach’s Soho Beach House, serving handmade pasta, seafood and classic cocktails served from its beautiful Old World–inspired bar under string lights and a magical candlelight ambience that feels intimate and secluded.
The South of Fifth District on Miami Beach has become a must-dine destination thanks to places like Estiatorio Milos, where fresh seafood is served in impeccable Mediterranean style.
Back on the mainland, dining at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables proves that the classics never go out of style, with the acclaimed Palme d’Or presenting contemporary French cuisine in Jazz Age style. Fontana offers a romantic Italian ambience in a lush, tropical and romantic setting in the hotel’s courtyard.
From James Beard Award–nominated chefs to an Asian food hall, Wynwood has swiftly transformed into one of Greater Miami’s hottest dining destinations where you can dine next to murals or inside quirky art galleries.
For those who crave the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach, Lincoln Road is a pedestrian-friendly avenue of iconic eateries offering indoor and “al fresco” dining. The famous beachside strip known as Ocean Drive offers the opportunity to people-watch as you dine. Stroll those always-happening streets afterwards to walk off the calories in style.
Part modern steakhouse and part chic lounge, STK South Beach stands apart in offering the South Beach experience — complete with DJs spinning tunes — whilst serving signature premium cuts and entrees.
In Little Havana, traditional flavours from Cuba are always served piping hot at La Carreta. Other outposts are located throughout Miami’s neighbourhoods. The iconic Versailles, a Miami institution, is the place for traditional Havana-style fare with a side of local colour, as many neighbourhood characters stop by daily for cafecito and to catch up on island politics. If signature dishes from Spain are more your thing, the famous Casa Juancho offers tapas and fresh seafood paella accompanied by lively tableside serenades. Olé!
Other neighbourhood favourites like Doral’s Divieto keep the locals coming back with its classic Italian dishes and a casual atmosphere.
Dine with a View
Surrounded by stunning waterscapes, dazzling city skylines and cutting-edge art, you’ll never run out of spots to sit and savour the view along with your cuisine.
A Miami institution that just keeps getting better, The Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne has been overlooking Downtown Miami for decades, with panoramic windows taking in the bay and city lights and a menu of quintessential Miami favourites, from raw bar selections and sushi to delectable steak and seafood entrees.
Picturesque Miami River provides the scenic backdrop at Seaspice Brasserie and Lounge, housed in a post-industrial warehouse with nautical touches and featuring signature wood-fired casseroles and crafted cocktails in a main dining area, exterior courtyard lounge, lush garden bar and covered patio, all with views of fiery sunsets over the water. If you can tear your eyes away from sweeping vistas of the Freedom Tower, PortMiami and other Downtown Miami landmarks, you’ll relish artfully prepared and tastefully displayed cuisine at Tuyo, located atop the Miami Culinary Institute in the heart of the city.
La Muse Café at Kimpton EPIC Hotel inspires both art and food lovers, housed in the award-winning Avant Gallery and showcasing a menu that riffs on iconic muses and their artists with culinary nods to France, New York, California and the Mediterranean.
Check out the Talent
As in the realms of art, culture and entertainment, Miami leads the world in culinary innovation, a trend that started several decades ago when local chefs started blending influences from the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Asia to create the region’s signature New World Cuisine.
Today, Miami attracts many of the world’s top culinary talent, including James Beard Award–winning chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz, who landed here in the early 1990s and opened his flagship restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District in 2007. His prize portfolio of dining concepts continues to grow with its newest incarnation — Tigertail + Mary, a Meyer Davis Studios–designed eatery in Coconut Grove.
Food is so much more than delicious dining in Miami. Food is a concept, a feeling and a mood. James Beard Award–nominated chef/restaurateur José Mendín has captured many moods with his restaurant concepts, from Pubbelly Sushi — with multiple Miami locations — to Habitat in the 1 Hotel South Beach, whose exceptional menu utilises fresh, local ingredients and masterful techniques.
James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein has been centre stage on Miami’s restaurant scene for two decades. Her newest venture is Café La Trova in the heart of Little Havana, offering a contemporary take on Cuban-style dishes.
The celebrated Michael Mina oversees 30 restaurants around the world and has put his stamp on Miami with Bourbon Steak at the JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa, International Smoke at Aventura Mall and Stripsteak at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
A Sweet Finish
It may be hot and spicy, but Miami has its sweet side, too. From artisanal doughnuts to traditional scones, from classic baked staples like crème brûlée and churros, and to tropical indulgences starring the sweetness of guava, mango, Key lime and other tropical fruits, Miami’s restaurants, cafés and bakeries will kindle your cravings.
And speaking of flavours, how do balsamic strawberry, caramel flan and sweet plantain sound? They’re all choices at Little Havana’s Azucar, where ice cream and sorbet are handcrafted using high-quality, locally grown and seasonal ingredients in homage to the recipes of the owner’s grandmother.
Once you recover from that, there are sweet endings at restaurants all over the city, including the simply delicious corn cake with vanilla ice cream at Lolo’s Surf Cantina in South Beach’s South of Fifth District. In addition, abundant neighbourhood bakeries whip up signature sweets and coffees reflecting the city’s multicultural flavour. Each neighbourhood in Miami offers its unique take on desserts — from salty to sweet and from sugar to spice… all meant to go down smoothly with a cup of fragrant Cuban cafecito.
Author: Lisa Simundson