Where To Eat When You’re Visiting Miami

New in town? We have some suggestions.

photo credit: Tasty Planet

Welcome to Miami, where entire city blocks smell like pork, we don’t actually drink a lot of mojitos, and those chickens are, in fact, supposed to be there (so share the sidewalk). We understand why you came to our city, especially if it’s currently snowing where you live. And by all means, engage in some Miami cliches: get a little sunburnt on the beach, have a piña colada in South Beach (specifically the one from Sweet Liberty), and smoke a cigar in Little Havana. But this guide is meant to help you dig a little deeper. We have recommendations for breakfast through late-night drinks in all the neighborhoods you’ll probably be spending time in anyway. So have fun, don’t get that rental towed, and please don’t drink the entire colada yourself. You’re supposed to share those.


photo credit: Cleveland Jennings



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This casual MiMo breakfast and lunch spot is one of the most exciting Venezuelan restaurants in Miami right now. Here, you’ll find our favorite cachitos in town, with warm, fluffy dough that hugs a filling of diced ham and cheese. They also make massive tequeños you should order for the table. Other than that, any toast, sandwich, or pastry that sounds good will, in fact, be excellent. We really love their broccoli and cheese sandwich. You can expect a crowd on the weekends (and the kitchen usually closes around two) so planning for an early breakfast is the best move.




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Chug’s blends the aesthetic of a classic American diner with Cuban-American food that’s unlike anything you’ve ever encountered in a diner. You can find the Cuban essentials here: cafecito, croqeutas, and pastelitos. But Chug’s is at its best when it creatively blends its Cuban roots with other Miami food influences—like malanga latkes with guava apple sauce, a frita patty melt, or their “Cuban-American sandwich” with sweet ham, salami, lechon, swiss, mustard aioli, pickles. We love sliding into one of Chug’s bouncy booths, but if it’s nice out, their courtyard seating is ideal.

Rosie’s is the brunch you should actually make a reservation for. This is because it’s pretty packed on the weekends, but also because their menu of Southern dishes is worth arranging an entire day around. If you’re in the mood for something fried, go for Rosie’s chicken or crispy fish, which you can order with waffles, in sandwich form, or served over the best grits within a 25 mile radius. But even if you just want a photoshoot-ready omelette and a seasonal juice, Rosie’s works. It’s that rare special occasion brunch that doesn’t require waiting hours for a table and putting up with loud people who’ve had 13 mimosas.


Mandolin is in every conversation about where to eat in Miami—particularly if it is a time of year when the weather doesn’t suck. It’s the reservation every tourist fleeing winter battles for, but they have to fight locals too, who also love to celebrate special occasions in what’s possibly the greatest outdoor restaurant in town. So maybe try this Mediterranean spot for lunch, when it’s easier to get in. Mandolin’s backyard is an old house that’s been converted into an absolute postcard of a patio—and there’s enough shade and fans to make it tolerable at 2pm in August. The simple Mediterranean food is always consistently great, but you’re coming here for the atmosphere.

The frita—at least one this good—is something you’ll really only find in Miami, like Alonzo Mourning or drunk celebrities on jet skis. And our favorite version comes from El Rey De Las Fritas. The frita is often described as a Cuban hamburger, but that doesn’t really do it justice. The combination of spiced beef, potato sticks, and cuban bread is more like a crunchy, salty, uppercut from a cow wearing a guayabera. And El Rey’s Calle Ocho restaurant is a delightful time warp that feels like an old school diner with a winding counter perfect for a solo meal.

We do not usually tell people who are visiting Miami to seek out a New York restaurant (we have too many of them). But we’re making an exception here because there aren’t many great lunch options in South Beach, and also, only in Miami can you walk right into Lucali with a zero minute wait. That’ll probably be the case if you come here for lunch, when this iconic NYC pizza spot is fairly calm. See for yourself how well these thin, crispy pizzas stack up against the versions up north that people wait six hours for.


Peruvian food just makes sense in Miami. We have a big Peruvian population, and also the perfect climate for a cold, refreshing, citrusy ceviche. You will, in fact, find the best ceviche in the universe at Maty’s. But you’ll also find more of the most exciting Peruvian dishes in town. This huge Midtown spot takes this food in directions we’ve never seen before. Their saltado uses massive pieces of oxtail, their choclo is tossed in a spicy huancaína sauce, and they execute rotating tiraditos with the precision of a spinal surgeon. If you are even a little in love with the flavors of Peru, this will be the dinner of the trip.

There are people who will discourage you from eating in South Beach. But those people have never been to Macchialina. It’s the best Italian restaurant in Miami. And nothing about this place is touristy, overpriced, or exhibits any other South Beach cliches. There’s no dress code, but dinner here always feels like a big night out. The small dining room is intimate and dark, and their back patio—once a hostel filled with drunken tourists—now feels like a backyard dinner party. Come for great cocktails, perfect pasta, and a never-skip dessert menu. And then send photos of everything you ate to whoever told you there’s no good food in South Beach.

The clubstaurant is, tragically, very much a thing in Miami. But if you want a big, loud, fun dinner that happens not to suck, go to Cafe La Trova. The Cuban spot on Calle Ocho has live music, outstanding cocktails, and one of Miami’s best arroz con pollo. It is not common for a restaurant that feels like a party to also be on our guide to the best Cuban restaurants in Miami, but that’s exactly why you should prioritize this place. Plus, if we had to elect a single Miami cocktail mayor, we’re choosing La Trova’s daiquiri.

If you are trying to have a sexy night out in Miami Beach, do it here. This Mid-Beach spot’s quietly hip personality is contagious, and its beautiful dining room inside an old home never fails to make us feel like we’re at a famous person’s house. But unlike so many Miami Beach restaurants, 27 is not just a status symbol. It’s a great restaurant, and the menu is a thoughtful (and delicious) love letter to the many cultures that make eating in this city so fun. There’s griot, lasagna made with Jamaican oxtail, and also just a very good burger if you want to keep things simple.


If you are having dinner at 27, walk out the back door for drinks at Broken Shaker, a cocktail bar we love for all the same reasons. You can stand and mingle in the outdoor space, or sit down by the pool and share a humongous punch bowl with five friends. Wherever you end up, there’s not a bad seat on the patio. The tropical space is full of palm trees, a pool you’re actually allowed to swim in, and a crowd who’re all acting like they’re on vacation, even the locals. This place just has that effect on you.

It’s a bit of a mission to get to The Cleat. The entirely outdoor bar is located inside a state park in Key Biscayne. So why should you worry about finding your way there? Because this is the greatest waterfront bar in the entire city. That is 100% because of the view. You won’t find impressive cocktails here (stick to beer) but you will find a 360 degree view of Biscayne Bay that will make steel drums unconsciously start playing in your head. Happy Hour here can save you a four hour drive to Key West.

Wynwood was once an arts district. Now it’s more of a drunk district—especially once the sun sets. There are a bit too many punishingly loud clubs in the area for our taste. But if you want to feel like you’re out in Miami—but do so in a bar that doesn’t actually suck—go to Gramps. This place will inevitably get loud and crowded on the weekend. But unlike so many nearby bars, it’ll actually be fun. Gramps is a time capsule of everything that made going out in Wynwood exciting in the first place. There are good cocktails, fantastic DJs, and an amazing drag night every Thursday. If you get hungry, they also have a pizza stand in the backyard making one of the city’s best NYC slices.

Here’s your key to a successful night at Lagniappe: Arrive early. The earlier you get to this popular wine bar, the higher your chances of scoring the first come, first served tables in the sprawling backyard. Once you’ve got an actual place to sit, Lagniappe is delightful. You serve yourself here by grabbing as many bottles of wine as you’d like from the refrigerators. You can also build your own charcuterie platter too. There’s a small indoor section, but Lagniappe is best enjoyed with no roof, so make sure the weather is cooperating before you go.

Ball & Chain is a historic music venue right in the center of Calle Ocho’s busiest strip. Opened in 1935, this place has hosted acts like Billie Holiday and Count Basie. Today, it’s a fun place to have mojitos and maybe light a cigar while watching a band play on the backyard stage, which is adorably shaped like a pineapple. If loud, crowded bars aren’t your thing, avoid Ball & Chain at night. Instead, go during the day when it’s a fine place to day drink and nod along to some live Latin music.


If you’re new to the Cuban sandwich, eating here is going to be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you’ll taste the best Cuban sandwich in the world. On the other, you’ll spend the rest of your days comparing every Cuban sandwich you eat to this one, and none of them will come close. Expect a line to form in front of this small Calle Ocho shop (but it moves fast). And since you’re waiting in that line, you might as well order more than one sandwich. Their classic Cuban is obviously non-negotiable, but they also make one of the very best pan con bistec in the city.

If you’d like to have your Cuban sandwich in a bar environment, then go to Off Site in Little River. This nano-brewery has great beer—but the selling point of this place is their tight menu of excellent sandwiches and bar food. The Cuban sandwich is one of the best things on that menu. The bread is pressed crispy enough to bring home and use in an ASMR video, and between it awaits a very generous portion of roasted pork, ham, house pickles, and swiss cheese. It is the perfect companion to their house lager.

The best Cuban sandwich you’ll find in South Beach is at this little ventanita. Perfect for before, after, or during the beach, the Las Olas Cuban is a great example of the kind of simple, classic version Miami does so well. We also really love how Las Olas cuts its sandwiches into ultra-thin triangles, so every bite tastes like that first corner bite (which we all know is the best one). You can sit down and eat it here, but there’s not much atmosphere, so consider grabbing it for a beach picnic.

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