Miami has always been known for its gorgeous beaches and flashy nightlife, but many visitors may be unaware the city has also recently undergone a serious cultural and culinary revolution. Long gone are the days of the Cocaine Cowboys and Miami Vice. These days, Miami has majorly upped its game, embracing art, fashion, music, and of course, amazing food. If you’re one of the tens of thousands of people descending upon the Magic City for Art Basel or just here to get away from a Polar Vortex, here are some of the places you need to be eating.
Pubbelly Sushi is located in Sunset Harbor on the more local, chill side of South Beach. They things like apples, pork belly, and bacon in their sushi rolls, and it actually works. Actually, it's pretty great. We recommend you start with a tuna dish called Screaming Orgasm (yes, you can actually order one here), and follow up with the truffle soy sauce-doused wagyu beef and apple sushi roll combination. If you're not feeling sushi, they’ve got you covered with the robata grill menu as well as New England style sandwich rolls.
Situated in the Midtown neighborhood of Miami, just south of the Design District, Sugarcane specializes in modern tapas. Not your typical eggs and meat brunch, options include a raw bar, robata grill, sushi rolls, and a plate of brussels sprouts that you shouldn't miss. Prices are reasonable, and they also make damn good mojitos. By the pitcher. Bienvenido a Miami.
If you still feel like you need a bit of trendy during your culture rich weekend in Miami, then head over to Zuma in Downtown Miami for a room full of beautiful eating the kind of Japanese cuisine that beautiful people like to eat – the fancy kind. All of the food here is really good, and while the contemporary design of the main dining room is impressive too, there’s also a gorgeous outdoor terrace overlooking the Miami River and Brickell Key. Zuma can definitely get pricey, so just know what you're getting into.
Worked up an appetite rolling around the Design District making it rain? Try Michael’s Genuine, a casual, consistent Miami classic. Eat a pizza or hit the raw bar, but whatever you do, do it outside in the courtyard, preferably with drink in hand.
Quite possibly our favorite restaurant in Miami right now, this Design District Greek spot is perfect for just about everything. Hit it in the late afternoon for a super chill lunch, or come for dinner and get all up in the scene. Either way, this is some of the best Greek food we've ever had, and the courtyard environment can't be beat.
Looking to get your drink on in a bar on South Beach except you sort of hate the bars in South Beach? Try The Broken Shaker, located in the Freehold Miami Hostel. You're probably thinking to yourself, "Sweet, I can't wait to go to this hostel tonight," but this is most definitely not the YMCA. The Broken Shaker is a mixology fan's paradise in a cool tropical backyard setting, complete with ping pong tables and a swimming pool. And while there's a nice mix of small bites on the menu and jars of homemade jerky and pickles to get into, the handcrafted cocktails are what you want to concern yourself with.
Barcelona is kind of the Miami of Europe, so you might as well get some Spain in Florida in while you're here. Eat the patties bravas and anything with chorizo in it, as you would in Spain. A paella wouldn't be the worst idea you've ever had, either.
In the mood for Korean BBQ? Ok, that was a stupid question. Hit this actual hidden gem of a restaurant on South Beach, disguised behind a sign that simply says "Market" in a strip mall. Grill your own food or order from the kitchen, but whatever you do, start with an order of the peking bao and some mai tais. Also don’t miss the tuna tataki pizza and be prepared to hit the BBQ section of the menu hard.
A great beer garden in the heart of Wynwood that also has an excellent selection of meats, burgers, and even some vegetable-driven dishes like a beet salad, just to keep you honest. It's open at 11 a.m. every day, so get yourself into the sun and into some #MEEEEEATS.
If you can't get into Lucali in Brooklyn, fly down to Miami and give the location here a try. This Lucali is much bigger and a bit more...organized that the one in New York, and they also have a "secret" bar next door with games and excellent wine. The menu is essentially the same – pizzas and calzones – only here you'll get a heavy side of some scene, too.
The self-described "World's Most Famous Cuban Restaurant," and we can't really think of any that can dispute that claim. Regardless, Versailles is certainly Miami's most famous Cuban restaurant, and it's one of the best. Situated on Calle Ocho in the heart of Little Havana, this is always a mandatory stop for us when we're on a Cuban food tour of Miami. It should be one of yours as well.
For us, this is what eating in Miami is all about. We found El Exquisito a few years back when wandering down Calle Ocho, and now it's a must visit on every trip we make. We usually hit it for a quick and cheap Cubano or Medianoche sandwich, but you definitely won't be mad if you sit down and eat a giant steak in the middle of the afternoon. The people are nice and the Cuban coffee is like sweetened gasoline. It's the best.
This famous fruit and vegetable stand is a true Calle Ocho landmark, and along with all the produce, Los Pinarenos also has excellent tamales and freshly squeezed juices. Pro move: Let them stuff an avocado with delicious things for you. Just say "aguacate reelleno a la fruta." This is a Little Havana must visit.
Coming to Miami to see some art? How about you do something different and check out Cubaocho, a bar and art gallery owned by a Cuban immigrant who arrived in Florida in the '70s with little more than some paintings he’d made. Now, Cubaocho is a cultural hub in Little Havana, showcasing local art and music. They also have a big bar in the front, from which you can drink a cold Cerveza Hatuey.