Two wonderful phenomena have come together to open a world of culinary possibilities in Miami: its distinct identity as a cultural “Melting Pot” and the rise of our growing food scene. For decades, our city has seen representations of a majority of the world’s countries through authentic restaurants, and now those holes in the wall are colliding with an uptick in culinary prowess. While we still have (literally) a world to go in reaching the upper echelon of cuisine, our city has quite a few spots that give even the most food-centric cities a run for their money.
In celebration of World Food Day, we’re listing some of Miami’s most beloved eats, broken down by continent/region to show that this city does, in fact, run a culinary gamut the world over. Some might be obvious, others might be hidden gems, but all are expertly delicious and comforting.
Starting in our home continent, North America is actually less easy to find around Miami if you want to stay away from new gastro cuisine and stick to the classic stuff. For comfort food, we have a badass Fried Chicken Round-up you can dive into, complete with spots that feature more than just the breaded bird. Also on the North American list is, of course, BBQ and since Miami’s wood-fire scene is growing at a delicious rate, we have a collection of local favorites for you to get excited about. Let’s not forget that Mexico is also in North America and, ladies and gentlemen, we have a guide to Mexican Eats (disregard the Mexican Independence-specific info, the round-up still works) too.
Now we’re starting to get at the heart of what gives Miami its flavor–its Latin soul. If you’re looking for a casual haunt that serves Nicaraguan classics at an alarmingly affordable rate, look no further than Yambo which is also open 24 hours. Dos Alas Kitchen in Little Havana is a lesser-known Puerto Rican joint that has come highly recommended by our audience, though a 4.9 Google Review doesn’t hurt either. Miami is packed full of Argentinean soccer lovers, and there’s no better neighborhood spot to take in the country’s hospitality, food, and all-around great vibes than at Fiorito in Little Haiti.
Dos Alas via Postmates
Since we’ve moved on to South America, the options for Latin food in Miami are seemingly endless which is why decision fatigue is almost always eminent. If you’re like us, and want to try a bit of everything, don’t overlook Empanada Harry’s where they proudly boast the best Venezuelan, Argentinean, Chilean, Colombian and Peruvian goodies in town. Ceviche is a very personal thing, but there’s one place that we always like to brag about: the hidden North Beach gem that is Locura Marina. Another highly-recommended local find is La Ventana Colombian Restaurant on the beach. And if you’re jonesing for a solid arepa, Miamians swear by Doggi’s Arepa Bar.
You can’t travel the world food-wise in Miami and not spend some ample time in Cuba. Of course, many of the city’s stars can be found along Calle Ocho, but we love making the trip to Midtown for the homegrown, diner-style cooking at Enriqueta’s. For a filling, classic slew of dishes for the whole family, Havana Harry’s never disappoints. If you’re just looking to get those paws on some croquetas, which we usually are, here’s our round-up of beloved ventanitas to get them from.
The Cuban presence has most definitely taken the wheel when it comes to culture down here, but let’s not forget the power of its fellow Caribbean cousins. There’s no way you can head up to Little Haiti and not take a low-key lunch break at everyone’s go-to favorite, Chef Creole. Another spot that is close to our hearts in B&M Market, a tiny bodega boasting some of the city’s best jerk and Jamaican dishes. If you’re like me, growing up in Miami meant having Jamaican patties at school, so here’s our collection of the best spots to get your hands on them. Let us also add Chef Niven’s newest ode to the Caribbean, Mamey, to the list.
Woof, this one’s a toughy so we hope we don’t ruffle any feathers. Let’s start with the UK, shall we? Keep your eyes on The Chippy’s next move after a successful pop-up at Balan’s in Brickell. We all want to feel like we’re on the streets of Paris right about now, so here’s our guide to the best French Bistros in town. Spanish food isn’t that hard to come by, though good Spanish food is and Rincon Escondido is one of those hidden spots that makes everyone look good just by being there.
A La Folie
Europe truly has something for every preference, though who doesn’t love Italian food? We’ve got a pizza round-up for all those picky eaters out there. But if you’re looking for something that covers the whole boot, Red Carpet Italian is another locals-only treasure, as is Sapore di Mare. Any other year, we’d be celebrating Oktoberfest like the wannabe Germans that we are, but we’ll settle for The Butcher Shop which also has some Polish delicacies for a true win-win. Greek is another cuisine that’s hard for Miamians to agree upon, so when in doubt, we suggest Mandolin Agean Bistro for its charming courtyard, classic menu, and breezy atmosphere that evokes a true Mediterranean essence all year ’round.
There is much cause for complaint when it comes to the lack of options within specific cuisines around Miami, but hey, you can’t have it all! However, we did recently add an epic Ethiopian spot to our roster after a long time of hoping: Awash. If you’re okay with making a little trip for some authentic eats (we always are), Dar Tajine Moroccan Restaurant is well worth the drive to Plantation. For something that’s best-all-around, Jollof Pot in Miramar offers a wide variety of traditional African dishes.
While Middle Eastern food shares many similar dishes, there are distinct differences throughout the region that call for their own outposts around the city. Recently added to the lineup is Motek Cafe, Miami’s first eatery by famed Israeli chef, Einat Admony. Natives know that few places cover every area of Middle Eastern food cravings like Daily Bread Marketplace does, whose hummus, tabouleh, and kibe are legendary. For next-level yet surprisingly affordable Lebanese fare, head to Tropical Park for Al-Amir Lebanese Forno.
Okay, this is a big one. For starters, an easy place to get a taste of a majority of Asia’s many flavors is at 1-800 Lucky in Wynwood–Miami’s only Asian food hall. Sometimes you just want fresh and authentic sushi, so good thing we have a guide for that and another one here. Thai food is tricky, though for something classic and all-around, we always love Panya Thai. But for something more specific and trendy, Lung Yai Thai Tapas does the trick.
We’re not even going to try to single out just one Chinese spot, so here’s our list of Miami’s best dim sum and dumplings. We’ve seen a recent rise of Vietnamese eats around town, good thing we have a round-up for that too. Indian food is definitely a split camp in Miami, where Bombay Darbar fanatics fight Zaika fans and together they scoff at Ghee Indian Kitchen lovers. Though we have our eyes on Naan Indian Eats, a newcomer to the scene and packing a real punch. Finally, my personal favorite restaurant in town just so happens to be a local Asian gem the flavors of which you haven’t likely tasted before: Bali Cafe.
You might have thought that there’s no way Miami has an Australian outpost. Well, think again. Threefold Cafe and its multiple locations around town is secretly at the heart of Miami’s Australian community and keep your eyes peeled on some very big announcements coming from their team very soon.
Cover photo of B-Side Sushi by FujiFilmGirl.