Dining Ideas in Miami Beach

Dining Ideas in Miami Beach

Our Welcome Center offers recommendations on casual and fine dining in Miami Beach.

We are home to so many delicious restaurants.  It’s hard to go wrong when selecting the right place for a meal in Miami Beach. With that in mind, following are our tips for a delicious dining tour of Miami Beach, but keep in mind that following your heart will not fail your taste buds here.

Roughly 70% of the population of Miami Beach and Miami is many varieties of Latino, so its no wonder Spanish and Portuguese conversations are heard wherever you go in Miami Beach. With such a strong Latin influence, Miami flavors are one-of-a-kind in this country, and many top chefs from around the world have their hand in Miami and Miami Beach playing with Latin and global cuisines.  Our recommendations this season are:

Coffee lovers visiting Miami Beach, please set aside Starbucks for a moment, and order a Cuban coffee. For an authentic local experience, this is a must. Cuban coffee is the cheaper, and arguably the most delicious coffee available here, and you find it sold on nearly every block. For around $1.50, you can order the Colada, which is known as the coffee you order to make friends. The truth of the Colada is that it is always meant to be shared. It is triple strength Cuban expresso with triple sugar – a luscious and velvety experience that will awaken the senses. One of these will surely get you moving, two of these and you are dancing your way through your day. When local workers go for a coffee break, they go to the nearest Latin diner or restaurant and order a colada – coffee for four people. On the go, it is served in little white plastic shot glasses. Even those shy to drink coffee will enjoy dipping their lips in this rich and decadent taste of Cuba. A few of many places to sample this cultural treasure:

Bella Cuba, 1659 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach; phone: (305) 672-7566.

Café Papo, 409 Espanola Way, Miami Beach.

David’s Cafécito, 919 Alton Road, Miami Beach; phone (305) 534-8736.

Larios on the Beach, 820 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; phone (305) 532-9577.

Las Olas Café, 644 6th Street, Miami Beach; phone (305) 534-9333.

Munchies Latin Café, 324 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; phone (305) 531-0559.

Puerto Sagua, 700 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; phone (305) 673-1115.

Sazon Cuban Cuisine, 7305 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; phone: (305) 861-4727

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For an authentic Cuban experience, Bella Cuba is a charming and casual family-owned eatery in the heart of South Beach. The Cubans have been shaping our south Floridian palates for decades with mouth-watering croquetas, decadent empanadas, mojo sauces and maduros, refreshing mojitos and rich coladas (Cuban coffee).  A tour of Miami Beach without tasting Cuban cuisine is simply incomplete.  At Bella Cuba, a must try is the national dish of Cuba – Ropa Vieja – flank steak simmered in a rich sofrito sauce of tomato, spices, olives and oil of annatto until the meat falls apart, served over black beans and rice and paired with classic maduros – the perfect island balance of sweet and savory.

Prepare for it with a classic mojito made from scratch (just $5 at happy hour from 4-7pm daily) and the succulent Cuban eggroll as an appetizer.  (Bella Cuba is located at 1659 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach; (305) 672-7566).

Another casual hot spot for consistently delicious fresh fare is Café at Books & Books. This landmark restaurant has its origins in the artistic revival of Lincoln Road back in the 80’s and 90’s. The theme of its eclectic menu is Miami Nouvelle Cuisine, and it shaped the foundation for what we call Miami flavors also known as Nuevo Latino. Sourcing from local farms and supporting local and sustainable agriculture, Café at Books & Books attracts locals, tourists and local celebrities. They have a colorful and vibrant vegan and vegetarian section along with tasty fish and meat dishes and a long list of local craft beers. A must try is their secret family recipe for Hummus served with Zak’s artisanal bread and the Brussels Sprouts Shakshuka with heirloom cherry tomatoes, red peppers, chickpeas, cauliflower and toasted cumin & garlic confit. Generous portions and lots of plant food colors make this market fresh dining experience one to remember. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. (Café at Books and Books is located at 927 Lincoln Road on Miami Beach; phone (305) 695-8898).

A fab spot in mid-beach is 27 Restaurant in the Freehand Hotel. Joined to the ever-famous Broken Shaker Bar, this little farm-to-table eatery is a marvelous surprise of deliciously fresh and fragrant Miami flavors meets global cuisine. Set in a garden with a focus on communal dining, this charming locale is the perfect combination of good food and chill ambiance. A few recs: the oyster mushrooms with tahini and chermoula, Florida Middleneck clams in a sambal miso with lemongrass and kaffir lime. (27 Restaurant is located in the Freehand Hotel at 2727 Indian Creek Drive on Miami Beach; phone: (305)531-2727).

For an award-winning fine Latin dining experience with a diverse menu, Ola has been receiving accolades and is perfect for special occasions. Set against one of the little canals cutting through Miami Beach, this elegant gem boasts an eclectic menu of Latin American and Cuban dishes that are frankly works of art. A must try is the Fire & Ice Ceviche (fresh cobia marinated in sour orange, onions, cilantro, jalepeño over Asian pear granite) and the Lobster Empanada (squid ink dough filled with Maine Lobster married with avocado sauce and salsa rosa) and the Kobe beef meatballs in a foie gras sherry sauce, black trumpet chimi and crispy shallots.  They also have delicious vegetarian fare and out-of-this-world gluten-free yuca bread. (Ola is located at 2216 Park Avenue, Miami Beach; phone (305) 695-91255).

 

The Faena Hotel tends to wow. Its luminous elegance is now home to a very special chef, Paul Qui, who has created a refined and inspired menu for Pao restaurant. Playing with subtle and rich, earth and fruit, fire and wood, his dishes are an exploration of the fantasy of taste.  A must try is the Fried Chicken with sweet chili and roasted banana ketchup and jalepeño along with the Grilled & Sautéed Farm Vegetables, “Sarsang Talong” and pine-smoked olive oil. These delectable beginnings followed by the Chef’s favorite Chirashi make for an adventure into the sensation of taste. Pair this unique dining experience with Sensatia, the cabaret show featured in the Faena Theater on weekends, for a magical and memorable evening. Whatever the Faena does, it does to perfection. (Pao is located in the Faena Hotel at 3201 Collins Avenue, Faena District in Miami Beach; phone, (305) 534-8800).

 

In addition to the Latin influence, Italians have been sharing their culinary secrets with Miami Beach for years, and we have many delicious Italian restaurants. We want to highlight a newcomer on the block – Andrix Café and Italian Bakery on Espanola Way. They opened in November of 2017 and have already built a reputation for delicious fare and communal generosity. Open 24/7, this Italian eatery is that tasty treasure you can visit after a long night of dancing and revelry. Everything is delicious, light and aromatic, and baked fresh every morning. A must try is the very simple but succulent Bomboloni alla crema with an Italian cappuccino – this is beach food in Tuscany. And, their pizzas are all delicious.

All ingredients are imported from Italy, and the owners of this bakery come from many generations of bakers in Italy, sharing their family recipes with us.(Andrix Café is located 1443 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach; phone: (305) 363-1574).

Another special Italian venue is Gol up in Normandy Isle. This hidden treasure lies off the beaten path but boasts a menu that carries traditional Italian fare as well as rare dishes all prepared to perfection. In colorful soccer décor, this casual hotspot has a long history of happy customers. The wood-fired pizzas are delicious, especially the Bufalina pizza with imported fresh buffalo mozzarella. A must try – Spaghetti alla Bottarga and for dessert the Affogato al caffé for an authentic Italian experience. (Gol is located at 940 71st Street in Miami Beach; phone: (305)397-8917).

The perfect way to wind down in South Beach is to visit Smith & Wollensky in scenic South Pointe Park. This classic high-end American seafood and steakhouse sits on the government cut waterway leading to the Port of Miami. It is one of only a few waterfront dining experiences you will have here. A recommendation: grab a table in the early evening by the water and enjoy your company and a cocktail as the sun sets over the Miami skyline and the cruise ships pass through on their way out to sea. The scene is romantic, relaxing and sultry. The food is delicious, and the view is worth it. (Smith & Wollensky is located at 1 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach; phone: (305)673-2800).