Miami might just be one of the busiest cities during the winter season and it’s obvious as to why: the weather is unbelievable! If you’re stuck up North, plan a quick escape to Miami, not only for the warm weather, but the welcoming people, and of course – the delicious food. Get ready to explore Miami visually with this Foodie Guide to Miami, Florida!
About two months ago, my husband and I decided to check flight for Miami and book a trip to visit my grandparents, who reside there. Little did we know that we were not only in for a lovely family reunion, but that Miami would be packed to the brim with visitors from around the world looking to escape the cold weather. Rarely are we last minute travelers, but for this trip we had yet to book our hotel the day before departing – we found a deal at the Hilton Miami Downtown before we boarded our flight (quite literally) and off we went!
If you’re looking for a city that has incredible weather all year long (let’s pretend hurricanes don’t happen), Miami is your city. Not only that but it boosts a culinary scene that’s on par with larger cities like New York and Chicago, while still being pretty accessible. I’ve done all the research on where to eat and drink in Miami, so let’s begin.
Whenever I travel, I’m always on the lookout for two things: great donuts and good coffee and The Salty Donut over-delivers in a big way. This one is certainly for the early risers like me, because there’s a line ready to eat donuts even 30 minutes before they open at 7:30am. Thankfully our hotel was close by, so an early morning walk to meet a friend was quite the thing I needed to energize me.
This artisan donuts are unlike any others I’ve tasted. From the menu, we got the Nutella Donut, a Traditional Glazed Buttermilk, and their most popular site, the Sticky Bun Donut. To pair said donuts, I ordered a hot latte – coffee and donuts are seriously a match made in heaven. But let’s talk about the donuts! The Nutella Donut, a 24 hour raised brioche donut with Nutella filing, cocoa glaze, topped with crushed hazelnuts – the moment you break it open, the silky smooth Nutella oozes out and calls my name. I’m Nutella obsessed, so this was magnificent. The Traditional Glazed Buttermilk, another 24 hour raised buttermilk brioche donut but this time with a simple Tahitian vanilla bean glaze. When at a donut shop, a traditional glazed is always a must so you can really taste the original dough and this one did not disappoint. And now, last but certainly not least the Sticky Bun Donut – basically a sticky bun baked inside a brioche donut. This must be what heaven tastes like – sweet, chewy, incredible. Topped with pecans, a light glaze, and powdered sugar – this is a donut that’s for sharing. If you love donuts and coffee (and who doesn’t), The Salty Donut in Miami is a must.
If you’re looking to kick off your day on a healthier note, a stop into Jugo Fresh would be my choice. My husband was sick on the trip and I didn’t want to catch that sickness, so I walked into Jugo Fresh and grabbed us two shots of their “saca lo” (loosely translated from Spanish to mean “bring it out”), made of lemon, lime, ginger, cayenne, turmeric, oregano oil, echinacea extract, and raw honey.
That little shot right there instantly cleared my husband’s sinus congestion and made my eyes water, in a good way. Jugo Fresh focuses on delivering quality, organic, and fresh options and I loved that. This location was at the Wynwood Walls, thus the colorful backgrounds. Not only do they offer juice shots, but full juices and cleanses, food and acai bowls as well. Miami is slowly trying to keep up with the trends in health and fitness, so it’s great to see such a great brand scattered around the city.
Zak The Baker has become Miami’s best baker and I can only say this because I’ve seen him grown on social media. But thankfully I finally had a chance to taste his goods, when I met a friend for breakfast. Zak The Baker has two locations, both in walking distance of each other: one a traditional kosher deli and the other a bakery. We dined at the deli to begin with and then grabbed treats from the bakery to bring home to the grandparents. We ordered the gravlax sandwich with lettuce, red onion, capers, and a lemon herb aioli, as well as latkes. As something to nosh on, we were brought a small plate of house cured pickles and mustard.
The sandwich was fantastic and everything you’d want in a gravlax sandwich – the bread flavorful and soft, the salmon cured nicely, and an aioli to bring it all together. The latkes were crispy and tender on the inside, although I would have loved some sour cream or apple sauce to go with. When we inquired, we were reminded that as a traditional kosher deli, they tried to stay away from dairy products on dishes but were working on an aioli that would work with the latkes. Fair enough! A quick walk over to the bakery, where I ordered a chocolate babka as well as treats from the case to bring to my family, who raved about every single thing in the bakery box. If you love traditional Jewish eats, as well as great baked items, a stop by Zak The Baker must be on your Miami list.
KYU Miami is a trendy, hip wood-fired Asian inspired restaurant and the perfect place for a bite for lunch. Anything Asian is always right up our alley, so we stopped in for cocktails and bar bites one afternoon before a full lunch. And whenever we see steamed buns, we get them. My husband is obsessed with them and these crisp pork belly buns did his love justice. The perfect sauce with crispy pork belly, pickles…we didn’t want them to end. We also ordered the pork and shiitake gyoza with a smoked truffle ponzu – artfully done and full of flavor. The menu looks delicious – but we had lunch plans, so a quick stop was all we could fit in!
Recommended by my food loving brother Martin, we hit up Sugarcane for my birthday brunch and it was one of the best meals we had in Miami. Basically because it’s set up how I like to eat: a variety of small plates that compliment each other, along with amazing desserts. We ordered about ten dishes, which all came out at different times, giving us enough time to taste a couple of bite before the next one arrived.
If you’re in the neighborhood for brunch, here’s what I HIGHLY suggest you order:
- goat cheese croquettes membrillo marmalade
- avocado toast charred corn, whipped goat cheese
- yucas bravas chorizo crumble, tomato conserva
- salmon benedict house gravlox, herb hollandaise, brioche
- “fat boy” hash bacon jam, two fried eggs, truffle hollandaise
- sweet potatoes maple soy
- vanilla bean beignets hazelnut ganache
Yes, we ordered it all and loved it all – the flavors really were bright and fresh and everything was cooked to perfection, including the eggs int two dishes. Incredibly tasty and I want to go back.
Cuban Cortaditos and Espresso – everywhere.
Cuban coffee is known for being incredibly tasty, albeit incredibly strong. But for those mid day slumps when you’re walking in the hot Miami sun, a quick cortadito or Cuban espresso is just what you need to perk you up. Cortaditos typically have milk added for that frothy, creamy texture, but the thing I love the most is Cuban espresso.
It’s made by adding the sugar to the espresso pot, but better than explaining how to make one, check out this video by my friend The Yum Yum Foodie as he guides us in making an authentic Cuban cortadito. Click here to watch the video.
When visiting Miami, Cuban food is a must. The Cuban population gives such a wonderful energy to the city of Miami and their food is just as bright as their personalities. They consider themselves the “world’s most famous Cuban restaurant”, although I’m not sure how official that is. Either way, it’s incredible food and everyone in Florida knows about Versailles. Heck, even if you travel through the Miami airport, you’ll see Versailles take out windows there as well – nothing like a last minute croquette or Cuban sandwich!?
Being the hungry foodie I am, I ordered “The Criollo”, one of the two Cuban samplers they offer and as you can see above, it’s quite. plate! Here’s what’s on it: Yellow Rice, Black Beans, “Ropa Vieja” Shredded Beef in Tomato Sauce, Fried Pork Chunks, Ham Croquette, and Sweet Plantains. Do NOT leave Miami without dining at Versailles!
And I’ll forgive you if you don’t dine and just grab dessert at their adjacent bakery. Guava and cream cheese pies, palmers, tres leches, flan, and so many more Cuban and Latin desserts, it’s a joy just to stare at the case and people watch as others other desserts. You can also order a cortadito – and why not? The more coffee, the merrier!
I’m going to write an entire post about this meal, because it was that incredible, but I couldn’t not mention it. La Mar features food by acclaimed chef Gaston Acurio, one of Peru’s trailblazing chefs and quite comparable to the greats like Ferran Adria. Authentic and diverse flavors of Peruvian cuisines shine and our meal there was surreal. Food came and went and we couldn’t stop.
If you can, make a reservation for dinner and if I could tell you to order only one thing, it’d be the Churrasco a lo Pobre, which is ribeye steak, chimichurri, beans and rice tacu-tacu, quail eggs, chorrillana sauce, fried banana. Tacu-tacu rice is a blend of rice and beans, that creates such an incredible texture. This entire dish was out of a culinary dream – and worth its weight in gold.
If you’re traveling to a new city, a walking food tour is my one suggestion – always. There are plenty of tour companies that do incredible tours of the area and I was happy to be invited to a South Beach Food Tour with Miami Culinary Tours. Well organized, a good variation of food, and a sprinkling of history of the city made the couple of hours worth it. I’ll be writing a post of our tour soon – be on the lookout!
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous