The Magic City has long beckoned sun-seekers with its beautiful people, spicy salsa clubs, and, of course, always-pulsating South Beach. But now it has a new calling card as a haven for foodies. And so if you’re visiting Miami soon—and planning on eating while you’re there—you’re in luck: Miami’s food scene has exploded of late, boasting everything from food trucks to swanky, celebrity-chef-run restaurants to traditional Cuban joints, all taking advantage of the city’s rich cultural heritage to produce flavorful food that will linger long after you’ve taken your last bite.
When you’re sketching out your Miami itinerary, make sure to leave time to indulge in the city’s most delicious foodie movements.
1. Track down a local food truck.
Miami street food: so many options, so little time. You’ll want to extend your trip after downing a pork belly bahn mi with kimchi egg rolls at Sayaka Kitchen’s Dim Ssäm à gogo—or stop by El Rey De Las Fritas and order its drool-worthy namesake, the Frita, which is ground beef and chorizo with crispy potato straws served on a Cuban roll.
We also love the Crabby Cheese Melt at Ms. Cheezious, and the “architecturally-inspired” ice cream treats at Coolhaus will have kids and adults alike begging for another brown-butter-and-bacon ice cream sandwich on snickerdoodles. Can’t decide? Check out the interactive map at Roaming Hunger to track down food trucks around the city.
2. Get wined and dined at a celebrity chef’s restaurant.
Glitzy Miami has become a hotbed of restaurants run by celeb chefs, and they’re all worth their salt.
Michy’s on the Upper East Side boasts a kitchen run by Michelle Bernstein of Top Chef and Iron Chef fame, serving self-described “luxurious comfort food” such as bright, spicy ceviche and decadent short rib pot-au-feu. Downtown, atop Miami Dade College’s culinary institute, Tuyo serves up distinctly Floridian favorites such as cracked conch chowder and pan-roasted red snapper by fusion king Norman Van Aken.
And then there’s The Dutch, captained by James Beard Award winner Andrew Carmellini, serving specialty cocktails and delicious seasonal food—all housed in a casual-yet-uber-chic lounge in the W Hotel South Beach.
3. Dig into Cuban cuisine.
Okay, so Cuban food in Miami isn’t so much a movement as a way of life, but it’s so vital to the city’s food culture that it can’t go unmentioned. In Little Havana, swing into Versaille for traditional meals like vaca frita, shredded beef fried with onions and served with a side of beans and rice, or grab a Cubano sandwich, with ham, roasted pork, mustard and pickles on toasted Cuban bread.
In West Miami, visit the unassuming El Palacio de los Jugos for down-to-earth favorites like Cuban tamales and grilled pork. Grab a tropical juice (try the papaya) and battle the crowds for a spot at one of the outdoor tables.
Finish the night off with churros and hot chocolate at La Palma—and now you’re a few steps closer to being a Miami food aficionado.
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