By: Carla Torres
The streets of Wynwood are awash with murals, boutiques, art galleries and hipster bars making this one of Miami’s most exciting new neighborhoods. As you head north, the warehouse space and graffiti art give way to the more manicured, planned neighborhood of Midtown. Both are ripe with foodie delights and we’ve included a few solid Midtown spots in our Wynwood dining guide. With so much to discover, be sure to take a break to refuel at one of these tasty restaurants.
For the ultimate American combination—burgers and beer—look no further than Kush. Don’t be fooled by its tinted windows and borderline sketchy porch, inside it’s a whole other story. Besides having the best and most diverse craft beer selection in the area, everything on the menu is sourced locally. Take the alligator bites, made from Florida gator, or one of its five specialty burgers. Beef is delivered weekly from Cowart Ranch and ground by hand in house every day. For something different, the Frita is a pressed burger that puts guava jelly, melted Gruyere, potato stix, crispy bacon, and LoKal sauce between two patties. All burger’s come emblazoned with “Kush,” so you remember where you are with every last bite.
Open since 1942, the Cuban diner changed ownership in 2001 and added traditional Cuban dishes to their once sandwich-centric menu. Today, its reputation not only ensures you can get the best pan con bistec in town right from their ventanita (and for less than seven dollars), but at 3:05 (Miami’s official cafecito time) locals flock to Enriqueta’s to get their java fix and power through the rest of their day.
Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill
When the 4,000 square foot Sugarcane opened its doors for the first time during Art Basel 2010, it was clear that Midtown had arrived and was here to stay. Its exposed Colonial style interior with high red ceilings adorned with wooden beams elicits a sense of vintage warmth, making you want to kick back and relax. Go ahead, but not without ordering a beet mojito. Outside, the romantic courtyard will light up any occasion with its star shaped hanging lanterns. As far as edibles, Sugarcane was at the forefront of the blooming tapas trend. A globally inspired selection of small plates, in addition to a robata grill, raw bar options and an exotic selection of sushi, ensures no palate is left behind.
There’s a reason why Jay-Z and Beyonce chose Joey’s for chow while visiting Miami. It might be the al fresco garden outfitted with turf and shrubbery or the interior’s glass mosaic mural centerpiece. Chances are it’s probably the pizza, which Food & Wine Magazine declared as one of the top U.S restaurants shortly after opening its doors in 2008. Seven years later, the buzz (and pizza) is still sizzling. The “Joey pizza” satisfies with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Portobello mushrooms, shallots and oregano. House made pasta comes in all shapes and sizes, from linguine dressed with middle neck clams and garlic to pappardelle with Bolognese and béchamel sauce.
You’ve probably heard of arepas before. Puffy corn pancakes ripped at their core and filled with whatever ingredients your heart desires. The traditional Venezuelan dish is ubiquitous in Miami, and at La Latina, arepas are 100% gluten-free and meat is antibiotic and hormone-free. Nothing on the menu costs more than nine dollars and on the weekends, La Latina stays up late, till 5 a.m. to ensure you get your late night fix without forgoing nutrition. For the ultimate Venezuelan experience, go for the reina pepiada, which stuffs chicken salad mixed with avocado in a pillow of corn. Take it a level farther by ordering a “sifrina” – a cheesy reina pepiada.
Gigi was one of the pioneers in the Asian fusion trend, executing dishes like ‘shroom’ buns and chilled soba noodles with spicy peanut dressing with unpretentious flair. Responsible for Miami’s brussel sprouts renaissance, their version combines the leafy green with cauliflower and bacon, and seals it in sweet soy. On most nights, overpowering chatter fills up the industrial oasis that’s packed with hipsters who are either coming from or going to its neighboring lounge, Bardot. Open till 3 a.m. on weekdays and 5 a.m. on the weekends, Gigi’s is the perfect spot for a pre-party snack or edible nightcap.
Sabor De Peru
You’ll be in awe after sitting down and being handed a menu at Sabor De Peru, which has over 100 options – all authentic Peruvian dishes, and all under $16. The ceviche section alone offers 12 different varieties of the raw fish tropical concoction cooked in limejuice. Play it safe with just fish or be outlandish and opt for octopus, mussels, or tiger milk. Want your seafood fried? The jalea, an assortment of lightly breaded fried seafood usually served with tartar sauce, is a staple on any Peruvian menu and one of the best in town.
At Salumeria 104, faux legs of what’s supposed to be cured prosciutto hang overhead patrons while they dine. That’s about the only thing that’s not authentic in this Italian trattoria. As the name suggests, salumi (cured Italian meats) is the big event here, but so are the house made soups and pastas, all under $20. Sopressatta, guanciale, speck, cacciatorino, bresaola and more – these are all the salumi you’ve probably never heard of, but will build a fondness for after your visit to Salumeria 104. Entrees such as Tuscan-style Cornish hen, grilled langoustines or braised Florida rabbit will put you over the $20 mark, but it will be money well spent. Or you can always go for green lasagna – Salumeria’s rendition is made using spinach pasta and meat sauce.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
For a visual feast, head to Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, adjacent to Wynwood Walls. Dine indoors alongside an 11-foot, rainbow-hued “stick” man or on the leather-topped bar beneath high red ceilings. You’ll really want to enjoy the outdoor patio though, whose backdrop is the ever-changing murals of Wynwood Walls. The Latin-influenced cuisine is as colorful as the setting with vibrant reds and greens striking almost every dish. Don’t forgo the chicken ropa vieja empanadas with cilantro cream.
Chef Richard Hales continues to change up the game, revisiting the roots of the new wave of Asian fusion and adding a bit of soulful funk. Here, adventure and tradition creates modern Chinese cuisine. Choosing from a menu heavy in dim sum is no easy task, but some selections are obvious. General Tso’s Florida Gator is a departure from the usual chicken and an absolute must, as is the Hong Kong style wonton soup, which is enough to fill you up and sure to warm your soul. Its broth, made from rabbit bones and chicken necks pays tribute to traditional Chinese culture and their uncanny utilization of animal parts. Blackbrick is boldly going where no other Chinese restaurant in Miami has gone before.
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