Dim Sum at Hakkasan on Miami Beach
By: Shayne Benowitz
Here’s a guide to 10 of our favorite ethnic restaurants on Miami Beach.
Miami is known as a melting pot of Latin American culture, from Cuba to South America and everywhere in between. It’s also home to a wide mix of people from across the world. That diversity is reflected in Miami’s ethnic cuisine. On South Beach alone, restaurants range from Haitian and Peruvian to Greek and Chinese. Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall with authentic flavors or an upscale, refined meal in the lap of luxury, South Beach is home to some of the city’s best ethnic restaurants.
Tap Tap – Haitian
Miami has a large Caribbean population and many hail from Haiti. You can explore Little Haiti to immerse yourself in the cuisine and culture or you can simply head to Tap Tap on South Beach for a taste. This charming restaurant overlooks Fifth Street and is filled with folkloric art, brightly painted wooden chairs and tables and killer Haitian food and cocktails. From fried pork griyo to kabrit nan sos (goat stew) and poulet rouge stew, most dishes are served with rice and sweet plantains. The seafood menu is just as tempting with grouper marinated in lime sauce, shrimp in creole or coconut sauce and stewed conch. Pair that with a strong rum cocktail straight out of a coconut and you’re in for a treat. 819 5th St., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Chalan on the Beach – Peruvian
For a down to earth entrée into Peruvian cuisine, head to Chalan on the Beach. This no frills, diner-like restaurant in the heart of South Beach’s buzzing Washington Avenue nightlife scene dishes up authentic Peruvian staples like lomo saltado (sautéed beef with onions and tomato) and aji de galina (sautéed hen with a creamy pepper sauce and cheese). You can also sample your fair share of ceviche here, made of fresh fish marinated in lime juice with onions, avocado and giant white corn. 1580 Washtington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Puerto Sagua – Cuban
Of course, you can’t come to Miami without a taste of Cuban cuisine. For an authentic, down to earth experience on South Beach, head to Puerto Sagua near the shopping district of Collins Avenue. You’ll enjoy Cuban classics here, like the Cuban sandwich made of marinated pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard pressed between flaky Cuban bread, or ropa vieja, a savory beef stew marinated with peppers, tomatoes and onions and served with rice, beans and sweet plantains. Don’t leave without a shot of strong, sweet Cuban coffee to get you through your day. 700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139
A La Folie Café – French
Miami is home to a surprisingly robust French population and there’s no better place to get a taste of Paris in Miami than at South Beach’s A La Folie Café. Tucked away just past the pedestrian portion of Espanola Way on a quiet, palm tree-lined lane, pull up a café table outside or get cozy on a wooden banquette inside for a meal of savory crepes, fresh salads and other French bistro specialties. Save room for a sweet crepe of nutella and strawberry or their sinful chocolate fondant. 516 Espanola Way, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Alma Mexicana – Mexican
While Miami is filled with incredible Cuban, South American and Caribbean food, there’s not a lot to choose from as far as Mexican goes. However, in recent years, trendy taquerias like HuaHuas, Coyo and Taquiza have popped, but Alma Mexicana on South Beach has been holding down the authentic Mexican fort for years. For classic, no frills entrees like enchiladas drenched in red sauce, cheesy quesadillas and ground beef tacos in soft flour tortillas served with rice and refried beans, Alma is the place to go. 1344 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Doraku – Japanese/Sushi
For sushi amongst South Beach locals, head to Doraku on Lincoln Road during happy hour. With a menu of both classic and creative sushi rolls, like the emperor roll made with tuna, salmon, krab and avocado, it’s a perfect menu to mix and match for a wide variety of flavors. With ample outdoor seating on Lincoln Road, it’s a prime spot to people watch and soak in the South Beach atmosphere. Located next to the Regal Cinemas, it makes for a great dinner and a movie date. 1104 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Sylvano – Italian
While Miami certainly has no shortage of Italian restaurants, Sylvano, tucked away on a quiet street near South Beach’s Collins Park, is bursting with authentic charm and rustic flavor. This al fresco respite shaded beneath a trellis crawling with ivy is romantic for a delightful dinner that feels miles away from South Beach’s glitz and glamour—even though it’s right in the middle of it. Opt for the orecchiette alle melanzane made with eggplant and salted ricotta for an otherworldly comforting pasta dish. Their wine list pairs perfectly with their extensive menu where you can’t go wrong with the daily special. For dessert, the tiramisu is not to be missed. 1925 Liberty Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Estiatorio Milos – Greek
For a taste of the Greek islands so fresh it’s as if it was flown in ice packed today, then a reservation at Estiatorio Milos is a must. That’s because that’s exactly how their Mediterranean fish makes it to this posh establishment in South Beach’s ritzy South of Fifth neighborhood. Refined and brightly flavored side dishes, like their grilled Mediterranean octopus with Santorini fava or the tomato salad with barrel aged feta and Kalamata olives, pair perfectly with their hyper fresh seafood. Stretch your dollar at this fine dining establishment by joining them at lunchtime where a $25 three-course menu can’t be beat. 730 First St., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Hakkasan – Chinese
Also on the glitzy side of the food chain, Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau Resort dishes up delectable haute Cantonese cuisine with a dim sum brunch that’s the stuff of dreams. The London import has been a perennial hotspot since its inauguration. With a cocktail program to match the elevated menu, highlights include the Peking duck with Petrossian caviar, black pepper beef tenderloin and stir-fried Bahamian lobster. Make a late dinner reservation at Hakkasan and vie for entry to LIV, the resort’s famed nightclub, afterwards. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Cleo – Middle Eastern
Miami has seen an influx of restaurants dishing up the diverse flavors of the Middle East, from Persian to Turkish and Israeli to Greek. One of the best spots to indulge at is Cleo inside the Redbury Hotel in South Beach. The LA transplant brings with it a rock ‘n roll vibe and crave-worthy dishes like their labneh yogurt with fresh pita, merguez sausage flat bread and lamb tagine. It’s a trendy, high-energy spot perfect to get the party started on a night out in South Beach. 1776 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139
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