Miami's Gastronomic Diversity

Drunken Dragon restaurant on Miami Beach

By: Shayne Benowitz

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 international cuisine. On South Beach alone, restaurants range from Haitian and Peruvian to Greek and Korean. 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 area’s best ethnic restaurants.

Tap Tap

Haitian

Tap Tap Haitian restaurant 

This charming restaurant 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

Chalan Peruvian restaurant on the Beach 

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 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 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139


Puerto Sagua

Cuban

Puerto Sagua Cuban restaurant 

You can’t come to Miami without a taste of Cuban cuisine. For an authentic, unpretentious experience on South Beach, head to Puerto Sagua. 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. Enjoy a shot of strong, sweet Cuban coffee.

700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139


A La Folie Café

French

A La Folie Cafe 

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 Española Way on a quiet, palm treelined 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 Española Way, Miami Beach, FL 33139


Alma Mexicana

Mexican

Alma Mexicana restaurant 

Miami is filled with incredible Cuban, South American and Caribbean food, but there’s not a lot to choose from as far as Mexican goes. In recent years, trendy taquerias like HuaHuas, Coyo and Taquiza have popped, but Alma Mexicana 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

Doraku Japanese restaurant 

Japanese/Sushi For sushi among South Beach locals, head to Doraku 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

Sylvano Italian restaurant 

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

Estiatorio Milos Greek restaurant 

For a taste of the Greek islands so fresh it’s as if it was flown in ice packed today, Estiatorio Milos is a must. That’s exactly how their Mediterranean fish makes it to this posh establishment. 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 by visiting at lunchtime, when a $25 three-course menu can’t be beat.

730 First St., Miami Beach, FL 33139


Drunken Dragon

Korean

Drunken Dragon Korean restaurant 

You wouldn’t expect to find one of South Beach’s buzziest new restaurants inside a small strip mall behind blacked out windows that read “Market.” But that’s the point with Drunken Dragon, a speakeasy-style Korean barbecue joint. Dishing up modern Asian small plates along with boozy, tiki-style cocktails by local mixologist Gui Jaroschy, select tables feature built-in grills for DIY bulgogi (request one when you make a reservation).

1424 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139


Cleo

Mediterranean

Cleo Mediterranean restaurant 

Miami has seen an influx of restaurants dishing up the diverse flavors of the Near East and Mediterranean, from Turkish and Israeli to Greek. One of the best spots to indulge 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 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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