By: Gino Campodonico
Experience Miami's eclectic dining scene and tantalize your tastebuds with inventive fare. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date locale or something a bit more lively before a night out on the town, Miami has something for everyone.
In fact, the Magic City recently emerged as one of the foodie capitals of the country, with a number of high-profile restaurants by renowned chefs representing almost every corner of the world.
New Miami Beach Hotspots
World-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten recently opened The Matador Room at the Miami Beach EDITION, a high-end restaurant with seasonal menus inspired by Caribbean, Spanish, and Latin and South American cuisines.
Nearby is the luxurious Thompson Miami Beach, housing Seagrape, a Floridian brasserie by award-winning chef and Miami native, Michelle Bernstein. Before dinner, head to the hotel's second floor for a cocktail at The Crown Room, a quintessential art deco bar with old-school charm.
Trendy Eats in Sunset Harbour
One of Miami's best-kept secrets is Sunset Harbor, a residential area on the west end of Miami Beach with great restaurants. Save room for the Nutella dessert pizza at Brooklyn import Lucali or opt for a taste of Spain at tapas hideaway, Barceloneta.
Walking distance from Sunset Harbor is the oceanfront Standard Spa Hotel featuring the Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill. Order a pitcher of mojitos for the table and enjoy the view.
Classic Fare in Infamous SoFi
Located in the trendy SoFi neighborhood, plan for an outdoor picnic lunch by grabbing some fresh fare from Miami Beach's Joe's Take Away at Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant. Try the six dollar fried chicken, or in true Miami fashion, the stone crabs. Enjoy your meal at the South Pointe Park Pier and soak up the amazing water views.
Later in the day, head to steakhouse Smith & Wollensky to view the sunset and enjoy killer cocktails.
Non-Stop Entertainment on Ocean Drive
A required experience is the brilliant “Sunday Brunchic” drag brunch at Palace Restaurant and Bar on picture-perfect Ocean Drive. The restaurant is open daily but locals and tourists alike come out in droves for this campy Sunday ritual, with drag queen performances during your meal.
Spice up the Night
Miami Beach is also known for its supper lounges; meals served with a side of nightlife. For one of the best Italian restaurants in Miami, visit Macchialina, an energetic Italian tavern by Chef Michael Pirolo perfect for big groups.
HaVen Lounge, a trendy eatery with an immersive video wall, is helmed by local gay luminary Chef Todd Erickson. Throughout the night, the restaurant slowly transforms into a nightclub paired with exotic cocktails by skilled mixologist Isaac Grillo.
A Hipster’s Delight in Wynwood and Beyond
No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to the ultra-cool Wynwood neighborhood, home to over 70 galleries, museums and collections, and adorned with street art. Reserve a table at eclectic tapas gem Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, located at the Wynwood Walls.
Don't miss Coyo Taco, serving authentic Mexican street food. The neighboring Miami Design District is a luxury shopping mecca with arguably one of Miami's most well-known eats, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. A visit to this farm-to-table eatery by Chef Michael Schwartz is a must.
Further afield is Vagabond Restaurant, a hip spot with a mixed crowd and great food at the Vagabond Hotel, a renovated 1950s motel on Biscayne Boulevard with a Palm Springs vibe.
Latin Flare in Little Havana
Also on the mainland is charming, historic Little Havana. It's main boulevard, Calle Ocho, is a cultural landmark influenced by the city's large local Cuban population. Come hungry to the ornate Versailles Restaurant, open since 1971 and serving large portions of classic Cuban dishes.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at the neighboring Azucar Ice Cream Company, an inventive shop with artisanal ice cream and sorbet.
Insider Tip: Most restaurants do enforce a dress code so don't be afraid to put on your glitziest best. You never know which celebrity, or two, you may run into.
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