Miami's dining scene will tantalize your tastebuds with inventive fare and the gay-friendly vibe will make you feel right at home.
The Magic City has emerged as one of the foodie capitals of the country, with many high-profile restaurants by renowned chefs representing almost every corner of the world. As a foodie, you know you don’t want to waste time at just any dining experience and here you never have to.
Miami Beach Treasures
World-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened the beautiful The Matador Room at the Miami Beach EDITION. You won't want to miss this high-end restaurant with seasonal menus inspired by Caribbean, Spanish, and Latin and South American cuisines.
You'll definitely want to head over to Faena Hotel Miami Beach and to Pao by Paul Qui with it's incredible ocean views and global Asian fare. While you are there, be sure to check out Faena's famed Golden Pachyderm by the pool while having a cocktail at the outside bar.
For one of the best Italian restaurants in Miami, visit Macchialina, an energetic Italian tavern by Chef Michael Pirolo perfect for big groups.
The South Beach Drag
A must-do experience is the weekend drag brunch at The Palace South Beach on iconic Ocean Drive. They say "Every Queen Deserves a Palace" and this landmark in drag perfection is it. Open daily with drag shows from 6-10 PM, but you really won’t want to miss the weekend ritual drag show brunch, with the best drag performances happening during your meal.
There is also the fairly new-to-town LGBTQ drag haven livening up Lincoln Road at Molto South Beach that also has a Sunday drag brunch you must check out. It’s also a spot where you can experience a different event each night along with also experiencing some quality Italian dining as well - from a magnificent pizza selection to delectable tapas to share with all the new friends you meet. They serve late night drinks as well, so no need to go home early. And if you have one too many, you can always get a room at a true LGBTQ staple, Hotel Gaythering, just down the street.
And while we are still on the subject of drag show’s in South Beach, there is one more brunch you will need to try. Round out your drag brunch trio with Señor Frog's Sunday drag brunch and enjoy a true trifecta of fabulous, with love from Miami Beach to you.
Fascinating Flavors in Sunset Harbour
One of Miami's best-kept hidden treasures is Sunset Harbor, a residential area on the west end of Miami Beach with great restaurants. Savor Sardinian fare at Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante direct from a wood-burning oven, but save room for the Nutella dessert pizza at Brooklyn import Lucali or opt for a taste of Spain at tapas hideaway, Barceloneta. If you are in the mood for Thai street food with a splash of sushi, you’ll want to try NaiYaRa, where they also serve late night.
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 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 or fine wine over your succulent rib-eye.
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. You also won't want to miss Coyo Taco, serving authentic Mexican street food and make sure to smuggle your way into their not-so-secret speakeasy in the back for a specialty cocktail before you go.
Enjoy a savory and unique selection of Southern Italian and farm-to-table American dishes made with fresh ingredients at RHouse Wynwood. Executive chef and owner, Rocco Carulli, is well known in the Wynwood Arts District cultural and culinary scene. With live DJs and themed parties, there is something happening every night.
If Sunday brunch is your thing and you want to have a little fun, check out the RHouse Sunday Drag Brunch hosted by Athena Dion - Miss Ultimate Miami Drag Queen 2017. You'll be entertained by some of Miami's best drag divas while enjoying an unlimited menu and bottomless drinks depending on the package you choose. The two shows each Sunday usually sell out, so reservations are strongly recommended.
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 Kitchen & Bar, 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.
Spice it Up 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. A great time to go is for Gay8, a Latin LGBTQ Calle Ocho extravaganza held in Feb each year. It’s a time to celebrate being LGBTQ and Latin culture while covering Calle Ocho with music, dancing and all the street fare you love in a very inclusive cultural experience you won’t soon forget.
Another great night out will be at the famous Ball & Chain where you can find a variety of signature tapas from Chicharrones made from house pork belly, house seasoning, lime, chipotle aioli to Congri fritters (aka Arroz Moro) made with rice, beans, cheese, mustard aioli. After the amazing cocktails and those island flavors, you’ll want to move your body to some spicy Latin beats in front of the giant golden pineapple stage in the backyard created by some of the best live Latin musicians Miami has to offer who play there regularly.
After all of that, you will want to satisfy your sweet tooth at the neighboring Azucar Ice Cream Company, an inventive shop with artisanal ice cream and sorbet. But make sure to get there before they close as you won’t want to miss out on the Abuela Maria flavor - which can only be described as Ice cream heaven - and at least sample the Elvis peanut butter and banana flavor that will leave your hips shaking if the salsa at Ball & Chain didn’t.
Insider Tip: Many restaurants do enforce a dress code so don't be afraid to put on something shiny. You never know which celebrity, or two, you may run into.
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