Eclectic Miami Restaurants For Gay Foodies

Mandolin

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

octopus

Octopus at Cafe La Trova

Pao at Faena

Pao at Faena

Smith & Wollensky

Smith & Wollensky

Stiltsville

Stiltsville Fish Bar

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By: Gino R. Campodónico

Miami has emerged as one of the most buzzed about foodie capitals in the country over the past few years. There’s plenty to choose from, which is no surprise given the city’s melting pot of cultures. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic Cuban dish, stone crabs, a fine dining experience curated by a world-renowned chef or a fantastic brunch hosted by drag queens – Miami has all your foodie cravings covered and then some!

Matador Room
Matador Room

Culinary Gems in Stunning Miami Beach Hotels

An experience at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel is a must when visiting. You may have seen it as the gorgeous setting in an episode of Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but this hotel has been a celebrated landmark for more than half a century. The Fontainebleau offers a variety of fine dining and casual restaurants fit for all palettes, but Scarpetta, led by James Beard award recipient Scott Conant, is a sure bet when you’re craving a delectable Italian dish in a glamorous locale.

In Mid-Beach, you'll definitely want to head over to the posh and very artsy Faena Hotel Miami Beach which houses Pao by Paul Qui , a modern Asian spot with incredible ocean views, or try Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann to indulge in the restaurant’s contemporary asado experience. While you are there, be sure to check out Faena's famed “Gone but not Forgotten” – a gilded skeleton of a woolly mammoth by artist Damien Hirst – while having a cocktail at the outside bar.

Further down Collins Avenue, world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has the beautiful The Matador Room inside the Miami Beach EDITION hotel. You won't want to miss this high-end restaurant with seasonal menus inspired by Caribbean, Spanish, Latin and South American cuisines. Plus, the restaurant’s supper club-like atmosphere reminiscent of the 1940s is an ideal setting for an unforgettable culinary experience.

Drag Queen Show
Drag Queen Show

A Drag Queen Palace in South Beach

A must-do experience is the weekend drag brunch at the iconic The Palace South Beach, located on Ocean Drive for more than 30 years. They say, "Every Queen Deserves a Palace" and this dragtastic landmark is it, with a history of hosting the best drag queens in Miami and beyond. Palace offers shows daily from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., but you really won’t want to miss the weekend brunches with mimosa specials, a delicious menu and the best drag performances happening all throughout your meal.

International Flavors and Views, A Winning Combo in Sunset Harbor

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, 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 food late into the night.

Florida-inspired cuisine and cocktails can be found at Stiltsville Fish Bar. Helmed by culinary husband and wife Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth (both Top Chef alums), this relaxed restaurant offers fresh local seafood dishes with a Southern twist.

Walking distance from Sunset Harbor is the oceanfront The Standard Spa, Miami Beach hotel featuring the Lido Bayside Grill which boasts an izakaya-style Japanese menu perfect for a lunch or dinner shared with friends. Order a sake, Frosé or a Wildflower Paloma pitcher for the table and enjoy the Instagram-worthy water and sunset views.

Smith & Wollensky
Smith & Wollensky

Classic Fare in SoFi

Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant, located in the trendy South of Fifth (SoFi) neighborhood, is arguably Miami’s most beloved restaurant. This culinary institution has been serving top-notch seafood, and the best stone crabs in the city, for more than 100 years. However, most people tend to miss its charming market, Joe's Take Away, just next door. The Take Away is equally as delicious because it offers all of Joe’s signature items including those tasty claws and signature sides in a casual setting. Not in the mood for seafood? Foodies rave about Joe’s Take Away six-dollar fried chicken. Whatever you order, we highly suggest taking your meal for a fun picnic at South Pointe Park Pier to take in all the amazing water views and cruise ships passing by.

Nearby, steak lovers will have a hard time deciding between Smith & Wollensky or Prime 112 because both steakhouses offer the finest quality of dry-aged cuts, steaks and filets, along with drool worthy sides such as truffle mac & cheese.

Vegans and vegetarians (or not) should head to Planta, a plant-based restaurant full of innovative dishes including veggie-based nigiri and sushi rolls, gluten-free pizza and large plates such as the “Heart of Palm Crab Cakes.” Best part? Many of the dishes actually taste like the real thing. Another plus? An array of fresh-pressed juice cocktails to go with your lunch or dinner selections.

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

Wynwood & Design District: Places for Great Food, Celebrities & Drag Queens

No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to the ultra-cool Wynwood neighborhood, home to countless galleries, museums and collections, and adorned with street art by local and world-renowned artists. Reserve a table at eclectic tapas gem Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, located at the famous Wynwood Walls. Coyo Taco, serving authentic Mexican street food, is also a must. Insider Tip: 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 R House Wynwood. With live DJs and themed parties, there is something happening every night of the week. If brunch is your thing, check out the outrageous R House Drag Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Hosted by Athena Dion, Miss Ultimate Miami Drag Queen winner, you’ll be entertained by a few of Miami's best drag divas while enjoying an unlimited menu and bottomless drinks. Drag brunches usually sell out, so reservations are strongly recommended.

The neighboring Miami Design District is a luxury shopping mecca with one of Miami's most well-known eats, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, a farm-to-table eatery by chef Michael Schwartz.

Michael’s may have been one of the very first restaurants in the District, but the area, including its culinary options, has grown tremendously over the past decade. Other notables include Mandolin Aegean Bistro, an enchanting Mediterranean eatery; and Ember, a wood-fired American bistro by highly-acclaimed chef Brad Kilgore.

For those wanting a little star power to elevate their dining experience, we suggest checking out Swan, an ultra-chic restaurant from hospitality mavens Pharrell Williams and David Grutman; or Estefan Kitchen, a fine destination for Cuban cuisine courtesy of Miami’s own superstars, Emilio and Gloria Estefan.

Azucar Ice Cream Company
Azucar Ice Cream Company

Little Havana: Spicing It Up with Global Cuisine

The city’s vibrant Cuban beat comes alive in Little Havana, an area full of Latin flair and global cuisine. Calle Ocho, the neighborhood’s main boulevard, is influenced largely by Miami’s local Cuban population and includes eclectic art galleries and numerous busy restaurants and bars.

Café La Trova, a popular spot known for its creative cocktails and live music, is a vibrant place for a dining experience. Another option for a great night out is Ball & Chain, a colorful bar and lounge that was formerly an iconic nightclub from the 1930s through the 1950s. 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 and mustard aioli. After the amazing cocktails and 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 the dancing, loosen your belt and satisfy your sweet tooth at the neighboring Azucar Ice Cream Company, an inventive shop with artisanal ice cream and sorbet. Make sure to get there before they close as you’ll want to experience their infamous, best-selling Abuela Maria flavor, a curated mix of guava, cream cheese and Maria crackers.

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.

Read More:

A Guide To Miami’s Culinary Scene
The Local Lesbian Insider
Miami's Best Hotels For Foodies
Miami Gay Event Guide For Each Day Of The Week

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