When people think about Miami, FL, they usually think of the hot sun, pristine beaches, and partying until the sun comes up. It’s no secret that Miami is my favorite US city - after all, I lived here for a long time, and I have a solid crew that always shows up when I visit but Miami is also an incredible city if you love great cuisine. The melting pot of different tastes is like a tour of the world for your tastebuds, and while there are some old faves I visit every time I’m in Miami, there is always space for a new favorite, too. Here are four of my favorites from my recent trip to Miami for the Afronation and Sandz festivals.
Brunch at The Ice Box Cafe in Hallandale - delicious food, DJ spinning while you eat, and some dancing to finish up… great way to start the day! This space is incredible - vibrant, with a funky edge and a gorgeous greenhouse with a lush tropical garden. If you’re after an escape from the Miami heat and somewhere fresh and fun to spend your morning, this is your place.
Etaru Restaurant in Hallandale Beach - While you’re in the neighborhood, check out this incredible Japanese bar and grill. Even those who don’t eat sushi often (like moi!) will go crazy for the sushi here, and the robata grill is casual sophistication at its best. Delectable cuisine at every turn, this is a must visit for seafood lovers and raw food connoisseurs alike, while still providing tasty food for members of your party who want something more familiar. For a true Miami-Japan fusion experience, catch the Etaru beach bar during the weekends until 5pm - casual Japanese-inspired dishes served directly to you on the beautiful Florida sands. Perfection!
El Tucan - This modern restaurant is a definite favorite simply because it knows what it does, and it does it well. Food and wine are the catalyst for moments of real pleasure here, and even with several restaurants sprinkled throughout Miami you will need to make a reservation to ensure you can get a table. The menu is diverse, the wine exquisite, and the whole experience is classy, yet casual. El Tucan is a favorite for lots of reasons, and one of the first places I book when I am headed back to Miami.
Branja - Israeli restaurant that had us going back for seconds cos it was soooo good. Newly opened, so not an old fave, but definitely a new fave now! I’m told that the menu changes often because the chef loves to play with his art, so I won’t make any specific recommendations except that if you, like me, consider great food an art form, this restaurant has to be on your Miami itinerary.
BONUS: If you find yourself with a day free, check out the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel. With a day pass, you can grab yourself a lounger by the pool, hit up the fitness center, or check out the live DJ…, and the food is perfection! Put some rum in da coconut, and we gon’ partay alllllll day.
For those of you who follow along, you know that food and travel are intimately connected for me. I love good food, but more than that… I love great food experiences. While most people don’t automatically associate great cuisine with Miami, these restaurants are just a few of the many exceptional dining experiences available to visitors and locals alike. If you have a favorite Miami restaurant I haven’t mentioned, let me know, and I’ll check it out next time I visit!