Miami is a melting pot of countless cultures from Latin and Haitian to Cuban and Caribbean, and its food scene reflects just that – its culture. A food scene like no other where you can find the best hole-in-the-wall shack serving Cuban sandwiches and fritas to having locally sourced French European food at a sleek elegant restaurant. With the help of our local Miami chef friends, the team went out to experience the diverse and unique spots chef’s call their stomping grounds and they didn’t disappoint.
As soon a you walk in, Alter welcomes you with its casual yet intimate warehouse space, big bright neon lights, and waiters greeting you in jeans.
That’s exactly what Chef Brad Kilgore aims to achieve while delivering a tasting menu that is as fine-dining as it gets. Along with the tasting menu, the enhancement portion of the menu should not be overlooked. A standout is the soft egg with sea scallop espuma, truffle pearls and caviar – need we say more. Its ever-changing menu makes every experience a new one, with constant new flavors and layers that will blow your mind.
Craving for some handmade ice cream? Then Azucar is your answer!
With a massive ice cream cone sculpture in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana, it is hard to miss. Sweet plantain, caramel flan and café con leche are among their most popular ice cream flavors. Our favorite – the trademark flavor called “Abuela Maria” with guava ice cream, cream cheese and Maria crackers.
Bachour Bakery + Bistro is an urban oasis initially opened by James Beard Award semifinalist Chef Antonio Bachour and Chef Henry Hané.
Pulling on influences from around the globe, Antonio Bachour features delicate French pastries with local tropical fruit in the spotlight. Freshly made morning pastries include danishes, brioche, and croissants; and signature desserts from bonbons and macaroons to layered verrines filled with key lime and coconut make the space vibrant with irresistible confections.
Chef Henry Hané, offers a rotating menu of savory breakfast dishes and scrumptious lunches including leafy and grain-based salads, open-faced sandwiches, house made soups and veggie-heavy main dishes.
Since its 2016 opening, Chef Antonio Bachour has stepped away from Bachour Bakery + Bistro and sold his part to partner Henry Hané. Bachour’s pastries will still be available at Bachour Bakery + Bistro for the next two years.
Ball & Chain is a historic live music spot, once notoriously known as a mobster-owned jazz venue and gambling den hosting legends like Billie Holiday.
The lounge in the center of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood offers live music, an outdoor patio and tobbaco mixed drinks that will make you groove all night. Paella Sundays should not be missed , with live jazz, Spanish tapas, and their infamous pastelito daiquiris served all night long.
Blackbird Ordinary is the stylish cocktail specialist that boasts a dance floor and hosts DJs & bands until the sunrise. Open 365 days a year, the dimly lit Brickell neighborhood bar gives off divey-bar vibes with creative speciality cocktails and a courtyard to sip on those drinks under the skyscraper shadows.
The only rules is the dress code: No tank tops or athletic wear – we warned you.
Chef-driven European cuisine takes center stage at this elegant spot in the Ziff Ballet Opera House. BRAVA By Brad Kilgore is recognized by ZAGAT as one of the 10 hottest restaurants in Miami.
The sleek interior also grabs the spotlight, thanks to elegant details like plush bar seating, long curtains and abstract light fixtures. Chef Brad Kilgore, also known for Alter, offers dishes inspired by French and European cuisine like his kampachi sashimi with ten different citrus notes and poulet rouge with his signature popcorn hollandaise.
Compact, romantic watering hole in the Freehand Hostel offers inventive drinks and a large backyard that is no longer a Miami secret.
The Broken Shaker’s infamous cocktails are all composed of elixirs, syrups and infusions made with their own in-house garden’s herbs, spices and fresh-pressed produce. With its tiki hut inspired vibes and shady courtyard, the trendy hostel bar welcomes people from all over, so expect great company and even better cocktails.
While on the outside, Cake Thai Kitchen appears to be a little hole-in-the-wall spot in a Biscayne strip mall, on the inside, Chef/Owner Phuket Thongsodchaveondee immerses his patrons in a unique, funky Thai pop cultural experience with Thai movie ads, posters of Thailand’s royalty covering the walls, and Thai food that is without a doubt the main event.
The Tom Kha Chicken soup with coconut milk, lemongrass, mushrooms, galangal and lime is without a doubt a must order. If you go the buffet route, we suggest the fried pork rice and chicken massaman curry. Other popular dishes like crispy duck curry and noodle bowls, fresh green papaya salad, and pork belly Pad Thai can be ordered off the menu.
Recommended by award-winning Haitian chef Alain Lemaire, Chef Creole serves delectable, authentic Haitian cuisine in a relaxed, beach setting in the edge of Little Haiti.
Some favorites on the menu include conch in sauce with rice and plantains, crispy pork griot, and boeuf (oxtail). But, the main draw at Chef Creole is its spiced up seafood that crosses all cultural barriers. The queue can be long and the portion sizes are generous, so make sure to bring some friends to enjoy the food together.
Eating House: “Two-time James Beard semi-finalist “Best Chef: South” Giorgio Rapicavolli leads Eating House’s kitchen, continuously developing new eclectic, locally sourced dishes.
With an ever-changing menu it’s hard to pin down dishes, but a few small plates have withstood the test of time, such as the pasta carbonara with black truffle, applewood bacon, pepper and egg yolk. In addition to his impeccable dinners, Rapicavolli manages to maintain a never-ending full house for Sunday brunch. Some of the regular’s favorites include the Cap’n Crunch pancakes with condensed milk syrup, candied cereal and vanilla butter. With that said, Rapicavolli is a sheer culinary genius that keeps us all on the edge of what unexpected creation will be uncovered next.
Many restaurant’s claim to have the “Best Frita”, but burger museum owner and hole-in-the-wall dining expert Sef Gonzalez (a.k.a. The “Burger Beast”) recommends El Mago de las Fritas for the best and most affordable frita experiences you’ll ever have.
This West Miami Cuban diner creates the Cuban-style hamburger served with wispy shoestring fries and onions. Other menu items worth trying include their egg sandwiches topped with fried potato sticks, fresh chicharrones, and flan.
Recommended by BRAVA’s Brad Kilgore, this authentic, cafeteria-style, Cuban fast food joint serves some of the most delicious chicharrones and juices you’ll ever have. The restaurant has a particular no-nonsense, no-fluff atmosphere about it, but is still able to create a casual setting for its patrons to enjoy, as they munch on juicy pork rind sandwiches and sip some passionfruit juice on the side.
This little Edgewater/Wynwood sandwich shop has established a well-deserved reputation for itself among locals and travelers for cooking some of the best Cuban sandwiches in all of Miami. Order a café con leche and the Double Cuban sandwich that is piled high with ham, Swiss cheese, roasted pork and Enriqueta’s secret weapon – cheese croquettes.
Another recommendation by the Burger Beast, Jamrock boasts some of the best authentic Caribbean and Chinese fusion cuisine in South Miami. Some of their best items include their Jamaican beef patties, jerk chicken, and oxtail, which are juicy and packed with flavor.
Although the restaurant may be small in size, with three interior and two outdoor tables, it creates an intimate restaurant setting in which patrons become part of the Jamrock family and receive incredible service from the staff.
Highly recommended by Jeff Maxfield, Chef de Cuisine at BRAVA, this laid-back neighborhood Latin-style eatery is known for its legendary Cuban sandwiches, with its butter-coated bread and house-roasted pork loin toppings. Jeff recommends a caña de azúcar juice (sugarcane juice) to sip along with empanadas packed with flavor. Their menu items are inexpensive, so make sure to stock up on those beef empanadas!
Founded and operated by award-winning bartender John Lermayer, Dan Binkiewicz and restaurateur David Martinez, this hip Miami Beach cocktail bar creates a upscale vintage feel with its dim-lit pink lights, intimate red booths, and the neon words “Pursue Happiness” spelled out across their brick walls. Sweet Liberty’s staff are always ready to help, and the mixologists create the best cocktails. Be sure to swing by at Happy Hour, where customers can enjoy delicious fried chicken, $5 daiquiris, and great vibes.
Be sure to check out James Beard “Outstanding Baker” semifinalistZak Stern’s eponymous bakery and deli! Upon walking through Zak the Baker’s technicolor doors, customers are immediately engulfed in the aroma of freshly baked sourdough bread and immersed in a minimalist, funky setting. The bakery and deli boast quality service, with a friendly and professional staff always ready to cater to patrons’ needs. You’ll find challah made every Friday at noon, exceptional artisanal bread and some of the best pastries, making you an instant regular. Don’t leave before checking out the deli, where you’ll find the freshest sandwiches, soups and salads. Everything on the menu is kosher, from their delectable apple pies to their spectacular chocolate chip cookies. Regulars advise arriving early to the quaint bakery, as its affordable prices and delicious bread makes for long lines.