For many people, the clichés conveyed by American TV series have shaped a very mixed image of the city of Miami. Concrete beaches, insecurity, sculpted, tanned bodies: stereotypes die hard. The other side of the aptly-named “Magic City” quickly reveals itself to the discovery-minded visitor. For Miami offers so much more.

First and foremost, it’s the gateway to the Caribbean, a world of warm, exotic Latin American flair. Located just a stone’s throw from exceptional natural beauty, with the Everglades Park and the Keys, it is resolutely turned towards the arts.

From the Art Deco district of Miami Beach to avant-garde architecture and street art, it’s a real treat for aesthetes. In the midst of this whirlwind, lunch and dinner are welcome interludes. Here are a few addresses that are emblematic of the city’s culinary eclecticism, a gastronomy of character that will awaken your taste buds!

Where to eat in Miami

Tacos, guacamole and margaritas at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, 6th in my Top 10

1. Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach

For over a century, Joe’s Stone Crab has been serving up the famous rock crabs. Open seasonally from October to July, it’s a popular spot for crustaceans. The crab claws are served with the house signature mustard sauce. I recommend finishing with the lime tart, reputed to be one of the best in town. The establishment doesn’t take reservations and the wait can be long. The service, then smooth, leaves you with the feeling of a successful experience.

1 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

2. Jaya, The Setai, Miami Beach

Located inside The Setai hotel, Jaya offers quality Asian cuisine in a refined setting. The fusion-oriented menu is very extensive. I recommend the Peking duck or the dumpling with scallops and truffles. You’ll also find all kinds of dim sum. The terrace is particularly pleasant in the evening, with its clever lighting. Of course, the service is up to the hotel’s high standards, and the sommelier will give you sound advice on how to successfully pair Asian cuisine with wines.

2001 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

3. Cecconi’s, Miami Beach

This Italian restaurant is set in enchanting surroundings. Tables set on the patio amidst illuminated olive trees provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner. The wine selection is well thought-out and the menu, typically Italian, is generous with seafood. The great classics of Italian cuisine are not forgotten, with a full range of pasta dishes, gnocchi, ravioli and more. Lime pie is also a good choice for a sweet ending to a meal.

4385 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

4. Ariete, Coconut Grove

On the luxury side, chef Michael Beltran skilfully combines his Cuban-American roots with his French training at Ariete. He expresses himself fully in the tasting menu with bold combinations. Products are seasonal, and ceviche is made with fish from the nearby ocean.

Alongside these classic dishes or simple grilled vegetables, why not think big? For an unforgettable moment, I suggest caviar served with citrus churros, or the spectacular duck à la presse, worthy of the finest Parisian restaurants. This is resolutely creative gastronomy!

3540 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove, FL 33133

5. La Mar by Gastón Acurio, Brickell

Another South American cuisine, from Peru! I recommend you try this address, at the foot of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, with a breathtaking panorama of the Miami skyline. Here too, the menu focuses on seafood. The ceviche or the “planchaza”, a generous assortment of prawns, octopus, squid and scallops, are judicious choices. Be careful when ordering, as the portions are very large! This is definitely an address to remember for its iodized flavors and for another perspective on the city.

500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami, FL 33131

6. Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, South Beach, street food!

A great place to start the evening! Bodega Taqueria y Tequila’s decor is surprisingly simple. An old garage, a food truck covered with cardboard signs listing the menu, that’s it? You can enjoy your tacos or burritos in a bit of a rush, while waiting for the dishes prepared in the truck.

Mexican restaurant in Miami Beach

But I recommend that you push open the door at the back of the room, a fake Speakeasy-style door. There, a different atmosphere awaits you, with a long wooden bar, vintage sofas and subdued lighting. The evening continues to the sound of rhythmic music, with a well-stocked cocktail menu and Mexican specialities. An address that hides its game well!

1220 16th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

7. Versailles, Little Havana

Opened in the early ’70s, Versailles is one of the city’s most emblematic restaurants. Home to the Cuban community, this address has been handed down from generation to generation. In an unusual setting, the Cuban diaspora comes here with their families to enjoy generous cuisine, with the great Cuban classics on the menu. The somewhat noisy dining room is always full. I really recommend this nugget that contrasts with the touristy restaurants on the seafront.

You’ll enjoy ceviches, delicious sandwiches, cheese or ham empanadas and other specialties, as the menu is well-stocked. Far from the bling bling of some places, this place has accents of truth.

3555 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135

8. La Sandwicherie, Wynwood

Let’s face it, why eat French sandwiches in Miami? I give this address mainly for those looking for a quick stop between two visits or clubs. There are three sandwich shops in the city, but the one in Wynwood is particularly interesting for its location.

Nestled in the heart of the street art and gallery district, this stop-off offers a wide choice of salads and sandwiches made to order from fresh ingredients, not to mention smoothies and milkshakes. Two special features: vegans will appreciate the dedicated offer, and night owls will appreciate the opening hours, day and night from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m.

169 NW 23rd St Unit 102, Miami, FL 33127

9. Tiger, Upper East Side

Named after a town north of Buenos Aires, this Argentinian restaurant offers a warm setting with its rattan chairs, vaulted ceiling and leather banquettes. You can also take advantage of the waterfront terrace to sample the cuisine of chef Deborah de Corral.

Bold and daring, she dares to try new combinations and is not afraid to use her technical wizardry. Her shrimps with lime vinaigrette and rib-eye steak smoked for over 24 hours then grilled are stunning examples. A taste experience not to be missed!

620 NE 78th St, Miami, FL 33138

10. Alabama Jack’s, Key Largo

If you’d like to go a step further and experience the enchanting atmosphere of the “keys”, I invite you to visit Key Largo, about an hour and a half’s drive from Miami. A small toll road through the mangroves of Homestead will take you to Alabama Jack’s, a restaurant on stilts, lined with rustic docks. This picturesque spot has been home to generations of bikers and fishermen.

It serves excellent conch fritters, sweet potato fries, grouper sandwiches and crab cakes. In short, a gastronomy reduced to its simplest expression, but with a unique taste of authenticity and an extra soul! I really recommend it for the atmosphere. It’s a superb opportunity to experience the gentle island lifestyle.

58000 Card Sound Rd, Key Largo, FL 33030

5/5 - (1 vote)