Miami is a white-hot international locale that’s known for its gorgeous weather, beaches, architecture, and people. As the only major tropical city in the United States, it definitely swings to its own Caribbean and Latin-inspired beat. The same goes for the culinary scene, meaning that dining out here is nothing short of magic—and just one of the reasons they call Miami “The Magic City.”
Let go of your ideas of fine dining as a boring affair and give yourself over to a fiery and delicious scene where the tastes of Cuba, South America, and the Islands mingle with the flavors of the American South and the rest of the globe.
Miami’s reputation as a capital of culture means that foodies and famous chefs flock to its white-sand shores to experiment with exotic ingredients and master cuisines from around the world. It’s a melting pot to be sure, and you’ll want to dip your spoon in again and again.
Since it’s Miami, it’s not pretentious; the dining community is vibrant and lively, and your tastebuds might say the same about the food. So indulge in the flavors and fun! Here are our top picks:
Want to sip on cocktails in a space with some star wattage? In a town with a bevy of celeb-owned eateries, the Swan stands out. Yes, hospitality impresario David Grutman opened this space with singer and mega-producer Pharrell Williams, but the restaurant really stands on its own legs. The kitschy but oh-so-appropriate mid-century Floridian decor adds a touch of whimsy that will be sure to punctuate your night out, but the menu is where the highlights really are. Inventive fennel sausage pizza with creamy goat cheese, cipollini onions cooked to perfection and a hint of pepper is sure to make you “happy” (like the Pharrell Williams song), or if you’re looking for something lighter, the gem salad is a delicious—and nutritious—addition to your meal.
#2 Kiki on the River
It’s a bit industrial, a bit European beachy, and endlessly charming. So, fire up the filters, cause you are going to want to pose and post from this Instagram-worthy restaurant. Why all the fuss about Kiki on the River? Well, it’s like a trip to the Mediterranean sea that’s just an Uber ride away. With dishes like keftedakia (meatballs) and a feta-festooned salmon saganaki, Chef Steve Rhee brings the spirit of Santorini and Mykonos to the Miami River. Since its opening, Kiki was “immediately popular,” according to Zagat. Once you visit, you’ll see why.
Right next door to Kiki On the River (literally touching it) is Seaspice, serving up a global seafood fusion that’s unparalleled even in a city that’s as seafood-centric as this one. Those with an aversion to fish might think they want to skip it—but it’s not just sea-loving gastronomes who will be rewarded handsomely here.
From Dover sole to veal Milanese, the items on the menu are simply prepared and brimming with flavor. Because Seaspice uses methods like cooking on hot lava stone seared tableside and wood-fired casseroles, dining becomes entertainment.
#4 Casa Tua
In the mood for a little Italian? Take away pizza is not an option when there’s a quaint villa and luxurious garden that you’ll find at Casa Tua. Service here is impeccable as its decidedly Tuscan temptations on the menu. The Miami New Times hails it as a “fairy-tale dining experience.” And after trying the buttery and tart layers of the lasagna here, we’d have to agree.
From Dubai and LA to South Beach and Brickell, Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi knows how to prepare the most beautiful sushi dishes outside of Japan. In his restaurant, it’s a see-and-be-seen vibe where minimally designed spaces make the perfect backdrop for well-heeled patrons to show off the latest fashions. In addition to flash and trend, it’s about selecting the freshest fish and using the collective skill of countless generations to make the ultimate in sushi.
Note: This is a guest post by Candace Schaffer; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author. Candice Schaffer works at Knightsbridge Park, a leading digital marketing firm for luxury real estate brands such as 3550 South Ocean, ARO, Align Management, Madison Realty Group, Modern Spaces, and The Belnord.