Miami Restaurant Guide

Monday, April 3, 2023

    Known by many as the “party city,” Miami is truly a one-of-a-kind place. Its expression of opulent wealth is one of the things that makes it especially unique. From the sports cars, to the mega yachts, to the designer brands people wear, to the architecture, and the high class food. 

    That being said, it is one of my favorite places to visit in the U.S. It's probably because I am a Florida girl at heart, but I also think Miami is such a lively city.  There is so much culture, art, and great food there, you will always have something new to do or try every time you visit. I think for some people, Miami can get a bad reputation, and it certainly is not for everyone. But I think it's pretty cool and some place you have to come to at least once. 

                         Pura Vida                                                Carbone                                                  Bistro Cafe

*Because I am in Miami a lot, this will be a living guide that I will update every time I try something new!

South Beach

1.    The Matador Room $$$$: Ugg this place is such a vibe. Located in my favorite hotel in all of Miami, The Miami Beach Edition, The Matador Room is a Spanish-American inspired restaurant. The place has great ambiance: cue the mood lighting. It’s the perfect spot to have artisanal cocktails, great food, and good conversation. My choice of cocktail was the Passion Fruit Sangria and for food I would recommend the Guacamole with Toasted Pistachio and Warm Crunchy Tortillas, the Beef Sirloin with Chimichurri Sauce, Lime and Shoestring Fries, and the Seared Snapper. But you really can’t go wrong with most things on the menu. 

2.    Havana 1957 $$: My favorite Cuban spot so far in Miami, Havana 1957 has a few locations in the city (my favorite location is right on Ocean Drive) and it is probably one of the more touristy spots, but nevertheless it’s still good. I would argue that the drinks are the best thing there, but I won’t downplay the food because it’s also delicious. For drinks I would recommend any of the mojitos frozen or on the rocks especially the Passion Fruit one (no place does Passion Fruit better than Florida). For food I would recommend the Traditional Cubano Sandwich or the Steak Sandwich and the Fried Plantains on the side. 

3.    Maxine's Bistro $: My go to breakfast spot in South Beach, Maxine’s is cheap, the food is good, and its open 24 hours (what more can you ask for). It’s the perfect place to roll up to in the morning after a long night out drinking. They have a huge menu; something for everyone. My personal favorites are the Waffles and the French Toast. 

4.    Under the Mango Tree $: My favorite acai bowl place in all of South Beach. THIS PLACE IS a GEM. Also, I highly recommend eating there and not ordering it to-go; the experience is way better. The place is cute inside and the bowls are presented beautifully. All the fruit is so fresh, and I believe they make their own almond butter too which makes all the difference in a good acai bowl vs a great acai bowl. 

5.    Joe and the Juice $: This is not Miami specific, but I had to mention it because I love coming here for lunch or for breakfast whenever I stay in South Beach. There is something about a freshly pressed overpriced juice while you are lounging on the beach that just hits different.

6.    Dreamer Miami $: Known for their coffee and acai bowls, Dreamer is a Miami local staple in the morning. Unfortunately, it’s a little out of the way if you are staying on the east side of South Beach and not really near anything. I thought the acai bowls were good, nothing special. But the place has a cute aesthetic so if you want an Instagram picture I would visit.

7.    Sugar Factory $$: This American style spot frequented by celebrities like the Kardashians back when it was cool 6 years ago, has locations around the U.S. It’s known for its crazy fishbowl cocktails, large food portions, and insane desserts (think BlackTap milkshake style). There are several flavors to choose from for the fishbowl cocktail all adorned with different types of candy and chilled with dry ice to make it bubble and smoke. I really enjoy the Ocean Blue, White Gummy, Lollipop Passion, and The Watermelon Patch. For food I like the Sugar Factory Club Sandwich, the Burgers, and the Grilled Filet Mignon. They also have an extensive brunch menu with some cool concoctions, so I would check it out for brunch as well. 

8.    Santorini by Georgios $$-$$$: My favorite Greek place in Miami, Santorini by Georgios has quality authentic Greek food for a great price. Santorini is at the bottom of South Beach so it’s a little out of the way, but I would say it’s worth it. The place has a cool vibe with interesting lighting and loud Greek music. When I went, I had the Grilled Chicken Kebabs with the rice pilaf. 

9.    Versace Mansion $$$$: Overpriced but an absolutely gorgeous restaurant and hotel in South Beach, Versace Mansion is an iconic spot right on Miami’s famous Ocean Drive. The inside of the restaurant with the fountains and beautiful architecture is stunning and you really feel like you are sitting at a restaurant in Italy. The food is okay, not that great, and the menu is limited for my taste, but I definitely recommend going for the pictures and to just experience eating there. 

10. Carbone Miami $$$$: Carbone... where do I begin. People who know me know I hate on this place because I had tried for years to get a reservation and never could (in both Miami and New York). When I finally scored a res, this place took me by surprise. I was expecting it to be extremely snobby, but it wasn’t. If anything, it was a lot more lowkey than I thought it would be. The servers were very attentive, the food came fast, and they serve you an assorted bread and snacks spread at the beginning of your meal. The spicy rigatoni ala vodka lives up to the hype and it’s not that spicy, so even for people like me who can’t handle spice, I can confidently say you will be fine. The dessert menu was also interesting: they have a lemon cheesecake, chocolate layer cake, coconut cake, and carrot cake. We didn’t try any of them when we went, but they looked really good, so I would highly suggest you try one considering all the rest of the food we had was divine. Overall, I enjoyed myself, but would I kill myself again to get a reservation, I don’t know, highly unlikely knowing me. 

11. Strawberry Moon Restaurant $$: A restaurant that opened in the newish Goodtime Hotel on South Beach, Strawberry Moon is cute Mediterranean inspired Instagram restaurant like no other (just google it and you will know what I mean).  The inside is pink, girly, and very Miami. The waiters are nice, the food is delicious, but the menu is sort of small. I had the Mezze trio to start and then the Chicken Kebabs with the Steak Fries and thought all of it was good. I would recommend coming here at least once for food that isn’t too pricey and for the pictures of course. 

Downtown/Midtown Miami 

12. Amara at Paraiso $$$: One of my favorite restaurants to dine at in all of Miami, Amara is something very special. Right on the water overlooking Biscayne Bay, this place does not disappoint on the food or the service. It’s a stunning location to dine that really showcases the beauty of waterside dining in Florida.  I always order the Yuca Cheese Puffs to start and the Fresh Catch (which is usually yellowtail snapper) for the main course. The drinks are also very good. 

13. Kiki on the River $$$$: So… Kiki on the River is an experience to say the least. I think it’s a must visit when you come to Miami, but maybe not a revisit (unless you are just coming for drinks later in the night) because of how expensive the food is. When I say expensive, I mean it costs $60 for chicken with some potatoes as a main course and they have like a 30% gratuity they add to each check. But despite the steep prices, this place is one of a kind. It’s an open-air restaurant right on the inlet where all the boats are with tons of picture opportunities. Also, it’s kind of like Bagatelle where at like 8:30-9:00pm they turn up the music and it starts turning into a club. Overall great vibe. 

14. Komodo Miami: $$$$: One of the most popular restaurants in Miami right now, Komodo is an Asian fusion restaurant with high-class ambiance and unique décor. Don’t get me wrong, the inside is really cool and you can get some great pictures but I personally think it’s a bit overhyped. I haven’t stayed for the after-hours portion of the night (when it turns into a club like Kiki on the River), but I just didn’t think the food was all that worth it. I ordered the Wagyu Skirt Steak Tacos and Vegetable Fried Rice and I just felt that the portions were small and overpriced. 

15. Bistro Cafe $$: The instagram videos of the food at this place are unreal. You just have to look it up for yourself to see what I mean. I would get spammed on instagram all the time with targeted ads on this place, so I finally decided I had to go. It is the best brunch spot in Miami I have tried so far (which is not saying a lot because I haven’t tried enough brunch places in Miami yet). The menu is ridiculously long which makes it difficult to choose one thing, but I don’t really think that is a bad problem to have because it means you can keep coming back and trying something new. I had the Belgian Sugar Pearl Waffles with fruit and Dulce De Leche and they were insane. There is something about Belgian Sugar Pearl waffles that makes them better than any other waffles you can get. I also made sure to have one of their lattes because they looked like they tasted good and all of them have cool latte art. I would give the latte 10/10 (and if I’m saying the coffee is good, it’s good. I did work for a coffee company after all). 

16. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink $$: A really cute spot for lunch in the Design District, Michael’s has been around since 2006 and has received many accolades for its amazing cuisine. When I was there, I had the most amazing latte which was a huge surprise given most restaurants have such shitty coffee. It tasted like a freshly ground Italian roast because the barista was grinding each cup fresh. For food we had the Beet and Tomato Salad, fries, and the Genuine Burger all of which were delicious. This place was a pleasant surprise, I would highly recommend it. 

17. Pura Vida Miami (Multiple Locations) $-$$: A health food spot in the Design District, Pura Vida is my little slice of heaven on earth. They have every health food item you can think of: smoothies, juices, acai bowls, salads, wraps, protein bowls, etc.  I had the Chicken Pesto Sandwich on Multigrain bread and it was probably one of the freshest and tastiest sandwiches I’ve had in a long time. I will definitely be coming back here when I’m back in Miami and need somewhere cute and quick to grab lunch.

18. KITH Treats $: KITH is a streetwear clothing brand that has an adjacent ice cream shop in most of their stores. They are known specifically for their Cereal flavored soft serve ice cream where you can kind of make your own by picking any cereal or combination of cereals you want. I wouldn’t say it’s the best ice cream I’ve ever had, but it is something you should try once. 



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