Essential Eats in the Magic City: Miami’s Best Food
The gorgeous beaches, sparkling ocean views, and glamorous nightlife often steal the spotlight, but Miami’s food scene is also one of the many reasons tourists flock to this Southern Florida city. Home to world-class restaurants, fresh seafood, and a slew of traditional Latin American cuisines, the culinary culture in Miami is unlike anywhere else in the country. Wondering where to start? Add these must-try Miami foods to your Magic City bucket list.
With thousands of Cuban families putting down roots in Miami, it’s only natural that the city would boast some of the best Cuban food in the country. Between croquetas and ropa vieja, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but probably the most iconic Cuban dish is the legendary Cuban sandwich. Piled high with roasted pork, sliced ham, cheese, and pickles, it’s the perfect way to recharge after an action-packed day at the beach or a long night at the clubs. You can find Cuban sandwiches pretty much anywhere around town, but some of the very best Cuban spots include Versailles, Havana 1957, and Las Olas Cafe.
You’ll need a nap after indulging in one of these hearty sandwiches. Check into one of the sleek Miami vacation rentals for the bed of your dreams – plus a living room with a couch that’s totally snooze-worthy.
A Cuban sandwich will satisfy your salt craving, but what about your sweet tooth? Treat yourself to one of Miami’s favorite sweet snacks, a donut from The Salty Donut. Don’t let the name fool you; these donuts aren’t all salty, but one of their most popular varieties, the Maple + Bacon, is topped with locally made bacon that does pack a salty kick. If that’s not your thing, stick to the sweet flavors, which include plenty of local influence.
Some favorite flavors include guava and cheese, hazelnut chocolate, and, of course, traditional glazed. If you’re lucky, you can try a limited-edition seasonal flavor!
Okay, okay, it’s not technically a food (although it could be considered bread liquid form), but Miami’s craft beer scene is bubbling up to be one of the best in the nation. Maybe it’s the warm weather that makes beer taste especially good here, but we think it’s the skill and passion of the craft brewers in the Magic City. Head to Wynwood to beat the heat and cool off with a cold one at a hip taproom or on a sunny patio.
A few breweries in the area worth checking out are Wynwood Brewing Company, Veza Sur Brewing Co. (awesome patio!), J Wakefield Brewing, and Concrete Beach Brewery. Up for a drive? M.I.A. Beer Company and Biscayne Bay Brewing are just west of Downtown Miami toward Doral, but they’re definitely worth the Uber ride.
Being a coastal city, Miami has access to fresh seafood year round, but for one of the most special fruits of the sea, you’ll have to visit between October 15 and May 15. Native to the shores of Southern Florida, the stone crab is only available for a limited time each year, but if you can get it, you’ll be hooked. It’s rich, buttery, and absolutely fabulous with a side of mustard sauce.
The original, legendary restaurant for stone crab is none other than Joe’s Stone Crab, which doesn’t take reservations, a policy that has been in place for over a century. Dress your best and expect to wait, but you’ll forget all about the wait when you take a bite. For a more casual experience, head to Monty’s, or even grab some from Whole Foods and have a stone crab picnic on the beach.
Miami certainly has no shortage of sweet baked goods, including pastelitos, bunuelos, and donuts, but the cinnamon rolls from Knaus Berry Farm are on another level. Located about 30 minutes south of Downtown Miami (a 40-minute drive), pick up a box of these farm-fresh treats on the way to the Florida Keys – or make a specific trip to get them. They’re gooey and cinnamon-y, and they’re best enjoyed when they’re still warm. Fun fact: these cinnamon rolls are so iconic, they’ve landed on the National Register of Culinary Heritage!
Rounding out our list of essential Miami foods is the ubiquitous cafecito, which isn’t technically a food, but is such an integral part of daily life in the 305 that it might as well be considered its own food group. Wondering what everybody is drinking out of those tiny white styrofoam cups? Mystery solved: it’s a highly caffeinated, sugary, coffee drink called a cafecito. Miamians start their days with a cafecito- and often have (at least) another one around 3pm. Grab a cafecito at any of the quick-service windows (called ventanitas) around town.
Hungry? Time to dig into these classic Miami dishes. With so many delicious foods to try, you might not even make it to the beach !