By Brenda from The Whet Palette
My-yam-ee. Mee-ya-mee. Mi-ah-mee. No matter how you pronounce it, Miami is now the place to be for its sizzling food scene. You can't beat that year-round heat (and we are not just talking about the temperature). Caliente! The following itinerary works best for the gourmand first-timer, but seasoned Miamians might discover a gem or two on here as well. Conquering this list might mean less time under the sun, but more time over the moon. Are you up for the challenge? Dale! Vamos a Miami!
Before you do anything else, head straight to Versailles. Locals know other authentic spots exist all over the city, where you can grab a cafecito and snack at a ventanita. But doing so at Versailles is almost a rite of passage. On any given day, you can spot a celebrity, campaigning politician, tall-tale-telling local, or even a TV crew covering a spontaneous celebration (or heated protest). You can bet your pots and pans on it! It simply must be experienced.
Espresso runs in our veins. Really, it's a thing. It's no coincidence that the 305 area code, the 3:05 time, and the March 5th date are all actively celebrated county-wide with espresso-centric events. Panther Coffee, Enriqueta's and David's Cafecito will supply you with the much needed fuel while in town...and then some (think pastelitos, buttered tostadas, and croquetas). For brunch, splurge at the Mandarin Oriental's La Mar Restaurant by Gaston Acurio. With its unparalleled city views, this Peruvian gastronomic haven (headed by the talented chef Diego Oka) will make you second guess that return flight home.
You might be impressed by the beautifully fit men and women all over town, but don't let that fool you. South Floridians love to flaunt their physique, but they also love to eat. #Miamiproblems. Case in point? Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. If you are looking for a place that serves lean proteins, veggies, and low-carb eats, Yardbird's not it. There's a reason this South Beach location continues to stand the test of time. You need the Buttermilk Biscuits and Chicken 'n' Watermelon 'n' Waffles in your life. Nearby, Pubbelly Sushi serves sushi with an added latin touch like only Miami homegrown chef Mendin can. Tip: Get the Tostones con Ceviche and Navarro Roll. In Midtown, locally sourced Proof offers a small yet ever-changing menu. What to recommend? Everything. What not to order always becomes an issue. Choosing between the Oxtail or White Truffle Pizza, Crab Angel Hair, or one of the ice cream sandwiches is like choosing a favorite child: impossible. What a delicious problem to have!
Wynwood's Alter impressively leads the pack as the most awarded restaurant in recent Florida culinary history. Bradley Kilgore, Food & Wine Magazine's 2016 Best New Chef, presents a fine-dining experience in an intimate, casual setting while continuing to attract national attention. The newly introduced prix fixe menu delivers intense, one-of-a-kind, and well thought-out dishes. For that razzle dazzle Miami Beach experience, visit the showstopper FAENA district and find out why it's quickly becoming a highly desirable destination. Somewhere between the posh decor and over-the-top everything, Argentinian restaurant Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann, and modern Asian PAO by Paul Qui have both redefined hotel dining...and all that jazz.
While there are plenty of piña coladas to be had all over Miami, skip them and try our handcrafted elixirs instead. Explore the Broken Shaker's innovative sips while taking in the surrounding hipster oasis (beards not required). Sneak into the Regent Cocktail Club for their speakeasy classic vibe and skilled cocktail concoctions. Better yet, wine down in the Faena Living Room while listening to live jazzy crooners in Miami Beach's sexiest space. In case you haven't heard, South Florida's craft beer scene is now cooler than Mr. 305 himself. Before saying adios to Miami, check out J. Wakefield Brewing, try a sampler of their brews, and you too will be singing the praises of in-demand brewmaster John Wakefield. If you are lucky, you might even get to try Miami Madness: the #1 best Berliner Weisse (as per BeerAdvocate.com) featuring mango, guava, and passion fruit.