Nicknamed “The Magic City”, Miami casts a spell with its tropical weather, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture. That enchantment extends to the city’s burgeoning food scene, which is nothing short of phenomenal. Heavily influenced by its large Latin American and Caribbean populations, few places in the U.S. have the concentration of authentic ethnic dining establishments that Miami boasts.
From the polish and style of fine dining restaurants in Miami Beach to eclectic fusion spots taking over the hip Wynwood area, there’s something for every type of foodie. We’ve compiled a list of Rewards Network restaurants that include remarkable Brazilian and Japanese fusion, interactive eateries, and artistic dining spots that are true feasts for the senses. But we’ve only scratched the surface — these restaurants are simply an amuse-bouche of what Miami has to offer.
Sapore di Mare
Tucked in the middle of cozy Coconut Grove — the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood in Miami — you’ll find Sapore di Mare, the brainchild of Gusto and Ni.Do creators Giorgia Calabrese and Matteo Paderni. Italian for “taste of the sea”, Sapore di Mare delivers just that with simple, yet stunning seafood creations like calamari alla griglia, a grilled squid filet served with lemon and arucola salad and carpaccio appetizers that include wild salmon, branzino, and marlin.
If you aren’t in the mood for fish, there’s also steak, house-made pasta dishes, pizzas and salads peppering the menu. Try the quinoa salad with goat cheese, zucchini, onions, and shrimp, or pizza topped with Italian speck, scamorza cheese, and arucola. The whitewashed walls and nautical décor by Giorgia creates a vibe that makes you feel like you’ve just wandered in from the beach in Capri. But when you’ve finished your meal, you’re still close enough to walk down to the Shoppes at Mayfair.
Once upon a time, South Beach was the only area in Florida considered a true food destination. Restaurants like R House, however, are making waves and calling attention to the developing food scene in the Wynwood area of Miami.
“Food + Art + Music” is the equation behind R House, a restaurant whose unique concept (and fabulous food) attracted the attention of Bravo’s Best New Restaurant last season. The dishes are an inspired mix of American, Mediterranean, Asian, and Latin dishes— so you can stop by for sweet pea falafel (heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta, and tzatziki sauce) on Wednesday and have ratatouille on Saturday.
The well-designed space positively hums with creativity as guest DJs spin live music and diners enjoy the work of international and local artists in a thoughtful collection curated by The White Porch Gallery. At R House, everything’s a work of art, but we suggest you try the local yellowtail snapper ceviche with roasted corn relish, cilantro, and crispy yucca — it’s a revelation.
Crazy About You
Crazy About You stands out for a number of reasons — the least of which is its name. This restaurant is one of the few dining establishments in Brickell with waterfront dining, and though the sophisticated décor screams money, the prices are actually affordable. Each entrée comes with an appetizer, and the house wine is $15 a bottle.
The menu is a mix of cuisines, reflecting a variety of influences and includes everything from tuna tacos with cilantro slaw, avocado, and wasabi cream to Chilean seabass that’s pan seared in cream sauce with asparagus, mushrooms, and tomato concasse. While the waterfront dining is stunning at night, Crazy About You has a brunch menu that could easily coax even the most nocturnal individuals out on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The shrimp and Parmesan grits alone are more than worth the early wake-up call.
Red, the Steakhouse
Red is understated and elegant: walls of smooth stone, stacked wine bottles, and vibrant red under soft lighting create an ambiance that is both cool and romantic. In the midst of these minimalist digs, the food is pushed to the forefront.
Whether you’ve come for the beluga caviar served from the raw bar with crème fraiche and brioche or a signature cut of Kobe beef, you’ll find that every dish is equal parts substance and style. The steaks are aged no less than forty-five day, and the wine list — which features an impressive seven hundred bottles — is guaranteed to have a perfect pairing for whatever you’ve ordered. On a particularly beautiful evening, a regular occurrence in Miami Beach, take your meal on the terrace. We recommend the stuffed, free-range veal chop with foie gras, mushrooms, fontina and truffled Diane.
Sometimes, the best food is found off of the beaten path. So for authentic Dominican cuisine, you’ll need to go to Mangu Café, a little gem in the city of Hialeah. Hialeah has the highest concentration of Cuban and Cuban American residents in the United States, but you won’t find a better mariquitas con mojo (fried plantain with garlic sauce) west of Santo Domingo. Mangu, or mashed plantains, are foundational in Dominican cuisine and the cornerstone of many of the café’s dishes.
The portions are generous and the décor is unfussy—the Encarnacion family knows the secret to running a great restaurant is in the food and service. Start your day with mangu con longaniza, queso y salami frito (boiled, mashed green plantain with fried salami, cheese and eggs) and end it with lambifongo (juicy conch mashed with fried plantain and served with a portion of stewed conch on the side). Wash it all down with a Refresco Country Club Merengue, also known as “champagne cola”. Repeat often.
Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita
It should be no surprise that the Passion Restaurant Group, creators of Crazy About You, are also behind another conversation starter located in Brickell called Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita.
Allow us to introduce you to the ladies: Dolores and Lolita share what was once the site of Miami’s Fire Station No. 4, which was built in 1932. The two-story building is classic and beautiful and the plush interiors carry that impression throughout (think: candlelight and gorgeous flower arrangements). The upstairs is all Dolores, with a rooftop dining terrace that offers one-of-a-kind views of the Miami skyline. Try the Portuguese grilled octopus salad (mixed greens, roasted potatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and lemon dressing).
The downstairs area belongs to Lolita. Café and delicatessen during the day, Lolita lets loose in the evening to become a night club. The well-crafted cocktails steal the show here, so sip on a Caramel Brittle (Smirnoff vanilla vodka, Godiva caramel and chocolate, Frangelico, and caramel sauce with a salted rim), and If you’re hungry, we recommend the Cuban quesadilla (pork, ham, pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese).
D-Dog House knows that you hate standing in line and that listening to waitstaff rattle off specials at midnight is less than ideal, so they made it easy: walk in, grab a seat, fire up your table’s iPad, peruse the menu, and order from there.
D-Dog is Miami’s first totally interactive eatery, and while you may come for the novelty, you’ll stay for the food. The menu is deceptively simple: burgers, wraps, hot dogs, subs, and salads, but the execution is where D-Dog shows its craft.
With influences that include Columbian and Latin American flavors (among others), you’ll have a tough time deciding between the signature Columbian Dog (Nathan’s beef hot dog wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and topped with mozzarella cheese, crushed Lay’s potato chips, coleslaw, green sauce, pink sauce, pineapple sauce, and a quail egg) and the Mexican Burger (Angus beef patty, guacamole, jalapenos, jalapeno jack cheese, and pico de gallo). Take your time on the decision — this Brickell spot is open until 5 a.m. on the weekends and 2 a.m. most weeknights.
Want to explore more of what Rewards Network restaurants have to offer near you?