At the beginning of this Summer I visited Miami Beach and of course I came home with a list of my favorite places in town. From the very best pizza to a hidden taco place and from molecular gastronomy to no-nonsense burgers. Nine places for on your list!
Somewhat hidden underneath a hostel you can find Taquiza and according to many this is where the best tacos in town are served. The tortillas at this traditional taquria are handmade with purple (blue) masa and served with for instance slowly roasted pork with a touch of orange and cinnamon (‘carnitas’) or grilled steak with citrus and spicy chilis (‘asada’). Make sure to also order the amazing guacamole with totopos: housemade, super crispy fried chips.
Lucali is located in the unexpectedly buzzing and lovely Sunset Harbour neighborhood. It’s always packed here and for good reason, because the pizzas are phenomenal. They are baked in a wood-fired oven in the back of the restaurant, have a perfectly crispy Italian crust and simple toppings like buffalo mozzarella, garlic and basil. Their size is truly American; so two persons can easily share one pie. Good to know is that you can add the toppings per side, so endless discussions can easily be avoided.
When you walk through the lobby of the Joie de Vivre hotel, you automatically enter Sunny’s. In this tropical and very Instagram worthy courtyard you’re welcome all day for lovely sunny dishes. Of course, I was immediately sold after discovering the ‘all-day bowls’ section on the menu and trust me: the neon pink ‘Puff the Magic Dragon Bowl’ (I’m not kidding about that name) is very much recommended. Same goes for the Jersey Shore sandwich (again, no joke) with brioche bread, melted cheese and a sunny side up egg.
4. Shake Shack
It’s one of the just three locations in Florida, so fans of the New York based burger chain really need to pay the brand new Lincoln Road mall a visit. I absolutely love Shake Shack’s burgers (on a slightly sweet brioche roll), but also discovered the amazing ‘Shark Attack’ dessert with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. Sounds weird, is crazy good.
5. The Bazaar
Restaurant The Bazaar by the Spanish-American Michelin chef José Andrés is located in the expensive SLS hotel. The restaurant is divided in several rooms with all their own theme and style. Although many chefs have abandoned molecular gastronomy with its foams and nitrogen, at Bazaar the siphon is still heavely used. That makes for surprising, funny and sometimes impressive dishes like a caprese salad with balls of mozzarella that splash open in your mouth or liquid olives. Fun little detail: the lovely cookies (like the financiers with Earl Grey tea) you can order per piece, to go with your coffee. This place is a little bit ‘seen and be seen’, so make sure to wear your very best outfit.
Although I really don’t like the term ‘clean eating’ and I’m therefore neglecting Dirt’s slogan, I am very enthusiastic about this place. Dirt’s goal is to serve delicious, high-quality food that’s good for the customer and the planet. Such a very noble aspiration. On the menu of this symphatic restaurant you can find a ‘curried cauliflower bowl’ (with quinoa and butternut-cashew cream) right above a ‘steak & cheese sandwich’ (with marinated steak, aioli and lots of spicy cheese). The service is remarkable, just like the decoration with lots of white and copper accents.
7-9. Sleep-over: 3 hotels
Where to stay in Miami Beach? Those who really want things luxury and chic, can splurge with a night at the gorgeous and very impressive The Setai, which I wrote about here. Much more affordable is the Shepley hotel, located at the same Collins Avenue and with that characteristic art deco vibe. The rooms are pretty simple, but very tastefully decorated and offer a full-powered air-conditioning. The breakfast is a little sober (think: bagels, coffee and cereals), but is completely free. Plus: you can enjoy it very relaxed on the hotel’s lovely porch.
Walk on for a few minutes and you arrive at The Anglers hotel. A gorgeous boutique hotel – with a swimming pool – that’s part of the American Kimpton chain, known for their intimate hotels and personal attention. The rooms are large, the service is amazing and the daily free wine hour always a plus.