Florida Travel: A Philadelphian’s Guide to Eating Miami
From unlikely Michelin-starred finds to Cuban staples, don’t skip these six Magic City spots.
For decades, dining in Miami meant delicious Cuban food, tourist haunts on Ocean Drive, and a few award-winning chefs who (thank God) stayed loyal to their Miami roots. But in the early 2000s, game-changing restaurants started popping up and soon, a renowned food destination was born, one with Michelin-starred restaurants, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, top nods from James Beard and more. From casual neighborhood haunts to some of the hardest tables to get, these spots will make your next trip to Miami delectable.
Boia De, Little Haiti
Don’t let the strip-mall location fool you; this intimate Italian restaurant earned that Michelin star. Book a table weeks in advance for the small-plate culinary adventure, which includes a curiously craveable chopped salad, fried potato skins topped with stracciatella, egg and caviar, and Boia De’s darling dish: cold tagliolini nero with king crab, truffle sauce and herbs.
Joe’s Take Away, South Beach
If you’re in Miami from October to May, you need stone crabs. You could get dressed up and wait in an hours-long line for a table at the famous Joe’s Stone Crab, or you could wear a t-shirt and shorts and get the same exact food from a walk-up counter right next door. At Joe’s Take Away, order the claws and Key lime pie.
Motek, Downtown Miami and Aventura
What began as an unassuming cafe in downtown Miami’s diamond district is now the go-to for tasty Israeli fare. The Aventura location has a charming patio with yellow-striped umbrellas and ivy-clad walls, perfect for sipping Israeli chardonnay and noshing on pillowy pitas, mushroom hummus, baba ghanouj, challah bread pudding, and the award-winning Arayes Burger: a pita stuffed with a beef kofta kebab, tahini and harissa aioli.
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Old Greg’s Pizza, Design District
This pandemic pop-up turned Design District brick-and-mortar serves square pies topped with quality ingredients like maitake and oyster mushrooms, wild ramp salsa verde, and hot honey-drizzled pepperoni. Plus, the dough’s been slow-fermented from a sourdough starter. Get there early — they’ve been known to sell out of pies.
Sanguich de Miami, Little Havana
Visiting Miami and not eating a Cuban sandwich is like going to Paris and only eating hot dogs: sacrilege. For $13, get a Cubano so good it’s in the Miami Michelin Guide, with City Ham, garlic-marinated lechon, melted Swiss, mustard and homemade pickles layered between two pieces of crunchy Cuban bread.
Zitz Sum, Coral Gables
When a chef who beat Bobby Flay starts selling homemade dumplings out of the back of his car, try them — it may be the start of a buzzy restaurant that will earn James Beard and Michelin Guide nods and a coveted spot on the New York Times Restaurant List. Such is the story of Zitz Sum, where Pablo Zitzmann whips up Asian- and Italian-inspired plates like smoked brisket bao buns with guava hoisin sauce and wahoo crudo with lychee and a Meyer lemon “cloud.”
Published as “Eating Miami” in the December 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.