Exploring the must-try restaurants on Miami’s hottest streets is like embarking on a culinary journey that spans the globe. Miami, the vibrant city where cultures converge, is well-known for its diverse and thriving dining scene. From sizzling steaks and fresh seafood to authentic Cuban cuisine and exotic Asian flavors, Miami’s streets are lined with an array of eateries that promise to tantalize your taste buds.
In this article, we will guide you through some of the standout restaurants that have put Miami on the global gastronomy map. Each of these establishments offers a unique dining experience that reflects the city’s multicultural heritage and love for good food. So, get ready to take notes, because your next unforgettable meal could just be a Miami street away!
Joe’s Stone Crab on Washington Avenue
Stepping into Joe’s Stone Crab on Washington Avenue is like walking into a piece of Miami’s rich culinary history. This iconic restaurant, known for its delicious seafood and charming ambiance, has been serving the community for over a century.
The humble beginnings of Joe’s Stone Crab date back to 1913 when it was started as a small seafood restaurant by Joseph Weiss. Along with his wife Jennie, they set up their business in Miami Beach, which is well-documented on Joe’s official website. The restaurant gained prominence under their son Jesse Weiss who further consolidated its reputation as one of Miami’s finest eateries, as noted on Joe’s Stone Crab’s about page.
When it comes to their specialty dishes, Joe’s Stone Crab is particularly renowned for the following:
- Stone Crab Claws: The signature dish that put Joe’s on the culinary map. These succulent claws are served chilled with a side of tangy mustard sauce, a fact celebrated by Bon Appétit.
- Key Lime Pie: A classic Floridian dessert, the Key Lime Pie at Joe’s is a must-try. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart, with a creamy filling and a crunchy graham cracker crust, as described by Fast Company.
- Hash Browns and Coleslaw: These traditional sides complement the seafood dishes perfectly and are a staple at Joe’s.
Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho
An integral part of Miami’s vibrant culinary scene, Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho is more than just a place to dine. Founded in 1971 by Felipe A. Valls Sr., a native of Santiago de Cuba, this iconic eatery has become a cultural hub for the local Cuban exile community and tourists alike.
Known as the “most famous Cuban restaurant in the world,” the Versailles restaurant offers a taste of Cuba in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The rich history of this renowned establishment is beautifully chronicled in the Sun-Sentinel.
When it comes to their must-try dishes, Versailles Restaurant is particularly celebrated for its authentic Cuban cuisine:
- Cuban Sandwich: A classic Cuban sandwich made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard, pressed to perfection between slices of Cuban bread.
- Ropa Vieja: This traditional dish features shredded beef stewed with vegetables in a tomato-based sauce, served with rice and black beans.
- Arroz con Pollo: A hearty chicken and rice dish seasoned with saffron and other spices, often accompanied by fried plantains or yuca.
- Cafecito: No visit to Versailles is complete without trying their famous Cuban coffee, known as Cafecito. It’s a strong espresso shot sweetened with sugar and served in a small cup.
Over the decades, Versailles has maintained its original decor and ambiance, providing guests with a vintage dining experience that transports them back in time. The interior of the restaurant was designed by an uncle of the famous rapper Pitbull, adding a unique touch to its aesthetic appeal, as described by NBC News.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro on NE 2nd Avenue
Located in Miami’s Design District, Mandolin Aegean Bistro on NE 2nd Avenue serves as a culinary bridge between Greece and Turkey. This charming eatery, founded in 2009 by husband-and-wife duo Ahmet Erkaya and Anastasia Koutsioukis, is renowned for its authentic Mediterranean cuisine.
The restaurant itself is a converted 1940s home, providing a cozy, rustic atmosphere that complements the food perfectly. The delightful ambiance and delicious offerings of Mandolin have been acknowledged by numerous publications, including Conde Nast Traveler.
The highlight of Mandolin Aegean Bistro is undoubtedly its Greek and Turkish dishes, which include:
- Moussaka: A traditional Greek dish made with layers of eggplant, potatoes, ground meat, and béchamel sauce, baked to perfection.
- Dolma: These stuffed grape leaves, a common dish in Turkish cuisine, are filled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, currants, and various spices.
- Grilled Octopus: A popular dish throughout the Mediterranean, the octopus at Mandolin is tender and flavorful, served with a tangy vinaigrette.
- Baklava: This sweet pastry is a must-try dessert at Mandolin. It’s made with layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and held together with syrup or honey.
In addition to these mouthwatering dishes, Mandolin Aegean Bistro has also received recognition from the prestigious Michelin Guide, further cementing its status as a leading destination for Mediterranean cuisine in Miami.
KYU on NW 25th Street
Nestled in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood Art District, KYU on NW 25th Street stands as a testament to the city’s thriving food scene. This Asian-inspired eatery, led by Chef Michael Lewis and General Manager Steven Haigh, is renowned for its innovative menu that combines traditional Asian flavors with a modern twist.
KYU’s menu is a delightful exploration of Asian cuisine, featuring dishes such as:
- Fire-Roasted Branzino: A whole Branzino fish, fire-roasted to perfection and served with tamarind, basil, and marinated chilies, as highlighted on KYU’s official website.
- Beef Short Ribs: These tender short ribs come with a sesame crust and are glazed with sweet soy, offering a savory treat for meat lovers.
- Stone Pot Thai Fried Rice: This hearty dish features flavorful rice cooked in a stone pot, giving it a unique texture and taste.
- Roasted Cauliflower: A vegetarian delight, this dish combines roasted cauliflower with goat cheese and a shishito-herb vinaigrette.
- Udon Noodles: Served with black garlic miso and wood ear mushrooms, these udon noodles offer a comforting bowl of goodness.
KYU also offer a unique brunch menu that includes innovative dishes like Avocado Toast with pumpkin seeds and pickled radish, and Eggs Benedict with hot smoked salmon or bacon, as mentioned on their brunch menu.
Zuma on Biscayne Boulevard Way
Situated in the bustling heart of downtown Miami, Zuma on Biscayne Boulevard Way offers a unique dining experience that melds the tradition and authenticity of Japanese cuisine with modern culinary techniques. Founded by acclaimed chef Rainer Becker, Zuma has been praised for its inventive approach to Japanese dining by numerous outlets, including Time Out Miami.
Zuma’s menu is a gastronomic journey through modern Japan, featuring dishes such as:
- Izakaya Style Dining: Following the Japanese concept of ‘Izakaya’, Zuma encourages shared dining with dishes served as they’re ready, allowing guests to enjoy a variety of flavors as detailed on Zuma’s official website.
- Sushi and Sashimi: Freshly prepared using high-quality ingredients, Zuma’s sushi and sashimi offerings are a must-try for seafood lovers.
- Robata Grill Items: The Robata grill is a traditional Japanese cooking method that imparts a unique smoky flavor to the food. Zuma’s Robata grill menu includes options like yakitori skewers and grilled vegetables.
- Signature Dishes: Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include miso-marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf and rib eye steak with wafu sauce and garlic chips.
Zuma also have an extensive sake and cocktail menu, further enhancing the dining experience. The restaurant’s dedication to providing an authentic yet contemporary take on Japanese cuisine has garnered it a spot on TripAdvisor’s list of top restaurants in Miami.
The Capital Grille on Brickell Avenue
Located in Miami’s vibrant financial district, The Capital Grille on Brickell Avenue is a premier destination for steak lovers. Known for its expertly prepared steaks, which are dry-aged in-house for 18 to 24 days and then hand-cut by the restaurant’s on-site butcher, The Capital Grille sets a high standard for fine dining. This commitment to culinary excellence has been recognized by numerous publications, including Zagat.
The Capital Grille’s menu showcases its steakhouse roots with selections such as:
- Dry Aged NY Strip: This 14-ounce steak is one of The Capital Grille’s signature dishes. Dry aging enhances the flavor and tenderness of the meat, making this a must-try for steak enthusiasts.
- Porcini Rubbed Bone-In Ribeye: Infused with 15-year-old balsamic, this dish offers a unique take on the classic ribeye steak.
- Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster Tails: Combining succulent lobster with tender beef tenderloin, this surf and turf dish exemplifies The Capital Grille’s commitment to quality.
- Sushi-Grade Sesame Seared Tuna: For those seeking lighter fare, this dish offers a refreshing change of pace without sacrificing flavor.
The Capital Grille also boasts an impressive wine list, featuring over 350 selections from around the globe. This dedication to providing a top-notch dining experience has earned The Capital Grille a place on OpenTable’s list of top restaurants in Miami.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink on NE 40th Street
Tucked away in the Miami Design District, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is a culinary gem that beautifully encapsulates the farm-to-table approach to dining. Spearheaded by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz, this restaurant has been recognized for its commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients and simple yet flavorful dishes by several publications, including Food for Thought Miami.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink’s menu embodies their farm-to-table philosophy with offerings such as:
- Locally-Sourced Seafood: The restaurant prides itself on serving only the freshest seafood, sourced from local suppliers. This commitment to freshness is evident in their selection of dishes, which range from ceviche to grilled octopus.
- Seasonal Vegetable Dishes: In line with their farm-to-table approach, the menu at Michael’s Genuine features an array of vegetable dishes that change with the seasons, ensuring that guests are served the freshest produce at its peak.
- Handcrafted Pizzas: Made with dough that’s prepared daily and topped with locally sourced ingredients, the pizzas at Michael’s Genuine are a testament to their dedication to quality.
- Artisanal Cheese Selection: Sourced from local dairies, the cheese selection at Michael’s Genuine offers guests the opportunity to sample some of the best dairy products the region has to offer.
In addition to its impressive food offerings, Michael’s Genuine also boasts an extensive wine list, with a focus on sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines. This commitment to sustainability and quality has earned them a place on Yelp’s list of top restaurants in the Miami area.
A Culinary Adventure Down Miami’s Streets
Whether you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine or prefer a classic steakhouse meal, Miami’s restaurant scene offers a vibrant mix of options to cater to every palate. These eateries, located on the city’s liveliest streets, stand out not just for their varied and high-quality food but also for their commitment to providing an outstanding dining experience.
Zuma, The Capital Grille, and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink each bring unique flavors and dining concepts to the table, making them must-visit destinations for food lovers in Miami. So why wait? It’s time to embark on a culinary adventure down Miami’s streets.