Some people think of the beaches in Miami, but my thoughts go straight to the dining scene. On my last trip to Miami, I experienced a different side of South Beach with Miami Culinary Tours. Food tours are a great way to get to know another side of a city, and I loved sampling and sipping my way through some of the lesser known restaurants, many owned and favored by locals. From authentic Cuban food at Lario’s on the Beach to pizza made with “300 year old mother dough” at Blocks, I enjoyed the variety of options, price points and cuisine I tasted.
Now, when I visit Miami, my first thought is the restaurant scene. The new introductions from the culinary tour – Larios, Bolivar, Naked Taco and Blocks – have been added to my list of favorite restaurants in Miami which includes Juvia, Michaels and Casa Tua. from previous trips. Read about all of them below.
Larios on the Beach: Authentic award-winning Cuban food South Beach style. I tasted a delicious picadillo (for the first time) served with house made taro chips. It was easily washed down with their refreshing white Sangria. Larios’ mojitos are world-famous too. Owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, the beautiful restaurant located on Ocean Drive is a destination and packs a crowd.
Bolivar: South American fusion in a casual rustic lounge. We were offered several outstanding types of ceviche plated with Columbian style empanadas. I had no idea there were such a variety of empanadas based on regions in Latin America. We were advised to follow with a drink called Refajo, a mix of Aguila beer and Colombiana. I’d come back for more.
Blocks: This looks like a standard walk up pizza joint, but they use a secret “300 year old mother dough” (what? I know…look it up here) to make artisanal Roman style pizza and pocket sandwiches with fresh, organic toppings. This is where the locals come and it’s inexpensive and fast…and did I mention delicious?
Naked Taco: Surprisingly, I wasn’t tired of empanadas by now and was thrilled to have a chance to try celebrity chef Ralph Pagano’s spin. Adding his own twist to classic Mexican fare, and of course, his signature naked tacos wrapped in lettuce, this restaurant has a huge following and is usually packed. The Margaritas are another favorite too.
Juvia: I have a hard time passing up a roof top restaurant, add amazing weather to the ambience of a glorious view, and I’m all in. But what keeps this restaurant on the top of my list is the interesting menu. A fusion of French, Japanese and Peruvian cooking styles using the freshest ingredients turns out some incredibly delicious flavors. I’ve been several times and have never been disappointed.
Michaels Genuine Food & Drink: James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Michael Schwart’s flagship restaurant serving fresh, in-season comfort food. In the Miami Design District, it’s the trio of great service, ambience and amazing dishes that makes this a destination restaurant for many. Casual, always bustling and delicious.
Casa Tua: Talk about ambiance. I love spots like this that offer unforgettable dining experiences combining thoughtful design and delicious food. This is a gem. Behind an unassuming gate, it feels a bit exclusive, like you’ve entered into someone’s private home. Serving Northern Italian cuisine under lantern-lit trees, it really doesn’t get better than this.