Food fads may come and go, but old favorites never go out of style. Visitors to Miami may already be familiar with the city’s rich history and Latin influences: Cuba has especially played a significant role in shaping the city, and a quick trip to Little Havana reveals endless options for authentic flavors.
Cuba is not the only nation that has made an impact on Florida’s popular metropolis, however; when you visit Miami, you’re stepping into a melting pot of culture and cuisine. From the abundance of Cuban fare to the finest seafood and Southern staples, there is without a doubt a meal to satisfy any craving for those who feast in Magic City.
While there are myriad dining destinations that dot the coastline, expert concierges have a few restaurants whose house specialties make them stand out from the crowd. From the freshest ceviche and grilled octopus to a new twist on pad thai and fried chicken, it’s all here—you just have to know where to find it.
Black truffle risotto at Bâoli
“Embark on a sensory exploration [at Bâoli], where taste reigns [on] an all-encompassing menu of seemingly endless options. The Mediterranean and Asian cuisine by chef Gustavo Vertone is superb. The black truffle risotto is the house specialty. One cannot enjoy the venue without the extraordinary warm and hospitality from our host David and his team.” (baolimiami.com) —John Lenis, concierge at Jade Ocean
Fresh fish at Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market
“Since we are located in the Brickell/downtown area, I usually get lots of requests for fresh seafood. The place I send most of my guests is Garcia’s [Seafood Grille & Fish Market]. I always explain how it’s a casual, family-owned restaurant, which is located right on the Miami River. They have their own fishing boats, so the food could not get any fresher. With a mix of the Cuban cuisine, it’s a must-try when you are in Miami.” (garciasmiami.com) —Jorge Rocha, chef concierge at Viceroy Miami
Chicken and waffles at Yardbird
“Yardbird [Southern Table & Bar] in Miami Beach, just off the bustling Lincoln Road, has one of the simplest and most sought-after meals: chicken and waffles. It is a classic mainstay from the South and has captured the taste buds of many. However, Yardbird made this classic even better and included it on the menu: ‘chicken ’n’ watermelon ’n’ waffles.’ … You’ll need to order another plate and take it to go; one can only truly enjoy this meal from the comfort of home … and pajamas.” (runchickenrun.com) —Jay Baldridge, chef concierge at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Pad Thai at Khong River House
“For those venturing to Lincoln Road, Khong River House in South Beach offers exceptional Asian cuisine. The restaurant is known for … [its] ‘tribute to the food, flavors and traditions of the Mekong region’ and offers unique takes on traditional dishes such as pad thai. With a menu that is perfect for sharing, Khong River House is a great place for get-togethers with groups of friends and family. Not to mention, the atmosphere and decor is something to be admired.” (khongriver.com) —Kamal Kanahan, guest relations manager at Trump International Beach Resort
Grilled octopus at Milos
Specializing in Mediterranean-inspired dishes, Milos is known for its superior seafood, which it flies in daily from places such as Greece, Spain and Portugal. While diners enjoy a plethora of tastes from the Milos menu, Jade Beach’s concierge, Chauncey Sullivan, is partial to its fresh, grilled octopus. “[It’s] simply charred, delicately seasoned,” she explains. “For an amazing dining experience, Milos is the place.” (milos.ca) —Chauncey Sullivan, concierge at Jade Beach
Mojitos at Ortanique on the Mile
“It would not be Miami if you didn’t take on the challenge of discovering the best mojito in town. However, if you’d like to remember your trip to Miami, I can save you most of the trouble and point you toward Ortanique on the Mile in Coral Gables. Stop in and see Joel: With over 15 years experience, he’s learned to add a touch of love to every mojito, leaving the drink a step above anyone else’s … in the world.” (ortaniquerestaurants.com) —Jay Baldridge, chef concierge at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Ceviche at My Ceviche
For the freshest ceviches, there are few places better than Miami. With so many Latin American influences throughout the city, an authentic experience is all but guaranteed. Fernando Pochulu, chef concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Miami, recommends local favorite My Ceviche for the authenticity and unmatched quality of its ceviche and other Latin dishes. Try one of its signature dishes, including the ceviche bowl, which features seafood atop a choice of mixed lettuces, coconut jasmine rice or cilantro quinoa and alongside several toppings such as mango or avocado. (myceviche.com) —Fernando Pochulu, chef concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Miami
Hamburger and martini at The Cypress Room
“The Cypress Room is an elegant American dining room with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz. The decor returns you to the 1920s with great food, service, cocktails and classic music in the background such as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. … One of the best items [on the menu] is the hamburger topped with caramelized onions, thrice-cooked fries on the side with a ZYR Vodka dirty martini.” (thecypressroom.com) —Chauncey Sullivan, concierge at Jade Beach
—Written by Bria Balliet