No trip to Miami would be complete without a stop at one of the city’s many family-owned Cuban restaurants, and La Rosa has been a fan-favorite for almost four decades. Travelers lucky enough to have a layover at the nearby Miami airport have been known to risk missing their connecting flight just for the chance to sample the kitchen’s famous garlic octopus, signature roast pork, or stuffed pork chop. But that’s okay, since an extended stay would just mean more time for desserts like coconut flan or homemade tres leches cake, paired with a classic cafe cubano coffee.
When you dine at NAOE, you put yourself entirely into the hands of Chef Kevin Cory, who designs every one of his two-hour omakase dinners with artistic precision. It can be hard to give up control of your dinner and eat whatever the chef decides to serve, but rest assured that each and every bite will be nothing short of perfection, incorporating fish flown in fresh from Japan and served in an intimate, open kitchen that seats only eight people. That kind of exclusivity doesn’t come cheap, of course, but considering some online reviewers have called dinner here the best meal of their lives, we predict you’ll leave without any buyer’s remorse.
The very best Italian restaurants make you feel like you’re dining in the home of a close friend or family member, and that’s exactly how you’ll feel when you settle into a seat at this spot, set in a cozy Brickell cottage. The hearty pastas (think seafood linguine, fettuccine with filet mignon, and homemade potato gnocchi with pink sauce) are crowd favorites, especially on Thursday nights when they can be enjoyed for just $10. But don’t skip the baked brie appetizer (yes, we know brie isn’t Italian, but stick with us), which comes drizzled with apricot glaze, brown sugar, and toasted almonds.
When it comes to Miami pizza spots, New York–imports and fancy, authentic Italian pies seem to constantly be competing for the hearts and mouths of locals. But Spris Artisan Pizza strikes a perfect balance between these two styles, delivering pies that are too Instagram-worthy to fold, but still unfussy (and un-pricey) enough to enjoy weekly. The slightly-charred, wood-fired crusts come bearing delectable toppings like speck and burrata or prosciutto, ricotta, and arugula, but for a true Miami–style twist, try the frutti di mare, which comes loaded with clams, shrimp, scallops, garlic, and kale.
This family-owned restaurant and fish market is more concerned with serving the freshest fish than it is with being fancy, and that’s alright since it means you’ll enjoy delectable dishes like grilled grouper, stone crab claws, and oysters on the half shell for a fraction of the price you’d pay anywhere else. Of course, the ambience is nothing to sneeze at with a location that’s right on the river and nestled between some of the city’s most impressive skyscrapers. Don’t skip the conch fritters, which many reviewers rave about, or the grilled hogfish, which you’ll be hard-pressed to find on many other menus.
Few foods scream “Miami” as loudly as the ironically-named Cuban sandwich. The sandwich was not invented in Cuba (or Miami for that matter), but rather in Tampa during the late 1800s when Cuban workers frequently sailed back and forth from Florida to their home country. But it enjoyed a surge in popularity in the mid 1960s when large numbers of Cubans settled in Miami following Cuba’s communist revolution.
Today, there exists a sort of rivalry between the Tampa and Miami Cuban sandwiches, as each city claims bragging rights to it. But regardless of which place truly “owns” the Cuban sandwich, they can both agree that it’s a delicacy that is not to be missed when visiting South Florida. If you’ve never had a Cuban sandwich before, here’s a run-down of it’s essential ingredients:
Once composed, the sandwich is grilled in a sandwich press called a plancha and cut in half diagonally. The diagonal cut is considered one of the hallmarks of a true Cuban, so be suspicious of a sandwich cut any other way!