Eating, Drinking & Nightlife
Miami has a rich and diverse Spanish colonial heritage, which is evident in both the local cuisine and the music scene. With a population of more than 1 million Cubans, the city claims to be the Cuban sandwich capital of the US and is an experience not to be missed – made with ham, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban Bread.
The food also has a heavy influence from the Caribbean and Latin America, creating a unique style of cooking known as Floribbean cuisine, with its emphasis on seafood and chicken, generous use of citrus and tropical fruits, often using a complex medley of spices both mild and powerful. Typical dishes include Key Lime Mustard Ginger Grilled Chicken and Ceviche of Gulf Shrimp.
A good starting point for restaurants is Lincoln Road – a pedestrianized road in South Beach. You won’t have far to stroll anywhere in the South Beach area to find a wide choice of eating places – Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue are lined with bars and restaurants.
There is every sort of food on offer in Miami, and the portions are usually huge, so be careful not to over-order. Some of the best restaurants such as Yardbird offer Southern food, with popular dishes including Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Grits, and Mississippi Mud Pie. There are some excellent Italian restaurants, plentiful beer and burger joints, and good steakhouses abound. The main attractions of Miami cuisine are the fish and seafood and “Joe’s Stone Crab” is a popular place to enjoy sea bass, lobster claws, Quahog clams, and of course stone crab.
There are some extremely swanky hotels on Miami Beach, and each of these tend to have a signature fine dining restaurant, often Michelin starred, which are magnets for the beautiful people and celebrities. You will find Mr Chows at the W South Beach, Nobu at the Shore Club, with the Fontainebleau featuring both Gotham Steak and Hakkasan.
Lincoln Road, a pedestrianized road in South Beach, is famous for its people watching, late dining, and jazz bars. The area south of Fifth Street is particularly busy at night, attracting people who want to experience Miami's famed nightlife. Here you’ll find “Salsa Mia” the place to enjoy dinner, mojitos and salsa classes with a live tropical band. Also on Lincoln Road is the Van Dyke Café where there is live music nightly.
The big hitting hotels feature ultra cool nightclubs and “see and be seen” bars, whether it is LIV at the Fontainebleau, WALL at the W, FDR at the Delano or Sky Bar at the Shore Club. Then there is the Nikki Beach Club, originating in St Tropez and now spreading the cool beach vibe on Ocean Drive Miami.
But there are bars and clubs for normal people too, and the Clevelander on Ocean Drive has a good reputation for reasonably priced drinks and a fun, relaxed atmosphere.